Home Cleaning 101: Cleaning with Oxalic Acid

cleaning with oxalic acid

Oxalic acid is a powerful, organic compound that can be a game-changer in your home cleaning routine. Known for its versatility and effectiveness, oxalic acid can tackle tough stains and restore surfaces to their original shine. This guide will walk you through the benefits and uses of cleaning with oxalic acid, ensuring your home stays spotless and gleaming.

What is Oxalic Acid?

Oxalic acid, found naturally in many plants like spinach and rhubarb, is a potent cleaning agent. It is commonly available in powdered form and can be used for various cleaning tasks. Its chemical properties make it particularly effective at removing rust, mineral deposits, and other tough stains that typical cleaners might struggle with.

Benefits of Cleaning with Oxalic Acid

Before delving into the cleaning process, it’s important to understand the benefits of using oxalic acid:

  1. Powerful Stain Removal: Oxalic acid can dissolve rust, remove mineral stains, and tackle organic stains like ink or food spills.
  2. Versatility: It can be used on a variety of surfaces, including wood, metal, and concrete.
  3. Restoration: Oxalic acid can restore wood to its natural color, making it a popular choice for wood refinishing projects.

Safety Precautions

While oxalic acid is highly effective, it is also corrosive and can be hazardous if not handled properly. Here are some safety tips:

  1. Wear Protective Gear: Always wear gloves, goggles, and long sleeves when handling oxalic acid to protect your skin and eyes.
  2. Ventilation: Ensure proper ventilation in the cleaning area to avoid inhaling fumes.
  3. Dilution: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for dilution. Using it in a concentrated form can be dangerous and unnecessary.

How to Clean with Oxalic Acid

Follow these steps on cleaning with oxalic acid:

1. Cleaning rust stains

Rust stains can be notoriously difficult to remove. Oxalic acid can make this task much easier.


  • Oxalic acid powder
  • Water
  • Protective gear (gloves, goggles)
  • Scrub brush or sponge


  1. Mix 1 part oxalic acid with 10 parts water in a plastic container. Stir until the powder dissolves completely.
  2. Using a brush or sponge, apply the solution to the rust-stained area.
  3. Gently scrub the stain in a circular motion. Allow the solution to sit for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Rinse the area with clean water and dry with a towel.

2. Removing mineral deposits

Mineral deposits can leave unsightly marks on surfaces like sinks, tubs, and tiles. Oxalic acid can effectively dissolve these deposits.


  • Oxalic acid powder
  • Water
  • Spray bottle
  • Protective gear
  • Soft cloth or sponge


  1. Mix 2 tablespoons of oxalic acid with 1 quart of water in a spray bottle.
  2. Spray the solution onto the mineral deposits.
  3. Allow the solution to sit for 15-20 minutes to break down the deposits.
  4. Use a soft cloth or sponge to wipe away the deposits. Rinse the area thoroughly with water.

3. Wood refinishing

Oxalic acid is excellent for restoring wood, especially when dealing with water stains or discoloration.


  • Oxalic acid powder
  • Warm water
  • Protective gear
  • Soft brush


  1. Dissolve 1 cup of oxalic acid in 1 gallon of warm water.
  2. Using a soft brush, apply the solution evenly over the wood surface.
  3. Allow the solution to work for about an hour. You’ll notice the wood lightening as the stains are removed.
  4. Rinse the wood thoroughly with a mixture of baking soda and water to neutralize the acid.
  5. Let the wood dry completely before applying any finish or sealant.

What Not to Clean with Oxalic Acid

While oxalic acid is incredibly versatile, there are certain surfaces and materials where its use is not recommended:

  1. Marble and Granite: Oxalic acid can etch and damage marble and granite surfaces, leaving them dull and discolored. These materials are too sensitive for such a strong acid.
  2. Delicate Fabrics: Avoid using oxalic acid on delicate fabrics like silk, wool, or any material that can be easily damaged by acids. It can weaken the fibers and cause irreparable damage.
  3. Aluminum: Oxalic acid can react with aluminum, causing corrosion and discoloration. It’s best to avoid using it on any aluminum surfaces or items.
  4. Painted Surfaces: Using oxalic acid on painted surfaces can strip the paint and damage the underlying material. If you need to clean a painted area, opt for milder cleaning agents.
  5. Sealed Stone Sealed: stone surfaces, such as those found in some countertops and tiles, can be damaged by oxalic acid, which can break down the sealant and lead to staining or etching.

Dos and Don’ts When Using Oxalic Acid

Here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when cleaning with oxalic acid:


  1. Before applying oxalic acid to a large surface, test it on a small, inconspicuous area to ensure it doesn’t cause damage.
  2. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for dilution and application.
  3. After cleaning, rinse the area thoroughly to remove any residual acid.


  1. Don’t use on all surfaces. Avoid using oxalic acid on delicate surfaces like marble or granite, as it can cause etching.
  2. Don’t mix with other cleaners. Never mix oxalic acid with other cleaning agents, especially those containing bleach or ammonia, as this can produce toxic fumes.
  3. Don’t forget to wear safety gear. Always wear it when handling oxalic acid to prevent skin and eye irritation.

Cleaning with oxalic acid can be a highly effective way to tackle tough stains and restore surfaces in your home. By following the steps outlined in this guide and taking necessary safety precautions, you can achieve professional-quality results.

Hellamaid: Your Trusted Cleaning Partner

When it comes to maintaining a clean and pristine home environment, sometimes it’s best to leave it to the experts. Hellamaid’s team of trained professionals is here to help.

Hellamaid is a top-rated cleaning company in Canada that’s changing the cleaning industry. Led by two engineers, Ahmed and Abdul,  Hellamaid is on a mission to make cleaning services a better experience for both ends of the market: homeowners and cleaners. We offer value to homeowners through easy online booking and impeccable customer service, while offering a flexible and well paid opportunity to our cleaning partners. Learn more about us here!

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