Where to find Household Chemicals

backyardchem Aug 12, 2007 Hobbies
This tutorial will give you all the sources I know of for household chemicals in the United States. This excludes chemical suppliers and ebay. A good majority of these household items are impure sources of chemicals, so in order to obtain just the desired chemical you will have to do some separation.

Note: Neither I nor this site is responsible for anything dangerous you do with these chemicals. Also, these are just the chemicals that I know off and can personally confirm buying/seeing in stores. Everything here is from first hand experience. That being said, you may be able to find more or less chemicals than me depending on how hard you look and where in the U.S. you live.


Acetic acid- vinegar


Acetone- certain nail polish removes; hardware stores as all-purpose solvent


Aluminum- aluminum foil, pipes, soda cans, etc.

Powdered aluminum can be found inside an etch-a-sketch and in some metallic paints.


Aluminum sulfate- sold in gardening stores


Ammonium nitrate- in certain "instant" cold packs


Ammonium phosphate- sold in gardening stores as a fertilizer


Ammonium sulfate- sold in gardening stores as a fertilizer


Argon- industrial gas supply shop


Aqueous ammonia- household ammonia in grocery stores; industrial janitorial versions are more concentrated


Bismuth- use in lead free hunting shot or fishing weights


Benzoyl peroxide- in acne creams


Boric acid- solid sold as insect repellant in hardware stores; very dilute solutions sold as eye wash


Butane- camping fuel


Cadmium- inside Ni-Cd batteries 


Calcium Carbonate- chalk, eggshels


Calcium Chloride- sold for use in pools and humidifiers


Calcium Hydroxide- sold as slaked lime in gardening stores


Calcium Hypochlorite- sold for use in pools


Calcium Sulfate- plaster of paris; gypsum for gardening


Carbon- BBQ briquettes, graphite rods in batteries, pencil lead, activated charcoal at aquarium stores, charcoal for drawing at art stores


Carbon Dioxide- dry ice at grocery stores


Copper- wire, pipes


Copper sulfate- sold in some hardware stores as a root killer


Cyclohexanone- in PVC primer


1,4-Dichlorobenzene- in some mothballs


Ethanol- wine, vodka, denatured ethanol


Ethyl acetate- some nail polish removers


Ethylene glycol- most anti-freezes


Gold- jewlery


Glycerine- pharmacies


Hydrochloric acid- sold as muriatic acid at hardware stores


Hydrogen peroxide- 3% solutions for medicinal purposes


Iodine- tincture of iodine for medicinal purposes


Iron- anything steel


Iron(III) chloride- solutions of it are sold in electronic stores as PCB etchant


Iron(II) sulfate- sold as a fertilizer in gardening stores


Lead- lead solder; lead shot for hunting; lead weights for fishing


Lithium- lithium batteries


Magnesium- firestarters at camping stores


Magnesium citrate- solutions of it are in some grocery stores


Magnesium hydroxide- milk of magnesia at grocery stores


Magnesium sulfate- Epsom salts at grocery stores


Manganese(IV) oxide- alkaline batteries


Mercury- thermometers, barometers, etc.


Methane- natural gas


Methanol- some anti-freezes


Methyl ethyl ketone- sold in hardware stores as a general solvent


Naphthalene- in some mothballs


Neodymium- neodymium-iron-boron magnets found in hard drives


Nickel- some coins; Ni-Cd batteries


Nitrocellulose- ping-pong balls


Nitrogen- liquid nitrogen at industrial air supply shops


Nitrous oxide- whipped cream containers


Oxalic acid- sold as wood bleach for decks in hardware stores; in some stain removers


Oxygen- industrial air supply shops


Platinum- jewlery; some esoteric old razor heads; in a powdered form pasted on a ceramic substrate in catalytic converters in automobiles


Potassium chloride- sold as salt subtitute at grocery stores


Potassium nitrate- sold as stump remover at some gardening stores


Propane- fuel sold in grocery and camping stores


Propan-2-ol- sold as isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol in grocery stores


Propylene glycol- some anti-freezes


Silicon dioxide- sand, quartz


Silver- some old coins, silver solder, jewlery


Sodium borate- borax in grocery stores


Sodium bicarbonate- baking soda 


Sodium bisulfate- sold as pool chemical


Sodium carbonate- sold as a pool chemical


Sodium chloride- table salt


Sodim hydroxide- sold in some drain cleaners


Sodium hypochlorite- bleach


Sodium percarbonate- OxyClean in grocery stores


Sodium phosphate- sold as TSP in most hardware stores


Strontium nitrate- in red road flares


Sucrose- table sugar


Sulfamic acid- used in some toliet bowl cleaners


Sulfur- sold as powder at gardening stores to prevent insects from eating plants


Sulfuric acid- some drain cleaners (concentrated), battery acid (dilute), some pool chemicals (even more dilute)


Tin- lead solder


Toluene- in some hardware stores as a solvent; also sold in some hobby shops for removing glue


Tungsten- light bulb filaments


Water- duh


Xylenes- in hardware stores as a solvent


Zinc- inside of pennies; alkaline batteries


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