The chloride ion is formed when the element chlorine picks up one electron to form an anion (negatively-charged ion) Cl-. The salts of hydrochloric acid HCl contain chloride ions and can also be called chlorides. An example is table salt, which is sodium chloride with the chemical formula NaCl. In water, it dissolves into Na+ and Cl- ions.
The word chloride can also refer to a chemical compound in which one or more chlorine atoms are covalently bonded in the molecule. This means that chlorides can be either inorganic or organic compounds. The simplest example of an inorganic covalently-bonded chloride is hydrogen chloride, HCl.
The free acid, chlorous acid, HClO2, is only stable at low concentrations. Since it cannot be concentrated, it is not a commercial product. However, the corresponding sodium salt, sodium chlorite, NaClO2 is stable and inexpensive enough to be commercially available. The corresponding salts of heavy metals (Ag+, Hg+, Tl+, Pb2+, and also Cu2+ and NH4+) decompose explosively with heat or shock.
Sodium chlorite is derived indirectly from sodium chlorate, NaClO3. First, the explosively unstable gas chlorine dioxide, ClO2 is produced by reducing sodium chlorate in a strong acid solution with a suitable reducing agent (for example, sodium chloride, sulfur dioxide, or hydrochloric acid). The chlorine dioxide is then absorbed into an alkaline solution and reduced with hydrogen peroxide, H2O2 yielding sodium chlorite.
Sodium chlorite is a chemical compound used in the manufacture of paper.