Sodium hypochlorite

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Light green crystals that react with Carbon dioxide in the air. Sodium chlorite is used industrially for bleaching Paper pulp and textiles. Household bleach is a 5% aqueous solution of sodium hypochlorite (Clorox®, Dazzle, eau de Labarraque, etc.). Commercially, bleach is commonly used as a Disinfectant and Fungicide. Sodium hypochlorite is rarely used in conservation, however, because it can leave residual Chlorine compounds.

Synonyms and Related Terms

sodium oxychloride; sodium chloride oxide; chlorinated soda; soda bleach; Clorox; Dazzle; eau de Labarraque; sodium hypochloride (sp)


  • Toxic by ingestion. Strongly irritating to skin and lungs. Toxic chlorine gas forms when mixed with ammonia. Very strong oxidizing agent. Fire risk in contact with dry organic materials.
  • ThermoFisher: SDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

Soluble in cold water. Decomposes in hot water.

Composition NaOCl - 5H2O
CAS 7681-52-9
Melting Point 18 C
Molecular Weight mol. wt. = 74.4

Resources and Citations

  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979
  • Matt Roberts, Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: a Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1982
  • The Dictionary of Paper, American Paper Institute, New York, Fourth Edition, 1980
  • A Glossary of Paper Conservation Terms, Margaret Ellis (ed.), Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, New York City, 1998
  • The Merck Index, Susan Budavari (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Whitehouse Station, NJ, 12th Edition, 1996 Comment: entry 8773
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • Book and Paper Group, Paper Conservation Catalog, AIC, 1984, 1989
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 681
  • G.Caneva, M.P.Nugari, O.Salvadori, Biology in the Conservation of Works of Art, ICCROM, Rome, 1991
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993