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What Is Muriatic Acid?

Felicia Dye
Felicia Dye

Muriatic acid is a dangerous yet useful mineral acid that is available for industrial and household use. A mineral acid is one that is derived from inorganic minerals. In this case, the inorganic component is hydrogen chloride. This acid is commonly referred to as hydrochloric acid because it consists of hydrogen chloride that has been dissolved in water.

Hydrochloric acid is produced in the stomach. It helps break down foods that humans eat. Muriatic acid works in much the same way. It is extremely caustic and corrosive. This is one of the reasons that many users find it so practical.

Protective gear should be worn when handling muriatic acid.
Protective gear should be worn when handling muriatic acid.

The fumes alone are enough to cause effects on other materials including metals. If an item is exposed to this substance, the outer covering and the underlying object can be affected. The degree of the effects will depend on the strength of the substance. Muriatic acid is sold in various concentrations but usage instructions generally advise users to dilute it with water. The substance can be neutralized with lime or baking soda.

Some general consumers use it for domestic cleaning jobs. It is sometimes used in masonry to provide a chemical bath which smooths surfaces that need to be painted. It can also be used to clean cement.

Muriatic acid is used to manufacture a number of products. These include polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and water purifiers. When this substance is used in a workplace, employers should typically have a material safety data sheet (MSDS) for it.

Muriatic acid is regarded as a hazardous substance and should be dealt with appropriately. This substance can have severe adverse health effects. If it comes into contact with the skin, a person can get burned. If it gets into the eyes, a person can be blinded. Inhaling hydrochloric acid can result in damage to the nose, throat and lungs.

This substance can have negative effects on the environment as well. It is likely to kill plants if it comes into contact with them. Although the acid is diluted with water, it can have toxic effects if it is introduced into bodies of water that support human or animal life.

Consumers are generally encouraged to use alternatives when they are available. When hydrochloric acid is used, it is typically recommended that people wear protective gear and dispose of unused portions. To do this, the substance should generally be stored in its own container. That container should be sealed and clearly labeled. It should then be disposed of according to hazardous materials regulations.

Discussion Comments


We feel strongly that muriatic acid was flushed through our water pipes into our home. I have had lung infections, pneumonia and breathing problems as well as accelerated allergies to plants since the incident.

The house is full of mold from the water and the metal fixtures in the house all around the water faucets are corroded but not in other parts of the house.

My doctor said the myelin seems to be disappearing from my brain and there are white spots that have appeared.

Can this be from living in the house while trying to repair it? --Ruskin


@Iluviaporos - I know what you mean! I actually can't believe this can be bought over the counter. I'm always worried people will be careless with it and let their kids get hold of it.

Or they might simply not dispose of it properly. I'll bet more than one person simply tipped it down the drain when they were done using muriatic acid on their pool.

Muriatic acid is one of the kinds of acid that people in some countries use when they want revenge on someone. They fling it into that person's face, blinding them.

I almost feel like it should require a license to own this kind of substance.


I know one of the muriatic acid uses is to add it in a mixture when tanning leather. A friend of mine used to keep rabbits and would occasionally tan their skins (although he kept them for eating, rather than for their fur) because he didn't want to waste them.

I'm not sure exactly how he used it, although I know he mixed it with salt and only used a little bit.

He was extremely careful of the stuff which I was happy about. I didn't like being over there while he was doing it, as the idea of acid being around made me nervous!

But as far as I know he never had any accidents, and he managed to make a few small bags and things with the leather, so I suppose it was a good thing to do.

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    • Protective gear should be worn when handling muriatic acid.
      By: dmitrimaruta
      Protective gear should be worn when handling muriatic acid.