Cleaning & Disinfecting

Complete Guide to Hypochlorous Acid

Hypochlorous acid product

Are you looking for an effective way to clean surfaces and equipment without damaging the environment? Do you want a powerful sanitizer and disinfectant that works extremely well without harsh chemicals? Hypochlorous acid (HOCl) is a completely natural, and highly effective cleaning substance. As one of nature’s oldest disinfectants, this basic solution is used by our own bodies to fight internal infections. Thanks to new stabilization methods and improved shelf life, HOCl can also be used externally for deep cleaning and disinfecting without compromise.

Let’s take a detailed look at hypochlorous acid, including its many applications, method of action, and even the safety profile for human and animal use.


Hypochlorous acid product


What is Hypochlorous Acid?

HOCl is a simple natural substance that forms when chlorine dissolves in water. Sometimes called hypo, HOCl is an endogenous oxidizing agent found in all mammals. It is effective against a wide range of micoorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses. HOCl is used by your white blood cells to help fight off infections. While you may not be aware of HOCl, it’s constantly working behind the scenes to keep your immune system functioning at optimal level.

HOCl is an ideal disinfectant and sanitizer, as it’s easy on surfaces, noncorrosive, and effective in various forms. This powerful substance is environmentally friendly, with formulations made from HOCl requiring no harsh chemicals whatsoever. Due to its natural makeup, HOCl causes less irritation and fewer allergic reactions than traditional cleaning products.

HOCl is the active ingredient in electrolyzed water. This environmentally friendly cleaning product is created from electrically charged salt, water, and vinegar. HOCl can be made into either a liquid disinfectant or a vapor-based product, which makes it ideal for cleaning small or large spaces. Due to its natural synergy with biological systems, HOCl does not disrupt cellular functions or support the formation of superbugs.


Hypochlorous natural cleaner

Uses for Hypochlorous Acid HOCl

HOCl has a wide range of potential applications. From farming and manufacturing to food and health care, nature’s powerful disinfectant is used in countless commercial and public spaces. HOCl is manufactured in two primary formulations: a liquid-based disinfectant and a hypochlorous vapor product. While these formulations are both widely used, there are definite preferences depending on the application in question.

The following uses of HOCl are common (Note- PathoNex is not approved for all uses described below):

Surface Disinfectant

HOCl continues to gain market traction as a powerful surface cleaner. From office buildings to manufacturing plants, this versatile disinfectant offers better performance in a safer and greener package. Unlike synthetic cleaning products, it promotes health and safety, environmental sustainability, and indoor air quality. HOCl is the ingredient that gives bleach its anti-microbial power. Hypochlorous acid products are just as effective as traditional disinfectants, but they’re safer and healthier for the world around you.

Room Fogger or Sprayer

Along with being a powerful surface disinfectant, HOCl solutions can also be applied as a mist, fog, or spray. HOCl fogs provide effective microbial disinfection of multiple surfaces with a single application. Focused HOCl sprays can be applied to specific pieces of equipment or working areas. The fogging process alters the physical and chemical properties of the disinfectant, with dedicated spray products adjusting pH prior to application. Hypochlorous acid sprays are effective, and easy to use in a range of operating spaces.

Hand Sanitizing 

HOCl is a safe and effective hand sanitizer. While alcohol-based products are effective against bacteria and viruses, chlorine-based sanitizers such as HOCl offer greater protection in a much safer and more environmentally friendly package. Since the advent of the global pandemic, there has been a growing appetite for hand sanitizers, with HOCl providing a powerful and affordable alternative to alcohol-based products.

Water and Food Services

HOCl products are widely used to sanitize water and disinfect equipment for food services. As one of the safest and most effective chlorine-based disinfectants on the market, HOCl can be used in water and close to food without creating a disinfectant residue. HOCl has no charge, and it also has a relatively low molecular weight. For this reason, it does not damage cell walls and promote superbugs like some other chlorine-based products.

Healing, Skincare, and Oral Care

HOCl is widely used in medicine and healthcare, in hospitals, medical centers, and dental studios. This natural disinfectant is effective in reducing wound bacterial counts and was traditionally used to clean wounds on the battlefield. In addition, HOCl significantly reduces bacteria on toothbrushes and is effective as a mouthwash. HOCl is also widely used as a skincare product, with its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects useful for fighting acne and skin infections.

Agricultural Uses

HOCl is used in many agricultural applications, including animal farming, fruit and vegetable production, and food processing. It is frequently used to disinfect livestock living quarters and water troughs and is also used during milking. Additionally, HOCl is widely used to treat crops and clean equipment and utensils. Liquid disinfectant is typically used for small spaces, with a cleaning mist often used for larger areas.


Hypochlorous cleaner


How Does HOCl Clean and Disinfect?

This natural disinfectant has a simple chemical structure, which makes it versatile enough for a range of applications. Like its partner, hydrochloric acid (HCl), HOCl is a chlorine-based substance that is formed when chlorine gas reacts rapidly with water. Unlike HCl, however, HOCl is a weak acid that dissociates further into the hypochlorite ion and hydrogen ion.

While HOCl is a natural and endogenous substance, until recently, it was not possible to create a stable solution with a usable shelf life. Generating HOCl from dissolving dry calcium hypochlorite was limited to a shelf life of just four hours, which was not suitable for medical or healthcare applications. Recent advances in chlorine chemistry have created a solution, however, with HOCl now available with a shelf life of  up to 18 months. This generally makes it greener to use, which is ideal for sensitive applications connected with humans and animals.


Hocl sanitizer and disinfectant


Is HOCl Safe for Humans and Animals?

HOCl kills pathogens with no impact on other biological systems. HOCl is non-toxic and found naturally in the white blood cells of mammals. HOCl also helps prevent the formation of superbugs, especially in sensitive environments where lots of cleaning is required.

Disinfectants made from chlorine bleach or ammonium compounds are known to damage pathogen cell walls. Instead, neutral HOCl solutions provide a better alternative because pathogens treat HOCl like water, with this substance oxidizing bacteria, fungi, and viruses before destroying them from the inside out. This offers a number of advantages, including a decrease in superbug formation and a reduction in accidents and deaths from harsh chemical exposure.


During the global pandemic, HOCl has risen in popularity as an effective cleaning and disinfecting option. Whether you’re disinfecting a single surface or an entire facility, this powerful disinfectant just might be your most sustainable solution. If you want to experience the wonders of HOCl sanitizer and disinfectant, look no further than PathoNex® by PathoSans.

Note– this article describes a variety of uses for HOCl, not all of which are applicable to PathoNex. Please review the PathoNex label for recommended uses and handling.