Now that personal hygiene and cleanliness are more important than ever, it’s essential for people to know which cleaning products are effective and do not pose any health and environmental hazards.
Traditional cleaning products like bleach and quaternary ammonium compounds are made up of synthetic chemicals and contain toxins that impact human health and the environment. Both substances harm the lungs significantly, while traditional household cleaners and disinfectants, in general, are known to cause health issues.
Good thing there’s hypochlorous acid.
Although the name seems a bit intimidating, hypochlorous acid is actually a naturally occurring chemical produced by the body’s white blood cells. When you have a wound or infection, hypochlorous acid can fight harmful microorganisms like bacteria and viruses.
Hypochlorous acid promotes proper healing and does not affect the healthy cells designed to help the body recover while killing harmful pathogens. But what is hypochlorous acid exactly?
Here, we’ll talk about hypochlorous acid and how you can use it to clean and disinfect safely and effectively.
What Is Hypochlorous Acid and What Does It Do?
Hypochlorous acid (HOCl) is also known as electrolyzed, activated, enhanced, or super oxidized water. It is a weak type of acid formed when salt is dissolved in water and then electrolyzed. Surprisingly, however, HOCl is very effective at killing bacteria and viruses and destroying prions or infectious proteins (e.g., inanimate pet allergens). This is especially true when compared with bleach-based disinfectants and cleaners with a higher pH.
Another great thing about HOCl is that as long as no surfactants or detergents are added to it, HOCl is very gentle on surfaces, and solutions leave very little residue. This is why hypochlorous acid is usually recommended for eye care, pet care, wound care, and tattoo healing, among other things.
It is also used as a disinfectant in hospitals and schools because of its effectiveness and safety as a disinfectant. In fact, certain HOCl-based solutions approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are used as food contact sanitizers.
Steps for Using Hypochlorous Acid to Disinfect
If you’re planning to use HOCl to clean and disinfect surfaces, make sure you consider these steps:
- Clean the surface first to get rid of dust and other organic materials.
- Spray the recommended amount on the surface being disinfected.
- Depending on the surface, longer contact times may be required for complete disinfection. However, since there are hypochlorous acid solutions that don’t require rinsing, contact time may not be a concern.
For HOCl solutions considered to be food-contact safe and approved for use in farms and restaurants, there’s no need for rinsing or wiping items like fresh produce after use.
Benefits of Disinfecting With Hypochlorous Acid
There are many reasons why disinfecting with hypochlorous acid is a popular choice, including the following:
- It can kill germs or harmful microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, yeasts, fungi, and so on.
- It does not pose any hazards to cells and biological tissues, so you don’t even need to wear gloves when you use it.
- It can be used around children and pets. In fact, people use it in fish tanks to control algae and bacterial growth.
- It can be used to disinfect and clean everything – from rooms, mats, baby toys, and food products to schools and hospital surfaces.
- It does not pose any ecotoxicological hazards, as its end products are only salt and water.
Is Hypochlorous Acid Better Than Bleach?
Yes, hypochlorous acid is better than bleach because it does not impact health negatively, nor does it harm the environment. Just make sure you use HOCl that doesn’t contain any surfactants or any harsh chemicals and additives.
How Do You Store Hypochlorous Acid?
Hypochlorous acid should ideally be kept away from sunlight and stored in a cool, dark place. Keep it in coated glass, HDPE, or PET plastic containers, under stable temperatures of 45 ˚F to 75 ˚F. Mix only when needed, and always use distilled water for diluting HOCl.
HOCl – The Better, Safer Alternative
If you’re looking for a disinfectant and cleaning agent that’s 99.9% effective at killing germs and is a family-friendly way to disinfect, hypochlorous acid is your best bet.
If you have more questions about hypochlorous acid, please contact us. We make cleaning and disinfecting solutions that are powerful yet beneficial to health and the Earth.
Please 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.