What are the uses of kaolin

kaolinKaolin - it is also known as white clay or pipe earth - is a natural, purified aluminum silicate that is available as a white to gray-white powder. It is practically insoluble in water. Kaolin has adsorbing, cleaning and astringent properties. It is used, among other things, as a pharmaceutical excipient, for cosmetics and personal care products, against indigestion, diarrhea and for poultices. Pipe earth is an effective means of removing grease and oil stains from various materials.

synonym: Kaolinum ponderosumPhEur, kaolin, Bolus alba, pipe earth, china clay, E 559


Kaolin (white clay) is available in pharmacies and drugstores as a pure substance in technical quality and in pharmacopoeia quality. It is also contained in some medicinal products (e.g. Bolus alba comp. Powder from Wala®), in many cosmetics and in personal care products.

Structure and properties

White clay (PhEur) is a natural, purified, odorless, water-containing aluminum silicate of various compositions (H.2Al2Si2O8 · H2O). It comes as a white to gray-white, fine, greasy-to-feel powder and is practically insoluble in water and organic solvents. Mixed with a little water, the result is a malleable mass. This definition relates to the quality of the pharmacopoeia. Technical qualities can have different properties.


Kaolin has adsorbing, cleaning and astringent properties.

Areas of application (selection)

External application areas:

  • Clay compresses, e.g. for muscle and joint pain.
  • For cosmetic applications, e.g. for powders and masks.

Internal areas of application:

  • Like activated charcoal as an old home remedy for complaints in the digestive tract, e.g. for diarrhea (ready-made medicinal products).

As a pharmaceutical excipient:

  • For example, for the manufacture of tablets.

To remove grease stains:

  • Pipe earth is a tried and tested means for removing grease stains from a wide variety of materials (e.g. textiles, stone slabs). It is sprinkled on the stains and left to act. The clay is then removed, for example by tapping or with a vacuum cleaner. The exposure time depends on the material.

There are also numerous technical applications. Kaolin is used, among other things, for paper and porcelain production.


Kaolin can bind active pharmaceutical ingredients and thus reduce their absorption into the body, which can lead to a reduction in or loss of effectiveness. Kaolin should therefore be taken at least two hours apart.

  • Pharmaceutical product information (CH, D, USA)
  • European Pharmacopoeia PhEur
  • Pharmaceutical technology manuals
  • Product catalogs
  • swell
  • Safety data sheet

Conflicts of Interest: None / Independent. The author has no relationships with the manufacturers and is not involved in the sale of the products mentioned.

additional Information
Support PharmaWiki with a donation!

© PharmaWiki 2007-2021 - PharmaWiki provides independent and reliable information about medication and health.
This article was last changed on 9/6/2020.
Imprint and data protection declaration
Show products for this page