What Are Disinfectants Made Of?

For more than 100 years, Clorox products have been used to safely disinfect everything from household kitchens to public water supplies to the world’s leading hospitals. And over all these years, the basic components of our most popular disinfectant, Clorox® Regular Bleach2, haven’t changed much.

The active ingredient in Clorox® Regular Bleach2 is sodium hypochlorite, which is derived from sodium chloride—common table salt. In fact, when you buy our bleach, you’re buying a solution that contains at least 6% sodium hypochlorite, a little sodium hydroxide and sodium carbonate to help balance the solution and help maintain the product’s performance for up to a year, and mostly water.

Because of how bleach is made, once you’re done disinfecting, 95 to 98 percent of it rapidly breaks back down into salt and water, its starting elements. The bleach that doesn’t break down is treated effectively by our sewer and septic systems. So, Clorox® Regular Bleach2 begins and ends as salt and water.

Even with these common ingredients, we make sure our products are safe when used properly. We put our products through rigorous human and environmental safety assessments, evaluating ingredients and product formulations. These are evaluated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for approval before our products go on the market. And Clorox regularly monitors scientific developments relating to our products after they go on the market.

Because Clorox takes product safety seriously, we want to make sure consumers have easy access to information that helps them better understand bleach and our product safety processes.

It’s with this in mind that in 2011 Clorox became the first major U.S. consumer packaged goods company to allow consumers to see exactly what ingredients make up our household and commercial disinfecting, cleaning and laundry products in the U.S. and Canada. Through our Ingredients Inside site, consumers can look up information on these products, including explanations of each ingredient, whether they are using their desktop computer at home or their mobile device in the aisle of their favorite store. As of January 2020, the U.S. product ingredient listings will be available on SmartLabel, an industry tool that provides easy, centralized access to detailed information about a wide range of consumer products.

We know people have questions about what’s inside our disinfectants. And we will be here to provide the answers you need. Ask a question here.