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Is it possible to make HCl with Bleach? Answered

Is it possible to make HCl with Bleach? As in could you use any conversions (Toxic and dangerous should be included for informational purposes) to mix the bleach with some substace leading to it? Because bleach is Sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) and it does have a Cl.



2 years ago

yes, you can synthesize it, but not directly from bleach, first, You have make hypochlorous acid by mixing equal portions of chlorine-based bleach ( It has to be chlorine-based) and white vinegar, their concentration has to be the same, then decompose the hypochlorous Acid you made by adding a transition metal oxide (copper oxide, iron oxide etc.) to get Hydrochloric Acid and oxygen gas, try to maintain a ratio of 1:1 vinegar to bleach. but bare in mind that the process of making hypochlorous Acid produces toxic Chlorine gas, and if you add alot of the transition metal oxide, then it will react with the hydrochloric acid made and form the metal chloride. Be Safe. Also please note that this process is not extremely efficient, and that hypochlorous Acid decomposes on its on to Hydrochloric Acid and oxygen, but the reaction is slow, but the transition metal oxide will accelerate the exothermic reaction. Hope it works for you.

I have a question about this process though.

When you react bleach (NaOCl) and acetic acid (C2H4O2), you obtain hypochlorous acid (HClO), just as you said.

However, sodium acetate (C2H3NaO2) is also produced:

NaClO + C2H4O2 —> HClO + C2H3NaO2

Can the sodium acetate affect future reactions (like when you add a transition metal oxide (copper oxide, iron oxide etc.) to the HClO obtained to get hydrochloric acid and oxygen gas)?

I don't think so, but HCl is found in some toilet bowl cleaners in concentrations of up to 35%. Just go look for the harsh off-brand stuff at your local store (Walmart doesn't have them, but target does) and check the ingredients on the front. I found two at target- "The Works" and "Toilet Bowl Cleaner" that had pretty high concentrations, enough to rust stuff in a few hours.

You'd be better off with ordinary salt (and concentrated sulphuric acid, or similar)


Is there a way to make sulphuric acid without using any other acids? Maybe Bleach... ;)   Anyone else notice how strangely intricated the acids are?

You can get it from car-batteries (stop thinking about bleach it's no good). Or you can start by burning sulphur (sulfur)....


Okay, would burning match heads do the trick? And I just like to think of bleach because I have it around.

Bleach is no good, matches rather hard.
What is it that you need acid for may be a better way of solving your problem?


I wanted to make copper sulfate, silver nitrate, and others. (Yes, they do use other acids but there are so many ways of converting the acids, That I figured it'd be good to have HCl for other things) Also I was just wondering if it were possible.

Ah right. Silver is quite tough stuff, I don't think you can just dissolve it in concentrated nitric acid. Both of these things would be better bought or found.
Short of draining a car battery etc. I'm out of ideas.
Excepting that some auto-parts store might have acid for topping-up batteries, but that's a long shot and a bit dodgy.


Actually in a soulution of concentrated Nitric acid it will disolve, but it will take a very long time if it is unheated. If I remember correctly NurdRage did some stuff with this. But thanks for your help and brainstoring!

Oh right, thanks for that update.



8 years ago

It depends on the strength of the HCl you want. Just mixing bleach with water will produce hypochlorous acid which will eventually decompose into HCl + Oxygen. i.e. the oxygen will eventually gas off leaving HCl, but it will be very weak. Concentrating it is another issue altogether.
If you need HCl, muriatic acid is the most readily available source.

I read about a way to purify Muriatic acid but I dont really feel like driving a ways just to buy some.

Bleach is a solution of hypochlorite in water, and usually rather alkaline due to the presence of caustic-soda. Adding more water wouldn't get you there. Decomposing it leads you back to salt.


Hypochlorous acid(HClO) in water normally oxidizes hydrogen ions to form chlorine gas and more water.  Some might go to HCl, I dunno, but the oxidation potential for formation of Cl2 is pretty high, 1.61 V.  As Marsh says, muriatic acid is readily available.

Possible but very difficult.  Many home-improvement stores carry muriatic acid (about 30% HCl).