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  • Oxalic acid is the chemical compound with the formula H2C2O4. This dicarboxylic acid is better described with the formula HOOCCOOH.
  • Oxalic acid is a relatively strong organic acid, being about 10,000 times stronger than acetic acid. The di-anion, known as oxalate, is also a reducing agent as well as a ligand in coordination chemistry.
  • Many metal ions form insoluble precipitates with oxalate, a prominent example being calcium oxalate, which is the primary constituent of the most common kind of kidney stone.


  • Oxalic acid can be prepared in the laboratory by oxidizing sucrose using nitric acid in the presence of a small amount of vanadium pentoxide as a catalyst.
  • On a large scale, sodium oxalate is manufactured by absorbing carbon monoxide under pressure in hot sodium hydroxide.
  • Oxalic acid is obtained as the dihydrate. This solid can be dehydrated with heat or by azeotropic distillation.
  • Anhydrous oxalic acid exists as two polymorphs; in one the hydrogen-bonding results in a chain-like structure whereas the hydrogen bonding pattern in the other form defines a sheet-like structure.


  • In household chemical products such as Bar Keeper's Friend, some bleaches, and rustproofing treatments. In wood restorers where the acid dissolves away a layer of dry surface wood to expose fresh material underneath.
  • As an additive to automotive wheel cleaners. As a mordant in dyeing processes.
  • Used in the early photographic Platinum/Palladium printing process. Vaporized oxalic acid, or a 6% solution of oxalic acid in sugar syrup, is used by some beekeepers as an insecticide against the parasitic Varroa mite.
  • As a rust remover in such applications as automotive shops and for the restoration of antiques.


  • Precipitation can be caused by calcium oxalate if a high concentration of oxalic acid is present because calcium ions are released in the brewing process. This reduces the quality of the popular drink by making it cloudy.
  • Calcium oxalate is known to cause health hazardous kidney stones and for this reason it is necessary to regulate the amount of oxalic acid in foodstuffs.
  • Oxalic acid has probably a key role in breakdown of plant cell walls and suppression of plant defenses and thus facilitate invasion for the fungus.

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