Hydrated Lime vs. Regualar Lime

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We plan on using a 6 gallon bucket with plastic bag insert for our latrine, then sprinkling hydrated lime over it until the next use.

Question: Since this stuff was recommended by the guy at the feed store (says it's used in outhouses to keep down odor and germs), and it says on the bag that it could cause skin burning, would the lime eat through the plastic bag lining the bucket???? I have not done a drill on this yet; I suppose I should and see what happens.

Have any of you used hydrated lime yet, or do you just use the regular lime?? Any advice??

-- Mo questions (Maureenls@Worldnet.att.net), June 30, 1999


Hydrated lime is very water Soluble(SP?). It works right away, "regular" lime depending on the mesh size it pass through takes longer. All lime can cause skin burning hydrated lime just does it faster. I don't think it will eat thru the bag. Be very carful if you use hydrated lime on plants/soil it is very easy to burn plants. The fastest acting lime I've used (on potted plants) is marking lime for ball fields.

-- Greenthumb G.I. (greenthumb@i.g.i.), June 30, 1999.

Good Morning,

I have no technical expertise but did use an outhouse during my teen years. I believe we used hydrated lime and just kept it in a bucket next to the seat. Lime is a"base" - the opposite of acid and can cause a type of burn if allowed to contact the skin WET or for long periods of time, etc. Because it is not WET or contaminated in the plastic bag I suppose it will last indefinitely if kept dry and fairly cool so as not to cause breakdown of the plastic. As far as I know there is nothing to worry much about - we used an old coffee can to scoop a little out of the bucket and dusted our hands off after and then washing our hands at the house. Never remember any type of skin irritation from that amount of exposure. Hope someone else here has more specific details for you...

-- Kristi (securx@succeed.net), June 30, 1999.

I believe the term is 'anhydrous' lime which means it is lime which has been heated and this changes the chemical quality so that it is more caustic (like lye). It will not harm plastic, but will 'burn' flesh even your throat or lungs if you breath the dust from it. The 'burn' is really a chemical harm done to the skin similar to a strong acid ('only different').

You will want to use this in a ventilated area when applying it to feces. I would keep urine seperate and use it diluted 10 to 1 with water for fertilizer. Another thing that this type of lime does is neutralize the Ph of the waste so that it can be decomposed faster by microbes.

One could make one's own anhydrous lime by taking regular garden lime and baking it hot in a wood fire outside. Sprinkle a bit on the wood as it burns hot. Keep it up but keep the fire burning hot as well. This would mix the lime with wood ashes which contain potash (potasium) and some phosphorous as well. The result would be chemically similar in action to the packaged product but with more garden nutrients. I wouldn't do this in a metal pan as it would get eaten up pretty fast.

Both lye and anhydrous lime will eat aluminum very fast and will produce hydrogen gas if exposed to aluminum and water and alot of heat as a byproduct. Hydrogen is explosive and rises. We used to take aluminum foil and put it in a satiuarated lye water solution in an old soda bottle to fill balloons. Won't tell you what we used to do with them after that!

-- .-. (dit@dot.dash), June 30, 1999.

Mo take a short cut and drink the lime. Could cause a tummy ache but it's worth a try.


-- corrine l (corrine@iwaynet.net), June 30, 1999.

Where do I find this lime? One feed store didn't carry it, Home Depot had no idea.

-- Mumsie (Lotsakids@home.com), June 30, 1999.

Hydrated lime is slaked lime - fairly harmless. Quick lime is the raw reactive lime, newly made by heating chalk or other calcium carbonate - will absorb water (to make slaked lime) and generate a LOT of heat doing it - very dangerous. DON'T confuse them.

We used to just use the ashes from the wood stove - did about the same job and didn't cost anything. We used a standard galvanised steel container, covered in tar, and it didn't eat through that. Plastic should be fine, provided it is set up so it can't burst if you pick it up - that could get very messy.

-- Don Armstrong (darmst@yahoo.com.au), July 01, 1999.

like mumsie said....where do we get it?

-- zoobie (zoobiezoob@yahoo.com), July 01, 1999.

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