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topic 37106

Can you just buy sodium hypochlorite?

A discussion started in 2005 but continuing through 2017


Q. No clue what you guys are talking about but can you just buy a strong form of sodium hypochlorite? if so where can you buy it at and what is it called?

Brooke Splechter
just wondering - Kansas

Water Preserver


A. Hi, Brooke

Sodium hypochlorite is NaOCl, basically bleach -- "Clorox" is one brand name. Laundry grade is pretty powerful, and can kill you with toxic chlorine gas vapors if mixed with the wrong stuff. "Industrial bleach" at about 2-1/2 to 3 times that strength is available, too.

If you can tell us what you are planning, maybe we can answer more directly.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey


Q. Doesn't Clorox have other stuff in it?

Brooke Splechter(returning)
just wondering - Kansas


A. Hi Brooke, Clorox is a brand name, so they theoretically could put fragrances or something else into it if they wanted to, but I don't think they do. The idea of bleach is essentially to try to offer you the functionality of chlorine gas, but dissolved into a water solution. Chlorine gas won't stay dissolved unless the pH of the solution is held high with NaOH, and unless there is a reasonable amount of water. So sodium hypochlorite (bleach) has sufficient NaOH in it to hold the pH high enough to keep the chlorine in solution so it doesn't immediately deteriorate or explosively decompose, and enough water that it can be reasonably stable.

So if you say you looking for "pure" sodium hypochlorite without anything else in it, it's tricky to try to tell you whether bleach has anything else in it ... it does, but you couldn't actually have usable and stable sodium hypochlorite without that NaOH and water. Note that it is dangerous to mix bleach with other materials because if the reaction lowers the pH, that chlorine gas can't stay in the water, and it will fill the air.

Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey


A. The strongest that I am aware of is in a powder form that you can buy at a paint store that carries wallpaper. It is basically a mold killer in this form. You mix it with water according to instructions and use carefully following the instructions and cautions and warnings.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

March 11, 2008

A. Sodium hypochlorite is only available in liquid form. You can get it at retail in concentrations as high as 15% about 3 times as strong as household bleach or Clorox. You get it a pool supply store and it is commonly known as "pool shock". Most stores sell it at 12.5%. The powdered form someone mentioned is actually calcium hypochlorite and is not nearly as effective as sodium hypochlorite. Sodium hypo. sold at 12.5% is unstable. You need to get it relatively fresh and in a sealed, dark container (usually blue). It stabilizes at around 5.5% which is why that is the percentage you will see in household bleach products.

Ken Fenner
- Havertown, Pennsylvania

November 5, 2009

Q. So, can you turn calcium hypo into sodium hypo? And if not are they used for the same thing?

mark prado
- Melbourne Victoria Australia

Pool Shock

November 5, 2009

A. Hi, Mark. I wouldn't say it absolutely can't be done, but I'd bet it's quite difficult and impractical. Why not just buy bleach (sodium hypochlorite) if that's what you want, or pool shock (calcium hypochlorite) if that's what you want?

The reason both chemicals are made, instead of just one, is that they don't work exactly the same way although they are both used for chlorination and disinfection -- the 'hypochlorite' part (OCl-) is probably the heart of the matter.

But please explain your situation. Asking people to agree or disagree with an abstract proposition that stuff is "used for the same thing" is a very tricky concept: sugar and saccharin are "used for the same thing" (sweetening), but you can wreck a person's diet, and possibly even kill a diabetic patient by substituting one for the other :-)


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

January 7, 2010

Q. I found sodium hypochlorite granules and soda ash in a closet but do not know how to mix with water to make chlorine bleach in 5% solution (most stable I believe). Instruction is missing. Please help me.



A. Hi, Roberto.

Dry sodium hypochlorite is explosive, so I tend to doubt that that is what you have. But I can't suggest to people how they mix dangerous chemicals that aren't even positively identified, and which are lacking MSDS sheets and technical data sheets.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

March 3, 2012

Q. I want to store chlorine bleach. My research has indicated that it has a relatively short shelf-life. I'm looking for an alternative and discovered that sodium hypochlorite can be mixed with water, as needed, to make chlorine bleach. In powder form, sodium hypochlorite has a much longer shelf-life than the liquid form. I'm not looking to purchase large quantities. I understand that 1/2 tsp. can be added to one gallon of water to make a gallon of liquid bleach. I want to store up enough for 50 gallons of bleach. Where can I get a small amount of this chemical in powder form? My research thus far has only surfaced liquid forms of sodium hypochlorite.

Patricia Doughty
- Augusta, Georgia, USA

March 5, 2012

A. Hi, Patricia.

I doubt that you can buy dry sodium hypochlorite; and it is explosive if you can. If it exists, it would require way, way more than 1/2 teaspoon per gallon to equal 5.5%. If you want a dry disinfectant, are you sure you can't use calcium hypochlorite? What do you intend to do with this product which you want 50 gallons of? Thanks.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

April 11, 2012

Q. Last summer I tried and liked the BB&B method (bleach borax and baking soda) of maintaining my swimming pool. When I use the pool store chlorine I have ended up with a high cyanuric acid level so I would rather go with bleach. My problem is my pool is 30,000 gallons so I'm at the supermarket every few days and I hate all the wasted plastic jugs. I use around 10 gallons just to shock my pool and another 3 or 4 a week to maintain a safe swimming level. That's a lot of trips to the store and plastic by the end of summer. Besides pool store shock, can I get anything stronger than clorox and in bulk? Thanks for your time

Tom Curtis
- Wantagh, New York, USA

June 11, 2012

Q. I'm searching on how to make homemade bleach and it says that one ingredient is chlorox granules -- where can we buy it?

Manex Sai
- Philippines

November 4, 2012

Q. Many people, myself included, are interested in disinfectant solutions for expected future hard times (economic collapse, EMP attack, etc.) but are unwilling to say so for operational security reasons. I am moving soon to a remote location so am not too worried presently about online OpSec. Although household bleach is inexpensive, why take up space with 20-30 gallons when a few small packets of powdered bleach would suffice for mixing as needed?

Any recommendations of how much powdered Ca(OCl)2 should be added to a gallon of water to make regular-strength household bleach?

Jim McClarin
- Nashua, New Hampshire, USA

January 10, 2013

A. Why not purchase a pool chlorine product that is 90% available chlorine? These are sold locally, pool supply stores. etc., and either in granular or solid cake form. When you want the equivalent of "household bleach" 5% strength, just mix in 1 gallon (128 oz) of H2O. I.e., to make an approx. 5% sol'n by weight just mix 7 oz of 90% available chlorine substance with 1 gallon of H2O to get => (0.9)(7)/128 ≈ 0.05 = 5% solution.

Sam Smith
- Cannon, Alaska, USA

February 1, 2013

Q. I am married to a beautiful woman who has major allergies to mold.
We require to clean our home frequently to insure that no mold spores are attaching to her clothing or our furniture.
My research has led me to seeking "sodium hyperchloride" powder. We have used heavy duty bleach, but she needs the product to be made with purified water.
Is this the BEST remedy to clean mold?
Are there other powders that can be purchased to do the job and I can compound to her specific requirements?
Any advice would be great!

Dennis Weintraub
- Tucson, Arizona

February 1, 2013

A. Hi Dennis. I don't think any such chemical exists; further, I don't think "sodium hypochlorite" (which I think is what you were actually looking for before the Chinese Whispers) is commercially available as a powder. I think you would need to go to calcium hypochlorite if you want powder form.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

February 4, 2013

Q. Thank you for your answer.
However, being that my wife is an MCS patient and is highly allergic to all cleaners, we were looking for a powder we could purchase and compound ourselves with purified water to clean mold from clothing.

Any suggestions you may have to use for this purpose would be most helpful. I was told that sodium hypochlorite might be able to be used.

Will calcium work as well as a mold cleaning chemical cocktail mixed with purified water?

Thank you again.

Dennis Weintraub
- Tucson, Arizona

February 9, 2013

A. Hi Dennis. I'm not commenting on allergies because I have no medical training and I'm unqualified to even have an opinion :-)

But I understand that sodium hypochlorite is not available as a powder whereas calcium hypochlorite is, and that it's the hypochlorite (OCl-), not the sodium or calcium, that provides the disinfection power. Good luck.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

Treating a well with sodium hypochlorite

October 22, 2013

Q. I suspect that I have a manganese bacteria problem in my well. I have been told that the well driller should purify the well with bleach, which my wife is against. She said we should use sodium hypochlorite. Is this really a safer alternative to bleach and, if so, where can I buy it and find directions to purify the well.


Paul Charboneau
self - Marquette, Michigan, USA

October 23, 2013

A. Hi Paul. Laundry bleach IS sodium hypochlorite.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

August 8, 2014

Q. My water has e-coli and needs to be sanitized. The well driller is going to use chlorine to sanitize the well. What type/strength of bleach is needed to kill e-coli in my water?

Kim Robinson
- Hartland, Michigan, USA

Hi Kim. That is probably something for a full-time professional like your well digger to figure out. What happens is the chlorine is consumed by all sorts of chemical and biological reactions depending on what's in it, and you need to supply enough chlorine that you still have "free chlorine" available after all those reactions. "Breakpoint chlorination" is a pretty complicated subject, but this video should help. Good luck.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

October 12, 2015

Q. I will be cleaning houses and roofs for algae, lichen, black mold, etc. what would be the best form and delusions^dilutions of hypochlorite to use? I will sometimes want to mix in large volumes at times in a chemical tank as my business gross but will most likely start with 5 gallons mixtures when at a job. Should I stay with start hypochlorite and water or would it be even better with another additive? Can I add a scent to it so when job is complete it will have a fresh smell?

David Batterton
- Choudrant Louisiana

Ed. note: We try to quietly correct typos & spelling errors rather than calling attention to them. But we didn't notice the above one until Miles Alexander noticed it on March 3, 2017, and we didn't want to spoil his pun by depriving the readers of seeing what he saw :-)

November 2, 2015

Q. Hi, I have 2 questions if I may? Firstly is Calcium Hypochlorite safe to store / shelf life ? And secondly , is it good for treating drinking water when camping in the bush? Thanks for your input. Kind regards, ian

Ian Brander
- Newcastle , New South Wales , Australia

Roof Cleaning with sodium hypochlorite

December 26, 2015

Q. I have been told a 12.5% solution of Sodium Hypochlorite mixed with water and a splash of dish soap is great, an excellent cleaning product for blackened/moldy roof. Any thoughts in mixing 1 part sodium hypochlorite to 2 parts water? Cold water? Hot water ? Reactions?

Wayne Chasson
- West Palm Beach, Florida

December 2015

A. Hi Wayne. On another thread, topic 34002, someone working on a roof inhaled something sprayed by another person and was seriously injured, and is suing them for medical damages. It was probably sodium hypochlorite.

I don't think you should do this based on internet advice or reading, but only if you've received hands-on training with it. Atomizing chemicals like bleach into an inhalable aerosol sounds like it's horribly dangerous.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"

Trying to find a powder form of Sodium Hypochlorite to make 12%-15% bleach

October 21, 2016

Q. I'm in the process of opening a pressure washing supply store and am looking at different ways to get "bleach". Currently I'm buying it by the 55 gal. drum in liquid form from my soon to be competitor. It's sold to me at 12-15%. I was talking to another businessman who says I can get powder SH and mix it myself. If so, where can I purchase it and are there any licenses I need or anything else I'm not thinking of? Thanks for your help!!


Jason Lewis
Pressure Washing - Richmond, Virginia, USA

March 3, 2017

Q. Hi, have been searching for a bleach or alternative that has a much longer shelf-life than liquid sodium hypochlorite for laundry and other household applications. After reading this thread--and marveling at Ted's super patient and thoughtful responses--it would seem a visit to the pool supplies aisle is the way to go. Mix calcium hypochlorite powder with water when needed, proceed as if sodium hypochlorite. Pour into the washer, disinfect the loo, etc.

Where am I going wrong? I know Clorox makes a bleach crystals product but I've never used it and I'm still trying to find any spec on its shelf life or use outside of laundry.

I'll check here for any replies for a few weeks at least.

Ted, I'm an ingredient label reader from way back, and I suffer no delusions (that I know of). *grin*

Thanks in advance for any help.

Miles Alexander
- Dallas Texas USA

Ed. note: Thanks for catching the spelling error of Oct. 12, 2015 which I had missed :-)

March 4, 2017

There's cyanuric chloride. Also, calcium hypochlorite.

dave wichern
Dave Wichern
Consultant - The Bronx, New York

Will calcium hypochlorite build less scale than bleach?

October 19, 2017

Q. We use Sodium hypochlorite {Bleach) through a proportioning pump to chlorinate our 150 gpm well water discharge. We have a heavy buildup of Calcium scale around the injection point in the well pump discharge line.
Q: 1. Would Calcium hypochlorite reduce this buildup?
2. Is there another liquid chlorine type product that would not cause the calcium buildup at the injection point?

Ned Hastings
A Water Supply Company - Canyon Lake, Texas

April 27, 2018

A. Both sodium and calcium hypochlorite are used in the hydroPonic industry as a system maintenance preventive, and root enhancer.
It's done at 0.028%. There are numerous products , Under Currents UC ROOTS, CLEAR REZ ,and Shunk Labs RES CLEAR.
UCroots and clear res and res clear are hypochlorous acid. Witch is what the 4$ ,1-lb bag of pool shock ,either sodium ,or calcium hypochlorite breaks down to when you add water to it. One gram of 49% hypochlorite (HTH, SHOCK TREATMENT) in one gal of water makes a concentrate of the above products. One ounce of that concentrated solution in 5 gal of water gives you roughly 0.028%. Watch the pythium (root rot ) and other micro organisms disappear, and the roots explode like you've never seen. One liter of this concentrate sells for 20$ in a hydroponic store OR one lb makes 450 gal of concentrate that treats up to 297,000 gal of water for hydro use.
Don't use in soil unless you have the beneficial organisms to replace the ones the chemical kills. It kills everything alive in dirt like it does in pool or hydro water.
Hope it helps dude.

Frank Thomas
- Akron, Ohio

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