HomeEducationWhat is Boric Acid and what are its uses?

What is Boric Acid and what are its uses?


Boric acid, also known as hydrogen borate, boracic acid, and orthoboric acid, is a boron Lewis acid that is weak and monobasic. However, its behaviour toward certain chemical reactions suggests that it is also a tribasic acid in the Bronsted sense. Boric acid is frequently employed as an antiseptic, pesticide, flame retardant, neutron absorber, or chemical precursor. It is a colourless crystal or a white powder that dissolves in water with the chemical formula H3BO3 (occasionally showcased as B(OH)3). It’s known as sassolite when it’s found as a mineral.

Boric Acid

Natural Occurrence:

Boric acid can be found in its natural state in some volcanic areas, including Tuscany, the Lipari Islands, and Nevada in the United States. It emerges from fissures in the earth, combined with steam, in these volcanic settings. Many naturally occurring minerals contain it, including borax, boracite, ulexite (boronatrocalcite), and colemanite. Seawater contains boric acid and its salts. Plants, including practically all fruits, contain it as well.

Brief History:

Wilhelm Homberg was the first to make boric acid from borax using mineral acids, and it was given the name “sedative salt of Homberg”. Borates, especially boric acid, have been used for cleaning, preserving food, and other purposes since the time of the ancient Greeks.

Uses Of Boric Acid:


The principal industrial application of boric acid is the production of monofilament fibreglass, often known as textile fibreglass. Textile fibreglass is used to reinforce plastics in a wide range of applications, including boats, industrial pipelines, and computer circuit boards. Boric acid is frequently used with denatured alcohol in the jewellery industry to prevent surface oxidation and firescale from accumulating on metals during annealing and soldering procedures. It is also used in the manufacture of LCD flat panel displays’ glass. Boric acid is used in electroplating as part of some proprietary recipes. It is extremely soluble in water when coupled with borax (sodium tetraborate decahydrate) at a weight ratio of 4:5, even though they are not that soluble independently. The solution is used in wood to act as a fire retardant. It’s also used to make ramming mass, a fine silica-based powder that’s utilised to make induction furnace linings and ceramics.

Boric acid is one of the most widely utilised chemicals for counteracting the adverse effects of reactive hydrofluoric acid (HF) following accidental skin contact. The method overcomes hydrofluoric acid’s severe toxicity, particularly its propensity to sequester ionic calcium from blood, which can cause cardiac arrest and bone disintegration; such a calamity can occur even if little skin comes into contact with HF.


Boric acid is sometimes used in salves and dressings, such as boracic lint, as an antiseptic for minor burns or cuts. Boric acid is also used as an eye wash in a very dilute solution. To treat bacterial vaginosis caused by excessive alkalinity, as well as candidiasis caused by non-albicans candida. Boric acid is an antibacterial chemical that can also be used to treat acne. Athlete’s feet can also be prevented by putting it’s powder in the socks or stockings. Some types of otitis externa (ear infection) in people and animals can be treated using a variety of treatments involving boric acid. In the United Kingdom, boric acid is used as a preservative in urine sample bottles.


Boric acid was first registered as an insecticide in the United States in 1948, and it was used to control cockroaches, termites, fire ants, fleas, silverfish, and a variety of other insects. To manage cockroaches and ants in residential kitchens, the product is usually regarded as safe and efficient. It serves as a gastrointestinal toxin that affects the metabolism of the insects, and the dry powder is abrasive to their exoskeletons. Boric acid is also popularly regarded as the slow killing machine for insects because cockroaches that cross lightly sprinkled areas do not die right away, but instead suffer from the effect of the acid tearing them apart and eventually killing them. This often allows a roach to return to its nest, where it will die soon after. Cockroaches that have been killed by contact or consumption of boric acid devour other cockroaches, ingesting the powder trapped in the deceased roach and killing them as well.


Boric acid, in addition to being a pesticide, prevents and eliminates existing wet and dry rot in wood. It can be used to treat external wood against fungus and insect damage when combined with an ethylene glycol carrier. Borate-injected rods can be purchased and inserted into wood via drill holes where dampness and moisture are known to accumulate and sit. It comes in the form of a gel and an injectable paste for treating rotted wood without having to replace it. Even in dire conditions, borate-based treatment concentrates can be used to reduce slime, mycelium, and algae growth.

For more question answers, concept videos, etc from Chemistry, you can check websites that provide online learning for free.