How To Make Chloroform For Survival

You’ve likely watched many movies where chloroform is used to knock people out in order to kidnap them or disable them for some other reason.

It’s definitely good for that, but subversive maneuvers isn’t what it was originally made for. Originally it was used as an anesthetic to knock people out for surgery.

Sounds like a handy thing to have in your supplies, right? The problem is that you can’t just walk into your local superstore and pick up a gallon of it from the shelf beside the milk. You can, however, make your own.

Chloroform, whether pharmaceutical grade or homemade, is lethal in the wrong hands. Don’t use it without training!

That being said, if you have a medically-trained person in your group, knowing how to make it can come in handy in a variety of ways. You can use it to anesthetize people for surgical procedures,  or to operate on animals for procedures such as castration. It’s also used in pesticides, disinfectants, dry cleaning solutions, photography development and refrigerators.

This is the Best Natural Painkiller, and Grows in Your Backyard!

So, how can you make chloroform at home? Actually, it’s not that difficult – it involves two common household items – but it is a bit dangerous for both the patient and anybody within several feet of it.

There are actually a few different ways to make it, but keep in mind that this can very well kill the patient you are trying to save. Yes, I’ve already said that, but it bears repeating. Now, on to it.

Gather Your Ingredients

You know all those warnings you’ve heard about mixing your cleaning products? Well there’s a good reason for them. When combined, certain chemicals such as bleach create toxic fumes such as chloroform (yes, I said TOXIC), hydrochloric acid, chloroacetone and other things you really don’t want to breathe.

Since we’re actually trying to make one of those chemicals, let’s proceed with it. Household bleach is your first ingredient. It needs to be at least 6 percent without any added ingredients. If you use a higher concentration, you’re going to need more ice, which I’ll explain in a second.

Imagini pentru chloroform

The second ingredient is used by most women for cosmetic purposes and by many men (and women) to shine their rides with an awesome paint job. Acetone, also known as finger nail polish remover or paint reducer. Be careful to read labels though, because these products aren’t always pure acetone, or even acetone at all. You can buy acetone in the cosmetics section of your local superstore and you can also buy it at most paint stores where it will probably be labeled simply as acetone.

The final ingredient is one that’s really tricky. You’ll actually have to walk all your way to the freezer for it. It’s ice.

So to recap, the ingredients you will need are: household bleach, acetone, ice.

Gather Your Equipment

  • You’re going to need a large glass container. HDPE buckets will work because the reagents won’t attack it, but you won’t be able to see the chloroform forming as well.
  • A separation funnel will be needed to separate the chloroform from the other ingredients. You can do it with other tools such as an eye dropper, but that’s a long row to hoe. You can get a separation funnel online for about $25.
  • A gas mask is highly recommended because of the risk of inhaling the fumes. You should make the chloroform in a well-ventilated area even if you’re using the mask. The vapors alone can make you nauseated, give you a headache or even make you pass out.
  • A stir stick will be necessary. Glass is, of course, the best tool for this job.

Make the Chloroform

I feel the need to warn you again to be careful. This isn’t something you should use as a family science experiment. If you’re ready to move ahead, gather your ingredients and equipment together in a well-ventilated area.

It’s best to start with the bleach and acetone chilled even if you’re using ice because the reaction will cause the mixture to heat up by at least 85 degrees. The higher concentrate bleach you use, the hotter it gets. The ratio for making chloroform needs to be 1 part acetone to 50 parts bleach. That’s 1 teaspoon of acetone per cup of bleach.

  • Place the bleach in the container, then add several ice cubes. Add the acetone and stir the mixture, or swirl it around if you’re using a vessel that allows you to do that without sloshing it out. If you’re using a high concentrate of bleach, i.e. 12 percent, add more ice.
  • Leave the mixture alone for 30 minutes to an hour so that the chemical reaction can develop and the mixture can cool. First you’ll notice a white cloud of vapor coming from the solution and the solution itself will become cloudy. You don’t want to breathe this! You’ll also be able to see a white residue, powder, or bubble forming on the bottom. That’s the chloroform.
  • After the hour is up and the mixture is cool, gently pour most of the liquid off the top. Be careful to leave the chloroform on the bottom.
  • Once you’ve gotten most of the liquid out, transfer the rest to your separation funnel. Let it settle, then drain the chloroform out, leaving behind the water.

You’ll yield around 50-70 percent of your starting material volume in chloroform.

At this point, the chloroform is created but if you’re going to use it on people, or animals for that matter, it needs to be distilled in order to purify it. Obviously, you’ll need a distiller for that.

Other Ingredients to Combine

If you have a copper still (and who doesn’t?) laying around, this is the way to distill your chloroform into liquid. You can use the ingredients listed above or you can use 4 parts of bleaching powder (32.5-34.5 percent), 3 parts 96% alcohol, and 13 parts water.

The actual distillation process for this is lengthy and requires several different steps. It’s not particularly viable for the average person, but I wanted to make you aware of it.

Because chloroform, either pharmaceutical grade or homemade, is thought to be carcinogenic, is dangerous to use and make, and doesn’t have much of a shelf life, it may not be your best option for use in a survival situation. Topical analgesics or oral pain meds may be the better option. Shoot, even doing it like they did in the Wild West is a better option – take a shot of liquor til you feel no pain.

Seriously, chloroform is nothing to fool around with. If you want to make it at home, now you know how but do so with care. Your life, or the life of the person you administer it to, will depend upon it.

Being skilled is the only asset that you can really count on if things are going South. Be prepared and train your medical skills to face disaster!

Written by

Theresa Crouse is a full-time writer currently living in central Florida. She was born and raised in the hills of West Virginia, where she learned to farm, hunt, fish, and live off the land from an early age. She prefers to live off the grid as much as possible and does her best to follow the “leave nothing behind but footprints” philosophy. For fun, she enjoys shooting, kayaking, tinkering on her car and motorcycle, and just about anything else that involves water, going fast, or the outdoors.

Latest comments
  • Thats real nice of you not to say EXACTLY how much bleach to use or EXACTLY how much acetone to use. Use several ice cubes? the last time i checked ice cubes come in different sizes. ooo ya you can use a still but we arn’t going to tell you exactly how to do that either. Did you get your recipe from the worthless “anarchist cookbook”? lol Maybe next time you can give out the recipe to make nitroglycerin.

    • If you read the article it clearly states 50 parts bleach and 1 part acetone.

      • I swear that wasnt there when I read it this morning. Sorry for my comments.I will pay more attention in the future. If you can could you explain the still part to me then?

        • I think the ice is not necessary, used to cool the reactants, really you could put the ice on the outside of the container

          • Personally, I will prefreeze the acetone into cubes and add it to the bleach allowing it to slowly add itself to the mixture.

    • why dont u learn how to read the whole article!!!!!

  • I recall many years ago when I was a cadet at a US military academy that one of my classmates made chloroform in the barracks which was used on an upper-classman to abduct him for a prank. After the chloroform was administered he was tied to his bed, taken to the quadrangle, and showered with ice water to await the morning formation. The guy never knew what hit him until he woke up in the quadrangle. Now days that would probably get a person expelled, but then it was just considered a funny and harmless prank. It had to be easy to make, seeing as we didn’t have access to much in the way of equipment or supplies in the barracks and it was all done secretly at night after taps.

    • Many year ago one could purchase chloroform at a drug store. That is likely the source of the chloroform used in you prank.

  • Hi bookworm. I read this in the article. Looks like maybe it was updated. That’s 1 teaspoon of acetone per cup of bleach.

  • A much better/easier/safer temporary surgical knock out is nitrous oxide (laughing gas). Used for dental extractions. Infuse into an oxygen feed. Easy to obtain through cake decorating suppliers or Amazon.

  • What is the “Cloudy” vapor/ stuff and the discarded liquid(water?). What nasty impurities are there that need to be distilled out? Assuming there is electricity to make ice cubes probably take them to the Hospital, unless we would be using a solar or gas generator…? Interesting skill set

  • Does Theresa Crouse have a book or other publication that I could buy…???
    It would be handy to have something in one book that could explain how to make soap, antibiotics, aspirin, alcohol, vinegar, or how to find necessary things like salt in a crisis. There are so many things essential for life that our ancestors knew how to obtain that we now take for granted. Our entire way of life is based on a system that runs like a watch. Just think of how fast the grocery stores would empty out in a crisis? Fuel would disappear overnight. It’s is both mind boggling and troubling to think about.

    • vinegar is really easy to make: leave wine to spoil to get wine vinegar. Ordinary vinegar: cut some apples into slices, add a bit of sugar/honey/possibly even mollases or maple syrup. Put apples & your preffered source of sugar into a plastic container, put a lid on an place in a warm spot (house, greenhouse, outside on the sun everyday) for 14 days. After that pour preheated lukewarm water on the stuff, so apples swim on top. Store in a cool place (cellar etc) for a month. A microbial mat, we call ‘mama’ (mother) will form on top, this is the bug colony that makes acetic acid – vinegar and you can reuse it with fresh apples to make a new batch of vineagar faster. A natural antibiotic is contained in thyme (Thymus spp.) and in bee propolis. The precursor to aspirin is willow bark, but it has compounds that upset the stomac. Soap is a bit tricky but basically one can make it from any natural oil or fat whan cooked with wood ash. I know the theory but hadn’t had the time to try it yet. Acetone&methyl alcohol – are byproducts in making schnaps, I assume moonshine too, and are part of the ‘heads’,. but I have no idea how to separate them out. Can be infused with chillis to make mace/bear spray – please be careful, this stuff is nasty. Hope this inspires creativity and helps you to survive.

  • Is There anyway I can buy chloroform instead of making it?

    • Amazon has a ton of it, most of it reasonably priced.

    • Is there a way to buy this instead of making this on your own?

  • Would be nice to see a video of this stuff being distilled. I understand its similar to distilling alcohol, but it would be nice to see this stuff to the refined end.

    • I think alcohol is better for you. Doesn’t make phosgene gas when it ages or is explosed to sunlight, correct me if im wrong

  • SSounds like date nights not gonna be the same across America anymore…..

  • well this is useful thanks!!

  • When I was in school and had to do a bug collection, we could buy it at the drug store. We would collect bugs ,put them in a jar and use a cotton ball with a little chloroform to kill the bugs. Never had any problems and when we were through we would make our collection and throw the rest of the chloroform away because our parents would not let us keep it and the teachers told them that

  • Doesn’t chloroform take much longer to knock someone out than what is portrayed in the movies? I seem to remember from chemistry class that it takes 5 minutes or more to actually knock someone out. It is obviously good for the intended use for minor surgery or I guess emergency major surgery if things have gone really wrong but it is my understanding that the whole Hollywood put the rag on the person’s face and it knocks them out right away is grossly overstated.

    • Yes, chloroform takes way longer than in all pf the films, where they just sniff on it a little bit and they are knocked out. It takes about 30-300 seconds, depending on how fast your „victim“ is breathing and the size of their body.

  • I am working on a novel. The village where the novel is set is set in modern times. Still, the village has been isolated for 150 years. Think Gilligan’s Island and Professor. If it can’t be made from what is on the island, Appalachia, they cannot have it. If it did not exist 150 years ago, they don’t know what it is.

    Now, the village is under threat from outsiders. They want to remove the outsiders without harming them. They notice their tent is over a cave entrance. They decide to knock them out, take the firing pins from their guns, escape back into the cave and disappear.

    One idea for use is Chloroform. How would they make it? If smoke from the process were to filter into the tent, would it knock out the occupants without hurting them? How much would they have to make? Is this idea feasible in theory?

    • Just a thought but if modern people invaded a village that was 150 years lacking in the technology aspect, there would be literally nothing that the villagers could do to peacefully stop the modern onslaught. Villagers could take out ehe first explorers with lethal means but there is no way in hell they would be able to stop modern people peacefully if the modern people were hell bent on getting to the past people.

      How would the people in the past have bleach or acetone anyways. just seems kind of far stretched. A feaseable idea would be to grab a bufoalaveris toad (only in the southwest united states) and ‘milk it’ for its ‘venom’ which is about 75-80% 5-meo-Dmt. heating that stuff and filling a tent full of it would quite possibly keep the modern people from coming back. Dmt is pretty much a wonderdrug, but 5-meo-dmt is 5-10x as potent and will show you the evil side of literally everything. From your keyboard to your pencils. you just get this weird feeling that you know is real. and that feeling is evil as hell.

      just my 2 cents from personal experiences

      • this is probably too late for your novel, but what about a type of plant that grows on the island that when burned produces a similar effect to ‘knock it has’? like something in the smoke.. other plants when burned has an effect like tobacco and marijuana, i don’t know if any plants in real life that would produce it however you could strength the science enough i would think

    • how about ether instead… ether had been used for many years before chloroform, and you can make with proper period materials and knowledge:ethanol + sulphuric acid… so if villagers have a moonshine tradition + plus any volcanic activity on or near the island..voila!

  • What does 50 parts bleach mean?
    And can I use this on people?

    • if you dont konw what a ratio is. then you need to just get off this website and take a math class.

  • Personally I enjoyed reading this and I found it very helpful to myself since I did not understand how to make cloroform or even what it was made with. Thanks for taking your time on creating this!!

  • Is there any way to purify the chloroform? I don’t have copper still(?)…

    • You can use a copper tea pot to make a still. Lots of instruction out there on the web. I bought a 2 quart teapot at the thrift for less than $5US.

  • how much acetone need for 500 g bleach,,???

  • Was I haven’t been certain on is after the reaction can I have the mask off or it’s used throughout the experiment till distillation

  • Hello Thanks for this helpful article. What I intend to do is use the chloroform for anaesthetizing opossums prior to killing ’em. I have an opossum problem and in my part of the country they are considered invasive, and it’s illegal to transport or to shoot firearms in the city. I was planning to mix the acetone and bleach together in a large plastic bucket and then lower a live trap down into it – the live trap would hover over top of the liquid (suspend this on a couple of those blue plastic ice packs) so that the gases would hopefully anaesthetize the animal and render it unconscious. I’m trying to do the killing as humanely as I can. I figure if they’re anaesthetized and unconscious it’ll go a lot easier on ’em. Does this sound like a workable plan? I’m hoping the chloroform gases would hover around the bottom of the bucket, just above the liquids. Let me know if any of this sounds like it wouldn’t work. Thanks,

    • Thats awful. Opossums keep snakes, rats and mice away. They are beneficial in many ways where I live. They are wonderful mothers letting their babies ride on their back until almost full grown. Getting rid of rats or coyotes your way is reasonable. Just my opinion, though.

    • Oh it will work all right. Phosgene will kill it for ya. This was used in WWI look it up
      If this recipe isn’t distilled then it creates a phosgene gas. Toxic stuff. So NEVER EVER EVER play around with this idea unless you know exactly what you are doing.

    • Possums eat ticks. In fact possums eat more ticks than anything known to us so far. Ticks carry Lyme disease which is becoming epidemic nationwide. Just food for thought.

    • How about a magnum pellet rifle? They kill deer with these rifles.

  • Just wondering …would it make a difference between going by or using by Volume or By Weight measures.
    FYI anyone in he US can LEGALLY home brew beer and wine

    They can also Distill make their own Whiskey! LEGALLY AFTER Fling out proper forms.

    One can do a search on how to home brew and many different recipes buy kits and they can legally buy and on a still.

    I am not familiar with the legalities of making your on whiskey I have HEARD that one can distill 5 gallons for personal
    use a year,,,,,, HOWSOEVER that MIGHT OR MIGHT NOT be true.

    BUT you can legally own a still and use it to make Essential Oils for example…
    You can even buy a still online.


    That being said Having a still and the KNOWLEDGE to make Scotch or Irish or Bourbon or Moonshine
    or whatever…….and having access to need grain and other ingredients Would definitely be a useful skill
    IF/WHEN the so called Balloon goes up and it is TEOTWAWK happens.

  • 50 to 1 sounds good, but it is not EXACTLY 1 cup to 1 teaspoon. 1 cup contains 48 teaspoons. Close enough? Depends.

  • I want to knock my dog out so I can trim her nails. Will the undistilled product work and not hurt her?


  • OMG.. I am watching a series on Casey Anthony where her mother says she was looking for chlorophyll online and got chloroform instead..
    Yeah, right….this article made it clear Casey could have made chloroform and used it to help murder her child. It was informative and scary at the same time.

  • Can this be used to knock out a dog without being distilled? I really have to trim her rename and she absolutely refuses! It’s a st Bernard so she rules in this case.

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