As you can see from the equations, acids release H+ into solution and bases release OH-. If we were to mix an acid and base together, the H+ ion would combine with the OH- ion to make the molecule H2O, or plain water:
Neutralization is a reaction between acid and base to produce salt and water only as shown below:
Uses of neutralization
- Soil treatment - if the soil is too acidic, it is treated with a base in order to neutralise it. Common treatments use quicklime (calcium oxide) or chalk (calcium carbonate).
- Indigestion - too much hydrochloric acid in our stomach leads to indigestion. Therefore, to cure this ailment we need to neutralise the acid with a base such as, sodium hydrogen carbonate (baking soda), or milk of magnesia.
- Bee sting contains acid - In order to relieve the painful symptoms of the sting we need to neutralise the acid. By rubbing on calamine lotion (zinc carbonate) or baking soda the acid can be neutralised.
- Wasp sting contains alkaline - Hence acid is needed to neutralise and remove the painful sting. Vinegar (ethanoic acid) is used.