I bought different kinds of acid for experiments and home usage that I stored in secured containers into an IKEA cabinet.

I just realized that despite the fact that all the containers are properly closed, the metal parts of the cabinets are completely rotten. I am quite surprised because there shouldn't be much vapor in there.

What is the correct way to store acids at home? Should I purchase some specific container? How can I prevent vapors from escaping? Perhaps the problem is somewhere else and my containers are not good enough for my acids.

The acids I have: $\ce{H2SO4}$ (30%), $\ce{HCl}$ (32%), $\ce{H3PO4}$ (85%), $\ce{HNO3}$ (10%), $\ce{CH3COOH}$ (98%).

Note: the chemicals are actually stored in my electric/electronic workshop which is a separate room at home and always locked when I have visitors.

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    $\begingroup$ The correct way is not to store acids at home. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 8, 2017 at 9:27
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    $\begingroup$ @IvanNeretin well, so the solution is to buy something else like a chemical cabinet. Unfortunately these cabinets are also made of steel. So either I buy a hermetic cabinet or something else. I mean the problem would be the same if I want to store them in a workshop... $\endgroup$
    – nowox
    Commented Oct 8, 2017 at 9:34
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    $\begingroup$ An proper acid cabinet isn't hermetically sealed. It is vented using an outside vent. $\endgroup$
    – MaxW
    Commented Oct 8, 2017 at 9:37
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    $\begingroup$ @MaxW I was afraid of this answer, but I can't afford this yet so I am looking for something else. What I am wondering is why do I have acid vapors since the bottles are all properly closed and made of thick plastic. $\endgroup$
    – nowox
    Commented Oct 8, 2017 at 9:39
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    $\begingroup$ A "sealed" bottle contains liquid well. It does not contain gases well. There is also typically a bit of liquid left on the bottle threads after pouring some acid. $\endgroup$
    – MaxW
    Commented Oct 8, 2017 at 9:45

2 Answers 2


First I'd locate the bottle which causes the problem. Usually HCl is #1 suspect, but to be sure you can put a vial with smelling salts (aqueous solution of $\ce{(NH4)2CO3}$) or ammonia in the box with acids; white coating of $\ce{NH4Cl}$ on the bottle signifies the leak.

It's also a good practice to store acids in glass bottles with a proper joint (teflon ring) and a screw cap (e.g. Merck's SafetyCap). I would strongly recommend to get the proper bottles as soon as possible. Plastic bottles are only used to reduce the production and transportation costs, they are a poor choice for a long-term storing of chemicals. Even thick plastic is prone to diffusion, whereas glass is not; also plastic is, well, plastic, and is prone to mechanical deformations, so it's also tricky to maintain an impermeability of a bottleneck-cap joint over time.

In the meantime I'd wrap the necks of the bottles with parafilm, and/or pour some baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) on the bottom of the container where you store the bottles. This should help to neutralize the vapors before they reach the furniture and your nose, but it's a temporary solution.

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    $\begingroup$ Very good answer. I will try your smelling salts trick and look for ammonium chloride on the bottles. I am also suspecting the HCl. I will buy glass bottles with PTFE rings as well. $\endgroup$
    – nowox
    Commented Oct 8, 2017 at 9:53
  • $\begingroup$ I'd check for chemical vendors in your vicinity, or maybe eBay or LabX (sometimes labs do sell equipment they don't need, so you might also get other stuff for the home lab for a reduced price, or even for free), and search specifically for the bottles to store acids with. $\endgroup$
    – andselisk
    Commented Oct 8, 2017 at 9:57
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    $\begingroup$ I am working in a research facility, I will ask some chemist there if they can help me with the purchase. $\endgroup$
    – nowox
    Commented Oct 8, 2017 at 10:04
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    $\begingroup$ @nowox Oh, I forgot to mention that it's a good idea to get an amber glass bottle for $\ce{HNO3}$ as it's considerably light-sensitive. Other acids you listed are going to be fine in a regular glass bottles. $\endgroup$
    – andselisk
    Commented Oct 8, 2017 at 10:25
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    $\begingroup$ Glass works fine , except for HF. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 16:10

Do try to store these Acids in Glass containers..i have seen this in my school/college where they keep it inside glass cylinders. Also glass containers being strong they hold the acids quite strongly and prevent any leakage to outside air.


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