Neutralizing Acid Spills
Date: Around 1999
What immediate action may be taken to neutralize spills
of small amounts (3-4 gals) of muriatic and sulphuric acids?
My first thought is hopefully you're not spilling that much that
often. It's better to try and prevent the spills than combat them post facto.
Sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3, baking soda) and calcium carbonate (CaCO3,
lime) are two chemicals cheap and readily available in large quantities
(i.e. lbs) that neutralize acid. Lime with sulfuric acid might make a
cement (CaSO4) though.
Donald Yee Ph.D.
San Francisco Estuary Institute
180 Richmond Field Station
1325 South 46th St. Richmond, CA 94804
Use water to dilute the acids. Using another chemical can have an effect
which you are not seeking.
Muriatic (Hydrochloric) an sulphuric acids are strong acids.
If they are not diluted they are very strong acids.
If they are pure or if they are making a strong solution
and a few drops spill over the skin, can cause burns. If
spill over fabrics will spoil it.
A way to neutralize very very quickly would be to wash
with plenty of water and also with soap or any
cleaner containing ammonia.
The best way to prevent accidents is always to use
special gloves and clothes when working with
And thanks for asking Newton!
(Dr. Mabel Rodrigues)
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Update: June 2012