Hypochlorous Acid: A simple, cost-effective solution to cross-industry sanitization challenges

With a renewed focus on enhanced healthcare protocols across the world, a cross section of industries is looking for a safer, and more reliable, way to sanitize food, water, equipment, manufacturing facilities and more. The challenge, however, is that most sanitization solutions are complex to understand, and involve the use of harsh chemicals and unpronounceable substances. That’s why they’re turning to Hypochlorous Acid (HOCL). And for anyone wondering how to make hypochlorous acid, the short answer is: It’s really simple!

Read on to learn more about a simple solution to a rather challenging problem the world faces today.

Hypochlorous Acid 101

If you do an exhaustive search for HOCL, you’ll likely come across terms such as:

  • Electrolytically Generated Hypochlorous Acid (HOCl)
  • Neutral Electrolyzed Water (NEW)
  • Electrolyzed Oxidizing Water (EOW)
  • Electro-chemically Activated Water (ECA)
  • Super-oxidized water (SOW)

These, in fact, are common generic terms used for the same product. Though naturally produced by our bodies’ white blood cells, HOCL is also engineered through a process known as electrolysis. In simple terms, engineers use a direct electric current (DC) – common household electricity will do – and run it through NaCl (or table salt) and water. The result: A powerful antimicrobial substance that kills microbial pathogens found in almost every industry.

Knowing how to make hypochlorous acid, however, doesn’t necessarily explain how it works. So, here’s a primer on how HOCL kills microbial pathogens.

Most disinfectants, such a bleach, repel microbial pathogens, just as two negatively charged magnets push each other away. This characteristic neutralizes, or reduces, the impact of a disinfectant against the pathogens they’re meant to fight. Hypochlorous acid, on the other hand, is neutrally charged – it does not repel bacteria. Instead, it effectively penetrates the walls of the bacteria and destroys them with its strong oxidation properties.

Use Cases

Now that we’ve understood how to make hypochlorous acid, let’s turn our focus to three real-world use cases for this amazing disinfectant and sanitizer.

  • DENTAL SURGERY: When performing dental procedures, surgeons often look for an always available supply of disinfectant, that’s nontoxic to patients, inexpensive, and highly effective. According to research published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information,  HOCL meets all those criteria…and more!

Given the heightened need for disinfection requirements across medical facilities, be they dentists, hospitals, nursing homes or pediatric care facilities, HOCL is an ideal choice for sanitization applications in these settings.

  • FOOD PROCESSING: The food processing industry continually struggles with disinfecting and sanitization challenges. Raw food is especially susceptible to harmful bacteria, such as Listeria, Vibrio, Clostridium and Salmonella. This not only results in raw food spoilage, but is potentially harmful for consumers too. Research has proven the use of Hypochlorous Acid is highly effective in reducing the impact of such bacteria, and other foodborne pathogens, and their ability to spoil or contaminate raw food.
  • PULP AND PAPER INDUSTRY: Wastewater treatment in the paper and pulp industry have been linked to containing significant concentrations of phytosterols, which subsequently find their way into our eco system, damaging natural aqua life and species. Seepage into residential and commercial water supplies is also a common concern.

Research showed that, through ammonia stripping, by using an electrolyzed water system, scientists achieved a significant decrease in wastewater contaminants.