General purpose acid cleaners are classified by their pH level ranging from 1.0 to 5.5, and may vary by type of acid, contingent upon the surface to be cleaned. Acidic cleaners can be an excellent solution for industrial degreasing and general industrial cleaning, but care should be taken when evaluating which acidic cleaner to use.
Common uses for general purpose acidic cleaners include rust removal for ferrous metals, corrosion removal from nonferrous metals, and brightening reactive metals such as brass and aluminum. Some acidic cleaners are more aggressive and can attack the surface that is being cleaned. It is also important to note the type of acid in the solution to determine what steps should be taken to protect the users from harmful exposure.