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Clin Microbiol Rev. 1997 Oct;10(4):597-610.

Uses of inorganic hypochlorite (bleach) in health-care facilities.

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  • 1Division of Infectious Diseases, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, USA.

Abstract

Hypochlorite has been used as a disinfectant for more than 100 years. It has many of the properties of an ideal disinfectant, including a broad antimicrobial activity, rapid bactericidal action, reasonable persistence in treated potable water, ease of use, solubility in water, relative stability, relative nontoxicity at use concentrations, no poisonous residuals, no color, no staining, and low cost. The active species is undissociated hypochlorous acid (HOCl). Hypochlorites are lethal to most microbes, although viruses and vegetative bacteria are more susceptible than endospore-forming bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. Activity is reduced by the presence of heavy metal ions, a biofilm, organic material, low temperature, low pH, or UV radiation. Clinical uses in health-care facilities include hyperchlorination of potable water to prevent Legionella colonization, chlorination of water distribution systems used in hemodialysis centers, cleaning of environmental surfaces, disinfection of laundry, local use to decontaminate blood spills, disinfection of equipment, decontamination of medical waste prior to disposal, and dental therapy. Despite the increasing availability of other disinfectants, hypochlorites continue to find wide use in hospitals.

PMID:
9336664
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC172936
Free PMC Article
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