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What is Iodoform? Characteristics and Uses

Apr 24, 2023


The formula for Iodoform is CHI3. It is biotic iodine and a trigonal angular molecule. CHI3 is a yellow solid. It is insoluble in water and is responsive to stimulation in oxidizing equations. Because of their antibacterial characteristics and contemporary management, small quantities of iodoform might be identified in antiseptics, and it is most generally utilized for animal treatments. It is also used in toothpaste and endodontic treatments, and the things used for this treatment together with various drug medicines because of their decontamination.

History of Iodoform

From the start of the twentieth century, CHI3 has generally been used as a medicinal and hygiene dressing or talc for injuries and inflammation. Anyhow, such medicinal usage up to this date is little. In triglycerides, CHI3 is soluble and dissolves the delivered CHI3 in a developing stage (96,7% of iodine) related to emissions or dental diseases.


George Simon Serullas initially determined the mixture of iodine in 1822. The mixture demonstration was because of the vapour reaction in iodine with fumes above fiery coals and the reaction of potassium with firewater iodine.

The mixture of iodoform can be made by esterifying water-like liquids consisting of sodium carbonate, chemical iodide, and acetone. Many testing agents turn iodoform into a thick liquid like methylene iodide-solution that does not have color when it is pure but is generally stained by the tincture of iodine– utilized as an extended means in the procedure of gravity separation.


The antiseptic features of iodoform were initially discovered in the year 1880. Hence it evolved as a piece of significant medical equipment. But, at present, it is interchanged with very efficient materials.

What is Iodoform?

Iodoform (CHI3) belongs to the organic halogen compound category. Triiodomethane is another name for Iodoform. It is a yellow-colored fluid.


Group 17 of the periodic table is made up of six metalloid elements that are known as halogens (fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine, astatine, and Tennessee). The Iodoform chemical formula is CHI3, an organic iodine compound. It is evaporative and has a pungent and peculiar odor. It is used as a disinfectant.

Did you know:

If you happen to breathe iodoform, it can cause irritation to your nose and throat. Moreover, exposure to high amounts of iodoform can affect the nervous system. It leads to the following symptoms:


●      Confusion

●      Irritability


●      Headache

●      Hallucinations


●      Poor muscle coordination

It is also known to cause skin allergy. Once the allergy develops, even low exposures can lead to itching and a skin rash.

Characteristics of Iodoform

A few of the Iodoform characteristics are defined below:

  • It is prepared by the esterification of a waterline liquid which consists of sodium carbonate, acetone, and chemical iodides.
  • Tri-iodomethane is another name for iodoform. The reason for another name is the existence of three molecules of iodine in a compound.
  • Iodine comes under the organic halogen family, a biotic iodine chemical. The chemical formula for Iodoform is CHI₃.
  • It is highly burnable.
  • It is a pale-yellow in color and fluid-like structure.
  • It is evaporative.
  • It has a flaring sense when applied to the wound.
  • The iodoform molecule is 393.73 g/mol.
  • Its melting point is 121 degrees Celsius.
  • It is a very pure solution, and 98% is the percentage of purity. Its percentage value is greater when compared to many other chemicals.
  • It is a non-aggressive chemical because it doesn’t give any irritations unless rubbed to open damages.

Uses of Iodoform

Iodoform is used for a large number of purposes.

  • It is more generally used in clinics.
  • It is utilized in bandaging wounds.
  • It is utilized like a disinfectant to serve small skin wounds.
  • It is used in different antiseptic materials.
  • Also, it is utilized in the manufacture of products that are used to polish the atomization films like LEDs and LCDs.
  • It holds disinfectant features; hence it is significant in medical treatments.
  • CHI3 is used as an antiseptic agent. In the twentieth century, it was used as a medicinal agent for fixing and bandaging damages and inflammation.
  • By using iodoform, decontamination of medical tools was performed. Iodophor is a significant thing to prepare the dog and cat talc. And also, it is an active substance in propanoic acid and zinc to get rid of diseases.
  • It is used to clear away the ear hair of pet animals.
  • The late-season bonnet consists of organic iodoform and shows its characteristic smell.
  • Often iodoform is not used as a disinfectant agent due to its side effects, and modern alternatives are presently available.

Chemical Structure of Iodoform

The formula for Iodoform is CHI3. It is biotic iodine and a trigonal angular molecule. CHI3 is a yellow solid not soluble in water and is responsive to stimulation in oxidant equations.

The structural formula indicates the atom’s positioning and the attractive force which keeps the atoms collectively. It acquires a trigonal angular molecule with four linkages in the particle of CHI3. One is the C-I bond, and the remaining are C-H bonds among the six. In the middle of the four atoms, which are placed at the edges of the tetrahedra, in the trigonal angular molecule, is a central atom.

The total bonds in CHI3 are four bonds. Out of the 4, three are non-H bonds. The two-dimensional atom arrangement figure of CHI3 is called the skeletal image, which is the citation form for complex molecules. In the iodoform’s skeletal image, carbon atoms are placed at the edges, and it doesn’t show that the hydrogen atoms are fixed to the carbon molecules. Every carbon particle is connected with hydrogen particles to bring the carbon molecules with the four bonds.

The 3-dimensional atom arrangement of CHI3 depends on the hindrance pattern, which presents the 3D atoms’ particles and the bonds among them. Hence, the radius of a ball is less when compared to the length of the rod to give a clear outlook of the bonds and particles in the basic pattern of CHI3.

Iodoform Reaction

The reaction of iodoform is a chain action at which methyl ketone is reacted to a carboxylic acid by reacting with liquid iodide and hydroxide and iodide. The iodoform reaction identifies the CH2CH2 (OH) alcoholic group by using the iodoform solution. There is an evolution of the pale yellow cast of CHI3 when you mix caustic soda and iodine into a mixture that consists of spirits and methyl ketone with the methyl radical in the alpha position. It is used to find a CH3CH=0 group.

Iodoform reactions are utilized to find the existence of Arsenic groups in alcohols. The resultant is the pale yellow cast of CHI3 when the iodoform reacts with the base with Ethyl Methyl Ketone.

An iodoform reaction is used to find the existence of CHI3 in the mixture.

Compounds That Give Positive Iodoform Test

The following four types of compounds give positive Iodoform results:

  • Acetaldehyde
  • Methyl ketones
  • Ethanol
  • Secondary alcohols containing methyl groups in the alpha position

Mechanism of Iodoform Test

The following steps occur in the iodoform test:

  • The hydroxide ion gets rid of the acidic alpha hydrogen. As a result, an enolate ion is formed.
  • This enolate anion then displaces an iodide ion from the iodine molecule.
  • The process repeats twice, and we get R-CO-CI3.
  • Next, a hydroxide ion forms a bond with the carbonyl carbon resulting in the reformation of the carbonyl group. The Cl3- anion is eliminated. An R-COOH group gets formed.
  • Finally, the carboxylic acid group and CI3– anion neutralize one another, and iodoform precipitates.

Iodoform can easily be identified by its color (pale yellow) and the characteristic “antiseptic” smell. Thus, the iodoform test helps identify methyl ketones or acetaldehyde in an unknown compound.


Studying the iodoform (CHI3) is a significant portion of chemistry. Iodoform is a solution with several daily usages. An understanding of CHI3 has massive educational and functional value. Complete knowledge of its structure and properties help find newer applications and favors further research.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is iodoform dangerous to human beings?

  • CHI3 will be able to harm you when inhaled and by penetrating your skin.
  • Its contact can bother your eyes and skin.
  • Iodoform inhalation can bother your throat and nose.
  • It can damage the nerves when the body is exposed to higher levels of iodoform, causing uncertainty, annoyance, headache, apparition, and weak nervous coordination.

2. Why is CHI3 used as a disinfectant?

CHI3 destroys the disintegration of viruses. 90% of viruses are removed in ninety seconds from the body. Iodoform contains antiseptic agents. 88% of CHI3 is vaporized from the body surface and needs coating.

3. Which alcohols give the haloform test?

Methyl ketones and secondary alcohols that can be oxidized to methyl ketones, like isopropanol, are some common substrates. Ethanol and acetaldehyde are the main compounds that undergo the haloform reaction.

 4. How do we distinguish between chloroform and iodoform?

Chloroform is a sweet-smelling liquid. It is colorless. Contrastingly, the iodoform is a yellow crystalline solid. It has a pungent characteristic smell. Iodoform results in a yellow precipitate reacting with silver nitrate solution. On the other hand, chloroform doesn’t give a precipitate with silver nitrate solution.



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