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How can you neutralize high ammonia levels?

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Quick Answer

One method for neutralizing large ammonia spills utilizes a combination of aqueous hydrochloric acid, sodium bicarbonate, clay cat litter, sand and water. A simple method to neutralize smaller amounts of ammonia uses sodium bicarbonate, white vinegar and water.

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How can you neutralize high ammonia levels?
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Full Answer

A spill mix should be prepared when dealing with large amounts of ammonia. Spill mixes contain equal amounts of sodium bicarbonate, clay cat litter and dry sand. If an ammonia spill occurs, it should be covered with enough spill mix to make it appear completely dry. The mix should be allowed to sit undisturbed until the spill is absorbed. Once the spill has been absorbed by the mix, the debris is scooped into a container.

After the spill is safely contained, the next step is disposal. Scoop the spill mix into a plastic pail of cold water before adding 5 percent aqueous hydrochloric acid to the mix. The addition of hydrochloric acid causes a chemical reaction that produces ammonium chloride, which is much less hazardous than ammonia. The final step in the process is to dispose of any liquids down a drain and to put the solids into a trash can.

A more common ammonia neutralizing method is often used to clean up after pet urine. This method involves dabbing pet spots with paper towels to ensure they soak up liquid before spraying the area with a equal parts white vinegar and water. After letting the vinegar mix sit for 10 minutes, the area must be blotted with paper towels until it remains just slightly damp. The next step is to sprinkle the stain with sodium bicarbonate, wait 15 minutes and vacuum the area.

After this process the ammonia should be neutralized, but pet stain remover may be applied to mask any remaining scent.

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