Many water ionizer companies now offer cleaning cartridges to help remove mineral buildup inside their machines. These are convenient but can be costly. Here is an affordable “do it yourself” cleaning method that will work with any water ionizer.
For the cost of a small aquarium pump ($15 – $40) and vinegar or citric acid powder, you can keep your water ionizer clean, free of mineral scale buildup and performing at its best for years to come.
Most cleaning cartridges sold by water ionizer companies contain citric acid powder. The method below suggests using vinegar however you can use 1 cup of citric acid powder dissolved into a gallon of distilled or purified (with no minerals added) water and achieve the same results – without having to deal with the strong vinegar smell. Some argue that using vinegar is more effective, especially if you are in a hard water area.
The instructions below are from Bob McCauley’s blog (Watershed Wellness Center). Where he says “vinegar” you can substitute the citric acid powder/water mix.
Don’t skimp on the pump – you want to make sure you’ve got something with enough power to push the water through the unit at a reasonable rate – at least 1.5 liters per minute – preferably 2 to 3 liters per minute.
If you decide to use citric acid powder instead of vinegar, distilled or purified water (from an RO system, no minerals added) is recommended. Regular water from your tap will contain the same minerals you are trying to flush out of your water ionizer.
Over time, scale buildup inside your water ionizer creates a barrier between the plates and the water – which can result in lower pH and ORP because the water is not able to directly contact the plates. Additionally, in hard water areas, scale buildup can form in the hosing which can slow water flow and ultimately block the flow completely.
Taking a little time once or twice a year to perform this maintenance will ensure that your water ionizer is producing quality ionized water for years and years to come. Let’s face it – these water ionizers aren’t cheap. Protect your investment, keep it performing optimally – clean your machine.
Most health food stores will sell citric acid powder or crystals in small bottles for around $5. You can also find it where “canning” supplies are sold. Citric acid is used as a natural preservative for canning fruits and vegetables. You will likely find it in a larger size (and for a better price) if you shop for citric acid powder or crystals at a store that sells supplies for preserving fruits and vegetables.
Most water ionizers will be able to produce acidic water strong enough for cleaning and keeping produce fresh however people with source water rich in alkaline minerals can have trouble reaching stronger acidic levels. Citric acid powder or crystals will drop the pH down – and it doesn’t take much. Experiment with this yourself using the pH testing drops that came with your water ionizer. Add a little citric acid to the water and see how quickly the pH will drop!
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