Like other perchlorates, this salt is a strong oxidizer although it usually reacts very slowly with organic substances. This, usually obtained as a colorless, crystalline solid, is a common oxidizer used in fireworks, ammunition percussion caps, explosive primers, and is used variously in propellants, flash compositions, stars, and sparklers. It has been used as a solid rocket propellant, although in that application it has mostly been replaced by the higher performance ammonium perchlorate. KClO4 has the lowest solubility of the alkali metal perchlorates (1.5 g in 100 mL of water at 25 °C).
Potassium perchlorate can be used as an antithyroid agent used to treat hyperthyroidism, usually in combination with one other medication. This application exploits the similar ionic radius and hydrophilicity of perchlorate and iodide.