I have been reading wikipedia and according to the article on potassium hypochlorite it can be used as a disinfectant. But it is not listed anywhere in the bleach article. I know we typically use sodium or calcium hypochlorite and some others but is there a specific reason we dont use potassium?

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    – airhuff
    Dec 19, 2017 at 3:45
  • $\begingroup$ Because it's more expensive and isn't better. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Dec 19, 2017 at 20:14
  • $\begingroup$ To expand on Mithoron's comment, because the Chlor-alkali industry is based around sodium chloride, not potassium chloride. $\endgroup$
    – Beerhunter
    Dec 19, 2017 at 20:43
  • $\begingroup$ Well it can be produced without mercury polution and seeing as mercury is toxic and hard (at least for me) to get ahold of i would think it is easier to make.. I accidentally made it trying to convert KCl solution to potassium chlorate.. Only i did it outside in negative temperatures so no chlorates formed. $\endgroup$ Dec 19, 2017 at 21:48

1 Answer 1


Potassium hypochlorite can be used as a bleach as an alternative to sodium or calcium hypochlorite. It is not that it is not used but its uses as bleach is not common as compared to sodium or calcium hypochlorite. Enviro Klor™ is a potassium based bleach (12.5% Potassium Hypochlorite Bleach alternative). As written here:

Enviro Klor™ potassium hypochlorite is a very versatile EPA registered (#63838-10, #63838-CA-01) biocide with all the power of a hypochlorite bleach and is approved for use wherever typical sodium hypochlorite bleach is, including:

  • Recirculating cooling water systems
  • Sewage and wastewater treatment
  • Disinfection of drinking water
  • Public water systems
  • Pulp and paper mill process water systems
  • Swimming pool water disinfection
  • Sanitization of food contact services
  • Laundry sanitizers
  • Agricultural applications


Bleaching and Laundry

  • Allows claims for a more environmentally friendly household bleach
  • Provides a sodium-free solution to laundry discharges

Industrial & Institutional (I&I)

  • Chemical Compounding – allows creation of sodium free formulas
  • Replacement chemical in CIP cleaners
  • More stable in certain formulations


  • Useful as a disinfectant for wastewater applied to land for irrigation, conserving water
  • Since potassium is one of the three required soil nutrients, there is little objection to the introduction of potassium ions onto land.

Here's a table of comparison:

enter image description here

You can see that available $\ce{Cl2}$ (wt %) is more in case of sodium hypochlorite for which sodium hypochlorite is preferred as bleaching agent. Also, byproduct of potassium hypochlorite is potassium chloride for which potassium hypochlorite is used in agricultural purposes where soil needs potassium. Another thing is that potassium hypochlorite may disproportionates to potassium chlorate which is a strong oxidant and may react vigourously with water and ignite or explode.


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