Hydrochloric Acid (HCl): Important Uses & Applications

When hydrogen chloride (HCl) gas is dissolved in water, a pungent chemical compound is formed called- Hydrochloric Acid. It is an odourless and colourless solution of Hydrogen, Chloride and water. It is also known as Muriatic Acid and spirits of salt or acidum salis. Hydrochloric acid/Muriatic acid is a highly corrosive chemical compound and has several uses/applications. Here are some applications/uses of Muriatic acid/Hydrochloric acid:



1. For the Production of Organic Compounds

Hydrochloric acid/Muriatic acid has several industrial applications and one such application is in the production of organic compounds such as dichloroethane and vinyl chloride for PVC. It is also used in the production of other organic compounds like bisphenol A, which is used in various pharmaceutical products.

 2. For the Production of Inorganic Compounds

Hydrochloric acid/muriatic acid is highly used is the production of inorganic compounds like water treatment chemicals such as polyaluminium chloride (PAC) and iron(III) chloride, which are used as coaggulation and flocculation agents in drinking water production, sewage treatment and paper production.

3. For removing metal stains 


Although it is highly corrosive, it is used used to remove stains from metals. It can clean iron, copper, brass and other metals; however, one should dilute it by adding 9 parts of water to 1 part of the acid. One should not use it directly on metals as it is extremely powerful cleaning agent.

4. For cleaning pools


Although, pools can be cleaned with normal detergents and scrubs, it is not easy to remove some stains, which are adhered in between the tiles. In that case, muriatic acid/hydrochloric acid comes handy. Here also, one should add 10 parts of water to 1 part of acid to make a solution for cleaning the pool.

5. For digesting foods

Hydrochloric acid is also present in the gastric juices in the stomach of human body which helps in digesting the foods. It acidifies the stomach contents.

6. For the purification of Table Salt


Hydrochloric acid/muriatic acid is used to purify the table salt.

7. For Neutralization and pH Control


It is used for regulating the acidity (pH) of solutions. It is used to control the pH of pharmaceutical products, foods and drinking water. It is also used for neutralizing waste streams (containing alkaline substances).

8. For regeneration of ion exchangers

It is used in the regeneration of ion exchange resins. It is used to rinse the cations from the resins. Demineralized water and ion exchangers are used in drinking water production, all chemical industries and many food industries.

9. For oil production

Hydrochloric acid/muriatic acid is used in the process of oil production. When the acid is injected into the rock, it forms a large-pore structure, which stimulates oil production.


  1. Renaud F.
  2. Jill Catlow

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