Science, Tech, Math › Science How to Make a Sulfuric Acid Formula at Home Concentrated Sulfuric Acid How-To Instructions Share Flipboard Email Print Science Activities for Every Subject Introduction Weather Make a Storm Glass to Predict the Weather Make a Simple Weather Barometer Make Real Snow Make a Cloud in a Bottle Determine Why the Sky Is Blue Food and Cooking Determine Vitamin C by Iodine Titration Make Biodiesel From Vegetable Oil Test for Protein in Food Experiment With Fruit Ripening and Ethylene See How Much Sugar Is in Soda Fire and Smoke Make Colored Fire Make a Smoke Bomb Make Chemical Fire Perform Magic Tricks With Fire Make a Sparkler Bubbles Make Bubbles That Don't Pop Make Glowing Bubbles Make a Giant Bubble Using Dry Ice Make a Bubble Rainbow Crystals Grow Bismuth Crystals Grow a Big Alum Crustal Grow a Borax Crystal Snowflake Grow Copper Sulfate Crystals Grow Table Salt or Sodium Chloride Crystals Chemical Reactions Build a Baking Soda Volcano Make Sulfuric Acid at Home Make Homemade Dry Ice Make Hydrogen Gas Make "Elephant Toothpaste" Terry J Alcorn / Getty Images Table of Contents Expand Homemade Sulfuric Acid Materials Safest Method Quickest Method Safety Notes Battery Acid Safety By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated June 03, 2020 Sulfuric acid is a useful acid to have on hand for a variety of home chemistry projects. However, it is not easy to obtain. Fortunately, you can make it yourself. Homemade Sulfuric Acid Materials This method starts with diluted sulfuric acid, which you boil to make concentrated sulfuric acid. This is the safest and easiest method of making sulfuric acid at home. Here are the items you'll need for the project: Car battery acidGlass containerOutdoor source of heat, like a grill Battery acid, which may be purchased at an automotive supply store, is approximately 35% sulfuric acid. In many cases, this will be strong enough for your activities, but if you need concentrated sulfuric acid, you just need to remove the water. The resulting acid will not be as pure as reagent-grade sulfuric acid. Safest Method If you aren't in a hurry, you can concentrate sulfuric acid by allowing the water to evaporate naturally. This takes several days. Place an open container of sulfuric acid somewhere with good circulation, safe from the possibility of a spill.Loosely cover the container to minimize contamination with dust and other particulates.Wait. The water will evaporate out of the solution, eventually leaving you with concentrated sulfuric acid. Note that sulfuric acid is highly hygroscopic, so it will retain a certain amount of water. You would need to heat the liquid to drive off the remaining water. Quickest Method The fastest method to concentrate sulfuric acid is to boil the water out of the acid. This is fast but requires extreme care. Do this outdoors using borosilicate glass (Pyrex or Kimax) so you won't be exposed to acid fumes. There is always a risk of shattering a glass container no matter what you are heating, so you need to be prepared for that possibility. Do not leave this project unattended. Heat the battery acid in a borosilicate glass pan.When the liquid level stops dropping, you will have concentrated the acid as much as you can. At this point, the steam will be replaced by white vapor, too. Be careful to avoid inhaling the fumes.Allow the liquid to cool before transferring it to another container.Seal the container to prevent water from the air getting into the acid. If the container is left open too long, the sulfuric acid will become diluted. Safety Notes It's advisable to keep baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) or another base on hand. If you spill some acid, you can quickly neutralize it by reacting it with the baking soda. Simply sprinkle baking soda on the spill.Be careful to avoid contact with the sulfuric acid. Sulfuric acid is one of the strong acids. It is extremely corrosive and will react vigorously and unpleasantly with skin, mucous membranes, clothing, and just about anything else it touches. Do not breathe the vapors; do not touch the acid; do not spill it. Tie long hair back, wear goggles and gloves, and cover exposed skin.Don't use metal pans or utensils. Sulfuric acid reacts with metal. Also, it will attack some types of plastic. Glass is a good choice.Sulfuric acid reacts with water in an exothermic reaction, but dilution with water is the best way to deal with an acid spill. Have copious amounts of water available, just in case something goes wrong. You can flood a small amount of acid with water. One the acid is diluted, it can be neutralized with a weak base, such as baking soda. Caution: Sulfuric acid will splash when mixed with water. If you are going to work with this acid, know and respect its properties. Fast Facts: Making Sulfuric Acid Diluted sulfuric acid may be concentrated by boiling the liquid.Because fumes will be involved, it's best to concentrate sulfuric acid outdoors or under a fume hood. Battery Acid Safety Battery acid may not be on the shelf, so ask for it. It may be sold in five-gallon boxes, with the acid in a heavy-duty plastic bag and a plastic tube to dispense the liquid. The box is heavy; it would be disastrous to drop it. It's practical to dispense a working volume of acid rather than try to deal with the entire container. Although the acid may come in a plastic container, it's best to store this acid in a glass bottle. Sulfuric acid reacts with some types of plastic and may corrode a plastic container. A glass wine bottle with a plastic screw-top cap is one good container. Whatever container you use, label it as "sulfuric acid" and "poison" and store it somewhere that children and pets can't get to it. Also, don't store acid with ammonia because the two chemicals mix to release toxic fumes.