Ammonium Hydroxide

Ammonium Hydroxide Guide

Use Cases

Ammonium Hydroxide (NH4OH) is a colorless liquid chemical solution of ammonia and water with a distinct, bitter, suffocating odor and an acrid taste. Ammonium hydroxide can contain up to 30% pure ammonia.

While it’s stable when stored in normal temperatures and under normal pressures, ammonium hydroxide is still a very volatile substance in nature.

Other names for Ammonium Hydroxide include:

  • Ammonia water
  • Ammoniacal liquor
  • Aqua ammonia
  • Aqueous ammonia
  • Dilute ammonia
  • Ammonia

There are a number of practical uses for ammonium hydroxide, which we’ve included below.

Ammonium Hydroxide: What Is It?

Ammonium Hydroxide (Aqua Ammonia) is a solution of ammonia in water.  It’s a common commercial form of ammonia.  It is a colorless liquid with a strong characteristic odor. Commercial ammonium hydroxide generally contains 19-30% ammonia in water. “Ammonium hydroxide” solutions decrease in density as the concentration of dissolved ammonia increases.

Ammonia is used in the production of fertilizers, explosives and polymers. Additional applications include DeNOx (pollution control), heat treatment, water treatment, chemical processing, and refrigeration uses.

Ammonium hydroxide, also known as aqua ammonia, has all kinds of industrial uses. Its use is widespread across all sorts of industries and applications, and it is one the most produced chemicals in the United States.

If your company regularly uses industrial ammonia, or is in need of industrial ammonia, look no further. Airgas Specialty Products is a leading supplier and servicer of industrial ammonia, and our focus on providing you with an exceptional product, and the training to use it safely is our sole focus.

So what is ammonium hydroxide?

Ammonium hydroxide, also known as aqua ammonia, is a clear, colorless liquid. It has a strong, pungent scent. This odor is very recognizable because ammonia is used in the creation of smelling salts, household and industrial cleaners, and glass cleaners, so we come in contact with it almost every day.

Aqua ammonia is made from a solution of 19-30% ammonia dissolved in water and is a common commercial form of ammonia that is readily available and practical to transport and use.

Ammonium hydroxide is soluble and much more stable in its aqueous form than in its natural state, which is why ammonia is frequently transported and used once dissolved in water as aqua ammonia. Ammonium hydroxide is comprised of nitrogen and hydrogen dissolved in water.

A Note of Caution

Like many chemical compounds used in the production and manufacture of consumer goods and materials, ammonia hydroxide should be handled with care. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), together with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, shares that ammonia hydroxide can be a severe irritant to the eyes and respiratory tract, and can burn or irritate the skin. It should be handled and stored with precision and the utmost attention to safety specifications.

The Uses of Ammonia Hydroxide

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, ammonia hydroxide is used in the production of many different products and substances. These include:

  • Water Purification
  • Fertilizer
  • Refrigerant
  • Food Additive
  • Manufacturing Rayon/Textiles
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Paper, Rubber, Detergents, Inks
  • Other Organic Chemicals
  • Photographic Development
  • Metal Extracting

Most commonly Industrial Use Case

As a Water Purifier

Ammonium hydroxide can be used to purify wastewater and as a water softener. It’s often added to public wastewater to help the chlorination process, and it can be used in the production of a disinfectant called monochloramine (which is used to help lower the risk of waterborne infections thanks to its ability to purify water in stagnant pipes).


While around 90 percent of pure ammonia produced is used as a fertilizer directly or in the fertilizer manufacturing process, aqueous ammonia is only sometimes used.


Because ammonium hydroxide when used as a gas have vapor absorption abilities, it can be used as a refrigerant gas because ammonia absorbs heat from its surroundings.

Household Cleaner

Ammonium hydroxide can be used to remove stains or grime from vegetable oil or animal fat. It can be also used for cleaning windows or glass because ammonia properties could evaporate quickly preventing streaking.

As a Food Additive

It may surprise you to learn that Ammonium hydroxide is used in foods as well, for purposes like acid control in cheese and chocolate, and as a leavening agent in breads and other bakery items (though it quickly evaporates and isn’t leftover in those bakery items).

Get Ammonia Hydroxide from a Safe, Dependable Source

At Airgas Specialty Products, our goal is to provide our clients with the 24-hour, 7-day-a-week supply of the chemical compounds they need to do what they do best. We value safety and efficiency, which means we can help you train your team, maintain your facilities, and even set up your storage system to keep your industrial methylamine safeguarded and ready for use exactly when you need it.

To discover how we’ll become a valued part of your ongoing operations, connect with our team today!