1,1-Dichloroethane is a chlorinated hydrocarbon. It is a colorless oily liquid with a chloroform-like odor. It is not easily soluble in water, but miscible with most organic solvents.
Large volumes of 1,1-dichloroethane are manufactured, with annual production exceeding 1 million pounds in the United States. It is mainly used as a feedstock in chemical synthesis, chiefly of 1,1,1-trichloroethane. It is also used as a solvent for plastics, oils and fats, as a degreaser, as a fumigant in insecticide sprays, in halon fire extinguishers, and in cementing of rubber. It is used in manufacturing of high-vacuum resistant rubber and for extraction of temperature-sensitive substances. Thermal cracking at 400–500 °C and 10 MPa yields vinyl chloride. In the past, 1,1-dichloroethane was used as a surgical inhalational anesthetic.
In the atmosphere, 1,1-dichloroethane decomposes with half-life of 62 days, chiefly by reaction of photolytically produced hydroxyl radicals.