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Sodium hypochlorite

Chemical Formula: NaOCl


Chlorine bleach


Sodium hypochlorite is usually sold in solution in water, where it makes a greenish yellow liquid.

Household bleaches usually contain sodium hypochlorite in a 3% to 6% solution. Some sodium hydroxide (lye) is added to keep the pH high to avoid decomposition. If the solution is made more acidic, sodium hypochlorite will dissociate, producing chlorine gas and oxygen.

It is made by bubbling chlorine gas through a solution of sodium hydroxide.

In the environment, it breaks down into water, oxygen, and table salt.


Sodium hypochlorite is the main ingredient in laundry bleach.

Because it is an excellent disinfectant, as well as a bleaching agent, it is used in many disinfectants and household cleaners.

Despite the name "chlorine bleach", in normal use there is no chlorine gas involved in the action of bleaching or disinfecting.

Sodium hypochlorite is one of the best disinfectants known, killing bacteria, yeasts, fungus, spores, even viruses.

Sodium hypochlorite is also used to disinfect water supplies and swimming pools, although calcium hypochlorite in powder or pellect form is also used, due to the convenience of the solid form. Sodium hypochlorite is too hygroscopic (it absorbs water from the air) to be used conveniently in solid form.

sodium hypochlorite: InChI=1/ClO.Na/c1-2;/q-1;+1

By Simon Quellen Field
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