Everything You Need to Know About Sodium Bisulfate

There is a wide range of chemicals that you can use for various purposes around the home. Some of the ways in which chemicals are used include cleaning, disinfecting, protecting, unblocking, removing substances, and staining. One product that is available is sodium bisulfate. Many people do not know what this is or for what purposes they would use this product. Here is everything you need to know about sodium bisulfate and its uses.

What is Sodium Bisulfate?

Sodium bisulfate is also known as sodium hydrogen sulfate. This is an acid salt that is formed when sulfuric acid is partially neutralized with a sodium base, such as sodium chloride or sodium hydroxide. It is an acidic substance that has a pH of around 1, and it usually comes in a dry, granular form. However, it is also available in powder form. Other names by which it is known are bisulfate of soda, monosodium hydrogen sulfate, sodium hydrosulfite, sodium acid sulfate, dry acid, acid salt, and sulfuric acid sodium salt.

What Are the Properties of Sodium Bisulfate?

According to Soft Schools, sodium bisulfate has the following properties:

  • It is highly water soluble
  • It has a low density
  • It is an acidic salt
  • It decomposes on contact with water
  • It is stable under normal conditions

What Are the Main Uses of Sodium Bisulfate?

Sodium bisulfate is a versatile substance that has many uses. Here is an outline of some of the main uses of sodium bisulfate:

  • Cleaning products- One of the main uses of sodium bisulfate in commercial products is as a component of cleaning products, says The Spruce. It is predominantly used in these to lower the pH. One of the main products in which this has been used is in crystal toilet cleaners.
  • Metal finishing- Technical grade sodium bisulfate is used in the metal finishing process.
  • Chlorination- It is used to lower the pH of the water to support effective chlorination, which is important for hygiene purposes when water is shared by many people. Therefore, sodium bisulfate is a useful product for those who have a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, or hot tub. This is the most common reason why someone would buy sodium bisulfate in its raw form rather than as an ingredient of another product.
  • Aquariums- Similarly, some aquarium products use sodium bisulfate to reduce the pH of water. Therefore, you may see this as an ingredient of the products you buy if you have an aquarium in your home.
  • Animal control- Although sodium bisulfate is harmless to most life forms, it is highly toxic to some echinoderms. Therefore, it has been used to control outbreaks of the crown-of-thorns starfish.
  • Textiles- Some textile manufacturers use sodium bisulfate when they are producing velvet fabrics called burnout velvet. This is velvet cloth that has a silk backing and a cellulose-based fiber pile, such as hemp, cotton, or rayon. The sodium bisulfate is applied to some areas of the fabric and heated. This makes the fibers brittle causing them to fall away, leaving patterns of burned-out areas on the fabric.
  • Chicken rearing- Those who rear chickens will find sodium bisulfate in several products they use. One is chicken litter as this substance controls ammonia. Another is in cleaning products for chicken houses as it reduces the concentration of salmonella and campylobacter. Therefore, it acts as an antibacterial against certain bacteria.
  • Litter- Sodium bisulfate can reduce the smell of ammonia, so it is added to some pet litter brands.
  • Medication- Sodium bisulfate is a urine acidifier, so it is used in some pet medications to treat problems relating to the urinary tract system. For example, it is used to reduce urinary stones in cats.
  • Food additive- In various food production processes, sodium bisulfate is used as a food additive. It is used to leaven cake mixes, to prevent browning in fresh produce, and in meat and poultry processing. It is also used in sauces, fillings, dressings, and beverages. Furthermore, it is sometimes used in place of malic, citric or phosphoric acids as it lowers the pH without producing a sour taste.
  • Leather- Sodium bisulfate is sometimes used during the leather tanning process.
  • Dietary supplements- Some dietary supplements may contain sodium bisulfate.

How Lower the pH of Your Pool or Hot Tub Using Sodium Bisulfate

One of the most common reasons why you would buy sodium bisulfate is if you have a swimming pool, hot tub, or Jacuzzi in your home. Adding this to the water lowers the pH and aids effective chlorination. This is important for hygiene reasons. Other reasons that using sodium bisulfate is important are that it prevents cloudy water, stops corrosion of pool equipment, and reduces the risk of irritation to the eyes or skin while in the pool. According to Pool Care Guy, you should use the following steps when adding sodium bisulfate to your pool, hot tub, or Jacuzzi.

Step1- Test Your Pool’s Chemical Levels

You will need either a strip pool testing kit or a liquid pH tester. The ideal pH reading for a pool or hot tub is between 7.2 and 7.6. If the pH level is too high, you will need to add sodium bisulfate.

Step 2- Decide How Much Sodium Bisulfate You Need to Use

If you do need to adjust the pH of the water, you need to work out how much sodium bisulfate you will need to use. Each product has its own instructions, so you should use these as a guide. However, pool experts recommend only using about three-quarters of the amount states as you can always add more to the water later. Once you have done this a few times using the same product, you will become accustomed to the amount you need to use.

Step 3- Decide Whether Dilution is Needed or Not

You will need to read the product specific instructions to find out whether you need to dilute the sodium bisulfate or not. If you do, the best container to use is a five-gallon bucket. Read the dilution instructions carefully.

Step 4- Adding the Sodium Bisulfate

If you have an above ground pool, add the sodium bisulfate along the pool wall. On the other hand, if you have an inground pool, add the sodium bisulfate close to the return jets. Putting the sodium bisulfate in the right place is important so that the product is distributed around the pool. It will usually take 15 minutes to do this and you can tell when it has dispersed because it will disappear from sight.

Step 5- Leave the Product to Do Its Job

Once the product is added to the pool, you do not need to do anything else. Just leave it to do its work. This will take at least six hours before the pool is ready for use.

Step 6- Retest the Water

Retest the water after six hours. If necessary, repeat the process until you have achieved the correct alkalinity.

Are There Any Dangers When Using Sodium Bisulfate?

Generally, sodium bicarbonate is considered a safe product, both in terms of its uses in commercial products and for use in consumables. The FDA classifies this substance as being safe, as do the authorities in Mexico, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the EU. It meets the requirements of the Food Chemicals Codex and is listed as either additive 514 or as E514ii. The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) consider this a natural product as it is made from minerals.

It is worth noting that while sodium bisulfate is considered safe for humans to use, it is known to damage the environment. You should also take care that it does not come into direct contact with the skin in its undiluted form as it can cause irritation and burning.

Some Useful Tips for Using Sodium Bisulfate

If you use sodium bisulfate in your pool or hot tub, you should use these useful tips to use it safely and correctly:

  • After you have added sodium bisulfate, do not swim in your pool or sit in your hot tub or Jacuzzi for at least four to six hours. Using the pool too early may cause skin irritation.
  • Follow the instructions carefully and never add more sodium bisulfate than is stated as this can cause irritation to the skin. It can also cause damage to the surface and plumbing.
  • Never add water to sodium bisulfate. You should always add the sodium bisulfate to the water and you should do this slowly.
  • Avoid contact with the eyes and wash out immediately if you do get it in your eyes.

Are There Any Alternatives to Using Cleaning Products Containing Sodium Bisulfate?

Sodium bisulfate is damaging to the environment, so you may wish to look for alternatives if you want to reduce your environmental impact. There are many cleaning products that you can use that do not contain harmful chemicals, so you can switch to these for cleaning. It is usually stated on the ingredients list of cleaning products, although you should be aware of the different names by which this substance is known.

You can also try some homemade cleaning products to clean your home. Some typical natural ingredients that you can use to make your own cleaning products include lemon juice, vinegar, and bicarbonate of soda. These are all environmentally friendly alternatives for you to use around your home.

Sodium Bisulfate vs. Muriatic Acid for Swimming Pools

If you have a swimming pool, hot tub, or Jacuzzi, then sodium bisulfate is not your only option for lowering the pH of the water and aiding chlorination. Another alternative is muriatic acid. This is an alternative name for hydrochloric acid. It has many similar uses to sodium bisulfate, although there are some marked differences between the two products.

Although each substance has its pros and cons, the main difference between them is that sodium bisulfate is safer to use. If you use muriatic acid, there is more chance of burning your skin or damaging the pool surfaces because it is a more caustic substance. For this reason, most people recommend using sodium bisulfate. However, there are many people that use muriatic acid for cleaning their pool, so they opt to use the same product in the water.

If you do choose to use muriatic acid rather than sodium bisulfate, then you should take extra care. Prolonged contact with skin can cause burns and irritation. Therefore, you should always wear protective gloves when using muriatic acid. You should also protect your eyes when using this product. Furthermore, you should only use it in an area that is well-ventilated as it can cause respiratory problems if you inhale the fumes. Never combine muriatic acid with other substances, especially oxidizers such as bleach. This can produce toxic chlorine gas.

Where Can You Buy Sodium Bisulfate?

Most people buy sodium bisulfate online and have it delivered to their home. However, this is not the only way you can buy sodium bisulfate. It is sold by some DIY and homewares stores. It is also sold by stores that specialize in swimming pool accessories and at aquariums.

Sodium Bisulfate – The Final Verdict

Sodium bisulfate is an acid salt that is used in many household products, in food production, and for many manufacturing processes. For domestic use, it is most commonly used by people who have an aquarium and those who have a swimming pool, hot tub, or Jacuzzi. It neutralizes the water and helps effective chlorination. It is considered safe to use, although you should take care and follow the instructions. You can buy it online or from homewares, DIY, or specialist stores. There are some alternatives to using this substance, both for cleaning and for pools. Some people prefer to use environmentally friendly cleaning products that do not contain this substance, while muriatic acid is an alternative for pools, hot tubs, and Jacuzzis.

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