Common Chemicals found in the Home

This page is intended to help students of basic (school-level) chemistry with questions such as:

  • List the common names together with the chemical names and formulae of 20 household chemicals.
    OR
  • Identify 20 chemicals in everyday household items (which is a hint to read the 'ingredients' labels on packets of cleaning materials, paints and other containers of substances in your home).

or other similar questions, which may ask for more or fewer examples.

The following table of the chemical names and molecular formulae of common chemicals is arranged in alphabetical order of the common (often 'household' or 'domestic') name of the chemical. If you are not sure what the molecular formulae mean you can look up the symbols by viewing the list of chemical elements (listed in alphabetical order of chemical symbol).

You can also read more about molecular formulae of organic molecules.


Common /
Household Name
Chemical Name2,3
Molecular Formula

Notes:

Alcohol

(ethanol)

C2H6O

Alka Seltzer*

(sodium bicarbonate)

CHNaO3

Antifreeze

(ethylene glycol)

C2H6O2

Antiperspirant

(aluminum chlorohydrate)

Al2Cl(OH)5

Aspirin®*

(acetylsalicylic acid)

C9H8O4

Baking powder

(sodium bicarbonate)

NaHCO3

Battery acid

(sulphuric acid)

H2SO4

Bleach (laundry)

(sodium hypochlorite)

NaClO

Boracic acid

(boric acid)

H3BO3

Borax

(sodium tetraborate decahydrate)

Na2B4O7⋅10H2O

Brass

(alloy of copper and zinc)

Cu and Zn

Bronze

(alloy of copper and tin)

Cu and Sn

Calgon®*

(calcium hexametaphosphate)

(NaPO3)6

Caustic soda

(sodium hydroxide)

NaOH

Chalk

(calcium carbonate)

CaCO3

Diamond

(carbon)

C

Drano*

(sodium hydroxide)

NaOH

Easy-off*

(sodium hydroxide)

NaOH

Egg shells

(calcium carbonate)

CaCO3

Epsom salts

(magnesium sulphate)

MgSO4⋅7H2O

Formalin

(40% solution of formaldehyde+)

CH2O

Glycerine

(glycerol)

C3H5(OH)3

Graphite

(carbon)

C

Gypsum

(calcium sulphate dihydrate)

CaSO4⋅2H2O

Lime

(calcium oxide)

CaO

Liquid paper*

(titanium dioxide)

TiO2

Magnesia

(magnesium oxide)

MgO

Marble

(calcium carbonate)

CaCO3

Margarine

(partially saturated fatty acid)

various

Milk of magnesia

(magnesium hydroxide)

Mg(OH)2

Moth balls (Traditional)

(naphthalene)

C10H8

Moth balls
(Modern)

(1,4-dichlorobenzene)

C6H4Cl2

MSG

(monosodium glutamate)

C5H8NNaO4

Nutrasweet®*

(aspartame)

C14H18N2O5

Pewter

(alloy of tin, copper, antimony, and lead)

Sn, Cu, Sb & Pb

Plaster

(calcium hydroxide)

Ca(OH)2

Potash

(potassium carbonate)

K2CO3

Quartz

(silicon dioxide)

SiO2

Quicklime

(calcium oxide)

CaO

Rolaids®*

(dihydroxyaluminum sodium carbonate)

NaAl(OH)2CO3

Salt (Table Salt)

(sodium chloride)

NaCl

Sand

(silicon dioxide)

SiO2

Sani-flush®*

(Sodium bisulphate, with sodium carbonate (and other ingredients))

NaHSO4
with Na2CO3

Silica

(silicon dioxide)

SiO4

Smelling salts

(ammonium carbonate)

(NH4)2CO3·H2O

Solder

(alloy of tin and antimony)

Sn and Sb. Compositions of alloys vary.

Sugar (Table Sugar)

(sucrose)

C12H22O11

Teflon®*

(polymer of tetrafluoroethylene, PTFE)

(C2F4)n

Toluol (old name)

(toluene)

C7H8 or C6H5CH3

Tums®*

(calcium carbonate)

CaCO3

Tylenol®*

(paracetamol (British English); acetominophen (in USA))

C8H9NO2

Vinegar

(acetic acid, ethanoic acid)

C2H4O2

Vitamin C

(ascorbic acid)

C6H8O6

Washing soda

(sodium carbonate decahydrate = hydrated sodium carbonate)

C6H8O6

Windex®*

(ammonia plus detergents, dyes and fragrances)

NH3


See also more molecular formulae of common chemicals.

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