Hypochlorous acid versus hydrogen peroxide: What's the difference?

Hypochlorous acid versus hydrogen peroxide: What's the difference?

Hypochlorous acid and hydrogen peroxide are both strong oxidants used for similar purposes in sanitation, agriculture, and wound care. Hydrogen peroxide is derived of two oxygen and two hydrogen molecules. It is commonly found in products such as hand sanitizers, teeth whiteners, hair dyes, and cleaning products. While hydrogen peroxide is usually only used in concentrations of <10% for home use, in much stronger concentrations it can actually be used for rocket fuel!

Similar to alcohol, hydrogen peroxide is flammable and unstable in the presence of oxygen, water, and heat. It can be toxic if ingested and cause cause abdominal irritation and burning at concentrations as low as 3%. Unlike hypochlorous, it will bleach clothes and can be used as an alternative to bleach.

In hydroponics and greenhouse applications, hypochlorous and hydrogen peroxide essentially do the same things: enhance the root zone, prevent fungal infections, oxygenate the water, and help roots grow white and healthy. The quantity of hydrogen peroxide used is low, generally about 3 teaspoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide per gallon. Using stronger quantities can result in plant burning.

In healthcare and clinical disinfection, hydrogen peroxide has proven efficacy against a range of viruses, including COVID, norovirus, adenovirus, and influenza (Tuladhar et al, 2012). However, it often requires a strong concentration (eg; 35%) to kill critical viruses such as MRSA and tuberculosis (Murdoch et al, 2016). At this concentration, hydrogen peroxide is very toxic and must be used with care.

So if both products are equally effective, why switch to hypochlorous acid? This depends on your purpose for using hydrogen peroxide. If you're using it to disinfect your home, switching to hypochlorous acid is a non-toxic alternative. If you're using hydrogen peroxide for commercial purposes, you will save money each month by cutting out the cost of purchasing bottled products and making your own hypochlorous onsite with a machine. If you're working in a clinical setting, hypochlorous has superior disinfectant abilities. Research by Raval et al found that hypochlorous was more effective at eliminating biofilm bacteria than hydrogen peroxide, achieving higher kill logs in a shorter amount of time (2021). Similar results were found by Urushidani et al when comparing dry-fogging hypochlorous and hydrogen peroxide to kill coronavirus (2022).

Plus, if you're looking for a disinfectant, why not choose one that you can make yourself, and doesn't require any PPE? Onsite generation with our Hypo 7.5 helps you reduce costs, save time, and cut back on single-use plastics and carbon emissions.

 Photo by Kaffeebart on Unsplash  


Raval, Y. S., Flurin, L., Mohamed, A., Greenwood-Quaintance, K. E., Beyenal, H., & Patel, R. (2021). In Vitro Antibacterial Activity of Hydrogen Peroxide and Hypochlorous Acid, Including That Generated by Electrochemical Scaffolds. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 65(5). https://doi.org/10.1128/aac.01966-20

Urushidani, M., Kawayoshi, A., Kotaki, T., Saeki, K., Mori, Y., & Kameoka, M. (2022). Inactivation of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza A virus by dry fogging hypochlorous acid solution and hydrogen peroxide solution. PLOS ONE, 17(4), e0261802. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0261802

Murdoch, L. E., Bailey, L., Banham, E., Watson, F., Adams, N. M. T., & Chewins, J. (2016). Evaluating different concentrations of hydrogen peroxide in an automated room disinfection system. Letters in Applied Microbiology, 63(3), 178–182. https://doi.org/10.1111/lam.12607

Tuladhar, E., Terpstra, P., Koopmans, M., & Duizer, E. (2012). Virucidal efficacy of hydrogen peroxide vapour disinfection. Journal of Hospital Infection, 80(2), 110–115. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhin.2011.10.012

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