Hydrochloric acid is a poisonous product composed of hydrogen chloride in water. Colorless and odorless, it can only be sold to professionals or in diluted form to individuals. This effective product, but extremely dangerous for health, has multiple uses inside as well as outside. Let’s take stock of its characteristics, its possible uses and the precautions to be taken.
What is hydrochloric acid?
Hydrochloric acid is an acid solution composed of hydrogen ions (H+) and chloride ions (CL–) and at a pH below 7. This solution of aqueous hydrogen chloride (in water) is mainly used in industry thanks to its chemical reagents, but it is also an excellent ally in the context of maintenance of the House.
Unlike many other chemicals, hydrochloric acid has no odor. On the other hand, it is flammable, explosive and corrosive. Although it is liquid, it can take on a gaseous state (hydrogen chloride gas) or be soluble in water.
Hydrochloric acid can be explosive when in contact with metals, so it’s best to avoid leaving them around. Furthermore, hydrochloric acid is a great danger to humans when it comes into contact with the skin, eyes or respiratory tract. It causes severe burns and irritation. It is therefore essential to always handle it with great care and only with suitable equipment.
Hydrochloric acid can be purchased on the internet or in a professional store. However, it is only sold to professionals. Nevertheless, hydrochloric acid products can be purchased in stores or supermarkets by individuals.
What are the possible uses of hydrochloric acid?
Hydrochloric acid can have many uses within the home.
A cleaning product
Hydrochloric acid is a common component of many strong cleaning products. It is indeed used in this case to clean the tiles, the ceramics, the earthenware of the kitchen or the bathroom. Very powerful, it dissolves limescale and residual dirt to facilitate cleaning, including difficult areas such as toilets.
An exterior and interior maintenance product
Hydrochloric acid has many uses for interior and exterior maintenance.
- It eliminates rust on metal thanks to its corrosive action. To do this, dilute it in a little water (approximately 10 ml of acid for 90 ml of water) and pour a few drops on the surface to be treated. It is active on copper, iron and brass, among others.
- It thaws driveways, steps, sidewalks and roads in winter. This allows you to walk around your house and get out of it without risk of falling.
- It disinfects the pool water and helps maintain a good pH level. It also makes it possible to unclog certain stubborn traces in the pools and on the surroundings.
- The calcium chlorate that composes it is even used in baking as a food additive for packaged products or as a firming agent for bread.
- Its ability to regulate acidity by maintaining a good pH makes it useful in the pharmaceutical industry. It participates in the good digestion of certain foods and the control of the acidity of drinks and various products. It must be said that hydrochloric acid is naturally present in the gastric juices of our stomach to acidify the contents and facilitate digestion.
What precautions should be taken when using hydrochloric acid?
Hydrochloric acid is an extremely dangerous product for health. It cannot be used without protection and without the security protocols being explained and known. In the company, the employees required to use it must be trained beforehand so as not to endanger their health. It is imperative to protect yourself with suitable equipment to avoid skin burns and irritation of the respiratory tract and eyes.
If hydrochloric acid touches the skin, the affected area should be immediately run under cold water. If swelling, redness or irritation develops, you should go to the doctor urgently.
In any case, be sure to store hydrochloric acid in a closed place, out of reach of children and animals. As it is colorless and odorless, it is essential to clearly identify the container to avoid the risk of accidents.