Is Hypochlorous Acid a Disinfectant Solution?

For centuries we have been using disinfectants to clean surfaces, water, the air, and the human body. This is part of an age-old battle of man versus microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, moulds, fungi, and other pathogens.

One of our weapons “in the war” is disinfectants, in recent years these have also often been packaged in the form of hand sanitisers. Which are the most effective disinfectants to use though? Here we explore hypochlorous acid and ask is it an effective disinfectant solution?

What is a disinfectant?

A disinfectant is a chemical agent that has the role of destroying and reducing concentrations of viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. Disinfectants cleanse, purify, or sanitise a given area (where the area is a part of the body, a hard surface, a body of water, or air, etc.,)

Disinfectants can be natural (e.g., hypochlorous acid) or man-made (e.g., bleach – its ingredients are all-natural, but assembled together bleach is not natural).

Disinfecting a Bus
HOCl is effective at disinfecting hard surfaces such as public transport

About hypochlorous acid

Hypochlorous acid (chemical name HOCl) is entirely natural and is produced by humans as a part of the immune system and its fight against infections. It is a weak acid but is very powerful at killing microorganisms. Infact, it has proven to be 100x more effective at killing than man-made disinfectants.

HOCl is a well-known and easy-to-manufacture non-toxic disinfectant. It was used to disinfect in World War One for example in the trenches. The ability of HOCl to kill pathogens upon contact was invaluable at the time.

So, the ability of HOCl to disinfect was undisputed, but there was a problem with widespread use commercially. HOCl is a chemical, which naturally degrades quickly, infact it is naturally effective for only up to three days.

Recent scientific breakthroughs have led to a stable version of hypochlorous acid, which can be rolled out commercially. HOCl is now in widespread use with even the World Health Organisation recommending its use in the fight against COVID-19.

Coler Medical PPE has its own hypochlorous acid disinfectant solution. We use hypochlorous acid as the active ingredient in our instant sanitiser, this gives our MIST-IFY range its disinfectant capability. As well as protecting skin, HOCl is also perfect for surface preparation and cleaning as well as disinfecting the air if it is sprayed in microscopic droplets.

How does hypochlorous acid kill microorganisms?

Hypochlorous acid works in a totally different way from man-made disinfectants. HOCl oxidises the cell wall of the microorganism enabling the cell to be quickly penetrated. This means that HOCl kills upon impact, which is a major benefit and also keeps invading pathogen numbers down.

Other disinfectants tend to kill either the RNA or DNA of bacteria. This takes a lot longer, maybe 10+ minutes in some cases.

HOCI is proven to kill bacteria and viruses. It has been proven to be effective against Coronavirus, E. coli, Listeria, MRSA, Norovirus, Poliovirus, Salmonella, and many others too. HOCl also kills fungi and mould spores too.

Typhoid Salmonella Bacteria
Typhoid Salmonella bacteria up close, this is killed effectively by hypochlorous acid

Buying MIST-IFY hypochlorous acid disinfectant solution

Buy MIST-IFY instant sanitiser non-toxic disinfectant and automatic or manual hand sanitiser dispensers from Coler Medical PPE. View our entire product range online at our shop. We are also available to answer additional clarification questions when you call Coler on +44 (0) 1827 794 294 or send us an email to You can also send us completed contact forms, to which we will reply to ASAP.

Image Credits: MTA Photos and Vaccines at Sanofi