Why HOCl from

CleanCert Hygiene (CHL) is at the forefront of innovation to enhance infection control within the dental environment. By developing new technologies exploiting the benefits of hypochlorous (HOCl), CHL’s proven range of advanced infection control solutions provide complete protection for you and your dental practice.

HOCl is a naturally occurring antimicrobial that is versatile, safe, fast acting and proven to kill dangerous viruses, bacteria and spores. Unlike other products which claim anything up to 99.999% (5 log) effectiveness, CHL offers a range of HOCl products that are 99.9999% effective (6 log, considered sterile). This means a level of performance, protection and safety that is unsurpassed and explains why the dental market has adopted its various formulations during the Covid 19 pandemic.

The medical-grade quality of CHL’s manufacturing process (ISO13485) produces the purest forms of HOCl between 150-200 ppm AFC (free chlorine), with a pH balance of 7 and an extended shelf life.

What is the Science behind our products?

Our products use stabilised hypochlorous acid (HOCl) to eliminate established biofilms and free-floating viruses, bacteria, and fungi more effectively than bleach.

In the presence of water, oxygen and food, bacteria and viruses cluster together on surfaces. These biofilm colonies create a slimy extracellular matrix that readily develops on dental equipment, worktops and waterlines; and also on gums, teeth and root canals.

Biofilms on dental equipment can include pathogenic microorganisms such as Legionella, Pseudomonas, E. coli and MRSA that cause serious illness. In the oral cavity, biofilms form dental plaque that leads to gum disease and tooth decay.

Traditional approaches for biofilm removal demand that dental practitioners perform complicated, multi-stage cleaning processes. Toxic chemicals are often used to clean dental equipment. Periodontists and endodontists may need to make professional interventions to restore oral health.

We have developed innovative dental products that proactively and reactively address the dangers of biofilm. Our infection control solutions are faster and safer than other products on the market and are surprisingly economical.

Our products also reduce the risk of cross-infection of human-borne viruses such as the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, norovirus, and parvovirus during aerosol generating procedures.

Hypochlorous acid (HOCl), the active ingredient in our products, is a powerful yet biocompatible compound that is produced by the body’s own immune system in response to infection. It destroys microbes in a matter of seconds.

How do our HOCl formulations compare with bleach?

Sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) is the active component of bleach. Scientific literature suggests that although HOCl is from the same family of chlorine compounds, it is 80 to 120 times more effective than sodium hypochlorite. This makes it one of the most effective disinfectants available.  HOCl has no charge and has a relatively low molecular weight. These two properties allow it to apply oxidative stress and penetrate microbial cells better than other chlorine-based disinfectants such as NaOCl.  Since NaOCl is negatively charged, it is electrostatically repelled from the microbial cell walls, which are also negatively charged.

HOCl is also known to react more rapidly in oxidation reactions with organic matter, such as microbial cells. A review of HOCl research published in the journal Microorganisms found that 106 stimulated neutrophils can produce around 0.2 μmol of HOCl during a 2-hour period. This is enough HOCl to destroy 150 million E. coli cells in a matter of milliseconds.

Why is it important to follow ‘Directions for use’ (DFU)?


Adhering to manufacturers’ guidelines is important for infection control products for two reasons:

A) Contact time for efficacy: For any disinfectant to effectively kill pathogens, a specific ‘contact-time’ with the microbes is necessary. This figure (normally given in minutes) is ascertained by manufacturers during the R&D or testing stage to meet independent standards, for example EN 14476 for viruses, in a UKAS-accredited lab. Successful results are then printed on the label as the recommended DFU.

B) Unintended material impact: Once the lowest contact time is achieved for efficacy, other factors like material impact need to be ascertained. Too much contact time may cause corrosion and degradation of surfaces.

After the recommended contact time, we recommend rinsing wet surfaces such as waterlines with potable water and wiping down dry, brittle surfaces such as soft plastics and cheap metals with a dry cloth soaked in purified water.

How is hypochlorous acid (HOCl) made in the human body?

HOCl is synthesised by white blood cells called neutrophils during the human immune system’s response to infection.

Bacteria enter the body through broken skin or via mucosal membranes. This stimulates white blood cells called neutrophils to migrate to the area in a process called chemotaxis. These cells surround the bacteria and release HOCI.

HOCl is an oxidising agent. Bacterial cell walls normally repel chemicals with a positive or negative charge but they cannot defend themselves against neutrally-charged HOCl. As a result, bacterial cell walls are quickly penetrated. Once inside, HOCl disrupts the bacterial cells DNA to kill the pathogen.


See how the human immune defence system produces HOCI to kill invasive organisms:

Diagram 1

Bacteria enter the body when the skin is broken, stimulating a response from the human immune defence system.

Diagram 2

A type of white blood cell called Neutrophils migrates to the bacteria in a process called ‘chemotaxis’.

Diagram 3

Neutrophils surround the bacteria and release Hypochlorous acid (HOCI) to kill it.

What is the shelf life of HOCl?

HOCl is a weak acid. Controlling the manufacturing process is critical because at around pH 5.5, HOCl begins to dissociate into the anion hypochlorite (OCl-). As the pH rises to 8 and above, hypochlorite ions (OCl-) become dominant. At this point, its oxidising power and disinfecting properties rapidly decline.

Some HOCl products destabilise and lose efficacy in as little as 5 days. Many competing products typically have a shelf life of 3-6 months. But our unique stabilisation process produces the purest hypochlorous acid (HOCl) at an optimal pH balance. The result is that our products have a 12-month shelf life. This has been independently verified by both a Notified Body for medical devices, as well as ECHA on behalf of the European Commission.

To further support our products’ quality, our infection control range is packaged in black HDPE bottles to safeguard against UV exposure. Most other competitors sell their products in white or clear bottles, which cause faster HOCl degradation.

What is log reduction?

Log reduction is a mathematical term that is used to help explain the effectiveness of a disinfectant. The log reduction number expresses the number of living microbes that are eliminated, compared to how many there were before treatment (1 million).

A 1-log treatment of a million bacteria would reduce the number of bacteria to 100,000 – a 90% reduction. Disinfection is classed as a 4-log reduction, at which point 99.99% of microbes are killed.

Our stabilised HOCl formulations achieves a 6-log reduction. This means that our products eliminate 99.9999% of a wide spectrum of bacteria, viruses, prions, fungi and spores. This is classed as sterilisation.