The Industrial Uses of Hydrochloric Acid

The Industrial Uses of Hydrochloric Acid

The Industrial Uses of Hydrochloric Acid

Hydrochloric acid (HCl), also known as muriatic acid, is a crucial chemical that has many different applications and is used in various industries across the world. It is a strong and corrosive acid that is formed when hydrogen chloride gas is mixed with water, creating an aqueous solution. The acid is usually colourless but sometimes might be slightly yellow and has a strong and pungent odour.

Chemi is proud to be one of the leading suppliers of hydrochloric acid in South Africa, as it is such a vital chemical that is used in some of the most critical industries in the country.

This acid is widely used to process steel which is used in the building and construction industry. It is also used to make other chemicals, such as vinyl chloride, which is ultimately used to make plastic. Other common uses for hydrochloric acid include the production of disinfectants, household cleaners, swimming pool products, and manufacturing food.

Even though hydrochloric acid is known as the simplest chlorine-based acid, it might be one of the most important chemicals in the world.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the industrial uses of hydrochloric acid.
industrial uses of hydrochloric acid

What are the Industrial uses of Hydrochloric Acid?

Processing steel

Hydrochloric acid is one of the most important chemicals that is used in the steel processing industry. It is widely used in a process called steel pickling, in which numerous impurities are removed from the metal. This includes removing rust, stains, and inorganic contaminants from various types of steel.

This process prepares the steel before it can be used in certain industries, such as construction projects, in the automotive industry, and producing household appliances.

Because of its corrosive nature, hydrochloric acid can effectively dissolve any metal oxides on the surface of the steel. Unlike other chemicals, the process is quicker and works well at lower temperatures.

Swimming pool maintenance

Hydrochloric acid is one of the most popular chemicals that is used to clean and maintain swimming pools.

Besides regulating the water’s pH levels, it is also able the remove stains or stubborn algae that are present in the grout or tiles of a pool. Due to the corrosiveness of the acid, it is extremely effective at keeping swimming pools clean. Hydrochloric acid reduces the pH level in a pool, ensuring that the alkalinity of the water is not too high.

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Household cleaning products

A common ingredient in most household cleaners is hydrochloric acid. It is mostly used to clean toilet bowls and tiles in kitchens and bathrooms. The strong acid is used to remove stubborn stains in toilet bowls and acts as an effective disinfectant.

It is an excellent chemical to use to get rid of tough build-up, especially on porcelain tiles. The acid is also used to get rid of impurities such as rust on metal fixtures in bathrooms and kitchens, like taps and pipes.

Food and beverage production

The food and beverage production industry use hydrochloric acid to produce a large variety of products. One of the most popular uses for this acid is to create corn syrups, like high-fructose corn syrup, which is used to make soft drinks.

It is also used to make some of the favourites that people have in their kitchen cupboards, like cookies, crackers, and cereal. Hydrochloric acid can also be used as an acidifier to better the flavour of certain foods and reduce spoilage. This is particularly in sauces, vegetable juices, and canned goods.

Hydrochloric acid is also used to make soy sauce and artificial sweeteners.

Production of compounds

Hydrochloric acid can be used to create an array of other chemicals. It is widely used to create both inorganic and organic compounds, which are used to manufacture a variety of goods, ranging from pharmaceuticals, and electroplating to creating different types of plastic.

Nickel (II) chloride is a product of an acid-base reaction that uses hydrochloric acid and is used in electroplating. In this process, nickel is transferred onto metal objects for decorative or wear-resistant purposes.

The acid is also used in a process to make zinc chloride which is mostly used in the galvanising industry to coat iron or steel with a protective layer of zinc.

Furthermore, hydrochloric acid is one of the most important chemicals used to manufacture organic compounds. Some of the most used compounds in this instance include vinyl chloride (PVC) and bisphenol-A (BPA). Both PVC and BPA are used to make very popular types of plastics.

PVC is widely used to make various types of pipes, and medical devices and is used to make cable and wire insulation. BPA, on the other hand, is used in the production of several hard plastic items. This includes soft drink bottles, baby bottles, containers for food, and other storage containers.

Other uses of hydrochloric acid

The above-mentioned uses of hydrochloric acid are only some examples of the industries where this chemical is widely used, but the world of hydrochloric acid expands far wider. It is also used to purify table salt, process leather, carbonise wool, and purify sand and clay.

It is thus safe to conclude that hydrochloric acid is an invaluable chemical that is used in a myriad of different industries across the world.


Chemi is a well-established bulk chemicals supplier, as well as a Trusted hydrochloric acid 33% supplier in South Africa. Get in touch with our team today.