What is HOCl used for?

Wound Care

Traditionally, Hypochlorous Acid has been used as a wound care agent, including to disinfect burns,  bruises, and other wounds.


It has the capacity to kill fungi, moulds, viruses, and bacteria. Hypochlorous  acid can be used to disinfect surfaces of the contaminated places such as hospitals, nursery, restaurants,  schools, public restrooms, laboratories, and other facilities where contamination can be spread.

The HOCl  consists of all the characteristics which ideal disinfectant and sanitizer must have including non-toxic activity to surface touch, non-corrosive, efficient in different ways, and relatively inexpensive. It is  important to know the properties of Hypochlorous Acid because the spread of pathogenic bacteria like  Salmonella, Burkholderia, E.coli, Mycobacterium, Pseudomonas and other bacteria which may be harmful  for the human health.[1] This type of bacteria can cause mild to life-threatening diseases in humans and  this can also be spread through the environment where the ideal decontamination plays an important role  to stop the spreading and killing the pathogens.  

Hypochlorous Acid Biocide

Hypochlorous Acid can be known to exhibit microbicidal activity by entering into the cell and targeting the  specific site in a very short time. High sodium hypochlorite pH interferes with permanent enzymatic  repression of the cytoplasmic membrane integrity, biosynthetic alterations in cellular metabolism and  phospholipid degradation found in lipid peroxidation.

HOCL Disinfects Food and Water

In health facilities, water distribution, and  specialized equipment, Hypochlorous acid is commonly used to produce weak water and salt solutions that  are safe to use as a disinfectant in food processing surfaces and water sources.[2] The reactivity of  Hypochlorous acid is mostly related to denaturing the biomolecules of bacteria and pathogens which are  present on the surfaces in which the reaction takes place with the different groups of biomolecules such as  sulfhydryl groups, amino groups, DNA and nucleotides, and lipid group. Hypochlorous acid can sufficiently  inactive the proteins containing the sulfhydryl groups with the process called oxidation. [3]

HOCl treats Blepharitis

By minimizing the bacterial load on the surface of the periocular skin, HOCl is used in the treatment of  blepharitis. A decrease of more than 99 percent in Staphylococcal load was achieved twenty minutes after  application of a saline hygiene solution containing HOCl at 100 ppm. [4]

HOCl cleans biofilm on Implant Surfaces

For cleaning biofilm-contaminated  implant surfaces, HOCl may be efficient. As compared with sodium hypochlorite and chlorhexidine, HOCl  substantially decreased the lipopolysaccharide concentration of Porphyromonas gingivalis and was well  tolerated by the oral tissues.


On toothbrushes, HOCl reduced bacteria significantly; it was effective as a  mouthwash and for disinfecting the toothbrush. [5]

Open Wounds

In open wounds, HOCl has been shown to be an  important agent in decreasing wound bacterial counts. HOCl reduced the bacterial counts by 4 to 6 logs in  an irrigation solution in an ultrasonic system. By the time of conclusive termination, the bacterial counts  for the saline solution-irrigated control wounds were back up to 105, but for the HOCl-irrigated wounds  remained at 102 or smaller. In more than 80% of patients in the saline solution group, postoperative closure  loss occurred versus 25% of those in the HOCl group.

Hospital Grade Disinfectant

A research looked at disinfecting HOCl-based  outpatient surgical centers. The rooms in the HOCl cleaning and disinfection research arm had considerably lower bacterial counts after cleaning with HOCl compared to rooms undergoing regular cleaning and  disinfection.  

A fogger takes a solution and produces a tiny aerosol mist to disinfect an area, preferably less than 20 μm  in scale. In the microbial disinfection of surfaces, HOCl fogs are highly efficient. The method of fogging will  change the disinfectant’s physical and chemical properties. Due to the predictable variations in the  properties of Hypochlorous fogs, pre-fogging modification of the solution’s concentration and pH enables  the concentration levels to be regulated to the desirable range in order to inactivate pathogens during  fogging. A research observed 3 to 5 log10 decreases in both infectivity and RNA titers of all studied viruses  on both vertical and horizontal surfaces when sufficient concentrations are used, indicating that fogging is  an efficient solution to minimizing viruses on surfaces. [7]

Because of their low settling velocity rate, the ability of a sprayer to render smaller particles can help the molecules of a solution to be suspended in the  air for a longer time. This can improve the opportunity of the solution to come into contact with and  inactivate pathogens. Thus, the aerosol scale of the fogger used should be smaller than 20 μm. In many  sectors, HOCl has applications from agriculture and hotels, from dairy to health care applications, including  chronic wound care and disinfection. [3] Fogging with Hypochlorous vapor has demonstrated virucidal  activity against various forms of viruses and bacteria, in addition to the use of HOCl as a liquid-based  disinfectant. Which is a possible advantage of disinfecting large environments where aerosols can be  airborne for long periods, such as medical and dental offices. Oral-maxillofacial surgeons may be at a  marginally better risk than their dental counterparts in terms of particle size, whereas ultrasonic scaling  and high-speed hand pieces produce tiny particles that last longer in the air. [7]


1. Gray, M., Wholey, W., & Jakob, U. (2013). Bacterial responses to reactive chlorine species. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3891400/

2. Sauro, S., Mannocci, F., Tay, F. R., Pashley, D. H., Cook, R., Carpenter, G. H., & Watson, T. F. (2009).  Deproteinization effects of NaOCl on acid-etched dentin in clinically-relevant vs prolonged periods  of application. A confocal and environmental scanning electron microscopy study. Operative  dentistry, 34(2), 166-173.

3. Block, M., & Rowan, B. (2020, September). Hypochlorous Acid: A Review. Retrieved January 17,  2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7315945/

4. Stroman, D. W., Mintun, K., Epstein, A. B., Brimer, C. M., Patel, C. R., Branch, J. D., & Najafi-Tagol, K.  (2017). Reduction in bacterial load using hypochlorous acid hygiene solution on ocular  skin. Clinical Ophthalmology (Auckland, NZ), 11, 707.

5. Chen, C. J., Chen, C. C., & Ding, S. J. (2016). Effectiveness of hypochlorous acid to reduce the biofilms  on titanium alloy surfaces in vitro. International journal of molecular sciences, 17(7), 1161.

 6. Hiebert, J. M., & Robson, M. C. (2016). The immediate and delayed post-debridement effects on  tissue bacterial wound counts of hypochlorous acid versus saline irrigation in chronic  wounds. Eplasty, 16.

7. Overholt, B., Reynolds, K., & Wheeler, D. (2018, November). 1151. A Safer, More Effective Method  for Cleaning and Disinfecting GI Endoscopic Procedure Rooms. In Open Forum Infectious  Diseases (Vol. 5, No. Suppl 1, p. S346). Oxford University Press.


Updated on March 24, 2021

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