Hypochlorous acid

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A greenish-yellow solution formed by the combination of water and bleaching powder. Hypochlorous acid is unstable and exists only as a dilute solution. It decomposes to form hydrochloric acid and oxygen. An aqueous solution of a metallic salt of hypochlorous acid is called a hypochlorite solution, for example the calcium salt is called Calcium hypochlorite. The potassium salt and the sodium salt of hypochlorous acid are known as Javelle water, while Sodium hypochlorite is also known as household bleach. Hypochlorite solutions are used as disinfectants and bleaches for textiles and paper.

Synonyms and Related Terms

hypochlorite solution; Javelle water


  • Corrosive.
  • Contact causes irritation to skin, eyes and membranes.
  • HOCL Connectors: SDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

Composition HOCl
CAS 7790-92-3
Molecular Weight mol. wt. = 52.46

Resources and Citations

  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 4912
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997