Javelle water

Javelle water or Javel water both: zhəvĕl´ [key], Fr. eau de Javelle, aqueous solution of sodium or potassium hypochlorite. It was originally made near the French town of Javelle (now part of Paris) and was the first chemical bleach, a use first demonstrated by C. L. Berthollet in 1785. It was produced by passing chlorine gas through a water solution of potash ( potassium carbonate ). After the invention of bleaching powder Javelle water was sometimes produced by reacting the bleaching powder with potash or soda ash ( sodium carbonate ). Now usually sodium hypochlorite solution, it is used in bleaching and as a disinfectant.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.