Difference Between Oxidizing and Reducing Agents

The Basic Difference between oxidizing and reducing agents is that Reducing agents are substances that reduce the oxidizing power of other substances. They change ferric oxides to ferrous oxides, sulfur dioxide gas to sulfurous anhydride, and ammonia gas to ammonium hydroxide. Meanwhile, oxidizing agents are substances that increase the oxidizing power of another substance. They can convert carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide or nitric oxide into nitrogen dioxide.

A reducing agent is used in some cases as a disinfectant because it destroys microbes without destroying tissue cells. Oxidizing agents on the other hand destroy both tissue cells and microorganisms due to their strong ability for oxidation reactions with organic compounds which may be toxic to living organisms such as bacteria and viruses.

What is Oxidizing Agent?

  1. A chemical substance that reduces itself but oxidized another substance is known as the oxidizing agent.
  2. Br2 is an oxidizing agent in the following reaction.

H2S       +   Br2       →   2HBr  + S

What is a Reducing Agent?

  1. A chemical substance that oxidizes itself but reduced other substances is known as a reducing agent.
  2. H2S is a reducing agent in the following reaction.

H2S      +   Br2     →           2HBr  + S

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