Sodium Hypochlorite: An Unsung Hero During COVID-19

Sodium Hypochlorite: An Unsung Hero During COVID-19

Health care professionals, first responders, tireless volunteers, and many others who have worked relentlessly during the last several months battling COVID-19 around the world deserve the recognition and appreciation they receive each day.

However, there is an unsung hero, working tirelessly behind the scenes, disinfecting the world around us. Sodium hypochlorite is the active ingredient in bleach, frequently used by hospital personnel and, today, just about everyone to disinfect surfaces to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

What is Sodium Hypochlorite?

Sodium hypochlorite (NaOCL) is a chlorine disinfectant in liquid form. Also known as bleach, sodium hypochlorite can be produced in one of two ways: through electrolysis of a brine (saltwater) mixture or by adding chlorine gas to caustic soda.

Traditionally, sodium hypochlorite has been used for water purification as well as to sanitize surfaces, remove odors, and handle bleaching needs.

Is Sodium Hypochlorite Effective Against COVID-19?

Sodium hypochlorite is the key ingredient in what is more commonly known as chlorine bleach. The American Chemistry Council has stated that typical household laundry bleach contains between 5.25% sodium hypochlorite in regular strength products and 6% in ultra-strength products.

Besides whitening laundry and sterilizing equipment in industries such as food production, sodium hypochlorite can be used as a disinfectant to curb the spread of disease.

According to the World Health Organization, sodium hypochlorite formulations “dissolve in water to create a dilute aqueous chlorine solution in which undissociated hypochlorous acid (HOCl) is active as the antimicrobial compound.” This compound exhibits effective antimicrobial activity. The WHO recommends a concentration of 0.1% (1000 ppm) in the context of COVID-19, which it considers conservative to inactivate nearly all pathogens.

How Else is Sodium Hypochlorite Used?

Besides protecting you against the potential spread of COVID-19, sodium hypochlorite had many other applications as well. It is frequently used to purify water in wastewater facilities, in the oil and gas industry, and in power plants. In addition, it’s used as a bleaching agent in pulp and paper as well as textile industries. Finally, sodium hypochlorite is critical to purify and refine components for metallurgical and chemical engineering applications.

Electrolytic Technologies’ Point-of-Use Technologies

Electrolytic Technologies offers a range of technologies that generate sodium hypochlorite on-site and on-demand. Production capacities range from 37 gallons per day (140 L) of 0.8% to 40,000 gallons per day (150,000 L) of 12.5%. Klorigen can produce high-quality commercial strength sodium hypochlorite at concentrations up to 15%. The benefits of producing the disinfection chemical close to the point-of-use include cost, procurement efficiencies, reliable product, and safety.