How to Make Chloroform

Ask me how to make chloroform and my first reply would be “Why?” Do you realize how dangerous it is to manufacture this chemical? Allow me a brief history of chloroform. As with many things we have today, the internet for example, chloroform was discovered and intended for usage by military doctors as an anesthetic on the battlefield. The Mexican-American War (1846-1848) was the initial full utilization of the drug, along with ether. By the American Civil War battlefield amputations became epidemic and doctors needed a quick reacting anesthetic to render soldiers unconscious in order to survive the assembly line procedures of leg and arm amputations. Chloroform was preferred over ether because it was faster acting and was not flammable. Still want to know how to make chloroform?

Dangers of how to make chloroform

We’ll get to how to make chloroform, but I’m not done trying to discourage you from the attempt. Chloroform is a dangerous chemical capable of irritating the eyes, skin and respiratory system, as well as potentially damaging the nervous system, lungs, kidneys and other organs. The chemical is easily absorbed into the body through the skin or through inhalation and is a known carcinogenic which causes cancer.

Not worried? There is also the possibility of a person dying from what is known as “sudden sniffer death” which is a fatal cardiac arrhythmia some people may suffer upon exposure. It’s like being allergic to a bee sting, but not knowing it until you are stung. Same principle, but your chances of dying from the bee sting, especially if medical aid is close, is quite good. Not so much from an allergic reaction to chloroform.

You learned how to make chloroform, now what do you do with it? Chloroform exposed to oxygen (air) over an extended period of time will degrade and produce additional chemicals, Phosgene being one of those. Phosgene was a chemical created and used in WWI to kill 85% of all soldiers killed by poisonous gas attacks. Store chloroform improperly and you’re exposing yourself and others to sure death.

How to Make Chloroform:

There are of course legitimate reasons for needing to know how to make chloroform, especially in a crisis survival situation. People will suffer injuries, unfortunately some of these injuries will be severe, life threatening and will require surgery. Most likely you are not a doctor, but someone in your group may be, and in order to perform surgery the patient must be rendered unconscious. Here is where your expertise comes into play because you know how to make chloroform.

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Ingredients / Chemicals Required:

  1. Bleach … 6% solution, any higher concentration affects the entire formula configuration.

  2. Acetone … aka nail polish remover or paint reducer. Verify the product you buy is actually acetone and not an acetone supplement. I’d suggest going to a professional paint supply store to purchase acetone as the people working there are professionals. However, you can buy it at cosmetic counters and big box home supply stores.

  3. Ice … have plenty on hand as you don’t want to run short while preparing the mixture.


Equipment Required:

  1. Large Glass container… It must be glass. Plastic, metal or any other substance will be degraded by the chemical reaction and ruin the product. HDPE buckets have been recommended by some experts, but it impairs the visibility of the chemical reactions, a dangerous situation. Use glass.

  2. A separation funnel is highly recommended in order to separate the chloroform from the other ingredients. You can substitute an eye dropper, but it’ll take forever. You can purchase a funnel on line for @$25.

  3. A stir stick … glass only.

  4. I consider a gas mask as mandatory, as well as chemical resistant gloves. You must perform the mixing in a well ventilated area, because the risk of inhaling vapors alone can make you nauseated, give you headaches and cause you to lose consciousness.

Procedure for how to make chloroform:

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It’s best to start the procedure with the bleach and acetone chilled in addition to using ice because the ensuing chemical reaction will heat the mixture to at least 85 degrees F. (29.44C). The higher concentration of bleach, which is why 6% is called for, the hotter it will become. It’s important to keep the mixture at a low temperature.

** The ratio for making chloroform is 1 part acetone to 50 parts bleach.**

  1. Pour 16 ounces (½ liter) of bleach into the glass container, which is clear and has no residues in it. Add a few ice cubes to maintain the low temperature.

  2. Slowly pour 1/3 ounce (10ml) of acetone into the mixture while stirring with the glass stirrer stick. The temperature will rise to @86F (30C) as the chemical reaction begins. Beware that using bleach in greater concentrates than 6% (8.25% or 10%) could create a very hazardous condition of the possibility of the chloroform boiling over. Additionally the glass container could become too hot to handle with bare hands.

  3. Allow the mixture to complete its chemical reaction, 20 to 30 minutes is usually sufficient. You will able to see the chemical reaction occurring as fumes will rise in the glass container and the temperature of the glass container will elevate to the point it’ll be very uncomfortable to touch the container with the bare skin. Additionally you’ll notice a white cloud of vapor hovering above the solution and the solution itself will become cloudy. Do not breathe the vapor.

  4. Allow the mixture to cool and separate for an hour. You should now see a small, separate blob of dense liquid, bubble or white powder at the bottom of the glass container. That’s the chloroform. Remove the larger quantity of liquid above the liquid blob, which is the chloroform, either by decanter or using an eye dropper or similar suction devise. If you have wisely bought the separating funnel, use this to perform this function.


These are the steps required for how to make chloroform, however, this is a very crude form of the product and not intended for use on humans. In order to achieve that status the chloroform must be distilled and for that, with no humor intended, you’ll need a moonshiner type distillery or a chemist lab.

I performed quite a bit of research on how to distill the chloroform in order to make it safer, because I feel like I’ve lead you to the edge of a cliff with no instructions of how to descend it. However, the methods, equations and specialized equipment required were beyond my comprehension, and I will not cut and paste information that I have no idea if its correct or not. My goal is to teach … not maim.


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This cut & paste example is for illustration purpose only.

Reacts slowly with oxygen or oxidising agents, when exposed to air and light, giving, mainly, phosgene, Cl2 and HCl. Commercial Chloroform (CAS NO. 67-46-3) is usually stabilized by addn of up to 1% EtOH or of dimethylaminoazobenzne. Simplest purifications involve washing with water to remove the EtOH, drying with K2CO3 or CaCl2, refluxing with P2O5, CaCl2, CaSO4 or Na2SO4, and distilling. It must not be dried with sodium. The distd CHCl3 should be stored in the dark to avoid photochemical formation of phosgene. As an alternative purification, CHCl3 can be shaken with several small portions of conc H2SO4, washed thoroughly with water, and dried with CaCl2 or K2CO3 before filtering and distilling. EtOH can be removed from CHCl3 by passage through a column of activated alumina, or through a column of silica gel 4-ft long by 1.75-in diameter at a flow rate of 3mL/min. (The column, which can hold about 8% of its weight of EtOH, is regenerated by air drying and then heating at 600 °C for 6h. It is pre-purified by washing with CHCl3, then EtOH, leaving in conc H2SO4 for about 8hr, washing with water until the washings are neutral, then air drying, followed by activation at 600 °C for 6h. Just before use it is reheated for 2h to 154 °C.)

Carbonyl-containing impurities can be removed from CHCl3 by percolation through a Celite column impregnated with 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazine, phosphoric acid and water. (Prepared by dissolving 0.5g DNPH in 6mL of 85% H3PO4 by grinding together, then mixing with 4mL of distilled water and 10g of Celite). Chloroform can be dried by distn from powdered type 4A Linde molecular sieves. For use as a solvent in IR spectroscopy, Chloroform is washed with water (to remove EtOH), then dried for several hours over anhydrous CaCl2 and fractionally distd. This treatment removes material absorbing near 1600 cm-1. (Percolation through activated alumina increases this absorbing impurity). Rapid purification: Pass through a column of basic alumina (Grade I, 10g/mL of CHCl3), and either dry by standing over 4A molecular sieves, or alternatively, distil from P2O5 (3% w/v). Use immediately.

I know I said I wouldn’t cut & paste, but there are always the doubters, me sometimes, and I wanted to remove all doubt that what I was telling you was the truth. If you can understand the above instructions … you don’t need to ask me how to make chloroform.

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