We present a modified version of zirconia-coated carbonyl-iron (CI) particles that were invented at the University of Rochester in 2008. The amount of zirconia on the coating is increased to further protect the iron particles from corrosion when introduced to an acidic environment. Five low-pH, magnetorheological (MR) fluids were made with five acids: acetic, hydrochloric, nitric, phosphoric, and hydrofluoric. All fluids were based on the modified zirconia-coated CI particles. Off-line viscosity and pH stability were measured for all acidic MR fluids to determine the ideal fluid composition for acidic MR finishing of chemical-vapor–deposited (CVD) zinc sulfide (ZnS) and other infrared (IR) optical materials, such as hot-isostatic-pressed (HIP) ZnS, CVD zinc selenide (ZnSe), and magnesium fluoride (MgF2). Results show significant reduction in surface artifacts (millimeter-size, pebble-like structures on the finished surface) for several standard-grade CVD ZnS substrates and good surface roughness for the non-CVD MgF2 substrate when MR finished with our advanced acidic MR fluid.