Sodium Hypochlorite

Also Known As: Liquid Chlorine

Sodium hypochlorite is a chemical compound (NaClO) that when mixed with water forms liquid bleach. A clear, slightly yellowish liquid with a strong odor, it is used as a disinfectant or bleaching agent.

Store-bought liquid bleaches typically contain five percent sodium hypochlorite. Concentrated solutions may contain 10 to 15 percent sodium hypochlorite.

Sodium hypochlorite can be used to disinfect and oxidate swimming pool water. Because microorganisms cannot build up resistance to it, the chemical is quite effective. As a byproduct of salt electrolysis systems, it is formed when salt is added to pool water.

As liquid bleach, sodium hypochlorite can remove algae and stains from pool surfaces and equipment. It can also be used to shock pool water. Dilute one part sodium hypochlorite in five parts water. Then add the solution to the water through the filtration system or by sprinkling on the surface of the water. The pool should be closed while shocking the pool water.

Like all bleach products, sodium hypochlorite should be stored and handled carefully. Even in low concentrations, it can be irritating to the skin and eyes. In higher concentrations, it can be quite dangerous. Chemicals of this kind should be stored in their original containers with clear, original labels.