To Arrhenius, it seemed the answer was that each dissociated fragment of the sodium chloride molecule carried an electric charge and that they were the ions that Faraday had spoken of. From the results of the experiment involving an electric current passing through a sodium chloride solution, it was easy to argue that each sodium particle formed through dissociation carried a positive charge and was a sodium ion that could be symbolized as Na+, while each chlorine particle carried a negative charge and was a chloride ion, symbolized as Cl-. It was because electrolytes tended to dissociate into such charged fragments that they were electrolytes and could conduct an electric current.
Sodium ions and chloride ions had properties far different from uncharged sodium atoms and chlorine atoms. That is why a salt solution is a mild substance, while sodium and chlorine, themselves, are both dangerous to life. Non-electrolytes, such as sugar, not being dissociated, have no charged fragments that can carry an electric charge, and therefore do not conduct an electric current.