Water is known to be elixir of life. But drinking contaminated water can even prove fatal. It is very essential to make sure the water we drink or use for other household activities be treated to make it portable. Chlorine is the widely used chemical for treating water. Chlorine is a member of halogen group of elements and directly combines with most of the elements.
Right from the kitchen where it is used in the form of table salt (NaCl), chlorine is widely used for many purposes. At room temperature it is a gas. Sodium with chlorine forms salt. When sodium hydroxide (NaOH) is mixed with chlorine gas, the resulting product is sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl). This product mixed with water in some constant proportion is the bleach that we buy at the shop.
It is a disinfectant which is why it is used to treat drinking water as well as water in a tank, swimming pool or any other storage sumps. It kills the bacteria, algae and other harmful substances. Chlorine also plays an indirect role in removing tough stains. Natural stains are produced from chemical compounds called chromophores. These can absorb light and that’s why stains cause colors. When chlorine reacts with water, it produces atomic oxygen and hydrochloric acid. This oxygen reacts with chromophores to eliminate its structure that causes color.
Chlorine proves useful only if it is used in an appropriate quantity, if otherwise it is very harmful. It could cause difficulty in breathing and also irritate the skin and eyes.
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