Household and industrial cleaning
Sodium hypochlorite is found in many household cleaning products, and is used to clean hard surfaces in particular. Diluted sodium hypochlorite tends to be sold to consumers in small quantities (retail packaging).
The quality requirements applied to sodium hypochlorite for use in households are exceptionally strict, especially when it comes to product stability. Nouryon supplies an exceptionally stable form of sodium hypochlorite and is a leading supplier to the household sector.
The use of sodium hypochlorite to clean and disinfect installations is commonplace in the food, beverage and dairy industries. In the food industry, closed piping systems are cleaned using an alkaline cleaning agent and disinfected using organic acid or sodium hypochlorite (Cleaning In Place = CIP). Exposed surfaces, equipment and machinery are sprayed with water or covered with foam containing cleaning and disinfecting agents.
Sodium hypochlorite is also used by catering organizations, industrial cleaning companies and the laundry industry (hospital laundries, for example). Moreover, new and better ways of using sodium hypochlorite are under constant development. A number of improved products have emerged in recent years which combine sodium hypochlorite with cleaning and thickening agents as well as fragrance compounds to create efficacious products with improved aesthetic properties. Examples include hypochlorite-based hard surface cleaners for kitchen counter tops, mold and mildew removers for bathrooms, and drain cleaners for sinks.
The bleaching process generally involves the chemical destruction of chromophores into organic or inorganic compounds.
A chromophore gives a molecule its color. Bleaching is generally used to remove color from a material, leaving it brighter. In industrial applications, decoloring is often combined with purification or cleaning. The bleaching of fibrous materials for paper and textile production is by far the most important application
There are two forms of bleaching: oxidative and reductive bleaching. Because sodium hypochlorite permanently destroys chromophores, it is a highly effective oxidative bleaching agent.