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Learn All About Potash


An underground salt used to help feed the world.

What is Potash?

Potash is a potassium-rich salt that is mined from underground deposits. Potash plays a central role in helping feed the world’s growing population. Approximately 95 percent of world potash production is used as fertilizer, the rest is used in a variety of chemical and manufactured products. 

  • In ancient times, ashes were collected from burned hardwoods, put into a pot with water (hence the name “Pot-Ash”), and then leached to produce lye. At this point, the lye solution was a basic phase of potash and could be used to manufacture products such as soap.

Where to Find Potash

Uses for Potash

Fertilizer Potash’s key element, potassium, makes potash a key fertilizer to boost crop yields and improve plant quality. Potassium protects plants from extreme temperatures. It helps plants fight stress and disease and deter weeds and insects. Potassium stops wilting, strengthens roots and stems, and assists in transferring food. It activates plant enzymes to ensure plants use water efficiently. Higher levels of potassium in the soil help crops withstand stressful conditions.
Animal Feed & Human Food Potash is added as a supplement to boost the amount of nutrients in animal feed. It is also known to increase milk production. The food industry uses potash (potassium carbonate) as a general-purpose additive. In most instances, it is added as a source of food seasoning. Potash is also used in brewing beer.
De-icing Compounds Potash is a major ingredient in de-icing products that clear snow and ice from surfaces, such as roads and building entrances. While other chemicals are available for this same purpose, de-icers made with potash have an advantage by also offering a fertilizing value for grass and other vegetation near treated surfaces.
Glass In glass manufacturing, potash is used as a flux, lowering the temperature at which a mixture melts. Because potash confers excellent clarity to glass, it is commonly used in eyeglasses, glassware, televisions, and computer monitors.
Soap Products Potash is a precursor to many ‘potassium soaps,’ which are softer and less common than sodium hydroxide-derived soaps. Potassium soaps have greater solubility, requiring less water to liquefy versus sodium soaps. Caustic potash is also used to manufacture detergents and dyes.
Water Treatment Potash (potassium chloride) is used as an environmentally-friendly method of treating hard water. It reduces the total amount of discharged chlorides in sewage or septic systems more efficiently than other alternatives.

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