Ammonia vs. Cloudy Ammonia

What's the Difference?

Ammonia and Cloudy Ammonia are both forms of the chemical compound ammonia, but they differ in their physical properties. Ammonia is a colorless gas with a pungent odor, commonly used in household cleaning products and as a refrigerant. It is highly soluble in water and forms a clear solution when dissolved. On the other hand, Cloudy Ammonia is a liquid form of ammonia that contains impurities or additives, giving it a cloudy appearance. These impurities can include surfactants or detergents, which enhance its cleaning properties. Cloudy Ammonia is often used for heavy-duty cleaning tasks, such as removing stubborn stains or grease.


AttributeAmmoniaCloudy Ammonia
Chemical FormulaNH3NH3 + H2O
Physical StateGasLiquid
Solubility in WaterHighly solubleSoluble
Boiling Point-33.34°C-33.34°C
Melting Point-77.73°C-77.73°C
Density0.771 g/cm³0.88 g/cm³
UsesFertilizers, cleaning agents, refrigerantsCleaning agents, household products

Further Detail


Ammonia is a compound that is widely used in various industries and household applications. It is a colorless gas with a pungent odor and is composed of one nitrogen atom bonded to three hydrogen atoms. Cloudy ammonia, on the other hand, is a solution of ammonia gas dissolved in water. It is commonly used as a cleaning agent and has a cloudy appearance due to the presence of impurities. In this article, we will explore the attributes of both ammonia and cloudy ammonia, highlighting their similarities and differences.

Physical Properties

Ammonia, in its pure gaseous form, is lighter than air and has a density of approximately 0.771 kg/m³. It has a boiling point of -33.34°C (-28.012°F) and a melting point of -77.73°C (-107.914°F). The gas is highly soluble in water, with a solubility of 49 g/100 mL at 0°C. On the other hand, cloudy ammonia is a liquid solution with a density of around 0.91 g/cm³. It has a boiling point of approximately 38°C (100.4°F) and a freezing point of 0°C (32°F). Due to the presence of impurities, cloudy ammonia has a higher density and different phase change temperatures compared to pure ammonia.

Chemical Properties

From a chemical perspective, both ammonia and cloudy ammonia exhibit similar properties. They are both basic compounds and can act as weak bases in aqueous solutions. Ammonia has a pKa value of 9.25, indicating its ability to accept protons and form ammonium ions (NH4+). This property makes it useful in various chemical reactions and as a pH regulator in industries such as agriculture and water treatment. Cloudy ammonia, being a solution of ammonia in water, also possesses the same basic properties and can be used for similar applications.


Ammonia finds extensive use in various industries. It is a key component in the production of fertilizers, as it provides a vital source of nitrogen for plant growth. Additionally, ammonia is used in the manufacturing of plastics, fibers, and explosives. In the household, it is commonly found in cleaning products, such as glass cleaners and oven cleaners, due to its ability to dissolve grease and remove stains. Cloudy ammonia, specifically, is often used as a cleaning agent for windows, mirrors, and other surfaces. Its cloudy appearance helps to indicate its presence and prevent accidental ingestion.

Safety Considerations

While ammonia and cloudy ammonia have numerous applications, it is important to handle them with caution due to their potential hazards. Ammonia gas is highly irritating to the respiratory system and can cause severe burns if it comes into contact with the skin or eyes. It is also flammable in high concentrations and can form explosive mixtures with air. Therefore, proper ventilation and personal protective equipment are essential when working with ammonia. Cloudy ammonia, although diluted in water, still poses risks if mishandled. It is important to avoid ingestion and contact with the eyes or skin, as it can cause irritation and chemical burns.

Environmental Impact

Both ammonia and cloudy ammonia can have environmental implications if released into the ecosystem. Ammonia is toxic to aquatic life and can cause water pollution if discharged into rivers or lakes without proper treatment. It can also contribute to eutrophication, a process where excessive nutrients in water bodies lead to algal blooms and oxygen depletion. Cloudy ammonia, when used as a cleaning agent, should be disposed of properly to prevent contamination of water sources. It is crucial to follow local regulations and guidelines for the safe handling and disposal of these substances to minimize their impact on the environment.


In conclusion, ammonia and cloudy ammonia share many similarities in terms of their chemical properties and uses. Both compounds are basic in nature and find applications in various industries and household cleaning products. However, they differ in their physical properties, with ammonia being a gaseous compound and cloudy ammonia being a liquid solution. Safety considerations and environmental impact should always be taken into account when handling these substances. By understanding their attributes, we can make informed decisions regarding their appropriate use and ensure the safety of both humans and the environment.

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