Muriatic acid (also known as hydrochloric acid) is a powerful multipurpose substance. In fact, it is the same naturally produced bodily acid that works in the stomach during digestion. However, outside of the body it exists in dangerous concentrations. With this substance, safety is a major concern, as it emits strong fumes that can burn the lungs if inhaled. It can also burn your skin. It is important that while working with this chemical you make sure to put on safety equipment such as masks, gloves, and thick clothing. It is also advised that you use the acid in a well ventilated room.
Like many acid cleaners, muriatic acid can be used around the house to get rid of tough stains and molds, so long as it is done safely. Keeping safety warnings in mind, the substance can be quite useful in a number of areas. Here are just six of the different uses for hydrochloric acid.
1. Industrial Uses
This chemical is involved in many industrial processes such as the production of paper, detergent, plastics, and more. It is also used in the manufacturing of food additives, gelatin, and other types of food products. Although this might not be useful information for homeowners to put to use, it is useful for certain business owners to know for production purposes and for people generally to be aware of.
2. Removing Metal Stains
While muriatic acid is not a recommended solution for the daily cleaning of metals, it can be used to treat stains on metal. However, because it is such a strong acidic solution, it should be an option of last resort when other safer alternatives fail. Hydrochloric acid can clean brass, copper, iron, and other metals, but you have to dilute it by adding 9 parts of water to 1 part of the chemical. Since the acid is an extremely powerful cleaning agent, you should not use it directly on metal. You'll want to apply it to a sponge or rag first, then wipe down the metal.
3. Cleaning Brickwork
A 10-percent solution of HCl is a good cleaning agent for brickwork. Typically bricks become stained due to mold growth, formation of mineral deposits, and contamination. It is important to prepare the solution properly, as the acid cannot be directly applied to the brickwork. A solutions of 9 parts water to 1 part acid applied to a rag or sponge can be applied to the brick to scrub away any imperfections.
4. Cleaning Pools
Pools can be cleaned with the help of detergents and scrubs, but some of the staining is not easy to remove. You can treat dark stains that adhere to the grout in between the tiles with muriatic acid. When using the product for pool cleaning, make sure you do not apply it directly. The same 10-percent solution mentioned previously should do the trick. Alternatively, you can follow the chemical manufacturer’s recommended mixing procedure.
5. Neutralizing Alkalinity in Masonry
Alkalinity in masonry causes problems when applying paint or sealers. It prevents the coating material from properly adhering to the surface, therefore requiring neutralizing procedures. To neutralize the alkalinity, you have to apply muriatic acid solution to the entire surface before applying the coat. This will help the coating material bond with the surface.
6. General Cleaning Purposes
This chemical can easily clear away stains on bathroom and kitchen tiles as well as on grout and drains. The chemical comes handy for cleaning clogged drain pipes. When the toilet bowl gets too dirty, regular cleaning products such as detergent cannot get rid of the stains as easily as hydrochloric acid. However, it is important not to forget that muriatic acid should only be used as a last resort when alternative methods fail.