What is acetic acid used for

Acetic acid, also known as ethanoic acid, is a versatile organic acid that has wide uses in various industries and applications. Some common uses of acetic acid include.

What is acetic acid used for

Food and Beverage Industry:

  • It is a major ingredient in vinegar, which is used for culinary purposes, as a spice, and in pickling and preserving foods.
  • Acetic acid is used as an acidity regulator and flavoring agent in processed foods and spices.

Chemical industry:

  • It serves as a precursor in the production of various chemicals including acetic anhydride, acetate esters and acetate polymers such as polyvinyl acetate (PVA) and cellulose acetate.
  • Acetic acid is used in the manufacture of synthetic fibers such as acetate rayon and acetate silk.

Pharmaceutical industry:

  • It is engaged in the production of various pharmaceuticals and medicines.
  • Acetic acid can be used as a chemical reagent in the synthesis of pharmaceutical compounds.

Textile industry:

  • It is used in dyeing and printing processes of textiles.

Cleaning and Sanitation:

  • Acetic acid is an effective cleaning agent, especially for removing mineral deposits, scale and rust from surfaces.

Laboratory and Research:

  • It is commonly used as a solvent and reagent in chemical laboratories.

Medical Applications:

  • In diluted form, acetic acid is sometimes used for medical purposes, such as cleaning and disinfecting wounds.

Preservation and Pickling:

  • It is a major ingredient in preserving and pickling fruits and vegetables.

Descaling and Descaling Agents:

  • Acetic acid is used to remove scale deposits in various industrial processes, such as descaling boilers and cleaning coffee makers.

PH adjustment:

  • It can be used to adjust the pH of solutions in various industrial processes.


  • In the past, acetic acid was used in the production of photographic chemicals.

It is important to note that the use and concentration of acetic acid can vary widely depending on the specific application, and in some cases, it may be used in diluted or concentrated forms. Additionally, acetic acid must be handled with care as it can be corrosive and can cause irritation to the skin, eyes, and respiratory system in concentrated forms.

Molar mass of acetic acid

The molar mass of acetic acid (CH3COOH) can be calculated by adding the atomic masses of all the atoms in its chemical formula:

  • Carbon (C): 12.01 g/mol
  • Hydrogen (H): 1.01 g/mol
  • Oxygen (O): 16.00 g/mol

Now, let's calculate the molar mass of acetic acid:

  • Molar mass = (2 x C) + (4 x H) + (2 x O) + 1 x O
  • Molar mass = (2 x 12.01 g/mol) + (4 x 1.01 g/mol) + (2 x 16.00 g/mol) + 16.00 g/mol
  • Molar mass = 24.02 g/mol + 4.04 g/mol + 32.00 g/mol + 16.00 g/mol
  • Molar mass = 76.06 g/mol

So, the molar mass of acetic acid (CH3COOH) is approximately 76.06 grams per mole (g/mol).