Do-it-Yourself Water Ionizer Cleaning

Do-it-Yourself Water Ionizer Cleaning

alkaline waterMany 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.

I recommend doing this PRIOR TO A FILTER CHANGE.  When it’s time for a filter change, run the cleaning procedure below – then flush the unit for a few minutes and THEN install your new filters in your freshly cleaned water ionizer.

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.

  1. Unplug the Water Ionizer from the electrical outlet. Remove as much water from the Water Ionizer by blowing through the silver tube, inlet tube and acid tube.  Also remove the filter and shake as much water from it as you can then replace it.  The filter must be securely placed in the Water Ionizer for cleaning the ionizer in this method.
  2. Prepare a container of WHITE VINEGAR for the pump.  Attach the INLET hose from the Water Ionizer to the pump.  Depending on the pump you purchase, this may require some minor modifications so that the hose will fit into the pump properly.  Submerge the pump into the white vinegar.
  3. Plug the small fish tank pump or small water-garden pump in to the electrical outlet. (A GFI safety plug should be used for this in order to protect against electrocution).
  4. Place both the silver tube and acid water tube from the Water Ionizer into the white vinegar container so the entire system is recirculating.
  5. At first, there may be very little flow through the silver tube.  However, as long as the slightest amount of vinegar is flowing through the silver tube, the vinegar will eventually dissolve the calcium that is blocking the water from flowing out the tube.
  6. Clean the Water Ionizer for 2-12 hours depending on how much calcium and other minerals have been deposited on the electrodes.
  7. Reattach the Water Ionizer to your water source and flush the unit with water for 10-20 minutes to clean out the vinegar from the unit.
  8. Begin using the Water Ionizer again.

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.

More uses for citric acid powder….

  • If you’re in an area where getting stronger acidic pH levels is a challenge, sprinkling a little citric acid – in powder or crystal form – will drop the pH of the water.
  • Fresh cut flowers will stay fresher longer when you use acidic water – adding a few citric acid sprinkles will help keep your fresh cut flowers fresh as well.
  • Dissolving a little citric acid powder in water and giving your fruits and veggies a quick soak before storing them can help them stay fresher longer.
  • Hard water stains?  Many have found that dissolving citric acid in water helps remove the stains and hard water build-up – just like it does when used to clean your water ionizer.

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!