Muriatic acid is commonly known as hydrochloric acid. It is often diluted with water for use in cleaning concrete. Muriatic acid is a dangerous chemical that can cause severe damage to a person's health. Contact with the skin can cause severe burns and breathing in the vapors can cause respiratory irritation and pain. According to The Natural Handyman, contact with your eyes can result in permanent blindness. Use this chemical with extreme caution. After you've diluted the muriatic acid with water and used the chemical for your project, neutralize the acid before disposing of it.
Follow stringent safety precautions before attempting to mix muriatic acid with water. The Natural Handyman recommends wearing rubber boots and vinyl-coated coveralls. Wear a long-sleeved shirt, as well as goggles to protect your eyes. Muriatic acid can cause severe irritation in your respiratory tract, so wear a respirator that has been approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health for filtering out this specific acid.
Set up your work space. Mixing muriatic acid and water is best done outside due to better ventilation. If you are unable to mix the chemical outside, set up your work space in a room with good ventilation and bring a fan in to circulate the air. Open the windows, if possible. Your work space should be close to a water source (like a faucet) just in case you splash acid on your skin.
Prepare for accidents by having a neutralizing agent close at hand. Open at least one box of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to neutralize the acid if it spills or splashes.
Mix the acid and the water in a plastic bucket. Do not use a bucket made out of metal, ceramic or any other material (other than glass). According to The Natural Handyman, the typical mixture ratio is 10 parts water to one part hydrochloric acid. Add the appropriate amount of water to the bucket first. Slowly pour in the appropriate amount of acid, being careful to avoid splashes. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection states that you should never introduce water to acid, but rather it should be the other way around. Doing it the wrong way could cause a violent reaction that could propel the mixture in your direction.
Neutralize any unused acid. Do not dispose of the acid down drains, storm drains or in the trash. A wastewater treatment facility may accept it, or you can neutralize the acid yourself. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection recommends using a three to five gallon plastic bucket with at least one pound of baking soda in it. Mix lightly with enough water to form a liquid mixture, rather than a paste. Very slowly, add the muriatic acid to the bucket. The acid will be neutralized when it stops fizzing. Add more baking soda (carefully – do not splash) if it does not neutralize. When neutralized, you may dispose in a drain.