Not All Sanitizers Are the Same: Why HOCL is a Better Choice for Restaurants

Not All Sanitizers Are the Same: Why HOCL is a Better Choice for Restaurants

Francine L. Shaw, food safety specialist, podcaster, Founder of Savvy Food Safety, and author of “Who Watches the Kitchen?” sat down with Morten Larsen, CTO of EcoloxTech, to discuss the many significant benefits of Hypochlorous acid (HOCL), and why this sanitizer and disinfectant is the better choice for restaurants and other food businesses.

FRANCINE SHAW: What should restaurant managers and employees know about HOCL as a disinfectant and sanitizer?

MORTEN LARSEN: Simply put, not all sanitizers and disinfectants are alike, and HOCL provides many significant benefits for food businesses that other solutions do not. The most important thing that I want people to know is that HOCL has been proven to be an extremely effective, safe, versatile, and eco-friendly disinfectant and sanitizer. It allows food businesses to sanitize and disinfect more effectively, sustainably, and responsibly than other options in the marketplace.

FS: What are the main benefits of HOCL?

ML: HOCL offers many significant benefits. It’s 99.99% effective against harmful pathogens, bacteria, viruses, and fungi, including E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria, which are common causes of foodborne illness outbreaks. It can also help eliminate highly contagious pathogens like influenza, COVID, and norovirus.

HOCL is 80-100x more potent than bleach, yet it’s non-toxic, chemical-free, and safe to use directly on and around food, making it the preferred sanitizer choice for many restaurants and other food businesses.

HOCL is compliant with CDC, FDA, and EPA regulations, so food businesses can feel comfortable using it, knowing that it meets governmental agencies’ strict standards.

Companies like EcoloxTech offer very cost-effective HOCL options, since generating HOCL is between 15-25 cents per gallon, depending on water and electricity costs. The salt costs are insignificant, as they’re about 0.001 cent per gallon. HOCL improves products’ shelf life, decreases labor costs, mitigates risks, lowers expenses, and boosts profitability. And since HOCL is rinse-free, it saves time, effort, and water, offering a significant advantage for restaurants, where speed and efficiency are crucial.

HOCL is versatile and can be used as a dip wash, spray, and fog. It can be used to disinfect facilities (including large spaces), surfaces, equipment, and directly on food. HOCL is odorless and tasteless, which is essential for maintaining food quality and characteristics.

Because of these many important benefits, HOCL is quickly becoming the “go to” sanitizer choice in the food industry.

FS: Why is it so important for restaurants to use an effective and powerful sanitizer like HOCL?

ML: Foodborne illness is prevalent in the US, as 48 million people get sick and 3,000 die from it each year. Food safety breaches are 100% preventable, yet simple mistakes – like not properly sanitizing surfaces, equipment, or foods – can cause foodborne illness outbreaks. Restaurants must prioritize food safety, working proactively and continuously to keep their guests safe. HOCL is instrumental to that effort, reducing or eliminating 99.99% of pathogens, including listeria, Salmonella, and E.coli that can contaminate foods and sicken guests.

Additionally, HOCL can help eliminate influenza, COVID, and norovirus, which are often spread in foodservice settings when employees are careless about hygiene and pass along pathogens from their unwashed hands via surfaces, equipment, and foods.

As the demand for safer, high-quality food products – and meticulously clean restaurant environments – continues to rise, restaurant brands must implement the best, most innovative solutions to meet these expectations. Consumers are, increasingly, choosing to visit restaurants that consistently demonstrate a commitment to food safety, quality, cleanliness, and sanitation. By using HOCL – and implementing stringent food safety protocols – your restaurant will increase key metrics, including customer sales, satisfaction, loyalty, trust, and referrals.

FS: How is HOCL different – and better – than other sanitizers and disinfectants in the marketplace?

ML: HOCL is generally safer and easier to handle than other sanitizers and disinfectants in the marketplace. For instance, when compared to ozone, HOCL has a longer shelf life, and doesn’t require specialized equipment like ozone does. Also, ozone can be hazardous to human health if inhaled in significant quantities, but HOCL is non-toxic, eliminating respiratory risks for restaurant employees.

While quats have historically been used in the food industry, HOCL offers an improved safety profile and effectiveness against more pathogens than quats. Additionally, since there have been growing concerns regarding quat exposure and potential risks associated with their usage, and more businesses are transitioning to safer, more efficient sanitization options like HOCL.

FS: Is HOCL a safe and sustainable solution?

ML: Yes, HOCL is a safe, sustainable, and eco-friendly choice, and many eco-conscious brands are now relying on it. Unlike other sanitizers that may leave harmful residues, HOCL breaks down into simple saltwater after use, posing no risk to people, foods, or the environment. While some traditional sanitizers contain harsh chemicals, HOCL is chemical-free, making it safer for employees handling it, and reducing the chemical contamination risks for food. HOCL is a great choice for companies that want to minimize their environmental impact, yet still want to use a powerful and effective sanitizer to ensure a clean environment.

FS: There was a massive, multi-state foodborne illness outbreak around salmonella-tainted cantaloupe last year. Could that outbreak have been avoided if the cantaloupe had gone through a HOCL produce wash?

ML: Fresh produce has, historically, caused more foodborne illnesses than any other food. Pre-washing produce with HOCL gets rid of dirt, feces, and other contaminants that could sicken or kill consumers, and could help reduce or eliminate risks like we saw with the cantaloupe outbreak last year.

But fresh produce obviously isn’t the only thing that can trigger a food safety breach. HOCL can also help eliminate bacteria and pathogens on the surfaces of meat, poultry, and seafood, which could accelerate spoilage, decay, and contamination of these perishable foods. This is so important for restaurants because it not only improves food safety, but it can also help reduce food waste and associated costs.

The bottom line is that HOCL is an absolute game-changer for restaurants. It’s a powerful, versatile, safe, cost-effective, eco-friendly sanitizer and disinfectant that can be used in numerous ways to help keep your foods, guests, employees, restaurant, and planet safer.

Francine L. Shaw is a food safety specialist, podcaster, founder of Savvy Food Safety,  author of “Who Watches the Kitchen?”, and a successful entrepreneur, and speaker who spent 30+ years working in the foodservice industry. Her career has included performing services (operating partner, corporate/private trainer, health inspector, third party inspector, adjunct professor) in various sectors of the foodservice industry. She has written hundreds of articles for national trade magazines and appeared on Dr. Oz, the BBC World Series Radio, and iHeart Radio as a food safety expert.

Morten Larsen is CTO of EcoloxTech, which is leading the way in eco-friendly disinfection solutions, uniquely using Hypochlorous acid (HOCL), a naturally occurring, eco-friendly disinfectant that has gained recognition for its proven effectiveness in killing bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens, including MRSA, E. coli, COVID, Influenza, and Norovirus. EcoloxTech products are effective against 99.99% of all pathogens and 80-100 times more effective than bleach, yet are non-toxic, sustainable, and safe for humans, pets, and the environment.  EcoloxTech products are being successfully used in foodservice, cruise ships, hospitals, and more. For more information, please visit