Sodium oxalate

Sodium oxalate
Disodium oxalate
CAS number 62-76-0 YesY
PubChem 6125
RTECS number K11750000
Molecular formula Na2C2O4
Molar mass 134.00 g mol−1
Density 2.34 g cm−3
Solubility in water 3.7 g/100 mL (20 °C)
6.25 g/100 mL (100 °C)
Solubility insoluble in alcohol
EU classification Harmful Xn
NFPA 704
NFPA 704.svg
 N (verify) (what is: YesY/N?)
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Infobox references

Disodium oxalate, often called simply sodium oxalate, is a sodium salt of oxalic acid with the molecular formula Na2C2O4. It is usually a white, crystalline, odorless powder, that decomposes at 250–270 °C.

Disodium oxalate can act as a reducing agent, and it may be used as a primary standard for standardizing potassium permanganate (KMnO4) solutions.

The mineral form of sodium oxalate is natroxalate. It is only very rarely found and restricted to extremely sodic conditions of ultra-alkaline pegmatites.[1]



Sodium oxalate can be prepared through the neutralization of oxalic acid with NaOH in a 1:2 acid-to-base molar ratio. Half-neutralization can be accomplished with NaOH in a 1:1 ratio which produces NaHC2O4, monobasic sodium oxalate or sodium hydrogenoxalate.


Sodium oxalate is used to standardize potassium permanganate solutions. It is desirable that the temperature of the titration mixture is greater than 60 °C to ensure that all the permanganate added reacts quickly. The kinetics of the reaction is complex, and the manganate(II) ions formed catalyze the further reaction between permanganate and oxalic acid (formed in situ by the addition of excess sulfuric acid). The final equation is as follows:[2]

5H2C2O4 + 2KMnO4 + 3H2SO4 → K2SO4 + 2MnSO4 + 10CO2 + 8H2O

Biological activity

Like several other oxalates, sodium oxalate is toxic to humans. It can cause burning pain in the mouth, throat and stomach, bloody vomiting, headache, muscle cramps, cramps and convulsions, drop in blood pressure, heart failure, shock, coma, and possible death. Mean lethal dose by ingestion of oxalates is 10-15 grams (per MSDS).

Sodium oxalate, like citrates, can also be used to remove calcium ions (Ca2+) from blood plasma. It also prevents blood from clotting. Note that by removing calcium ions from the blood, sodium oxalate can impair brain function, and deposit calcium oxalate in the kidneys.


  1. ^ Handbook of Mineralogy
  2. ^ Mcbride, R. S. (1912). "The standardization of potassium permanganate solution by sodium oxalate". J. Am. Chem. Soc. 34: 393. doi:10.1021/ja02205a009. 

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