Aluminium sulphate is most commonly used in water purification where it causes impurities to coagulate which are removed as the particulate settles to the bottom of the container or more easily filtered. This process is called coagulation or flocculation and is often used in swimming pools.
When dissolved in a large amount of neutral or slightly alkaline water, aluminium sulphate produces a gelatinous precipitate of aluminium hydroxide. In dyeing and printing cloth, the gelatinous precipitate helps the dye adhere to the clothing fibers by rendering the pigment insoluble.
Aluminium sulphate is sometimes used to reduce the pH of garden soil, as it forms aluminium hydroxide precipitate and a dilute sulphuric acid solution. An example of what changing the pH level of soil can do to plants is visible when looking at Hydrangeas. The gardener can add aluminium sulphate to the soil to reduce the pH level which in turn will result in the flowers of the Hydrangeas changing colour.
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