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Muriatic Acid

Reviewed by Raghvendra GopalCheckmark | Last updated: July 25, 2022

What Does Muriatic Acid Mean?

Muriatic acid is a colorless, ultra-pungent solution consisting of hydrogen chloride in water. It is a very strong mineral and highly corrosive with numerous industrial uses.

It was historically produced with a common salt and vitriol, a kind of sulfuric acid.

Muriatic acid is a form of hydrochloric acid. Hydrochloric acid is a purer and more toxic form of muriatic acid. Hydrochloric acid normally has a normal pH of 1.5 to 3.5, while muriatic acid has a pH of about 1 to 2. Muriatic acid is also less powerful because it's diluted with water (usually around 31.5 percent HCl) and it contains impurities like iron. The impurities result in muriatic acid getting a yellowish color and distinct smell, when compared to clear and odorless hydrochloric acid.

Muriatic acid is not derived from sources like plant, animal, synthetics or fermentation sources. It has only been gotten from sources like minerals and petroleum. It is usually available at home improvement stores because of its uses in a wide variety of heavy-duty tasks, such as the removal of salt deposits.

One of its popular uses includes the removal of rust and stains from bricks and concrete. Muriatic acid is a strong inorganic acid that can be found in use for many industrial processes such as refining of metal. The way it is being applied determines the required quality and concentration of the product. Hydrogen chloride is known to be used widely in the industrial organic chemistry field as well.

One of its important applications is in the pickling of steel, in the process for the removal of rust or even iron oxide scale from iron or steel. This is done before the processing stages that include extrusion, galvanizing, and rolling of the iron or steel among other things done to get the metals ready for use. The concentration used for this process is typically 18%.

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Corrosionpedia Explains Muriatic Acid

Muriatic acid is a very reactive liquid and considered among the most hazardous chemicals. It is more accurately described as an industrial-strength solution composed of hydrogen chloride gas that is dissolved in liquids such as water.

It can damage almost anything, aside from certain types of plastics. It can easily damage skin, metal and clothing as well as most other surfaces. Furthermore, it releases an overpowering gas that can rapidly burn the internal linings of the human body such as in the lungs, nose and throat.

The most common uses of muriatic acid include:

  • Masonry cleaning
  • Masonry preparation for sealing and painting
  • Reduction of pH in pools
  • Mineral deposit removal


In spite of its many uses, it can have severe effects on paint. A surface that reacts to muriatic acid can become etched and rough. It also makes surfaces more alkaline, which hinders the proper adhesion of paint products and coatings. To solve this, acid washing is performed, resulting in a more suitable surface for coating.

Skin contact with muriatic acid causes severe burns and repeated exposure to the skin will cause dermatitis. Swallowing the acid is also very dangerous and could cause serious damage to mucous membranes and further exposure to such corrosive materials or fumes could also cause gastrointestinal disturbances

The reaction produced when muriatic acid reacts with certain metals is dangerous when they lead to hydrogen as a byproduct. When this happens it results in an explosion hazard. To combat this storage tanks should be constructed made up of corrosion-resistant materials and properly vented in order to remove acid fumes.

Two chemical reactions occur when a rusting metal is washed with muriatic acid. The first occurs between the rust, which is iron and the acid. When the iron is dissolved in water it produces a yellowish compound that washes away easily. When this happens it exposes the underlying iron to the acid which causes a reaction. FeCl2 is a light bluish compound that is usually present as a type of corrosion while the hydrogen gas rises up to the surface and escapes

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Synonyms

Hydrochloric Acid

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PreventionSubstancesCorrosive SubstanceChemical CompoundInorganic CompoundCleaning

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