Cleaning & Disinfecting

Why Hospitals Use Hypochlorous Acid

Why Hospitals Use Hypochlorous Acid

Cleanliness is important everywhere. However, cleaning and disinfecting are especially vital in hospitals where pathogens are likely present and any contamination could harm patients and staff members.

Because most hospital-bound patients are already vulnerable to illness, the facilities take special care to keep everything clean.

However, medical cleaners need to walk a fine line because harsh cleaning products can be as harmful as the pathogens and germs they are meant to clean.

One solution is to rely on hypochlorous acid in hospitals. This unique chemicalis an extremely effective disinfectant.

Here is a closer look at the advantages of using hypochlorous acid in hospitals.

What Is Hypochlorous acid?

How safe is it to use hypochlorous acid in hospitals? Consider its origin. Our human immune system actually creates hypochlorous acid to ward off pathogens and slow infections.

Industrially, the sanitizing and disinfecting agent gets produced by passing an electrical current through a mixture of vinegar and salt water. This transformation results in two compounds: hypochlorous acid (HOCl) and sodium hydroxide (NaOH), which is a common ingredient in detergents.

Depending on the purpose of a product, the manufacturer can combine the hypochlorous acid with other ingredients to make an effective cleaning agent.

How Does It Work?

The main selling point of hypochlorous acid is that it is highly effective at fighting germs and other pathogens while also being extremely gentle on the human body. It only contains salt, water, and vinegar, which are all substances that you can safely touch.

How does hypochlorous acid work? It is an oxidizing agent, which means it breaks down the chemical structure of the bacteria cells, effectively killing them.

Other disinfectants fall short in many ways. For example, bleach kills bacteria, viruses, and mold. However, it also irritates the skin and eyes and may cause other issues for those with chemical sensitivities. Another common cleaner, isopropyl alcohol, is a disinfectant, but it is ineffective on bacterial and fungal spores compared to HOCl.

There are challenges associated with using hypochlorous acid in hospitals. The manufacturing process needs to be correct. It needs to have a pH of between three and six to be effective, and it must be stored in a solution because HOCl itself is unstable.

A reliable manufacturer and good storage practices can ensure that you can get the benefits of hypochlorous acid in hospitals without having to deal with drawbacks of harsh alternatives. 



Uses of Hypochlorous Acid in Hospitals

Hypochlorous acid has several uses in hospitals and other medical environments.

  • Wound cleaning. Hypochlorous acid has been a wound cleaning agent since 1834. It is now commonly used in hospitals for cleaning wounds and chemical burns. It is popular for this purpose due to the combination of its germ-killing efficiency and gentleness on human skin.
  • Disinfectant. Due to its antibacterial properties, hypochlorous acid is an effective disinfectant for hospital surfaces. It has no harmful chemicals that can trigger allergies or adverse health conditions and no strong odor like bleach. It is gentle enough to use near people with severe chemical sensitivities. Hypochlorous acid is effective against dangerous pathogens like Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause antibiotic-resisting infections. 
  • Skincare. Hypochlorous acid helps the skin fight off bacteria. One particular use case is cleaning the face with hypochlorous acid to fight off bacteria deposited by masks worn by hospital staff and patients. Mask bacteria has also become an issue for the general public during COVID-19.
  • Killing COVID-19. The EPA lists hypochlorous acid as a pesticide and also accepts it as an effective killer of the SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19.

Hypochlorous acid is an ideal disinfectant for hospital settings, but its antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties make it a good cleaning choice for schools, homes, and restaurants as well. 

How to Use Hypochlorous Acid in Hospitals

Hypochlorous acid is an effective hospital-grade disinfectant. However, it needs to be properly manufactured and packaged to be truly effective. 

Hospitals should consider using a proven hypochlorous acid product like PathoNex. This product’s only active ingredient is hypochlorous acid, and it does not contain any alcohol, bleach, colorants, or artificial scents. It is safe enough to use on food-grade surfaces, so it has applications outside of hospitals as well. Because of the manufacturing process, PathoNex has the correct pH and stability to serve as an effective disinfectant in hospital settings. 

You can visit the manufacturer’s resource pages to find out more about PathoNex and hypochlorous acid in hospitals. 

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.