Muriatic acid, also known as hydrochloric acid, is a cleaning solution that removes debris from metal and concrete surfaces. The chemical also lowers the pH and alkalinity levels in above- and in-ground pools. Muriatic acid is corrosive, has a strong odor and is yellow in color. The acid burns skin, destroys clothing and reacts if you add water incorrectly to the acid. When handling muriatic acid, you need to take precautions to keep the chemical off of your skin and from spilling onto surfaces.
Protective Gear, Clothing and Handling
Put on a long-sleeve shirt and long pants. Do not wear shorts or a short-sleeve shirt. Your first line of defense from burning the skin on your arms and legs is the long-sleeve shirt and pants.
Put on nitrile, neoprene or rubber boots or safety shoes. You can find the safety shoes at retail stores or online.
Wear heavy-duty nitrile, neoprene or rubber gloves; a respirator with acid gas cartridges appropriate for muriatic acid; and safety goggles to keep the muriatic acid off your hands and out of eyes.
Walk slowly with the container of muriatic acid to keep from spilling it. When diluting muriatic acid with water, add the acid to water. Adding water to muriatic acid can lead to the water reacting with the acid and releasing toxic fumes.
If you accidentally spill muriatic acid on your clothing, immediately place the container of acid on a flat surface and remove your long-sleeve shirt or pants. Wash the item(s) separately to keep the acid from contaminating other clothing.
Sprinkle baking soda, soda ash or lime on any muriatic acid spills to neutralize the acid. Let the baking soda, soda ash or lime stand for at least 5 minutes before sweeping up the substance onto a dustpan and disposing of it in a plastic bag. Place the plastic bag in your home's outdoor trash can.
Place the container of muriatic acid on a flat surface when you are finished using it. Place the container's lid tightly on the container and make sure it is securely sealed.
Store the muriatic acid in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area away from heat, direct sunlight and flames. The container should also be kept away from metal materials including tin, copper, zinc, brass, bronze, galvanized steel and oxidizers.
Remove your protective gear and store it in an area away from heat, flames and direct sunlight, to keep the rubber from melting.