Acids, Bases, and Salts

What are Acids, Bases, and Salts?

Many acids and bases occur naturally in nature, such as citric acid in fruits like orange, lemon etc, tartaric acid in tamarind, malic acid in apples and lactic acid in milk and milk products, hydrochloric acid in gastric juices.

Similarly, many bases are found such as lime water. We use many of these acids in our day-to-day life, such as vinegar or acetic acid in the kitchen, boric acid for laundry, baking soda for the purpose of cooking, washing soda for cleaning etc.

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Many of the acids that we do not consume in the household are used in the laboratories and industries, which include an acid such as HCl, H2SO4 etc. and bases such as NaOH, KOH etc. When these acids and bases are mixed in the right proportions, the neutralization reaction thus results in the formation of salt and water. Some naturally occurring salts found in nature include NaCl and KCl etc in seawater and natural rock deposits. In this section, we will read more about acid, base and salt and their properties.


  1. Acid:- An acid is defined as a substance whose water solution tastes sour, turns blue litmus red and neutralizes bases.
  2. Base:- A substance is called base if its aqueous solution tastes bitter, turns red litmus blue or neutralizes acids. 
  3. Salt:- Salt is a neutral substance whose aqueous solution does not affect litmus.

Acids, Bases, and Salts

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The term acid is derived from a Latin word ‘acidus’ or ‘acere’, which means sour. The most common characteristic is their sour taste. An acid is a substance that renders ionizable hydronium ion (H3O+) in its aqueous solution. It turns blue litmus paper red. These dissociate in their aqueous solution to form their constituent ions, as given by the following examples.

Dissociation of Acids

Lime Juice is Acidic in Nature

Based on their occurrence, they are divided into two types- Natural and mineral acids.

Natural Acids: These are obtained from natural sources, such as fruits and animal products. For e.g. lactic, citric, and tartaric acid etc.

Mineral Acids: Mineral acids are acids prepared from minerals. For example, Hydrochloric acid (HCl), Sulphuric Acid (H2SO4), and nitric acid (HNO3) etc.

Also Check ⇒ Dilute Acids


The most common characteristic of bases is their bitter taste and soapy feel. A base is a substance that renders hydroxyl ion(OH) in their aqueous solution. Bases turn the colour of red litmus paper to blue.

Many Cleaning Solutions are Basic in Nature

The bases dissociate in their aqueous solution to form their constituent ions, given by the following examples.

Dissociation of Bases


Salt is an ionic compound that results from the neutralization reaction of acids and bases. Salts are constituted of positively charged ions, known as cations and negatively charged ions, known as anions, which can either be organic or inorganic in nature. These ions are present in a relative amount, thus rendering the nature of the salt neutral.

Many Naturally Occurring Rocks and Minerals are Salts

The formation of salt can be seen from the chemical reactions shown in the equations below.

Neutralization Reactions of Acids and Bases

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

What is salt in acid base and salt?

In chemistry, a salt is a substance obtained by the reaction of an acid and a base. Salts are composed of positive ions (cations) of bases and negative ions (anions) of acids. The reaction of acid and base is called the neutralization reaction.

Is NH4Cl a basic salt?

Ammonium chloride (chemical formula NH4Cl) is an acid salt because it is a salt of a strong acid (i.e. hydrochloric acid) and a weak base (i.e. ammonium hydroxide).

What are the 2 types of acids?

There are two main types of acids: organic acids and inorganic acids. Inorganic acids are sometimes referred to as inorganic acids. Generally speaking, organic acids are not as strong as inorganic acids.

Is salt basic or acidic?

The salt is basic only when it contains a weak acid conjugate base. For example, sodium chloride contains chloride (Cl-), the conjugate base of HCl.

What happens when salt reacts with HCl?

In this case, the acid is dilute hydrochloric acid and the metal is iron. Dilute hydrochloric acid is added to the iron filings to generate iron (II) chloride and hydrogen. In this reaction, iron replaces hydrogen from hydrochloric acid to form iron chloride and hydrogen. Gas, this reaction is a simple displacement reaction.

To learn more about acids and bases and neutralization reactions, the pH scale and other related topics, come register with BYJU’S and download BYJU’S – The Learning App.

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