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I am trying to grasp hypochlorous acid, HCL, and any process that involves water and salt. The rise of hypochlorous generators and uses has led me here. I don't know where else to find reliable answers and was hoping someone that actually knows what they are talking about could help me understand. 

To my knowledge these are the ways hypochlorous can be made.

  • salt + water + electrolysis= some hocl % some chorite and? 
  • salt + water + vinegar + electrolysis= a higher hocl %, chorite, and? 
  • salt + water + hcl + electrolysis= would this yield an even higher percent of hocl? 
  • chlorine + h20 = hocl and hcl  << can make stable hocl by taking chlorine gas and dissolving it into a sodium hydroxide solution?? >> 
  • dichlorine monoxide + water = hocl 

1. Which formula would yield the highest amount of HOCL? 

2. Which formula would produce the most stable HOCL?

Also, if your ph and ppm read fine, but your solution reeks of bleach-what happened? (Assuming you used salt, water, vinegar + electrolysis) (correct ratio & run time to a liter of water)

I would pay someone for their time. I'm not looking for a free hand out, but I really need help understanding all of this better. 

Sorry for the complete butchering of the formulas. 😐  Is there anywhere that I can go that someone would be able to help me in person or over the phone? 

Thank you in advance!

Sincerely, a lost and confused individual.  



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Generally the hypochlorous acid HOCl will be obtained, if chlorine is immersed into water.

Cl2 + H2O <=> HOCl + HCl

So if sodiumhydroxide is present then you would get the salts by neutralisation.

Cl2 + 2 NaOH => NaClO + NaCl + H2O

So if you use NaCl solution and do electrolysis  then you would get on Anode side

2 Cl- => Cl2 + 2 e-

and on cathode side 2 Na+ + 2 e- + 2 H2O => 2 NaOH + H2

If you stir this solution then the NaOH and the Chlorine will mixed together and you can obtain the solution above described.

The amount is depending at least how much current you use.

The vinegar has not much effect on it. Solution is more acidic and more conductiv.

If HCl  is used also  HOCl can be optained, but its more unstable, because no NaOH present.

Edited by chenbeier
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okay, I kinda get that but in these machines for example it is just a titanium plate that is being used. No stirring, or different sides. Just made up all in one pitcher. single cell?? 

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Stryring  would increase the efficency. If the solution is not stired, then chlorine gas will escape. Also can read above in the text from Studiot


@ studiot Deacon process is  a method to obtain chlorine by burning of  HCl at Temp 450 ° C

4 HCl + O2 => 2 Cl2 + 2 H2O

This has nothing to do with electrolysis of hydrochloric or sodiumchloride. This works at RT.

Edited by chenbeier
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I dont know which machine you talking about.

Again to get good efficency, the NaOH produced at cathode has to react the chlorine produced at anode. To get best results the solution should be stired or the electrode are set very close together.

Edited by chenbeier
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Also can you add vinegar after you made a batch of HOCL to bring ph down if needed? I don't see why it matters if the vinegar is an organic compound and is not effected with the electrolysis process? Someone commented in the fb group that it would make something else..... What is right? 


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If you start with sodiumchloride, then you create sodiumhypochlorite. To get the free HClO the pH has to be lowered this can be done with cheap vinegar.

During electrolysis the chlorine would also react with acetate and form some poisson chlorinecarbon compounds, like chloroform, chlorineacetate and others.

Edited by chenbeier
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  • 11 months later...

Can you specify what kind of machine you are working with, so that we can understand what temperature you are working with? If we talk about which reaction will give the most, then this is the formula. You also mentioned the smell of bleach… The presence of an odor may indicate the presence of excess chlorine or chloramines. If you are using electrolysis, it is worth adjusting it, but if you have used another method, it is better to review it or choose another one. If you want to understand it better and in more detail, I recommend reading general lectures on inorganic chemistry. Alternatively, you can search on the net, and you may even find something that interests you specifically. Also, you asked about the formula that will give the most stable compound... in general, HOCl itself is not stable enough, and even more so over time, it will start to decay. The only option for stabilization would be to add stabilizers

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