Science, Tech, Math › Science What Is Muriatic Acid? Facts and Uses Share Flipboard Email Print ThoughtCo / Nusha Ashjaee Science Chemistry Basics Chemical Laws Molecules Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate 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 January 24, 2020 Muriatic acid is one of the names for hydrochloric acid, a corrosive strong acid. It is also known as spirits of salt or acidum salis. "Muriatic" means "pertaining to brine or salt". The chemical formula for muriatic acid is HCl. The acid is widely available at home supply stores. Uses of Muriatic Acid Muriatic acid has many commercial and home uses, including the following: Industrial synthesis of vinyl chloride and polyvinyl chloride (PVC)Food additiveGelatin productionDescalingLeather processingHousehold cleaning (when diluted)Pickling of steelProduction of inorganic chemical compoundspH control of water, food, and drugsRegenerating ion exchange resinsPurification of table saltBuilding constructionTo dissolve rock in oil productionOccurs naturally in gastric acid to digest food A Note About Concentration Muriatic acid isn't pure hydrochloric acid, nor is there a standard concentration. It's important to check the product label to know the concentration. Some industrial suppliers offer muriatic acid that is 31.5 percent HCl by mass (20 Baumé). However, other common dilutions include 29 percent and 14.5 percent. Muriatic Acid Production Muriatic acid is prepared from hydrogen chloride. Hydrogen chloride from any of a number of processes is dissolved in water to yield hydrochloric or muriatic acid. Muriatic Acid Safety It's important to read and follow safety advice given on the acid container because the chemical is highly corrosive and also reactive. Protective gloves (e.g. latex), eye goggles, shoes, and chemical-resistant clothing should be worn. The acid should be used under a fume hood or else in a well-ventilated area. Direct contact can cause chemical burns and damage surfaces. Exposure can damage the eyes, skin, and respiratory organs irreversibly. Reaction with oxidizers, such as chlorine bleach (NaClO) or potassium permanganate (KMnO4) will produce toxic chlorine gas. The acid can be neutralized with a base, such as sodium bicarbonate, and then rinsed away using a copious volume of water.