What Is Hypochlorous Acid (HCIO) and How to Use on Cannabis

In this age of cannabis cultivation, you’ll find many products for the different issues cultivators face. You’ll also find many conflicting reports on those products. Unsurprisingly, knowing what to turn to when problems arise can be hard.

Hypochlorous acid (HCIO) has seen a lot of controversy on forums and grow stores all over the world. Is it beneficial or a blight to one’s garden? Today, I will settle this controversy once and for all and explain why you should incorporate some form of hypochlorous acid for cannabis.

What is hypochlorous acid? 

Hypochlorous acid has been used for years in many fields, but mainly in agriculture. The weak acid has oxidative disinfecting properties that help clean wounds, disinfect surfaces, and deodorize production areas. HCIO has recently become popular in the cannabis industry because of its disinfecting properties and other qualities.

Is hypochlorous acid safe to use on cannabis plants? 

Since it is a weak acid, hypochlorous acid is safe for cannabis and a great tool for keeping plants healthy. HCIO is also safe for humans, so you can feel safe using it in your garden.

How can you use hypochlorous acid when growing cannabis?

Hypochlorous acid can be useful in many different aspects of cannabis cultivation. It can be used to break down salts that occur when your growing medium has been continuously soaked with nutrient solutions. Personally, I have found it most useful for cleaning your plant’s root zone. It kills bad bacteria and fungi that can arise during your plant’s life. 

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Hypochlorous acid and organic cannabis soil

Since HCIO kills bacteria and fungi, do not use it in a living soil garden since it will kill both your beneficial and bad microbiology. However, if a major blight arises, HCIO is a quick and effective tool to help combat it.

Hypochlorous acid is useful when growing cannabis with hydroponics

HCIO is very useful in a hydroponic garden because it also helps break down salts that may have accumulated in your medium from the nutrient solution that couldn’t be absorbed fast enough by your plants, causing problems such as nutrient lockout and nutrient burn, which are associated with hot soil.

Want a safe cannabis plant protector? Use Bergman’s Plant Protector for the best results.

Bergman’s Plant Protector

  • Protect your plants from diseases and harmful pests.
  • Consists of three 20 ml bottles
  • Enough plant protection system supplies for up to 20 plants
  • Suitable for soil, hydroponic and all other grow mediums

How do I use hypochlorous acid when growing cannabis?

Hypochlorous acid can be used in many different ways in your garden. The main way to utilize HCIO is to add it to your irrigation systems. It will deliver the HCIO to your root zone, eliminate pathogens plaguing your garden, and break up salts in your medium. It will also stop harmful bacteria and fungi from growing inside irrigation equipment, such as hoses, reservoirs, drip lines, and watering cans. Additionally, HCIO can help break down mineral buildup inside your irrigation lines and treat your plants’ water supply to prevent biofilm from growing inside the containers.

Hypochlorous acid can also replace some disinfecting solutions since it can also sanitize surfaces such as tables and pots and equipment like scissors and scalpels.

How does hypochlorous acid stack up against other sanitizing agents for cannabis cultivation? 

Hypochlorous acid is a great cleaner that can go toe to toe with most sanitizing agents. Most sanitizing agents are quite caustic, and you must give them plenty of care and attention when using them. Since HCIO is a weak acid, it is not caustic but is still a very effective disinfectant. This also means you don’t have to worry about skin or eye irritation unless used in very high concentrations. 

HCIO might be a great sanitizer, but it is ineffective at fighting Hop Latent Viroid. For that, you will need a much stronger sanitizer, such as bleach or Virkon S. Learn more about sanitizing equipment for HLVd in my What is Hop Latent Viroid article.


Hypochlorous can be used for many things, but its gentle disinfecting qualities make it a champion for root zone maintenance. It is safe for cannabis and, most importantly, for you. There are many hypochlorous acid products, but I recommend HCIO for anyone to at least try in their garden. 

In summary, hypochlorous acid is a great sanitizing agent to have in your arsenal for keeping your plants healthy and your garden pathogen-free. 

Keep learning to keep your garden greener. 


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