Is Bleach Made From Chlorine an Acid or a Base?

With a high pH of 13, chlorine bleach is very acidic. This means that the amount of H+ in a solution of chlorine bleach is about one millionth of what it is in pure water.

The only reason chlorine bleach is safe to use is because it is so simple. When chlorine is added to water, the hypochlorite ion and chlorine gas are in a state of balance.

But if you lower the pH, like when you mix bleach with an acid, the hydrogen and oxygen atoms in the hypochlorite ion join with the extra hydrogen ions to form water molecules. As a result, chlorine gas is made, which is harmful to people.

Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.


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