I tried to make Rochelle's salt. It didn't work!

  • 7 oz cream of tartar
  • 1 cup distilled water
  • heat to 180 F and keep there
  • add 1/2 tsp sodium carbonate at a time until there is no fizzing
  • filter and let cool

The solution ended with a strong yellow/brown tint. It took at least an hour of adding sodium carbonate. While cooling it rapidly formed a crystallized honey look and that was it. I reheated and added more distilled water to lighten it up a bit thinking it needed to evaporate slower. This time when it cooled nothing happened.

The sodium carbonate was 100%, and the cream of tartar was McCormick. It's possible that came with some impurities hence the brown/yellow grossness.

Is there as way to save this batch? Should I just try again? Is there a better recipe?

My first instinct is that it didn't work because you don't science with Imperial units.

  • $\begingroup$ Hello and welcome to Chemistry.SE. If you have any questions about how the site works you can take the short tour or visit the help center. Just one comment about your question: sometimes activated carbon is added to decolorize the solution prior to filtering. I don't know if this would make a difference in your situation though. $\endgroup$
    – airhuff
    Commented Apr 15, 2017 at 19:53
  • $\begingroup$ How are you judging "success" of this process? $\endgroup$
    – jerepierre
    Commented May 18, 2017 at 16:20

1 Answer 1


Tried again with 365 brand (whole foods) Cream of Tartar. Worked much better.

  • 39g Cream of Tartar
  • 50ml distilled water
  • Sodium Carbonate added slowly until stirring produces clear liquid

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