Sodium Hypochlorite- Properties, Uses, Method of Handling, and Price

Sodium hypochlorite is a clear, slightly yellowish solution with a chlorine odour. It is also harsh and corrosive in nature. It is widely used in various sectors such as hospitals, houses, textile industries, pharmaceutical companies etc. Even though, sodium hypochlorite has got numerous applications, you need to be extra careful while handling the solution. Here, in this blog, we will be talking about the uses, drawbacks, price and contact detail (for purchase) of sodium hypochlorite.

We will also be talking about the method of preparation of the hypochlorite solution of required concentration and the method of handling it. 

Application of Sodium hypochlorite

Sodium hypochlorite is one of the disinfectants. So, it is useful in various applications

  • Bleaching:- For household purposes, sodium hypochlorite is used along with sodium hydroxide. The sodium hydroxide then causes the slow decomposition of sodium hypochlorite to sodium chlorite and sodium chlorate. 
  • Cleaning:- It is used in cleaning. It helps to get rid of mould stains, dental stains, crockery stains, etc. 
  • Waste Water Treatment:- It allows the treatment of cyanide waste such as silver cyanide plating solution. 
  • Surface Disinfection:- It shows an antimicrobial and antifungal property. Thus it has been used in cleaning the solid surfaces to get rid of the contamination. 
  • Endodontic Therapy:- Useful in endodontic therapy. 
  • Wound Treatment:- The antimicrobial property of the sodium hypochlorite solution is useful for cleaning wounds. It also helps to reduce skin damage.  

Chemical Reaction

NaOCl + H2O = HOCl + NaOH

When sodium hypochlorite is diluted with water it gives hypochlorous acid (chloric acid).  This is a weak acid that easily breaks and reconstructs to form free chlorine which is highly reactive and volatile in nature. Both of them are strong oxidizers.

Why sodium hypochlorite is used for hard cleaning?

When sodium hypochlorite comes in contact with the bacteria, the oxidizing nature of the solution causes the breakdown of its protein. In the case of the coulter counter, when the blood runs through the tubes of the machine, the cell might undergo necrosis causing the accumulation of cellular contents in the tubes. This then quickly becomes the resting site of bacteria which will lead to the obstruction in the blood flow through the tubes and gives you fault reading. So, this is why a diluted form of NaOCl is used in the coulter counter for hard cleaning.  

Dilution of sodium hypochlorite

As stated already, sodium hypochlorite should be diluted with water before use. You can find diluted NaOCl in the market. It might be of any concentration such as 5%, 3.5%, etc. So if you want to lower the concentration of the solution you can use the formula given below.

W1V1 = W2V2   where W1= concentration of an original solution

V1= volume of solution taken

W2= Concentration of diluted solution that you want to make

V2= Final volume of the diluted solution

For example, if you want to change 5% concentration of 10ml NaOCl to 2% concentration then you need to dilute it with 15 ml of water.

Handling of NaOCl solution

  • It should always be diluted by water, not by other diluents. Else, chlorine might form dangerous compounds with it.
  • Chlorine is highly volatile, even at low temperature. So, it should not come in contact with sunlight. It should also not come in contact with acids, metals etc. This might lead to the formation of poisonous, corrosive gasses including chlorine gas. So, store it in a dark room, opaque bottles, etc.
  • Use it within 60 days after you have opened the container of the solution. Close the container tightly when not in use.
  • Since NaOCl is highly corrosive, its high concentration can corrode the machinery parts. It can cause a burning sensation to the human skin. If you are working with this solution make sure that you do not spill it onto your clothes. Else, it will immediately change the colour of your clothes to whitish. Because of this solution I had to buy 3 pairs of pants in just six months of my work. 
  • Wear masks, safety goggles, shoe cover, etc., for your safety.

Sodium hypochlorite price in Nepal

The price of sodium hypochlorite can depend upon a number of factors. Some of them are the concentration of sodium hypochlorite, brand name, the volume of the solution, etc. 

For general purpose, the solution is available in a jar of 5 litres. The sodium hypochlorite price may approximately range from around Rs 500 to Rs 600. You can easily purchase this product in Tripureswor, Kathmandu. However, you may even contact the given number (+977- 9846017629). He is the owner of the Khanal Surgical Suppliers, located in Tripureswor, Kathmandu

As stated before, in the case of the coulter counter machine, the company will provide you with a small bottle of hypochlorite solution. The bottle can hold around 70 ml of solution. This is quite expensive. This is not applicable to the general public. Instead of that, it is used in the pathology lab. 


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