I ordered Sodium Chlorite in the mail and received Chlorine Dioxide. Can they be used interchangeably, or are they different? My background in chemistry is limited so laymen's terms would be appreciated. I appreciate any responses or feedback.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chlorine_dioxide I find it hard to believe someone delivered ClO2 It would be very dangerous, especially if you don't know much about it. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Jan 18, 2018 at 21:56
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    $\begingroup$ If you are 100 % sure it's ClO2 you received, then claim for refund and blacklist this supplier. If they cannot tell a difference between sodium chlorite and chlorine dioxide, they are not worth your time and money. $\endgroup$
    – andselisk
    Jan 18, 2018 at 22:01
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    $\begingroup$ If you have no background in chemistry, you should not be handling either. fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/… $\endgroup$
    – Karsten
    Feb 6, 2022 at 19:54
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    $\begingroup$ How is it possible to make such a mistake ? Sodium chlorite is a white solid, looking like salt. Chlorine dioxyde is a reddish gas. A gas !! $\endgroup$
    – Maurice
    Feb 6, 2022 at 21:24

3 Answers 3


Sodium Chlorite is a white powder, which dissolves in water.

Chlorine Dioxide is a gas. This gas also dissolves in water to some degree and gives a yellow color.

Sodium Chlorite is used to make Chlorine Dioxide in the laboratory.

I strongly doubt, that someone has sent you Chlorine Dioxide, as it is to dangerous to store and to send.

  • $\begingroup$ Chlorine dioxide also tends to explode. $\endgroup$ Jan 19, 2018 at 19:46

Warning: Both sodium chlorite and chlorine dioxide are toxic. There are numerous reports of nausea, diarrhea, severe vomiting, and life-threatening low blood pressure caused by dehydration as a result of chlorite poisoning. Sodium chlorite is a strong oxidizing agent and upon slight contamination would lead to explosion.

Chlorine dioxide is the product formed from the action of chlorine on sodium chlorite (laboratory process of making chlorine dioxide). This reaction is relatively safe. The reverse reaction of converting chlorine dioxide to sodium chlorite is dangerous and I highly recommend against it. This reaction is a highly oxidizing one and may ignite or explode if something goes wrong.

Chlorine dioxide can be revert back to sodium chlorite by reacting it with sodium peroxide.

$$\ce{Na2O2 + 2ClO2 → O2 + 2NaClO2}$$

But sodium peroxide can enhance combustion if contact with any combustible substance. Also, it causes redness of skin and pain. Don't try this.

Other preparation include reacting with sodium carbonate or sodium hydroxide but it tends to form a mixture of sodium chlorite and sodium chlorate.

So my opinion would be to return the chlorine dioxide. Don't try to store it or convert it to sodium chlorite as the reactions are dangerous.


simply marketing.

OP didn't receive Chlorine Dioxide gas, likely didn't receive Chlorine Dioxide solution of any concentration, and either received technical grade sodium chlorite flakes 'marketed' as chlorine dioxide which was misleading, or a solution of sodium chlorite labeled ACD/SCD "chlorine dioxide" which while industry practice, confused OP.

"Acidified Chlorine Dioxide" or "Stabilized Chlorine Dioxide" are both industry terms for a Sodium Chlorite solution. See Closys mouthwash ingredients as an example:

Purified water, stabilized chlorine dioxide, trisodium phosphate, etc.

I would assume OP received a solution. If you received the powder though, my answer is the same. The seller is marketing the end product you would use the chlorite salt to produce. Nevertheless you should be able to ask for the MSDS/SDS[^0] and inquire as to the concentration. Sodium Chlorite (NaClO2) is generally sold at 80% technical grade.

some of the newer Closys competitors utilize a 2 bottle system where you mix two solutions, usually one consisting of sodium chlorite and another of phosphoric acid yielding their proprietary concentration of Chlorine Dioxide with leftover TSP[^1] (same as in Closys). The ClO2 is usually in the range of 20-50ppm. There are many such products like this now.

As for topics brought up in other answers/comments. Chlorite is an oxidant, so is Chlorine Dioxide. Chlorine Dioxide is also a "free radical." Other common oxidants include Sunlight, Ozone (O3) Hydrogen peroxide (H202), and Nitric Oxide (NO), the latter also being a free radical.

Chlorine Dioxide is a more selective oxidant than Hydrogen Peroxide which one could argue makes it safer, and at appropriate concentration solutions (0.3%/3000ppm) is nearly as easily stored and used.[^2] (air-sealed container in the fridge)

If the Chlorine Dioxide gas is red you are in danger. Red would be highly concentrated. the color ranges from invisible to yellow, green, brown, red. The appropriate storage concentration of 3000ppm in solution is a neon yellow which could indeed be shipped with proper precautions taken.

all you might want to know about chlorite and chlorine dioxide. Both are used regularly and safely in water treatment, food industry, medicine

I was going to make this a comment, but I don't have the rep for that. So here's an "answer" instead.

[^0]: "(M)SDS: (Material) Safety Data Sheet - chemical information on the product. when you ask for this the provider may also give information on the process used to derive the product and what concentration or grade it is."

[^1]: TSP: Trisodium Phosphate - a rinsing agent which used to be in dishwashing detergent (still is in the commercial stuff) and is commonly sold at hardware stores for painters who use it to wash/rinse walls before painting.

[^2]: Chlorine dioxide and chlorite solutions are used for wound healing (just like H2O2 used to be commonly used) in many countries both in medical and veterenary practice

hm, I see this markdown doesn't do footnotes.


  • 1
    $\begingroup$ sunlight is an oxidant? Agreed it is capable of ejecting electrons but has some trouble in receiving them. You just invented photonium, get thee to the patent office!! You neglected a common oxidant, the one the concept is named for, oxygen, O2, also a free diradical. ClO2 is not particularly selective but more brute force; it can react by both radical and ionic mechanisms and oxidizes almost anything since in the process almost every lower oxidation state of chlorine is available. $\endgroup$
    – jimchmst
    Dec 5, 2022 at 2:23
  • $\begingroup$ thanks for the excellent input @jimchmst. I meant to leave the obvious O2 off the list actually. By 'selective' I meant to imply ClO2's limited reactivity to organic compounds as compared to chlorine. perhaps I can word that differently somehow. and feel free to edit the answer as you see fit, my friend. =D $\endgroup$
    – stevoblevo
    Dec 5, 2022 at 3:17
  • $\begingroup$ ClO2 is reasonably inert to alkyl groups we found that ppm solutions with sodium lauryl sulfate were reasonably stable, less pure surfactants reacted. It does not seem to be readily activated by room lighting. $\endgroup$
    – jimchmst
    Dec 5, 2022 at 4:38

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