What Does Ammonia Smell Like?

What Does Ammonia Smell Like?

As An Amazon Associate We Earn From Qualifying Purchases At No Extra Cost To You

Ammonia is a gas and a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen and is chemically represented as NH3. This gas is corrosive and has a very sharp odor. Ammonia is one of the most widely produced chemicals in the world. It is found both in the human body and in nature. This colorless gas can be highly flammable when exposed to heat instead of its non-flammable state. Almost 80% of the ammonia produced in industries is used to manufacture plastics, explosives, fabrics, pesticides, dyes, and other chemicals. Ammonia is also popularly used for water purification and the production of refrigerant gas. It is also found in cleaning agents used for both industrial and domestic use. 

What Does Ammonia Smell Like?

Ammonia has a pungent smell that is often described as a mixture of urine and bleach. The smell of ammonia is irritating when exposed to air. Ammonia is corrosive and therefore exposure to high concentrations of it can cause instant burning and itching of the eyes, nose, throat, and respiratory tract. When a small amount of ammonia is inhaled, it can cause nasal irritation and coughing.

What Is Ammonia?

Ammonia is a colorless poisonous gas with a harmful smell. It is an inorganic compound of nitrogen and hydrogen and occurs naturally in our environment in an almost undetectable state. Traces of ammonia are present in our urine, sweat, pets, and trees in our surroundings. Although chlorofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons are now largely used as refrigerants, ammonia was predominantly the preferred gas for the refrigerant. Ammonia is currently used mostly in the production of cleaning agents such as glass cleaners and bleaches. Ammonia can be produced by the Haber-Bosch process, which involves the reaction between nitrogen and hydrogen gases at high temperatures and pressures.

What Does Ammonia Mean?

In terms of its origin, ammonia can be found in both natural and artificial sources. In nature, ammonia is produced through a process called nitrogen fixation, whereby certain types of bacteria convert atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia. This process is essential for the nitrogen cycle and is responsible for maintaining the balance of nitrogen in the environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does ammonia smell similar to?

Ammonia smells similar to highly concentrated urine and even bleach. They both have a toxic smell to them. This is because ammonia can be found in both of these liquids.

What are the three types of ammonia?

There is only one type of ammonia, which is a colorless gas with the chemical formula NH3. It consists of one nitrogen atom and three hydrogen atoms and has a pungent odor. However, ammonia can exist in different physical states depending on the temperature and pressure conditions. At room temperature and standard pressure, ammonia is a gas, but it can be liquefied under high pressure and cooled to a temperature of -33.34°C. Additionally, ammonia can form solid compounds with certain metals, such as lithium and sodium, to create ammonia salts.

Does ammonia have a scent?

The smell of ammonia is very strong and noxious. It can be easily smelt from quite a distance because of the irritating and long-lasting smell it releases when exposed to oxygen.

What does ammonia do to your body?

Ammonia is a toxic gas that is harmful to the human body when inhaled or ingested. Here are some of the effects that ammonia can have on the body:

Irritation of the respiratory system

Inhaling ammonia can irritate the nose, throat, and lungs, leading to coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.

Skin and eye irritation

Contact with liquid ammonia or ammonia gas can cause skin irritation, burns, and even blindness if it comes in contact with the eyes.

Gastrointestinal irritation

Ingesting ammonia can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Chemical burns

Ammonia is a strong alkaline substance, which means that it can cause chemical burns if it comes into contact with the skin or mucous membranes.

Damage to the central nervous system

High levels of ammonia in the bloodstream can lead to damage to the central nervous system, causing symptoms such as confusion, seizures, and coma.

Lung damage

Prolonged exposure to ammonia can cause chronic lung damage, leading to conditions such as bronchitis and asthma.

Is ammonia a poison?

while ammonia is not technically considered a poison, it can be harmful and potentially deadly if ingested, inhaled, or otherwise improperly handled. It is important to take proper precautions when working with ammonia or in areas where it is present, such as cleaning products or industrial facilities.

How long does the ammonia smell last?

The length of time that the ammonia smell lasts depends on several factors, such as the concentration of ammonia, the ventilation in the area, and the surface on which the ammonia was spilled.

In general, the strong smell of ammonia can linger for several hours to a day or more in a poorly ventilated area. However, if the spill is cleaned up promptly and the area is well-ventilated, the smell may dissipate more quickly.

How much ammonia can harm you?

Ammonia is a toxic gas that is commonly used in cleaning products, fertilizers, and other industrial applications. At low concentrations, it may irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, as well as coughing and difficulty breathing. Prolonged exposure to low concentrations may also lead to chronic respiratory problems.

At higher concentrations, ammonia can cause more serious health effects, such as the burning of the eyes and skin, respiratory distress, and even death. Inhalation of high concentrations of ammonia can cause severe damage to the respiratory tract, leading to bronchitis, pneumonia, and edema of the lungs.

How do you get rid of ammonia body odor?

Ammonia body odor can be caused by a buildup of sweat and bacteria on the skin. Here are some ways to get rid of ammonia body odor:

Take a shower

Taking a shower with warm water and soap can help remove bacteria and sweat from your skin.

Use an antiperspirant

An antiperspirant can help reduce sweat production, which can help prevent the buildup of bacteria and odor.

Wear breathable clothing

Wear clothing made from breathable materials, such as cotton or linen, that allow air to circulate and help evaporate sweat.

Use a body powder

A body powder can help absorb excess moisture and reduce odor.

Stay hydrated

Drinking plenty of water can help dilute the concentration of ammonia in your sweat and reduce odor.

Is ammonia the queen of chemicals?

While ammonia is an important and useful chemical, it is not typically referred to as the "queen of chemicals."

"Queen of chemicals" is a term that is sometimes used to describe certain compounds that have historically been considered especially important or versatile. For example, sulfuric acid has been called the "king of chemicals" due to its widespread use in industry and its importance to many chemical processes.

Which food has more ammonia?

Ammonia is not typically found in high levels in foods, as it is a toxic compound that can cause harm to the body. However, small amounts of ammonia can be found naturally in some foods, and it can also be added to certain processed foods as a preservative or leavening agent.

Among the foods that naturally contain small amounts of ammonia are some types of fish such as herring, mackerel, and sardines, as well as fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, and some cheeses. However, the levels of ammonia in these foods are generally considered to be safe for consumption.

What is the pH of ammonia?

Ammonia has a ph between 7-14 which makes it alkaline.

How do you know if you have high ammonia levels?

High ammonia levels in the body can cause a range of symptoms and health problems. Some common signs and symptoms of high ammonia levels may include the following:

Changes in mental status

Confusion, disorientation, and changes in behavior, personality, or mood may occur.

Fatigue and weakness

High levels of ammonia can cause fatigue and weakness due to the buildup of toxins in the body.

Loss of appetite

High ammonia levels can cause a loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting.

Breath odor

A strong, foul odor may be present on the breath due to high levels of ammonia.

Hand tremors

High ammonia levels can cause hand tremors, which may be mild or severe.

Difficulty concentrating

High levels of ammonia in the brain can cause difficulty concentrating and problems with memory and other cognitive functions.


High ammonia levels can cause yellowing of the skin and eyes, which is a sign of liver damage.

What organ gets rid of ammonia?

The liver is primarily responsible for getting rid of ammonia in the body. Ammonia is a waste product of protein metabolism, and the liver converts it into urea, a less toxic compound that can be safely excreted by the kidneys in the urine. This process is known as the urea cycle. If the liver is not functioning properly, ammonia can build up in the bloodstream and cause serious health problems.

What neutralizes ammonia?

Several substances can neutralize ammonia, depending on the specific application and context. Here are a few examples:

Acidic substances

Ammonia is a base, so adding an acidic substance can neutralize it. For example, vinegar (which contains acetic acid) can be used to neutralize the ammonia in household cleaning applications.

Chlorine bleach

Chlorine bleach can also neutralize the ammonia. However, it's important to be cautious when using bleach, as it can produce harmful fumes when mixed with ammonia.


Artificially, ammonia is primarily produced through the Haber-Bosch process, which was developed in the early 20th century. This process involves combining nitrogen and hydrogen gases under high pressure and temperature in the presence of a catalyst to produce ammonia. This method revolutionized the production of ammonia and allowed for large-scale industrial production of fertilizer, which has had a significant impact on global agriculture.

Back to blog

Leave a comment