What is hypochlorous acid?

   Hypochlorous acid is a weak, inorganic acid that is used as a household bleach and disinfectant. It is also used to kill bacteria in water. Both hypochlorous acid and its salts are good oxidizing agents. Neutralizing the acid gives salts called hypochlorites. Calcium hypochlorite preparations are the most widely used "hypochlorite" bleaches.
   Hypochlorous acid is the weakest chlorine acid. It exists only in water solution, and is very unstable. Even the more concentrated Solutions of the acid decompose into other chlorine acids in only a few hours. Its chemical formula is HCOl.