Oxalic acid, also called Oxalate, is an organic acid, with a formula C2H2O4, found in many plants. It is a strong dicarboxylic acid occurring in many plants and vegetables. It is produced in the body by metabolism of glyoxylic acid or ascorbic acid. It is not metabolized but excreted in the urine. It is used as an analytical reagent and general reducing agent.
Your body can produce oxalate on its own or obtain it from food. Vitamin C can also be converted into oxalate when it’s metabolized.
Once consumed, oxalate can bind to minerals to form compounds, including calcium oxalate and iron oxalate. This mostly occurs in the colon, but can also take place in the kidneys and other parts of the urinary tract.
Oxalic acid is an essential household chemical that can be used, like many acids, as a cleaner for various things; for example, as a rust remover, a cleaning agent, on wood work as a stain lifter, as a bleaching agent, and many more.
Applications of Oxalic acid
Oxalic acid can be used as a bleaching agent for both wood and stone. Wood, when exposed to the elements, can turn gray. When oxalic acid is applied on an old and graying wood floor, it brings back the wood floor’s natural white color. Actually, this acid is often used when preparing to stain old wood floors. It is also used by furniture manufacturers to lighten heavily stained areas of wood furniture in preparation for refinishing.
Oxalic acid effectively removes ink, food stains, and many other types of stains. It is a gentle stain remover that eats the stain but leaves the base surfaces, such as wood, intact. You can use oxalic acid to remove most stains found on stone, brick, linoleum, wood, and vinyl surfaces.
Oxalic acid is also used to remove rusts that are commonly found on plumbing pipes and kitchen countertops, and is a major ingredient found in commercial rust removers for sinks, tubs, and metal rust stains.
Aside from bleaching, rust removing, and stain removing, oxalic acid is also used as a reducing agent in developing photographic film. You can also find it used in wastewater treatment as well since oxalic acid can effectively remove calcium from wastewater. And lastly, oxalic acid is also used as a grinding agent when polishing marble.