What is phosphoric acid used for?

Phosphoric acid is an incredibly versatile chemical that can be found in a variety of products around our home, but what exactly is it used for? In this article, we’ll take a deeper dive into this magical potion and find out some of its most common uses. Get ready for a wild ride!

Introduction to Our Star Player

Let’s start with the basics: phosphoric acid, also known as orthophosphoric acid (because apparently one name isn’t enough), is a clear, odorless liquid that has the molecular formula H3PO4. It’s made by reacting phosphate rock with sulfuric acid and water.

It can be either concentrated or diluted depending on its intended use – more on that later. You may not have realized it before but this humble ingredient packs quite a punch!

The Many Uses of Phosphoric Acid

Phosphoric acid has many industrial applications due to its acidic nature such as:

Rust Removal

You know those annoying rust stains that you get on your clothes when you leave them outside overnight? Well, fear not! Phosphoric acid comes to your rescue once again since it does an excellent job at removing these pesky marks from fabrics.

Food and Beverage Production

Believe it or not, phosphorus compounds are widely used in food production. For instance all carbonated beverages contain significant quantities of phosphorus which come from flavorings containing phosphate salts derived directly from their parent acids like…you guessed it: PHOSPHORIC ACID!

Other examples where phoshporic acis shines include purification of cane juice during sugar crystallization, development/production of high fructose corn syrup, modification/preparation/enrichment/disintegration(idk if i made up these last 2 lol) (I feel like I should point out here that although we’re talking about food and beverage production, please don’t try to drink a bottle of phosphoric acid – it’s highly corrosive!)

Fertilizer Production

Remember how we mentioned that phosphoric acid is made by reacting phosphate rock with sulfuric acid? Well, one use for this highly-concentrated form of the liquid is in making… wait for it… fertilizer! It’s used as an intermediate product, which undergoes further processes ultimately producing compounds such as single superphosphate (SSP), diammonium phosphate (DAP) etc.

What these realize is higher yield crop development after fertilizing soils where growth wasn’t possible before due to soil deposits sometimes caused by lack or excess phosphorus content. Funny right?

Health and Safety

As previously stated Phosphoric acis can be quite caustic if not properly handled e.g skin iritation from contact with concentrated solutions(it even bigger cause health issues like eye irritation, respiratory illness-like coughing/sneezing/tightness in chest) Therefore wearing proper personal protective equipment like gloves( clear gloves cos who wants white smudges all over their black outfits?), face masks and goggles when working with this chemical is very important.

Expertise in manipulating high quantities of phoshporic acids via distillation units takes more knowledge than your average scientist/wizard so handling unless you’ve read about N.O.R.M(a)?(No not ma) ; same goes for general storage since apart from corrosion/leaks/chemical reactions influencing other materials stored together being potential hazards double-check that the containers being utilized aren’t absorbing chemicals leaking out(nothing beats some good ol’ container spot checks-I’m sure you would agree). Don’t forget folks: safety always comes first!


Well now that I’ve piqued your interest about Orthophosphoric Acid today, let me wrap things up: While there are many other chemicals with similar applications, phosphoric acid is unique in its versatility and prevalence. The next time you come across a bottle of Coca-Cola or its equivalent just remember that it’s probably got some phosphoric magic going on inside!! Overall this article has been enlightening to me too hope y’all enjoyed the ride as well!