What Has Hydrochloric Acid in It: A Surprising List

Hydrochloric acid is a highly corrosive and strong acid that can be found in a variety of products and applications. Here is a surprising list of items that contain hydrochloric acid and how it is used in them.

What is Hydrochloric Acid?

Hydrochloric acid (HCl) is a colorless, highly corrosive and strong acid that is produced naturally by the stomach to help digest food. It is also widely used in various industries, such as in the production of PVC plastic, leather, and various chemicals.

The Use of Hydrochloric Acid in PVC Plastic Production

Hydrochloric acid is used as a catalyst in the production of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is commonly used in pipes, electrical cable insulation, and other applications. When combined with other chemicals, hydrochloric acid helps form PVC plastic through a process known as polymerization.

How Hydrochloric Acid is Used in the Leather Industry

The leather industry uses hydrochloric acid in various stages of the leather making process. During the pickling stage of leather production, hydrochloric acid is used to lower the pH of the hides, making them more acidic and increasing their ability to absorb dyes and tanning agents. It is also used to remove fats and proteins from the hides, making them easier to work with.

The Role of Hydrochloric Acid in the Production of Chemicals

Hydrochloric acid is used in numerous chemical manufacturing processes, such as in the production of fertilizers, dyes, and pharmaceuticals. It can be used to produce various inorganic chlorine compounds, such as calcium chloride and aluminum chloride, which are used in many industries.

What Products Contain Hydrochloric Acid?

Hydrochloric acid can be found in a wide variety of products that are used in day-to-day life. Here are some surprising examples:

Household Cleaning Products

Some common household cleaning products that contain hydrochloric acid include toilet bowl cleaners, bathroom tile cleaners, and rust removers. These products often contain a dilute solution of hydrochloric acid that helps dissolve mineral buildup and stains.

Swimming Pool Maintenance Products

Hydrochloric acid is used to balance the pH levels of swimming pools and hot tubs. The acid helps reduce the pH levels by creating a chemical reaction that neutralizes the alkalinity of the water. It is also used to remove mineral buildup on pool surfaces.

Metal Cleaning and Etching Solutions

Hydrochloric acid can be used as a metal cleaner and etchant in industrial settings. It is used to remove rust, scale, and other impurities from metal surfaces, and to prepare them for coatings or painting.

Food Additives

Hydrochloric acid is used as a food additive, with some common examples being citric acid, ascorbic acid, and fumaric acid. It is used to regulate acidity levels and as a preservative in the production of various food products.

Is Hydrochloric Acid Safe?

While hydrochloric acid is a useful chemical in various industries and products, it can be dangerous and corrosive if not handled properly. Direct contact with the skin or eyes can cause burns, and inhaling the fumes can damage the respiratory system. It is important to always follow proper safety procedures when handling hydrochloric acid.


Hydrochloric acid is a versatile and widely used chemical that can be found in a variety of products and applications. Although it can be dangerous if not handled properly, it plays an important role in many industries and products that we use every day.

FAQs (Unordered List)

  • What other names does hydrochloric acid go by?
  • Other names for hydrochloric acid include muriatic acid, spirits of salt, and chlorohydric acid.

  • Can hydrochloric acid be used as a disinfectant?
  • While hydrochloric acid can be used to kill bacteria, it is not commonly used as a disinfectant due to its corrosive properties.

  • Is hydrochloric acid the same as stomach acid?
  • The hydrochloric acid produced by the stomach is chemically identical to industrial hydrochloric acid, but is produced at a much lower concentration.


1. Chemtrade. “Hydrochloric Acid: Dangerous, Yet Useful.” Chemtrade. December 14, 2017.

2. “Hydrochloric Acid: Production, Applications, and Uses.” WorldOfChemicals, WorldOfChemicals.com, 30 Apr. 2018.

3. Ali Mansourian. “Hydrochloric Acid Used in Pvc Pipe Manufacturing Process.” LinkedIn, 12 Feb. 2018.

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