There are a growing number of usages for Hypochlorous acid (HOCl), or Electrolyzed sanitation water, and each of those applications may have unique needs for the HOCL solution they use. Generally, HOCL has been found to be highly effective against a wide array of common bacterial pathogens, including E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria, Vibrio, Staphylococcus, MRSA, spore forming bacteria, and many common viruses (including Norovirus) and fungi. The question, however, often arises: Should you produce your own hypochlorous acid sanitizer in-house, or is it better to use commercially available HOCL or alternative products. 

We’ll explore that question in this post.

Your Kitchen, Your Rules!

Commercially available HOCL disinfectants are made to ingredients that you, as the buyer, don’t have control over. What’s on the label is what you get. However, there may be subtle changes for HOCL solutions, depending on the application. The needs of a dental clinic (for oral hygiene applications) may differ from those in disinfecting a bathroom or kitchen floor. A laundromat may need a different variation of hypochlorous acid sanitizer than, say, a food processing plant.    

No Control of What You Need

When you opt to buy commercially-available HOCL, there are certain elements that are beyond your control. You buy what’s offered, and do your best to use it for your needs. Factors that might be important to you include:

1. INGREDIENTS: Commercially available hypochlorous acid products may, at times, contain additives, including bleach byproducts and other chemical ingredients. While these might not be too impactful for surface cleansing, such as countertops and floors, they’re not good substitutes (for self-made HOCL) for clinical applications, such as wound care, dental care, or oral hyenine applications. Some chlorine-based HOCL sanitizers, even when used for touch-surface applications, such as on tables and countertops, might risk causing allergic reaction to individuals with sensitive skin. 

2. SHELF LIFE: This is yet another concern, not just for a bottled hypochlorous acid sanitizer, but also for other commercially produced disinfectants and cleansing solutions. Typically, HOCL solutions have quite limited stability, which means their shelf life is limited. This is especially true once you open a bottle or package of the solution. So, if you purchase large packs of these solutions, you may be forced to consume them quickly to avoid product-life degradation.

3. pH LEVELS:  It might be challenging for you to get off-the-shelf commercial HOCL to the pH levels desired for your unique applications. Research suggests that between pH levels of 3 and 6, the principal species is HOCl that has maximal antimicrobial properties. When pH is lower than 3.5, the product is a mixture of chlorine. Some commercially-available hypochlorous acid products might also come with higher levels of Ph, where sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) becomes the predominant species.  

Making Your Own

Today, you’re not limited to just using what’s commercially available. There’s technology out there that allows you to customize the hypochlorous acid sanitizer product you need, and with high oxidation potential (800 mV to over 1000 mV), contributing to its effectiveness against microbial pathogens. In-house production capability means you produce what you need – as much or as little. And, you use it as and when you want – not according to a ticking manufacturers clock! 

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