|Jmol-3D images||Image 1|
|Molar mass||90.03 g mol−1
126.07 g mol-1 (dihydrate)
|Density||1.90 g cm-3 (anhydrous)
1.653g cm-3 (dihydrate)
189-191 °C, 462-464 K, 372-376 °F (101.5 °C (214.7 °F) dihydrate)
|Solubility in water||14.3 g/100ml (25 °C)|
|Solubility||23.7 g/100ml (15 °C) in ethanol
1.4 g/100ml (15 °C) in diethyl ether 
|Acidity (pKa)||1.25, 4.14|
|Flash point||166 °C (331 °F)|
|Related compounds||oxalyl chloride
phenyl oxalate ester
| (what is: / ?)
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Oxalic acid is an organic compound with the formula H2C2O4. It is a colorless crystalline solid that dissolves in water to give colorless solutions. It is classified as a dicarboxylic acid. In terms of acid strength, it is much stronger than acetic acid. Oxalic acid is a reducing agent and its conjugate base, known as oxalate (C2O42−), is a chelating agent for metal cations. Typically, oxalic acid occurs as the dihydrate with the formula H2C2O4·2H2O. Ingestion of oxalic acid through skin contact or orally is dangerous.
Oxalic acid is mainly manufactured by the oxidation of carbohydrates or glucose using nitric acid or air in the presence of vanadium pentoxide. A variety of precursors can be used including glycolic acid and ethylene glycol. A newer method entails oxidative carbonylation of alcohols to give the diesters of oxalic acid:
- 4 ROH + 4 CO + O2 → 2 (CO2R)2 + 2 H2O
Laboratory methods 
Anhydrous oxalic acid exists as two polymorphs; in one the hydrogen-bonding results in a chain-like structure whereas the hydrogen bonding pattern in the other form defines a sheet-like structure. Because the anhydrous material is both acidic and hydrophilic (water seeking), it is used in esterifications.
Oxalic acid is a relatively strong acid, despite being a carboxylic acid:
- C2O4H2 → C2O4H− + H+; pKa = 1.27
- C2O4H− → C2O42− + H+; pKa = 4.27
Oxalic acid undergoes many of the reactions characteristic of other carboxylic acids. It forms esters such as dimethyl oxalate (m.p. 52.5–53.5 °C). It forms an acid chloride called oxalyl chloride.
At least two pathways exist for the enzyme-mediated formation of oxalate. In one pathway, oxaloacetate, a component of the Krebs citric acid cycle, is hydrolyzed to oxalate and acetic acid by the enzyme oxaloacetase:
- [O2CC(O)CH2CO2]2- + H2O → C2O42- + CH3CO2-
Occurrence in foods and plants 
Calcium oxalate is the most common component of kidney stones. Early investigators isolated oxalic acid from wood-sorrel (Oxalis). Its presence makes it dangerous to eat unripe carambola or monstera fruits. Members of the spinach family are high in oxalates, as is sorrel. Rhubarb leaves contain about 0.5% oxalic acid and jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) contains calcium oxalate crystals. Bacteria produce oxalates from oxidation of carbohydrates.
Oxidized bitumen or bitumen exposed to gamma rays also contains oxalic acid among its degradation products. Oxalic acid may increase the leaching of radionuclides conditioned in bitumen for radioactive waste disposal.
The conjugate base of oxalic acid (oxalate) is a competitive inhibitor of the lactate dehydrogenase(LDH) enzyme. LDH catalyses the conversion of pyruvate to lactic acid (End product of the Fermentation (Anaerobic) Process) oxidising the coenzyme NADH to NAD+ and H+ concurrently. Restoring NAD+ levels are essential to the continuation of anaerobic energy metabolism through glycolysis. As cancer cells preferentially use anaerobic metabolism (see Warburg effect) inhibition of LDH has been shown to inhibit tumor formation and growth, thus is an interesting potential course of cancer treatment.
Oxalic acid's main applications include cleaning or bleaching, especially for the removal of rust (iron complexing agent), e.g. Bar Keepers Friend is an example of a household cleaner containing oxalic acid. Its utility in rust removal agents is due to its forming a stable, water soluble salt with ferric iron, ferrioxalate ion.
Extractive metallurgy 
Oxalic acid is an important reagent in lanthanide chemistry. Hydrated lanthanide oxalates form readily in strongly acidic solutions in a densely crystalline, easily filtered form, largely free of contamination by nonlanthanide elements. Thermal decomposition of these oxalate gives the oxides, which is the most commonly marketed form of these elements.
Niche uses 
Oxalic acid is rubbed onto completed marble sculptures to seal the surface and introduce a shine.
Content in food items 
This table was originally published in Agriculture Handbook No. 8-11, Vegetables and Vegetable Products, 1984.
|Vegetable||Oxalic acid (g/100 g)|
Toxicity and safety 
Oxalic acid has toxic effects through contact and if ingested; manufacturers provide details in Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). It is not identified as mutagenic or carcinogenic; there is a possible risk of congenital malformation in the foetus; may be harmful if inhaled, and extremely destructive to tissue of mucous membranes and upper respiratory tract; harmful if swallowed and causes burns; harmful, destructive of tissue and causes burns if absorbed through skin or in contact with the eyes. Symptoms and effects include burning sensation, cough, wheezing, laryngitis, shortness of breath, spasm, inflammation and oedema of the larynx, inflammation and oedema of the bronchi, pneumonitis, pulmonary oedema.
The toxicity of oxalic acid is due to kidney failure, which arises because it causes precipitation of solid calcium oxalate, the main component of kidney stones. Oxalic acid can also cause joint pain due to the formation of similar precipitates in the joints. Ingestion of ethylene glycol results in oxalic acid as a metabolite which can also cause acute kidney failure.
- Radiant Agro Chem. "Oxalic Acid MSDS".
- Bjerrum, J., et al. Stability Constants, Chemical Society, London, 1958.
- Yonemitsu Eiichi, Isshiki Tomiya, Suzuki Tsuyoshi, Yashima Yukio, Process for the production of oxalic acid, US 3678107
- Wilhelm Riemenschneider, Minoru Tanifuji "Oxalic acid" in Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, 2002, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim. doi: 10.1002/14356007.a18_247.
- Practical Organic Chemistry by Julius B. Cohen, 1930 ed. preparation #42
- Clarke H. T.;. Davis, A. W. (1941), "Oxalic acid (anhydrous)", Org. Synth.: 421; Coll. Vol. 1
- Wells, A.F. (1984) Structural Inorganic Chemistry, Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-855370-6.
- Bowden, E. (1943), "Methyl oxalate", Org. Synth.: 414; Coll. Vol. 2
- Kovacs K.A., Grof P., Burai L., Riedel M. (2004). "Revising the mechanism of the permanganate/oxalate reaction". J. Phys. Chem. A 108 (50): 11026–11031. doi:10.1021/jp047061u.
- Martin V. Dutton, Christine S. Evans "Oxalate production by fungi: its role in pathogenicity and ecology in the soil environment" Canadian Journal of Microbiology, 1996, vol. 42, p. 881-895. doi:10.1139/m96-114.
- Rombauer, Rombauer Becker, and Becker (1931/1997). Joy of Cooking, p.415. ISBN 0-684-81870-1.
- Novoa, William; Alfred Winer, Andrew Glaid, George Schwert (1958). "Lactic Dehydrogenase V. inhibiton by Oxamate and Oxalate". Journal of Biological Chemistry.
- Le, Anne; Charles Cooper, Arvin Gouw, Ramani Dinavahi, Anirban Maitra, Lorraine Deck, Robert Royer, David Vander Jagt, Gregg Semenza, Chi Dang (14). "Inhibition of lactate dehydrogenase A induces oxidative stress and inhibits tumor progression". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
- Sigma-Aldrich: Oxalic acid dihydrate Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)
- Safety Officer in Physical Chemistry (August 13, 2005). "Safety (MSDS) data for oxalic acid dihydrate". Oxford University. Retrieved December 30, 2009.
- CDC: Documentation for Immediately Dangerous To Life or Health Concentrations (IDLHs), Oxalic acid, May 1994
- EMEA Committee for veterinary medicinal products, oxalic acid summary report, December 2003
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Oxalic acid|
- International Chemical Safety Card 0529
- "Oxalic acid". ChemicalLand21.com.
- Table: Oxalic acid content of selected vegetables (USDA)
- Alternative link: Table: Oxalic Acid Content of Selected Vegetables (USDA)
- About rhubarb poisoning (The Rhubarb Compendium)
- Oxalosis & Hyperoxaluria Foundation (OHF) The Oxalate Content of Food 2008 (PDF)
- Oxalosis & Hyperoxaluria Foundation (OHF) Diet Information
- Calculator: Water and solute activities in aqueous oxalic acid