Muriatic acid is a strong inorganic acid that is used for cleaning purposes. This chemical is used to clean sidewalks, swimming pools, and other materials like window frames and toilets. It can also be used to stain tiles in bathrooms and kitchens or even tan leather items in the yard.
Be careful, though; muriatic acid should never be inhaled or ingested!
In this article, you’ll learn about how muriatic acid is used at home and how to use it safely.
Muriatic Acid and Hydrochloric Acid
Muriatic acid is made up of water and hydrochloric acid. It is used for washing, cleaning, and removing rust. It can also be used to clean the oil from rusty metal or concrete and remove hair from carpets and floor tiles.
Although people usually buy this product in small bottles for home use, it can also be used in a much larger container to clean larger areas like cars or commercial buildings.
Some people can get very sick if they drink too much of this acid solution. Muriatic acid is often used in car wash facilities or with other cleaning services. Some companies use it to dissolve the rust on the engines of cars and trucks before they are sold, and others use it to dissolve grease in machines or boilers.
Ways to Use Muriatic Acid Safely
Before starting any project that involves this chemical, make sure you are wearing protective equipment. Here are more ways to use muriatic acid safely.
- Make sure to dry surfaces before you work with acid.
- Use a hose to deliver the acid, and never use near bare skin, or allow anyone else to use acids without first determining if they are wearing acid-resistant gloves.
- Always carry a small container of water for spills and an extra pair of gloves in case you get splashed.
- Never pour muriatic acid on anything that your protective clothing or a spill tray will not protect. Muriatic acid can be harmful if splashed into the eyes, nose or mouth. Splashing the muriatic acid into the eyes can cause corneal damage, permanent blindness, and/or chemical burns to the skin.
Splashing the chemical into the nose and mouth can cause soreness of these areas, throat irritation, coughing, nausea, shortness of breath or problems in breathing. If contact occurs with any of these areas, rinse with water for 15 or more minutes.
- Never pour muriatic acid down a drain except when it will be diluted by water or chemical neutralizers. Muriatic acid is hazardous to aquatic animals and plants.
- Never add water to the muriatic acid without first confirming that the reaction has stopped and all of the unreacted acids is gone.
If you still see chemical precipitate forming, the material is not entirely neutralized and should be discarded. Do not pour anything down a drain unless it has been neutralized by other chemicals or water.
Effective Uses of Muriatic Acid
Following all the safety measures outlined above, you should be able to use muriatic in the safest way possible. Here are some effective uses of muriatic acid.
Cleaning Car Radiators
If you want to get rid of all the nasty, hard-to-clean gunk and sludge built up on your vehicle’s radiator, you need only pour in a few ounces of muriatic acid and wait a few minutes.
The chemical will dissolve all the cruds, allowing you to remove them with some steel wool or a wire brush and then rinse it out with water. It’s a lot better than trying to scrape out years of caked-on dirt with an old toothbrush!
Removing Rust From Metal
Muriatic acid is commonly used to remove rust from metal. Simply pour the corrosive liquid into a pail or large bucket, submerge your item of metal in it, and leave it there for a few minutes.
Then remove it and wipe it down with tepid water to remove any residue acids left behind.
Cleaning Paint Brushes
Suppose you’ve got old paintbrushes that are really hard to clean with paint thinner or mineral spirits; just wet one end of the brush with muriatic acid solution and dip the bristles in.
Then scrub off that stubborn paint residue with a soft wire brush, rinse and dry the brush immediately afterward. You’ll be amazed at the results!
Another common use for muriatic acid is to clean knives and other blades. Just pour a few ounces of the corrosive liquid into a dish or small bucket and dip each blade into it.
This will remove any oxidation on your meat knives and give them a good thawing to begin with, which will preserve their sharpness for years to come.
Removing Worn-out Bands
Over time, rubber bands can lose their elasticity, which isn’t necessarily a big problem until they start to snap back at you when you bend them. If you want to remove all that old, worn-out rubber from your rubber bands, just immerse them in a few ounces of muriatic acid for a few minutes. The corrosive solution will grab hold of the rubber and loosen it enough for you to strip it off with your fingers.
Swimming Pool Maintenance
As you may know, chlorine is one of the most common water sanitation treatments for swimming pools. However, as chlorine reacts with various natural elements in pool water, chemicals harmful to humans can form.
Since it’s not often practical to drain and refill your pool with fresh water every few days, you could use muriatic acid to help break down those harmful compounds every so often. This will keep your pool water fun for bathers and safe for all!
How to Safely Dispose of Muriatic Acid?
Like many other strong chemicals used in cleaning and repair, Muriatic acid cannot be thrown down the drain or anyplace else on your property. It must be properly disposed of to avoid causing harm to your home or the environment.
First things first, call your local recycling center or someone who handles hazardous waste in your town. Then, they will advise you to hand over the chemical to their site in the original container adequately sealed for disposal.
Muriatic acid is an effective cleaner, but it is also a highly hazardous substance, and extra caution should be exercised when cleaning with muriatic acid. Failure to take the necessary safety procedures might cause serious harm.
However, now that you’ve been terrified a little, it’s worth noting that, when used properly, muriatic acid may be an excellent cleanser.
Listed below are some pool maintenance tips you can follow to keep your pool in good shape.