Sodium hypochlorite

Our brands help keep homes and workplaces clean, fresh and protected from germs. For many decades, we have used sodium hypochlorite in our home care products because it is a powerful and fast-acting disinfectant that combats a wide range of micro-organisms, including bacteria and viruses.

Sodium hypochlorite is the active ingredient in most household bleaches. It fights germs even at very low concentrations and is excellent at removing stains and unpleasant odours. Numerous scientific studies have shown it to be safe when used as directed on the product label. And as bleach disintegrates almost entirely into salt and water it’s safe to go down the drain.

Your questions answered

Why does Unilever use sodium hypochlorite?

We use sodium hypochlorite because it is a very effective way of destroying a wide range of harmful micro-organisms, such as bacteria, viruses and fungi. It works even at very low concentrations – this is why it is commonly used to purify drinking water and keep swimming pools hygienic.

Is sodium hypochlorite safe?

Yes, when used as directed on the product label. If used incorrectly, sodium hypochlorite can cause irritation to the skin and eyes, particularly when undiluted. This is why it’s important to store and use bleach products carefully, avoiding contact with skin and being careful not to splash them in your eyes – as explained on product labels. It’s also important not to mix bleach with ammonia, acids, or other cleaners. Mixing bleach with common cleaning products can cause serious injuries.

Is sodium hypochlorite safe for the environment?

Once used, sodium hypochlorite rapidly breaks down, forming salt and water. Various detailed scientific reviews show that normal domestic use of sodium hypochlorite is safe for the environment.

What Unilever products contain sodium hypochlorite?

Some of our household disinfectants, such as Domestos, contain sodium hypochlorite.

Did you know?

Most water treatment systems in the US and Europe have used hypochlorite to purify drinking water for nearly 100 years.

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