What Is Hypochlorous Acid (HOCl)?

What is hypochlorous acid (HOCl)?

Hypo-say what now? What is hypochlorous acid AKA HOCl?

Hypochlorous acid is nature’s oldest disinfectant, and it happens to be walking around in about 7.5 billion people right now. As in inside all humans, this very moment. Why? It’s the substance your white blood cells produce to fight off infections. It’s also the active ingredient in electrolyzed water, which is an industrial technology used for green cleaning and sanitizing. Electrolyzed water is made when electricity is used to change the chemical structure of salt, water & vinegar into a disinfectant as effective as bleach, but with no harmful chemicals, fumes, or residues. Pretty cool, right?

Hypochlorous acid for cleaning

Hypochlorous acid is a powerful yet gentle disinfectant and cleaning agent that can be used in many different settings. HOCl cleaner is highly effective against bacteria, viruses, and fungi while being non-toxic to humans and environmentally friendly.

In cleaning applications, hypochlorous disinfectant can be sprayed or applied directly onto surfaces such as countertops, floors, and bathroom fixtures to eliminate germs and odors. Its efficacy stems from its ability to penetrate and disrupt the cell membranes of microorganisms, rendering them inactive.

Despite being tough on germs, hypochlorous solution degrades into harmless salt and water, making it safe for use around food preparation areas and sensitive materials like fabrics and electronics.

Its versatility and potent germ-killing properties make hypochlorous cleaner an ideal choice for maintaining clean and hygienic environments in homes, hospitals, restaurants, and other public spaces.

Does hypochlorous acid kill mold?

Yes, hypochlorous acid is an effective mold killer. Mold is a type of fungus that can grow in damp and humid environments, and it can cause all sorts of problems from potential health risks to even causing structural damage to buildings if left unchecked.

HOCl works by penetrating the cell walls of mold spores, disrupting their structure and rendering them inactive. This ability to penetrate and kill mold makes hypochlorous acid an excellent choice for mold remediation and prevention. It can be applied directly to affected surfaces or used as a spray to target mold growth areas.

What industries use HOCl disinfectant?

Hypochlorous acid is so gentle that it has several uses in the healthcare and medical space. It’s FDA-approved for use in wound healingwound care, and eye care products and is also common in veterinary care products. It’s even used to eradicate biofilm. There has been extensive research on the gentleness and efficacy of HOCl cleaner when it comes to killing bacteria. It is so trusted and effective, that hospitals use it as a disinfectant in both the US and Japan. Given how effective it is at killing microbes without leaving behind harmful residues, hypochlorous cleaner is also used for preserving fresh produce. It’s even USDA-approved for use in organic crop production

Hypochlorous acid vs bleach vs hydrogen peroxide

So, is hypochlorous acid basically the same thing as hydrogen peroxide or bleach? Nope. While they all work as disinfectants in sanitation, agriculture, and healthcare, they’re actually quite different chemicals. Think of it this way: hydrogen peroxide is like alcohol in that it’s flammable and can be harmful if swallowed, causing stomach issues. Bleach, on the other hand, is a potent disinfectant but can be dangerous and irritating to the skin and respiratory system. Hypochlorous solution is a different story. It’s much more gentle to skin than both hydrogen peroxide and bleach. Plus, it’s got serious germ-fighting power without any toxic stuff. It breaks down into 2 non-toxic ingredients (water and salt), so it’s super eco-friendly. And get this—it tackles all sorts of germs, from bacteria to viruses to mold. That’s why it’s such a handy option for keeping things clean and germ-free.   

Hypochlorous acid in skincare

With its balance of antimicrobial properties and safe ingredients, HOCl has gained attention as an effective fighter against bacteria and other microorganisms that can contribute to skin issues such as acne and inflammation.

HOCl’s anti-inflammatory properties can help soothe irritated skin and promote healing with conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. Plus, because it’s gentle and non-irritating, it’s suitable for many sensitive skin types.

How to add HOCl to your skincare routine

HOCl can be included in a skincare routine by using products such as cleansers, toners, or mists that contain it as an active ingredient. These products can be applied after cleansing and before moisturizing to help fight bacteria, soothe irritation, and promote skin healing. As with any skincare ingredient, it’s advisable to consult with a dermatologist before incorporating it into your regimen, especially if you have specific skin concerns or conditions.

Are there dangers with using hypochlorous acid for skincare?

While HOCl is generally considered safe for use in skincare, for people with chlorine allergies, HOCl products may cause irritation or allergic reactions. And, in general, it’s important to consult with a dermatologist before using HOCl-based products extensively in your skin routine.

However, when used properly HOCl can be a beneficial antimicrobial and skincare ingredient.

How to make hypochlorous acid

To make hypochlorous acid is pretty simple chemistry. Hypochlorous solution starts with the correct proportions of three ingredients: salt, water, and vinegar. You may remember that a salt molecule is made up of the elements sodium and chloride (NaCl) and a water molecule is made up of hydrogen and oxygen (H2O). When an electrical current is applied to the solution, the molecules break apart and the elements form two new molecules:

Hypochlorous acid (HOCl) is nature’s super powerful disinfectant, and also the ingredient that gives bleach its anti-microbial power. When the pH of the solution is lowered to the correct level, HOCl is created, exactly the same substance that is your immune system’s germ fighter. So when you take your child to that indoor play area/petrie dish – your white blood cells get to work creating hypochlorous acid.

Sodium hydroxide (NaOH)

A common detergent used at different concentrations in everything from toothpaste to skin moisturizers to cleaning products. Because concentration levels vary so widely across products, so do toxicity levels. That’s why you can find this same ingredient in both toothpaste and drain cleaners.

Can you make hypochlorous acid at home?

At Force of Nature, we’ve harnessed the power of hypochlorous acid by miniaturizing the industrial-grade electrolyzed water technology to fit on your countertop and create your HOCl cleaner on demand. Our small appliance converts tap water, plus a capsule of salt, water, and vinegar, into a powerful multipurpose cleaner, deodorizer, EPA-registered sanitizer and disinfectant that replaces bleach, deodorizers, kitchen, bathroom, glass, and even rug cleaners. It’s just as effective as the top conventional cleaners but with zero toxic chemicals. It earns the 100% top allergen-free rating by the Mayo Clinic’s SkinSafe product safety rating system. 

Our EPA-registered medical-grade disinfectant kills 99.9% of germs, mold, and mildew and is on the EPA’s approved lists for COVID-19 & Monkeypox virus (Lists N & Q). It’s a rinse-free disinfectant that kills respiratory viruses and the viruses that cause cases of the flu. Force of Nature is also Carbon Neutral and Green Seal certified – it comes with reusable bottles so you can eliminate single-use plastic bottles. Just as great? It costs up to 80% less per oz than the top brands. Here’s a little video about the science.

Learn more about how Force of Nature kills viruses and bacteria and about how the electrolyzed water technology works. And if you want to learn even more, we’ve also got the scoop on how to compare electrolyzed water vs bleach, how Force of Nature is safe to use on just about any surface in your house, and how Force of Nature actually works.

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