The Science Behind HOCL

In the body, white blood cells (neutrophils) produce hypochlorous acid as part of the human immune / defence system. These neutrophils seek out invasive pathogens like bacteria and viruses and destroy them using hypochlorous acid, binding with the unsaturated lipid layer and disrupting the cellular integrity.

Commercially produced HOCL works in exactly the same way, offering maximal antimicrobial properties across all surfaces. HOCL is a powerful oxidizing agent, killing a vast spectrum of bacteria, viruses and spores by destroying the cell membranes and proteins.

Disinfectants and microbial pathogens interact with each other similar to magnets. If you bring together two negatively charged magnets, they will repel each other. Bacteria and hypochlorite (OCl- aka. bleach) are both negatively charged and behave like two negatively charged magnets repelling each other. Hypochlorous acid (HOCL) is neutrally charged and is not repelled by bacteria. HOCL easily penetrates the walls of the bacteria and destroys them with its strong oxidation potential.

Summary of United States Regulation - Hypochlorous Acid 


FDA Food Contact Notification 1811 - Hypochlorous Acid at up to 60 ppm for Produce, Fish & Seafood, Meat and Poultry Sanitation 

Hypochlorous acid may be used in processing facilities at up to 60 ppm for use in process water or ice which comes into contact with food as a spray, wash, rinse, dip, chiller water, and scalding water for whole or cut meat and poultry, including carcasses, parts, trim, and organs; in process water, ice, or brine used for washing, rinsing, or cooling of processed and pre-formed meat and poultry products as defined in 21 CFR 170.3(n)(29) and 21 CFR 170.3(n)(34), respectively; in process water or ice for washing, rinsing or cooling fruits, vegetables, whole or cut fish and seafood; and in process water for washing or rinsing shell eggs.  Visit Source at FDA Website 

FDA Guidance for Industry: Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards of Fresh-cut Fruits and Vegetables 

The antimicrobial activity of a chlorine-based disinfectant depends on the amount of hypochlorous acid (also called "free chlorine") present in the water. The amount of hypochlorous acid in the water depends upon the pH of the water, the amount of organic material in the water, and, to some extent, the temperature of the water. If the amount of hypochlorous acid is not maintained when the amount of organic material increases, the antimicrobial agent may lose effectiveness in maintaining water quality. If a fresh-cut processor uses a chlorine containing compound as a disinfectant, we recommend that the processor monitor the processing water for free chlorine or hypochlorous acid concentrations.  Visit Source at FDA Website 

EPA: Food-Contact Surface Sanitizing Solutions - Allowance of Hypochlorous Acid at up to 200 ppm 

The following chemical substances when used as ingredients in an antimicrobial pesticide formulation may be applied to food-contact surfaces in public eating places, dairy-processing equipment, and food-processing equipment and utensils. When ready for use, the end-use concentration of all hypochlorous acid chemicals in the solution is not to exceed 200 ppm determined as total available chlorine.  Visit Source at EPA Website