Chemicals Used in Daily Life and Their Common Names

Chemicals are an integral part of our lives. From the time we wake up to the time we go to bed, we use thousands of chemicals. Everything from our food and drinks to our clothes, cleaning agents, and the devices we use are all made up of chemicals. Chemistry classes may feel boring or unnecessary in school days but chemicals are all around us. Understanding these chemicals can help us practically in many ways. No, we are not starting a full chemistry lecture here but knowing about some of the common chemicals of daily life won’t hurt.

Although we come in contact with thousands of chemicals in our daily life, here we are listing just a few most commonly used chemicals.

List of daily use chemicals and their common names
Common Name/Product Chemical Use/Property of the Chemical
Detergent Sodium sulphate, Sodium hydroxide, and Phosphate compound These are surfactants with cleansing properties that get activated when diluted. They are foaming agents that can mix with water and hold oil and dirt thus cleaning the surface.
Dyes and Cosmetics Esters It is a class of organic compounds that reacts with water to produce alcohol and acids (organic or inorganic). These are used in dyes, perfumes, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical products.
Baking Powder NaHCO3 : Sodium bicarbonate (and one or more weak acid) It is a leavening or raising agent for cooking that is used to increase the volume and lighten the texture of baked foods. It releases carbon dioxide in the batter through an acid-base reaction.
Toothpaste Calcium carbonate and Sodium fluoride Used for cleaning teeth and maintaining oral health.
Common Salt NaCl The table salt we use in cooking and seasoning while cooking. It also acts as a very good preservative for food items.
Sugar C12H22O11 Sugar is used as a sweetener for edibles.
Bleach NaOCl Used as domestic bleach for cleaning purposes. It is an excellent disinfectant and anti-microbial agent. It is also used as a whitening agent for clothes.
Vinegar C2H4O2 : acetic acid, ethanoic acid Commonly used as a preservative and a seasoning agent in households. It is also used as a domestic cleaning agent for some surfaces.
Graphite Carbon It is an allotrope of carbon that you can most commonly see as a lead of a pencil. It is also an important part of batteries we use for various purposes apart from many other domestic and industrial uses.
Aspirin C9H8O4 : acetylsalicylic acid The most common use of aspirin is done in common medicines for fever, pain, and inflammation.
Epsom salt MgSO₄ : Magnesium sulfate It is used as a bath salt to relieve muscle tension and relax the body.
Hydrogen Peroxide H2O2 Hydrogen Peroxide has numerous industrial use. In household use, hydrogen peroxide is a chemical that is used for personal hygiene products. It is also used for hair bleaching and for the treatment of acne.
Toilet Cleaner HCl : Hydrochloric acid It is a very common acid that is used as a cleaning agent, especially for toilets and bathrooms.
Caustic Soda NaOH : Sodium hydroxide Caustic soda is a highly corrosive alkali and so is used for unblocking drains, sinks, and toilets.
Mothballs C6H4C12 It is a chemical with a very strong pungent smell. It is used to keep clothes and fabrics safe from clothes moths and fabric pests.
Hand Sanitizer Isopropyl alcohol A chemical that kills germs and bacteria from our hands and saves us from many diseases.
Insect Repellent (to be applied on the skin) Diethyltoluamide Keeps us safe from bug bites, most commonly mosquito bites.
Rodent and Pests Killer Arsenic Arsenic is a poisonous chemical that is used to wipe off rats, cockroaches, and such pests in our homes.
Deodorants / Anti-perspirant Aluminum chlorohydrate It is a chemical that is used to control perspiration and prevent body odor.
Chalk CaCO3 Used for writing on blackboards.
MSG C₅H₈NO₄Na : Monosodium glutamate You can find this name on the label of any ready-to-eat or quick-to-make packaged food. This chemical is used as a taste enhancer that leaves you wanting more.
Food Preservatives Sulphites, Nitrites, Benzoates These are the most common groups of chemicals used as food preservatives. They inhibit the growth of bacteria and increase the shelf life of grains and food products.

We are in direct or indirect contact with chemicals in everything we see or use. These chemicals can be naturally occurring or produced by humans in factories. Be it good or bad, our daily life revolves around myriads of chemicals. All these chemicals are helpful for us in one or the other way. But, some of these may also be harmful to our health or the environment. So, we must understand the chemicals we use in our day-to-day lives.

Use the citation below to add this article to your bibliography

"Chemicals Used in Daily Life and Their Common Names." Web. 18 August 2022. <>, "Chemicals Used in Daily Life and Their Common Names." Accessed 18 August 2022.

"Chemicals Used in Daily Life and Their Common Names." (n.d.). Retrieved 18 August 2022 from