The key difference between sodium hypochlorite and hydrogen peroxide is that sodium hypochlorite can release chlorine gas, whereas hydrogen peroxide cannot release chlorine gas.
Sodium hypochlorite is an inorganic ionic compound consisting of sodium and hypochlorite ions, while hydrogen peroxide is an inorganic compound having the chemical formula H2O2. Both sodium hypochlorite and hydrogen peroxide are strong oxidizing agents.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Sodium Hypochlorite
3. What is Hydrogen Peroxide
4. Sodium Hypochlorite vs Hydrogen Peroxide in Tabular Form
5. Summary – Sodium Hypochlorite vs Hydrogen Peroxide
What is Sodium Hypochlorite?
Sodium hypochlorite is an inorganic ionic compound consisting of sodium and hypochlorite ions. It is the sodium salt of hypochlorous acid. This compound has the chemical formula NaOCl. Its molar mass is 74.44 g/mol. Generally, sodium hypochlorite is unstable and may tend to even decompose explosively. However, its pentahydrate form is stable. Moreover, its hydrated form has a pale greenish-yellow colour and occurs as a solid. Although this hydrated form is more stable than the anhydrous form, we have to refrigerate it to keep its stability. Further, sodium hypochlorite has a sweet, chlorine-like odour.
There are a few methods of preparation for this compound. We can easily prepare sodium hypochlorite via the reaction between salt (NaCl) and ozone. It is a simple method but is suitable for research purposes. For industrial needs, this compound is produced via the Hooker process. In this process, chlorine gas is passed through a dilute sodium hydroxide solution, which gives sodium hypochlorite and sodium chloride.
What is Hydrogen Peroxide?
Hydrogen peroxide is an inorganic compound having the chemical formula H2O2. The pure form of hydrogen peroxide has a pale blue color, and it exists as a clear liquid. This liquid is slightly more viscous than water. In fact, it is the simplest peroxide among all peroxide compounds.
There are some important applications of hydrogen peroxide; among them, the major applications include using it as an oxidizer, bleaching agent, and antiseptic. There is an unstable peroxide bond between two oxygen atoms in this compound; thus, the compound is highly reactive. Therefore, it slowly decomposes when exposed to light. Furthermore, we need to store this compound with a stabilizer in a weakly acidic solution.
The molar mass of hydrogen peroxide is 34.014 g/mol. Hydrogen peroxide has a slightly sharp odor. Its melting point is −0.43 °C, and its boiling point is 150.2 °C. However, if we boil hydrogen peroxide to this boiling point, it practically undergoes explosive thermal decomposition. Furthermore, this compound is miscible with water because it can form hydrogen bonds. It forms a eutectic mixture with water (a homogenous mixture that melts or solidifies at a single temperature). This mixture shows freezing point depression.
What is the Difference Between Sodium Hypochlorite and Hydrogen Peroxide?
The key difference between sodium hypochlorite and hydrogen peroxide is that sodium hypochlorite can release chlorine gas, whereas hydrogen peroxide cannot release chlorine gas. Moreover, the oxidative effect of sodium hypochlorite is comparatively higher than that of hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is useful as a mild antiseptic on the skin to prevent infection of minor cuts, scrapes, burns, etc., whereas sodium hypochlorite is useful for water sanitization, paper whitening, food preservation, medical procedures, etc.
The following table summarizes the difference between sodium hypochlorite and hydrogen peroxide.
Summary – Sodium Hypochlorite vs Hydrogen Peroxide
Sodium hypochlorite and hydrogen peroxide are important inorganic compounds that can act as strong oxidizing agents. The key difference between sodium hypochlorite and hydrogen peroxide is that sodium hypochlorite can release chlorine gas, whereas hydrogen peroxide cannot release chlorine gas. While sodium hypochlorite shows a stronger bleaching and cleaning effect, hydrogen peroxide shows comparatively less oxidation effect.
1. “Sodium Hypochlorite.” The Chlorine Institute.
1. “Klorin” By Mehinger – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Bottle, disinfectant, hydrogen, peroxide, H2O2” (CC0) via Pixino
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