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Can regular bleach be used as an alternative for PCB etching? Answered

I just want to know if there are any chemicals that would be easier to get a hold of than having to go out and buy the ferric chloride or other etchants.


yes it can the hypochloride adds oxygen to a HCl +NaOCl mix
I tried it twice the first batch worked sweet the second batch ripped of my resist. To much bleach I believe.  Common bleach contains loads of NaOH as a stabilizer. Im now looking to calcium and lithium hydrochloride.  Both of these are swimming pool chemicals and should not have the hydroxyl present to naturalize the HCl and to dissolve the resist.

Perhaps I have misinterpreted what you wrote, but did you just suggest creating a HCl/NaOCl mixture?

My memory (and the Wikipedia article on HCl) suggests that this causes the following (very dangerous) exothermic reaction, releasing chlorine gas and possibly causing a steam explosion:

NaClO + 2 HCl → H2O + NaCl + Cl2


8 years ago

Do what creid said but with an added component. Build a plexiglass enclosure and use a small ejector to deliver the etchant onto the board. That aquarium air pump should be enough to deliver a mist of etchant. The highly aerated mist will etch much faster than soaking.


We use a bubble etch tank which is pretty quick - warming the etchant helps too. Steve


8 years ago

Do what steve said but with an added component. Buy a gallon of "muriatic acid" at the hardware store for 7 bucks. Get a fe wbottles of hydrogen peroxide (3%) or go to a hair salon supplier (there IS one in your town) and get the stronger stuff. Look up "Cupric Chloride" You can use the hydrochloric/hp combination to etch boards. Keep the etchant. Strip some copper wire and toss some in.. a Very small amount. Leave it sitting open to the air. If you have an aquarium pump drop the air line in to let it bubble. Over time this will turn it into cupric chloride which is an Infinitely renewable etchant. You will literally never run out in your lifetime and will eventually have to give some away. You occasionally have to add a touch of acid to it. But basically when you etch with the cupric chloride it you then run an airline to it for a few hours . This reverses the reaction and creates more cupric chloride (neat eh.. Green etching.. by every definition)

What about the hydrochloric acid (Muriatic acid) and Hydrogen peroxide (hair bleach). It works really well. Steve