The major applications of ethanoic acid are to manufacture compounds important to a variety of industries. The sole largest application for ethanoic acid is the production of vinyl acetate monomer, a component in adhesives and paints. Other uses are:
(i) Almost all the ethanoic acid after industrial production is converted into ethanoic anhydride. It is used in production of fabric-acetate rayon & aspirin.
(ii) Chloro-ethanoic acid is used in removal of weeds in agricultural fields.
(iii) Ethanoic acid is used as reagent in laboratory.
(iv) Ethanoic acid is a colourless, sharp-tasting liquid with the characteristic smell of vinegar. Vinegar is used in preservation of fish & meat. It is also used in;
- Preservation of pickles.
- In cooling of soup.
- In cooking of fish, meat etc.
- In making of salad.
- Cleanning of refrigerator.
(v) Ethanoic acid and vinegar have several medical uses, including the treatment of stings from jellyfish. If applied immediately after a sting from box jellyfish, it can prevent serious injury or worse.
(vi) Ethanoic acid is used as a stop bath for photographic emulsion development, as a agent to remove lime scaling from metallic objects and as an agent to lyse red blood cells before white blood cells are examined.