Hypochlorite - ClO-

What is Hypochlorite?

Hypochlorite is an oxyacid of chlorine which contains monovalent chlorine that functions as a reducing agent or as an oxidizing agent. The chemical formula of hypochlorite is ClO. It is a conjugate base of HClO (hypochlorous acid).

Most of the hypochlorite salts are unstable in their pure form. They are usually handled as aqueous solutions. They are mainly used in bleaching and disinfection. They are also used as water treatment agents, in oxidation reactions, and chlorination.

Properties of Hypochlorite – ClO



Molecular Weight of Hypochlorite

51.449 g/mol


Soluble in water

Conjugate acid

Hypochlorous acid

Boiling Point of Hypochlorite

Decomposes at 40 °C

Structure of Hypochlorite (ClO)

Structure of Hypochlorite

Uses of Hypochlorite (ClO)

  • Hypochlorite is used as chlorinating agents. They have the ability to chlorinate the electron-rich aromatic hydrocarbons.
  • In organic chemistry, it is used to oxidize primary alcohols to carboxylic acids.
  • It is a strong oxidizing agent and is used in Jacobsen epoxidation reaction to help in the conversion of Mn (III) to Mn (V).
  • Sodium and calcium hypochlorite is used to whiten clothes.
  • Domestically it is used to remove stains.
  • Hypochlorites are used to lighten hair colour.

Health hazards

Hypochlorite is toxic when inhaled and ingested. Causes irritation to eyes, mucous membrane, and the skin. When it comes in contact with organic materials it may ignite. Its involvement in a fire can enhance combustion or can also cause an explosion.

Learn more about the physical and chemical properties of Hypochlorite (ClO) from the experts at BYJU’S.

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