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Photo: Mabeline72 (Shutterstock) While there seem to be cleaning products formulated for any type of stain, mess, or grime you can think of, some people—for a variety of reasons—prefer to take more of a chemistry-class-approach to household cleaning, working directly with the acids and bases used to make those products. Regular Lifehacker readers may be familiar with our coverage of cleaning with household substances, including vinegar , lemons and lemon juice , borax , baking soda , and hydrogen peroxide . And perhaps you’ve added citric acid to your cleaning routine and have been impressed with the mighty power of this low-level acid, and are now looking to take the next step and move onto something harder. Something like muriatic acid. But before you buy a gallon of it online or at your local hardware store, there are a few important things to know about how and when to use this highly toxic chemical, and how to do so safely. Here’s what to know. What is muriatic acid? Muriatic acid is a slightly weaker form of hydrochloric acid that’s still caustic enough to burn your skin and clothing, and corrode some types of metals and plastics. For these reasons—along with the fact that inhaling muriatic acid can irritate the lining of lungs and nasal passages—it is typically used as a last resort , when no other substance gets the job one. How to use muriatic acid safely Before getting into the different uses for muriatic acid, we’re going to […]