what is Ammonium hydroxide

Ammonium hydroxide is a colorless and strong-smelling liquid formed by a reaction between ammonia and water molecules. Ammonium hydroxide is also referred to as ammonia, ammonia water, ammonia solution, or spirit of hartshorn. Although highly toxic, ammonium hydroxide serves many useful purposes in various manufacturing applications in industries such as Pharmaceutical, HI&I Cleaning Solutions, Personal Care, and many others.

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  • Ammonium hydroxide 12% reagent
  • Ammonium hydroxide 19%
  • Ammonium hydroxide 26 BE NSF

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Common Ammonium Hydroxide Uses and Applications

Ammonium hydroxide is most frequently used in household cleaning products for bathroom fixtures, floors, glass and mirrors, carpets, and upholstery. It is often found in disinfectants and stain removers. Many household products containing ammonium hydroxide now feature a lemon or pine scent to mask the pungent odor. You may also find ammonium hydroxide in personal care products such as shaving creams, skin lotions, and acne treatments, as well as cosmetics such as eyelash colorants and mascara and hair care products including glazes, colorants, and touch-up kits. The automotive Industry uses ammonium hydroxide for vehicle care products such as tire inflators, fiberglass cleaners, polishes, and puncture seal products. Other products containing the chemical can include explosives, fertilizers, plastics, and refrigerants, as well as home maintenance items like finish removers and crack and seam sealers.


As a gaseous compound, ammonium hydroxide demonstrates decreased solubility in solvent solutions in direct proportion to the increasing temperature of the solvent. It also decreases in density as the concentration of dissolved ammonia increases. It’s important to exercise caution when unsealing containers for products with ammonium hydroxide as an ingredient that are stored at colder temperatures, as this can result in saturation that leads to a sudden burst of gas upon opening.

Because of ammonium hydroxide’s toxic properties, its use is highly monitored and regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (when used as a food additive) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (cleaning and industrial use). The compound can be lethal when inhaled, swallowed or absorbed through the skin. It can also cause blindness when it comes in contact with the eyes. Ammonium hydroxide is classified as a hazardous substance under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act and Clean Water Act due to its toxicity to aquatic life.


If you’re looking for where to buy ammonium hydroxide in the United States and Canada, look no further than Brenntag North America. We carry a wide selection of high-quality ammonium hydroxide products for every manufacturing application, and our conveniently located distribution centers ensure fast and convenient shipment to your facility.

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