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Ammonia vs. Cloudy Ammonia: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Published on February 2, 2024
Ammonia is a colorless gas with a pungent odor, used in various forms for cleaning, whereas cloudy ammonia is a cleaning solution containing ammonia, water, and soap.

Key Differences

Ammonia, chemically known as NH3, is a colorless gas with a characteristic sharp, pungent odor. Cloudy ammonia, on the other hand, is a mixture of ammonia gas dissolved in water with added surfactants or soap, giving it a cloudy appearance. While pure ammonia is used in both industrial and commercial contexts for various applications, cloudy ammonia is specifically formulated for cleaning purposes.
Ammonia in its pure form is a powerful compound often used in fertilizers, refrigerants, and industrial cleaners. Cloudy ammonia, being a diluted form, is less potent and is typically used as a household cleaner for surfaces like glass, tiles, and jewelry. The addition of soap in cloudy ammonia enhances its cleaning ability, unlike pure ammonia, which is solely a strong alkaline solution.
Handling ammonia requires caution due to its corrosive nature and strong fumes, which can irritate the skin, eyes, and respiratory system. Cloudy ammonia, while still requiring careful handling, is generally safer for household use due to its lower concentration of ammonia. Ammonia in its concentrated form is more hazardous compared to the diluted and soapy composition of cloudy ammonia.
In industrial applications, ammonia is used in large-scale processes such as the production of nitric acid and as a refrigerant in cooling systems. Cloudy ammonia, being more consumer-oriented, is a common component in domestic cleaning products, offering effective cleaning without the high toxicity of pure ammonia. Both forms of ammonia have distinct uses, but their handling and safety measures differ significantly.
Ammonia's versatility extends to waste treatment and as a precursor to various nitrogenous compounds in the chemical industry. Cloudy ammonia, being a specific formulation, is limited to cleaning and degreasing applications. While ammonia in its gaseous or concentrated liquid form serves a variety of industrial needs, cloudy ammonia is tailored for everyday cleaning tasks.

Comparison Chart


Pure ammonia gas (NH3)
Ammonia with water and soap


Colorless gas or liquid
Cloudy liquid


Fertilizers, refrigerants, industrial cleaners
Household cleaning, glass and tile cleaning

Safety and Handling

Corrosive, strong fumes, requires caution
Less potent, safer for household use


Industrial and commercial
Domestic cleaning

Ammonia and Cloudy Ammonia Definitions


Ammonia acts as a refrigerant in cooling systems.
Industrial refrigeration systems often use ammonia due to its effectiveness.

Cloudy Ammonia

Cloudy ammonia is suitable for cleaning various surfaces like glass and jewelry.
He used cloudy ammonia to restore the shine to his silver jewelry.


Ammonia is used in the manufacture of plastics, explosives, and other chemicals.
Ammonia is a key ingredient in the production of various synthetic materials.

Cloudy Ammonia

Cloudy ammonia is a diluted ammonia solution with added soap, used for cleaning.
Cloudy ammonia is effective for cleaning greasy kitchen tiles.


Ammonia is a colorless gas with a pungent odor, used in many industries.
Ammonia is widely used in agriculture as a high-nitrogen fertilizer.

Cloudy Ammonia

Cloudy ammonia is commonly used in domestic cleaning products.
Cloudy ammonia is a key ingredient in many multi-purpose home cleaners.


Ammonia is a common component in cleaning products.
The strong cleaning power of ammonia makes it popular in commercial cleaners.

Cloudy Ammonia

Cloudy ammonia combines the cleaning power of ammonia with soap.
For tougher stains, cloudy ammonia works better than regular soap solutions.


Ammonia is used in waste and water treatment.
Ammonia plays a role in neutralizing acidic waste streams.

Cloudy Ammonia

Cloudy ammonia is a milder, safer form of ammonia for household use.
She used cloudy ammonia to clean her windows, leaving them streak-free.


A colorless, pungent gas, NH3, extensively used to manufacture fertilizers and a wide variety of nitrogen-containing organic and inorganic chemicals. Ammonia is the chief nitrogen product excreted by fish and other aquatic animals.


What is cloudy ammonia?

Cloudy ammonia is a diluted ammonia solution with added soap for cleaning purposes.

Is cloudy ammonia safe for everyday use?

Yes, it is safer than pure ammonia but still requires cautious handling.

What is ammonia?

Ammonia is a colorless, pungent gas used in various industrial and cleaning processes.

Can cloudy ammonia be used on all surfaces?

It's effective on many surfaces but should be used with caution on delicate materials.

Can ammonia be used as a household cleaner?

Yes, but it's often used in a diluted form or as part of commercial cleaning products.

How should ammonia be stored?

Ammonia should be stored in a cool, well-ventilated area away from acids and heat.

What are the industrial uses of ammonia?

Ammonia is used in fertilizer production, refrigeration, and chemical manufacturing.

Can cloudy ammonia be used for laundry?

It can be used for certain laundry applications, but it's important to follow specific guidelines.

How is ammonia produced industrially?

It's primarily produced through the Haber-Bosch process, combining nitrogen and hydrogen.

Is cloudy ammonia effective against bacteria?

It has some disinfectant properties but is not a primary choice for sterilization.

Is ammonia flammable?

Ammonia is not flammable, but it can be explosive under certain conditions.

Can ammonia be mixed with other cleaning agents?

Mixing ammonia with other chemicals, especially bleach, is dangerous and should be avoided.

Is ammonia naturally occurring?

Yes, ammonia occurs naturally in the environment and is part of the nitrogen cycle.

Is cloudy ammonia environmentally friendly?

It's less harmful than pure ammonia but should still be used responsibly.

What precautions should be taken when using cloudy ammonia?

Use in a well-ventilated area, wear gloves, and avoid contact with skin and eyes.

Does cloudy ammonia leave residue on surfaces?

It usually does not leave a residue if used properly and rinsed off.

What are the health risks of ammonia exposure?

Exposure can cause irritation to the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract.

How does cloudy ammonia compare with regular soap?

It's generally more effective in dealing with grease and grime than regular soap.

Can ammonia be used in gardening?

Diluted ammonia solutions can be used as a fertilizer in gardening.

Can cloudy ammonia be used in dishwashers?

It's not recommended for use in dishwashers due to potential chemical reactions and residue.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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