Can Talc Scratch Glass? (ANSWERED)

No, talc cannot scratch glass.

In the article that follows, you’ll learn more about talc, and why it is that talc cannot scratch glass.

Can Talc Scratch Glass? (Let’s Learn More)

Talc barely rates a 1 on the Mohs Hardness Scale compared to the 5.5 of glass.

Dump a whole bottle of talcum powder on your glass mirror.

It won’t even make a dent. In fact, you could scratch talc with just a fingernail.

That’s how soft it is. 

What Is Talc Made Out Of?

The chemical makeup of talc is Mg3Si4O10(OH)2. 

This means it is a basic magnesium silicate with a good deal of oxygen and hydrogen mixed in.

It is a translucent to opaque mineral that is often pale in color with a greasy or waxy sheen.

Calling it pearly is a bit more poetic than it deserves.

It is rarely seen in collections due to having a plain look and being quite common.

It may be seen in some educational mineral collections as an example of something on the lowest end of the Mohs Hardness Scale.

The feel of solid talc is greasy to the point it is advised to wash hands afterward, though solid talc is relatively safe.

The crystal formation of talc is flat, tabular and microscopic. 

The History of Talc

The name “talc” comes from the Arabic word “talq”, a word often used to describe mica, but also close to the word for “pure”. 

Talc’s softness makes it easy to carve as soap, making it popular for small carvings.

Some Egyptian tombs have scarab carvings made out of talc, and it has been used in ancient Chinese statuary as well.

Prehistoric cave paintings sometimes have a white pigment derived from talc.

Talc was first discovered in the western world in the 1880’s on a farm in Madoc, Ontario in Canada.

The Henderson Talc Mine started production in 1896, closely followed by the Conley Mine in 1911.

They merged as Canadian Talc Limited in 1937 and were bought out by Canada Talc Industries Limited in 1951.

This deposit has provided more than 800,000 tons of high-grade talc to this date. 

The Uses of Talc

Talc is so soft it is practically useless as an abrasive, but it makes a decent lubricant.

The exception is in polishing edible grains like corn and rice.

The best known use of talc is talcum powder.

This is the very stuff known for being so soft it’s used on babies to prevent diaper rash.

Adults, particularly women above a certain cup size, might use a little talcum powder to prevent prickly heat.

Makers of surgical gloves will often line them with a dusting of talc to keep them from sticking together.

Leather treatments, make-up and marking pencils often have a bit of talc mixed in.

Talk is used as a filler material in products such as paper, ceramics, plastic, paints, rubber and roofing material.

It is often used in paints and insect poisons meant to be sprayed as it keeps the nozzle from getting clogged. 

Where to Find Talc

Veins of talc can often be found in metamorphic minerals.

The mineral is frequently associated with tremolite, serpentine, and forsterite.

Talc is nearly guaranteed to be found with carbonates such as calcite, magnesite and dolomite.

Look for them in the lower metamorphic facies. China, India and Brazil produce most of the world’s talc, but it can be found in the United States, particularly in the eastern Appalachian and Piedmont regions spanning from New England to Alabama.

However, some deposits can be found as far west as California. 

Is Talc Toxic? 

Talc in of itself is not toxic.

However, when it becomes mixed up with asbestos, then it can become dangerous.

Manufacturers of talc products are more scrupulous now about seeing to it that the ores from their talc mines are meticulously processed in order to avoid any presence of asbestos in their product.

That said, try not to inhale powdered talc.

Nothing but clean air should go into your lungs.

Wear a mask when working with spray products that use talc.

There is food grade talc used on rice, salt, chewing gum and medications that the U.S. FDA has declared safe for human consumption.

Talc is often used as a filler in illegal substances, so that’s one of many reasons to just say no. 

Talc Symbolism

The white smoothness of talc brings to mind pure and clear thoughts.

Meditating over a stone of talc is thought to help cleanse negative thoughts and refresh the mind to a state of hope and vitality.

The softness of talc reminds its handler to be flexible and adaptable. 

Conclusion

Talc is even softer than human fingernails, which only rate about 2 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.

It is as soft and fragile as minerals can get.

Ground up talc is often used as a lubricant and absorber of moisture.

It is not a common stone to be seen as a gem or a collector’s item due to its unimpressive look.

However, it is useful in powdered form as a lubricant and filler.

If talc is not adulterated with asbestos it is very safe to handle.

As with any powder, talcum powder should not be inhaled as it can accumulate in lungs and prevent them from working.

Use a little precaution and common sense and talcum powder can be a useful tool in everyday life. 

can talc scratch glass