The staff at ChemTalk has created our own list of favorite oxidizing agents and reducing agents, that are commonly used in chemistry labs and chemistry experiments. There are also beautiful infographics on this page, which anyone is free to use in return for a link back to this page. To learn more about oxidizing and reducing agents, read our articles on oxidation reduction and standard reduction potentials.
Care must be used when using an oxidizing or a reducing agent. The reaction can often be violent, or cause unexpected results or toxic gases. For example, many of the oxidizing agents can liberate chlorine from hydrochloric acid, and can cause large flames when mixed with glycerin. Conversely, a reducing agent like sodium thiosulfate is useful to have handy in a lab, in case of spilling bromine or iodine. It can quickly and safely help clean up.
Common Oxidizing Agents
When performing experiments, it is undoubtedly useful to know what oxidizing agents you can use for your reaction.
The staff at ChemTalk features the commonly used oxidizing agents to inform your own hands-on work at the bench!
List of Oxidizing Agents
- Hydrogen peroxide – often one of the best choices for an oxidizing agent in the lab
- Potassium dichromate – be careful as the Cr+6 ion is carcinogenic
- Sodium or calcium hypochlorite – very strong oxidizing agent that can react violently with organic material
- Nitric acid – excellent oxidizing agent, but often releases toxic nitrogen dioxide
- Oxygen (Air)
- Ozone – very powerful oxidizer, but can be difficult to generate in lab
- Potassium perchlorate
- Potassium chlorate – strong oxidizer, but can cause explosions and must be handled with extreme care
- Potassium permanganate
- Ammonium or sodium persulfate – often a good choice as an oxidizing agent as the product is the sulfate ion
Common Reducing Agents
When performing experiments, it is undoubtedly useful to know what reducing agents you can use for your reaction.
The staff at ChemTalk features the commonly used reducing agents to inform your own hands-on work at the bench!