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Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.

Where to Buy Saltpeter or Potassium Nitrate

By March 3, 2014

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You used to be able to buy potassium nitrate as saltpeter in many garden supply stores. While it is difficult to find saltpeter, you can still purchase potassium nitrate, which is used to make smoke bombs and certain other fireworks, as 'stump remover'. In the United States, you can find it at Lowes or Home Depot, among other places. Look for the Spectracide brand in those stores near the insecticides. If you can't find potassium nitrate, you may be able to order it online, plus it's a chemical you can make it yourself.


July 1, 2009 at 9:00 am
(1) BigPoiDog says:

Where can I purchase sulfur at a reasonable price?

July 4, 2009 at 12:13 am
(2) Charles Ward says:

Garden supply is good for sulfur. So is http://www.skylighter.com. They supply a large range of pyrotechnic chemicals and so forth.

July 6, 2009 at 5:13 am
(3) Scott says:

Cool – but does anyone know where potassium nitrate can be purchased in Australia legally and relatively cheaply? BTW, enjoy the blog very much Anne-Marie, have heaps of ideas for the kids and have learnt a thing or two myself as well.

July 13, 2009 at 4:38 pm
(4) Beth says:

The product offered at Home Depot actually contains sodium pyrosulfate, has no potassium nitrate at all. Went to Lowes today and found the Spectracide Stump Remover which is 100% KNO3, according to MSDS published online.

July 18, 2009 at 5:33 am
(5) Adam says:

Hi guys,
I get all my Potassium Nitrate and rocket fuel chemicals from: http://www.hobbychemicalsdirect.page.tl
They are a UK only site, but sell high quality pyrotechnic goods at low prices.

September 23, 2009 at 10:21 am
(6) esita says:

is it safe to use in food if I buy it from Lowes and Home Depot? I am trying to make homemade corned beef.

August 2, 2011 at 2:44 am
(7) Michael House says:

I was looking for saltpeter to make corned beef. I tried to find it locally but no one knew what I was talking about. Investigating I found Just what I needed. It’s a Morton salt product called tender quick. Very fine salt (easier to dissolve) and the nitrates you need all in a pacage ready to use. I have looked at recipes for corned beef and most call for a wide range of spices. All you need is McCormick pickling spice. It has it all.

September 23, 2009 at 10:38 am
(8) chemistry says:

I really would not use it in food at all, but in any case, these product are not necessarily food-grade chemicals and shouldn’t be used as such.

January 3, 2010 at 11:53 am
(9) Thor says:

I can buy Sodium Nitrate in grocery stores where I live which produces similar results. It is also food-grade :)

March 1, 2010 at 9:15 pm
(10) koontz says:

great vids and thnaks for the info

March 24, 2010 at 6:38 pm
(11) Icabod says:

If you use stump remover insteed of saltpeter is more toxic?

June 29, 2011 at 7:58 am
(12) Anne says:

It shouldn’t be more toxic. However, it’s important to check the stump remover label to make sure it’s potassium nitrate since some stump removers use a different chemical.

June 30, 2011 at 11:18 pm
(13) Turtle says:

No kidding… This would have been helpful in your video! I bought a brand from Home Depot today and after cooking it and being overwhelmed got online and found out it contains pyrosulfate. I checked the label, and the idiotic company DIDN’T LIST THE INGREDIENTS! I unfortunately assumed it was because it was almost pure KNO3!

March 24, 2010 at 7:25 pm
(14) chemistry says:


I can’t really say. It depends on what impurities are in the saltpeter and what else might be in the stump remover. If they are pure potassium nitrate then they are pretty non-toxic.

July 26, 2010 at 6:17 pm
(15) Dark Knight says:

You can buy Sulfur,Potassium Nitrate and Chlorate from tulucechemicals.com

August 31, 2010 at 1:34 pm
(16) Mike says:

I live in the midwest USA and have not been able to find it anywhere. Tried hardware stores, nurseries, etc. I’m guessing you can’t get it easily as it can be used to make explosives. Grrr!

November 24, 2010 at 2:24 am
(17) Sulphur Powder says:

We have plenty of Sulphur, Charcoal and Potassium Nitrate. Perfect for Pyro

March 6, 2011 at 10:26 pm
(18) Ambrer says:

What type of potassium goes into food, and where can it be found in Louisiana???

June 29, 2011 at 8:24 am
(19) LanthanumK says:

Most potassium in food is not the result of potassium nitrate. Artificial sugars such as acesulfame potassium and salt substitutes such as potassium chloride are the most common potassium compounds in food.

July 22, 2011 at 11:30 pm
(20) TONY says:

can i get saltpeter in lowes in PA

October 12, 2011 at 1:37 pm
(21) ezmuny says:

You might try a pottery supply store, they use Potassium nitrate in some pottery making processes

January 14, 2012 at 3:52 pm
(22) Michelle says:

FYI, no Home Depots in my area (I’m an employee) carry Potassium Nitrate. We do not have any spectracide product with Potassium Nitrate. Also, the stum remover we currently carry uses a different agent.

February 13, 2012 at 12:11 pm
(23) james says:

where can i get Potassium nitrate cheep and legally in Peoria Illinois

February 26, 2012 at 4:01 pm
(24) Vashti says:

Am feeding 3 semi-ferral out-door cats and am looking for a way to curb the males new found love for the opposite sex. Salt peter is what they used to use in prison (don’t know if they still do – doubt it considering all the “love” stories you hear about from in there). Any other ideas would be appreciated. One of the ojects of the males amorous intentions is his very own sister. YIKES!

March 20, 2012 at 7:42 pm
(25) chefmike says:

Vashti your comment is wrong saltpeter has no effect on libido.That is an urban legend.It has been used in curing meats.You can also find it as an ingredient in toothpaste for sensitive teeth.It is harmless if used correctly.Please do some research before posting comments.Btw you will probably kill the cats instead of curbing their enthusiasm.

March 20, 2012 at 9:51 pm
(26) kyle says:

if your in Austrailia or New Zealand ‘The Home Depot’ is the American equivilant to Bunnings

May 16, 2012 at 9:08 am
(27) dhagash says:

where can i get potassium nitrate very cheap in india

June 12, 2012 at 10:30 pm
(28) CINDY says:

wow, chefmike you are hard! Vashti thinks saltpeter is a way to curb the libido and so did I. I have heard for years that this would curb sexual activity in males. So, how do you know any differently? I mean I will google it now, but I thought you were being kinda rude to Vashti.

Some of us are actually looking for a way to cure meats for prepping, like me. I am a prepper who wants to be prepared in case of a disaster.

June 23, 2012 at 9:40 am
(29) Brenda says:

You made my day! I am convinced I can make corned beef but did not realize it would be so difficult to find the saltpeter. My husband is on his way to the store :)

July 16, 2012 at 3:27 pm
(30) andrade says:

Any good brands that contain 100% Kno3 in Bay Area, California?

July 16, 2012 at 6:22 pm
(31) Josh says:

Where can I buy potassium nitrate in southwest georgia?

July 22, 2012 at 3:25 pm
(32) iwanttomakegpowder says:

Does anyone know where I can find these ingredients; Sulfur, and Potassium Nitrate? I’ve heard that you can obtain Potassium Nitrate in “Salt Peter”, which you can buy at a department store, (Home Depot, Lowes, etc…) and I have read that in some places it is available, however, is it available in San Diego, California?

Much Appreciated :D

July 22, 2012 at 3:27 pm
(33) Jacob says:

Does anyone know where I can find Sulfur and Potassium Nitrate in San Diego, CA?

August 12, 2012 at 11:54 am
(34) mamawrose says:

I make powdered incense from sawdust, herbs & oils. To make it self-incindiary I have used salt peter. I used to buy it at any drugstore, but have been unsuccessful in locating it for several years. Now It has to be sprinkled on a piece of charcoal in a censor…does not produce quite the desired effect. Any retailers in Kansas?

September 22, 2012 at 3:34 pm
(35) Chris says:

Saltpeter is available at bulk grocery stores operated by Amish and Mennonites as it is still used as a meat preservative. Priced some the other day, $12.54/lb.

September 22, 2012 at 6:46 pm
(36) mensch1970 says:

Saltpeter” is just the archaic name for potassium nitrate just like “quicksilver” is for mercury or “oil of vitriol” is for sulfuric acid. It is exactly the same thing as potassium nitrate”:KNO3.

September 23, 2012 at 3:40 pm
(37) Kim says:

Anyone know a source of supply in Bogota, Colombia?

October 25, 2012 at 4:17 pm
(38) iWaNtYoUrMoM says:

check your local harware store truevalue bomgars ect….

October 30, 2012 at 7:19 am
(39) mimikashiez says:

i want make a smoke bomb……but….where to buy kno 3…at hardwere or garden shop??

November 14, 2012 at 7:52 pm
(40) henn64 says:
January 2, 2013 at 10:03 am
(41) Leslie says:

I am from Saint John, New Brunswick and would love to be able to purchase Saltpeter, I use to be able to get it at the drugstore but they no longer sell it and I can’t order it. Does anyone know where or how I might be able to purchase or order this.

February 26, 2013 at 4:46 pm
(42) Daniel says:

Where can I buy Potassium Nitrate for metal bluing, such as shot gun and rifle barrels??

March 16, 2013 at 6:02 am
(43) Aunt Bee says:

I recently purchased food grade salt petre in an Amish bulk food store, because I am gathering ingredients to make homemade bologna. Do a search for or store, if they are to far away from you some are now online.

March 26, 2013 at 5:38 am
(44) shane says:

you can do what I did. Go buy an Amazon gift card and order it from Amazon

May 20, 2013 at 3:12 pm
(45) Ibsmokidy says:

FYI I find it much easier to buy instant cold packs they
Are more affordable and easy to come by

May 21, 2013 at 7:33 pm
(46) Linda says:

We have a male dog and two female dogs. the girls have been fixed but not him
The boy just will not leave one of the girls alone what can I do and would saltpeter help. The girl is worn out from him after her.

July 17, 2013 at 10:03 pm
(47) hamfisted says:

Linda, that is an urban legend. Saltpeter has zero effect on libido. Please get your dog fixed.

August 11, 2013 at 4:50 pm
(48) Arnel says:

Where can I buy Potassium Nitrate in Ontario, Canada; specifically in Toronto?

March 24, 2014 at 3:39 pm
(49) Mike says:

Hamfisted, Please mind your own dogs and let Linda do as she pleases with hers.

April 12, 2014 at 4:07 pm
(50) Jerry says:

Hobby chemical supply has everything you need.

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