How to Use Muriatic Acid With Water to Dissolve Paper

Written by kay miranda
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Muriatic acid is another name for hydrochloric acid. The acid is formed when hydrogen chloride is absorbed into water. Muriatic acid is effective in breaking down cellulose molecules, the same type of molecules found in paper. Using muriatic acid and water to dissolve paper is common in science experiments, masonry cleanup tasks and stain removal. Always use caution when mixing muriatic acid with water. An exothermic reaction happens when mixing the two materials that can lead to the mixture being propelled from the container.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Protective goggles
  • Rubber gloves
  • Metal or glass container
  • Measuring cup
  • Paint brush
  • Baking soda

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  1. 1

    Ventilate the room you are working in by opening windows and doors if you are unable to work with the acid outdoors. Add fans if necessary to prevent irritation to eyes and skin from the fumes.

  2. 2

    Put on protective goggle and gloves. Have baking soda nearby to counteract the acid if anything spills.

  3. 3

    Fill the bucket with ten parts water. Add one part muriatic acid to the water, being careful not to spill or splash. Avoid bending over the bucket when doing this to prevent accidentally being splashed with acid if the mixture propels upwards.

  4. 4

    Drop the paper in the acid solution or paint it on the surface that has the paper you want to dissolve. The paper should dissolve within minutes.

  5. 5

    Rinse the area with fresh water to remove any remaining acid.

Tips and warnings

  • Use baking soda to neutralise any spills. Wash skin and eyes thoroughly with fresh water if you accidentally get acid on you.
  • Always follow the manufacturer's label when working with muriatic acid.
  • Never dispose of muriatic acid in drains or trash bins. This can contaminate water sources or harm animals in the ecosystem. Collect excess acid and take it to a commercial hazardous water facility. Many mechanic or masonry shops can direct you on proper disposal.

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