Have you been looking for a way to clean your home without having to resort to harsh chemicals? Here’s an eco-safe cleaner that doesn’t include anything toxic. It’s called electrolyzed water (e-water).
What is electrolyzed water and why haven’t you heard about it? Electrolyzed water is produced through a process called electrolysis. During electrolysis, salt-containing water is passed through an electrical current. Once the current has passed through the salt water, two solutions are created. The first is called sodium hydroxide which is a high-pH, non-corrosive, all-purpose cleaner. This cleaner is effective for removing dirt and can also cut through grease.
The second solution formed during electrolysis is a compound called hypochlorous acid. This compound acts as a sanitizer and disinfectant. Unlike sodium hydroxide, hypocholorous acid is a low-pH liquid that contains some chlorine.
How effective are these two cleaners? By all accounts, hydrochlorus acid is a very effective sanitizer. It has been shown to eliminate many common types of bacteria, fungi, and viruses within seconds of contact. In fact, hydrochlorus acid seems to outperform chlorine bleach in this regard, being 80% more powerful at 50 parts per million than chlorine bleach is, at 200 parts per million.
As for sodium hydroxide, it makes an effective all-purpose cleaner that can be used to clean floors, walls, carpets, and upholstery.
Why don’t more people use electrolyzed water to clean if it is both safe and effective? Part of the problem is that to produce electrolyzed water for cleaning, you would need to purchase the equipment to turn tap water into electrolyzed salt water. It may cost upwards of $3,000 to get a home unit. One other issue is that electrolyzed water loses its potency fairly quickly and so can’t be stored for months on the shelf. Perhaps for this reason, you won’t see electrolyzed water for sale at your local supermarket or cleaning-products store.
Don’t expect electrolyzed water to produce lots of soapy bubbles when you clean or give off a tell-tale perfume—it won’t do either of these two things. This may be one reason why electrolyzed water hasn’t been embraced here in North America as an eco-safe way to do some green cleaning. Electrolyzed water has gained acceptance in Russia and Japan as a way to clean both personal and commercial environments. In Japan, electrolyzed water is used for everything from sanitizing foods to medical applications. And in fact, electrolyzed water has been promoted in these countries as an ideal cleaning system for hospitals, healthcare facilities, and food processing plants.
North Americans have been slow to catch on but already some companies have invested in electrolyzed water cleaning systems and are finding that over the long term, they actually save money. The basic ingredients of electrolyzed water are not expensive. All you need is tap water, salt, and an electrical current.
As technology improves, electrolysis machines will become more affordable. We may yet see the day when every home owner has one as a matter of course. The desire to use an eco-safe cleaner that contains no harsh chemicals will drive the demand for cheaper and more economical machines that can produce electrolyzed water.
Helmenstine, A.M., “Electrolyzed Water – Miracle Liquid?” About.com web site, Mar. 3, 2014; http://chemistry.about.com/b/2009/03/03/electrolyzed-water-miracle-liquid.htm, last accessed Jan. 8, 2014.
Krall, D., “Electrolyzed Water: The Great, Green, Clean,” EDC Magazine web site, Oct. 22, 2014; http://www.edcmag.com/blogs/14-edc-blog/post/95289-electrolyzed-water-the-great-green-clean, last accessed Jan. 8, 2014.