|Formula weight||74.4 amu|
|Melting point||Decomposes at ?|
|Ingestion||Dangerous, possibly fatal.|
|Inhalation||Dangerous, possibly fatal.|
|Skin||Causes burns, can be fatal.|
|More info||Hazardous Chemical Database|
Sodium hypochlorite (like all hypochlorites) is a salt of hypochlorous acid, HClO. In solution, it splits into the sodium cation Na+ and the hypochlorite anion ClO-. The oxidizing power of the latter causes the bleaching and disinfecting effect.
A 5-6% solution of sodium hypochlorite is often called common household bleach. A 1:5 dilution of such a solution with water is effective against bacteria and viruses, and is often the disinfectant of choice in cleaning hospitals. The solution is corrosive however, and needs to be thoroughly removed afterwards; sometimes the bleach disinfection is therefore followed by an ethanol disinfection.
Bleach should never be mixed with urine or with other household cleaners, especially not with ones containing acid, since chlorine gas can form; or ammonia, since chloramine gas can form. Both chlorine gas and chloramine gas are highly toxic.