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United States
Formic Acid

Formic Acid for Leather & Textiles

Formic acid is used in the manufacture of leather hides, and to set and retain colors in textile processing operations. It is a more efficient pH reducing alternative to acetic acid while also lowering waste water treatment costs since it contributes 1/3 the Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD).

Leather processing

Formic acid supports the individual steps of leather processing:

Pickling and tanning

  • Ensures efficient and homogeneous tanning of hides
  • Capable of penetrating collagen fibers quickly
  • Ensures the chromium will penetrate the thickness of the hide in tanning

Dyeing and re-tanning

  • Enables reliable, effective wet-end processing
  • Fixes dyes and re-tanning agents efficiently through precise pH control
  • Ensures homogenous repeatable results

Textile processing

In textile processing formic acid is mainly used for efficient pH regulation. After a textile processing step takes place in an alkaline medium, formic acid neutralizes the excess sodium hydroxide reducing pH. In contrast to acetic acid, formic acid is more efficient requiring less to achieve identical results, potentially lowering operating costs.

Neutralization by means of formic acid takes place in the following steps of textile processing:

  • Cotton pretreatment
  • Bleaching
  • Mercerizing
  • Dyeing
  • Cleaning