Hypochlorous Acid: What Is HOCl Fogging?

Hypochlorous Acid HOCl Fogging by Genesis Fogger

Bacteria only need 8 hours to multiply an astonishing 16 million times. Are you worried about germs and bacteria infecting the areas around you? Are you searching for quick, low-cost, and non-toxic disinfectant solutions?

Good news: hypochlorous acid fogging is the go-to solution for many commercial industries and even home cleaning problems. It’s fast, inexpensive, and tough on germs but gentle on everything else.

What is hypochlorous acid? How will fogging work, and how can it benefit your industry or environment? Read on for a comprehensive guide that has all the data and information you need to make this solution work for you.

What Is Hypochlorous Acid?

Hypochlorous acid (HOCl) is a naturally occurring substance in our white blood cells. It’s used to fight off harmful foreign agents like bacteria and fungi. It can even destroy notoriously tough strains like Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

This makes HOCl a very impressive pathogen killer, while also being gentle enough to use on your eyelids. It’s completely free of the toxic surfactants or detergents found in other anti-pathogen solutions.

The Science Behind Hypochlorous Acid

HOCl can be made by combining chlorine gas and water. This results in a very weak acid solution.

Despite its low acidity, it’s still highly effective at killing bacteria. HOCl destroys microorganisms by latching onto cell membranes and disrupting their permeability. Once the membrane is ruptured, the rest of the cell quickly disintegrates.

HOCl also disrupts viruses by denaturing their proteins. Virus proteins use spikes to help them gain entry into your cells. Once the spikes are denatured, the virus more or less becomes “toothless.”

Uses of Hypochlorous Acid

HOCl’s effective yet gentle combination makes it useful in a variety of situations. HOCl solutions can be used for:

  • Wound care
  • Infection care
  • Surface disinfectants
  • Sanitizers
  • Eye care products
  • Skincare products
  • Food cleaning
  • Animal husbandry cleaning
  • Swimming pool chlorination
  • Odor removal

If HOCl has so many benefits, why hasn’t it already replaced toxic chemical cleaners on supermarket shelves? Is there a catch?

HOCl has traditionally been too unstable and cost-prohibitive to compete commercially with other similar products, like bleach. It also deformed on contact with sunlight and/or heat.

With the rise of COVID, green cleaning demands, and more advanced solution techniques, however, the HOCl product market is rapidly increasing.

HOCl vs Bleach

Both HOCl and bleach are highly effective at killing pathogens. Their chemical makeup is very similar: hypochlorous acid versus sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl).

But the tiny atomic differences between the two chemical compounds make a world of difference. Bleach has toxic effects not found in HOCl solutions.

Sodium hypochlorite is highly corrosive. It causes adverse effects on your skin, eyes, and lungs through contact and inhalation. Many short-term and long-term health problems have been linked to bleach exposure, including respiratory illnesses and pneumonitis.

Bleach is also toxic to the environment. It has carcinogenic and mutagenic effects when contaminating water and soil.

HOCl is non-toxic for human and environmental exposure. Yet it’s still 80–200 times more powerful than bleach, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).

What Is Fogging?

Fogging is a common technique used in cleaning and pest control. It can more effectively spread agents over a large area where continuous surface contact isn’t practical.

For example, you may spray a window crack with pesticides if you notice ants crawling through it. If you need to kill an entire ant infestation in your home, however, a fogger can spread pesticides more quickly and over a wider area.

The same technique applies to disinfectant fogging. Many commercial industries use fogging when they need to rapidly clean large areas.

Fogging uses a device with a fan attached to create and disperse an aerosol mist. These aerosols can kill pathogens in the air and on surfaces.

The Drawbacks of Fogging

Despite its rapid deployment, fogging has two important limitations:

  1. It releases a higher-than-usual amount of toxic chemicals into an area.
  2. It’s not as effective as most direct surface contact methods.

When you use fogging, you typically have to wear PPE and clear the area of humans, pets, plants, and anything else vulnerable to toxic agents. It also leaves many pathogens or pests that would be destroyed by direct contact methods like wiping or scrubbing.

Fortunately for disinfectant fogging purposes, a HOCl fog method can overcome these limitations.

The Benefits of Hypochlorous Acid Fogging

HOCl fogging combines the benefits of both hypochlorous acid and fogging in one go:

  • More effective than toxic foggers
  • Non-toxic and non-corrosive
  • Disperses over a wide area

This combination of benefits creates a perfect disinfectant solution for homes and commercial industries. HOCl solutions are also relatively cheap to produce for fogging machines.

More Effective Disinfectant Fogging

HOCl is a more powerful pathogen killer than bleach. The American Journal of Infection Control found that HOCl fogging reduced E. faecalis bacteria by 6 logs (99.9999%).

HOCl fogging is especially effective at fighting COVID pathogens. The NCBI has called it the “disinfectant of choice for coronaviruses,” regarding healthcare spaces in particular.

It can eliminate pathogens in the air, where surface-contact sprayers are ineffective. On top of that, HOCl fogging can fight these airborne viruses and germs without creating highly toxic fumes.

Non-Toxic and Non-Corrosive

A HOCl fog can eliminate pathogens without undue health risks to humans, animals, food, and the environment. HOCl fogging is especially useful for spaces that deal with food and animals.

The USDA has determined that HOCl solutions are mild enough to be used as a no-rinse disinfectant on fruits and vegetables. It can kill e-Coli, salmonella, and listeria strains without leaving toxic contamination in food.

HOCl fogging can also be used effectively as a pesticide and/or fungicide. The EPA has ruled it non-toxic as a pesticide.

Wide-Area Dispersal

HOCl fogging’s wide-area dispersal helps reach areas that would otherwise be missed by surface-contact cleaning methods. It can also disinfect areas when time is of the essence, such as transitions between customers or patients.

HOCl fogs have a wide range of uses for commercial industries. It can disinfect common and public areas more quickly and cost-effectively than traditional cleaning methods.

Hypochlorous Acid Fogging for Commercial Industries

HOCl fogging is uniquely poised to provide benefits for a variety of industries. These include the following:

  • Restaurants
  • Hotels
  • Fitness centers
  • Schools
  • Vet offices
  • Dental offices
  • Nursing homes

HOCl fogging is a boon to both dedicated cleaning staff and regular staff tasked with cleaning duties. It allows them to sanitize and disinfect an entire area without needing any chemical PPE, toxic waste disposal, or Safety Datasheets.


Restaurants in particular see numerous perks from HOCl fog’s non-toxicity. There many pathogens lurking in commercial kitchens, including the following:

  • Salmonella
  • Staphylococcus
  • Norovirus
  • COVID-19
  • Listeria
  • E. Coli
  • Campylobacter
  • Clostridium botulinum / perfringens

Any of these can spread to customers and make them sick. Disinfecting the cooking and food handling areas can be tricky, however. It can also be overly time-consuming.

HOCL fogging kills surface and airborne pathogens without creating toxic fumes and toxic food. It can also eliminate unpleasant odors from grease, garbage, and food byproducts.

Hotels and Motels

Hotels have high cleaning requirements that only became higher with COVID. Rooms must be cleaned and sanitized between customers.

Hotel cleaning staff are only given a short amount of time to clean many rooms per day. Some staff requirements include full cleaning turnovers with only around 20 minutes allotted per room.

HOCl fogging reduces cleaning times by quickly disinfecting the entire hotel room, and by reducing the need for toxic waste handling. It can also effectively clean common hotel areas like pools, lobbies, and fitness areas that see high amounts of foot traffic.

Fitness Centers

Fitness centers see all sorts of sweat, grit, or even blood and tears (hopefully not as often). Anyone who’s used a shared gym or exercise area knows they can become nasty fast without regular disinfecting. Common germs include the following:

  • Salmonella
  • MRSA
  • Staphylococcus A.
  • Athlete’s foot fungi
  • Ringworm
  • Candida
  • Common cold and flu strains
  • COVID-19
  • Klebsiella pneumonia

Fitness centers can have many intricate machines and workout equipment that are difficult to disinfect safely and thoroughly. They also have different types of areas to disinfect, including:

  • Pools
  • Showers
  • Saunas
  • Lockers
  • Floor mats
  • Benches

HOCl fogging can disinfect multiple surfaces and surface types several times a day with corroding costly equipment. It’s also more time and cost-effective than relying on hundreds of bleach wipes every day.

Colleges and Schools

Young children are affectionately referred to as little germ factories. They’re especially good at spreading pathogens to unaware, more vulnerable adults.

Even colleges full of young adults can struggle with viral outbreaks. The COVID-19 pandemic added even more burdens and battles in the fight to maintain healthy school hygiene.

HOCl fogging is more effective for budget and staff-strapped colleges and schools. It can even reach high-vaulted ceiling areas. It also won’t expose students to toxic chemicals that can hurt their health.

Vet Offices

Like schools, vet offices struggle with their versions of germ factories. Diseases or infections that can be spread from animals to humans are referred to as zoonoses. Common zoonoses in vet offices include the following:

  • Anthrax
  • Salmonellosis
  • Cryptosporidiosis
  • Sporotrichosis
  • MRSA
  • Parasites
  • Rabies
  • Psittacosis
  • Dermatophytosis
  • Leptospirosis
  • COVID-19
  • B-virus
  • Avian influenza

They also rely on non-toxic and non-corrosive cleaning solutions so animals aren’t exposed.

It’s critical for vet offices and other animal handling areas to disinfect as much as they can, since animal outbreaks can spread quickly in domestic animal populations. A recent bird flu outbreak has already wiped out 37 million chickens and turkeys.

HOCl fogging is a fast and effective way to sanitize animal areas without causing additional toxin-related health problems for the animals. This includes areas with difficult surfaces to clean, like stables and coops. A HOCl fog also won’t contaminate their food and water supplies.

Dental Clinics

Healthcare clinic spaces like dental offices deal with exposure to blood-borne viruses like HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. Because of this, they routinely use no-touch decontamination procedures and solutions. This makes HOCl fogging ideal for these spaces.

A HOCl fog can also reduce the higher chances of airborne pathogen contamination. Over 190,000 dental specialists were shut down during COVID. The NCBI has specifically cited using HOCl in aerosol fogging as one of the best decontamination techniques for dental clinics.

Nursing Homes and Other Long-Term Healthcare Areas

Long-term healthcare areas are full of vulnerable patients, such as senior citizens and with people with chronic health issues. These populations are especially at-risk for COVID. Other pathogens include:

  • Streptococcus pyogenes
  • MRSA
  • Common cold and flu strains
  • Pneumonia
  • UTIs
  • Noroviruses
  • Salmonella
  • Tuberculosis
  • E. Coli

It’s critical to reduce pathogen exposure for long-term residents. Even relatively common pathogens can cause death during outbreaks.

HOCl fogging can sanitize long-term care areas without leaving lingering toxins for health-compromised individuals. A HOCl fog can also be used to quickly contain suspected outbreaks before they spread further.

Hypochlorous Acid Fogging for the Home

It may seem like overkill, but HOCl fogging is also useful for home disinfecting. It can be especially useful for homes with:

  • Babies and young children
  • Pets
  • Immunocompromised individuals
  • People with allergies and asthma
  • People with respiratory issues

Bleach is toxic and harmful. A HOCl fog disinfects your home areas without exposing vulnerable people and pets to bleach. It’s also hypoallergenic, so it’s safe around babies and people with asthma and allergies.

HOCl fog can also be used to disinfect a whole room in one quick swipe. For example, disinfecting an entire bedroom would require washing all the bedding, clothes, and carpets. You’d also have to wipe down all the surfaces and then spray a pathogen killer in the air.

Enjoy a Brighter, Cleaner Future Without Breaking Your Bank

Hypochlorous acid can eliminate tough pathogens while still being gentle enough for your skin. HOCl fogging has many commercial uses that bring you non-toxic, quick, and cost-effective solutions unique to your industry.

Genesis Fogger offers competitive HOCl products at affordable prices. We combine decades of expertise and experience to bring you the most effective disinfection solutions. Contact us to learn more about how to use our great products!

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