Electrolyzed water is a solution of standard tap water and sodium chloride (salt). This mixture undergoes electrolysis, and the electrical charge changes the molecular structure, forming a liquid called hypochlorous acid. This electrolyzed water cleaner is non-toxic, but it is a powerful disinfectant. Some scientists say that it is 10 times more effective than bleach.
How Do These Natural Cleaners Form?
When the current passes through saltwater, it converts the sodium ions into sodium hydroxide, which has detergent-like properties and serves as a potent degreaser. The chloride ions become hypochlorous acid, a disinfectant. The Environmental Protection Agency includes hypochlorous acid on List N, a ranking of all cleaners that can kill dangerous viruses, such as Covid-19.
Uses for Electrolyzed Water
Electrolyzed water cleaners are non-toxic. In fact, hypochlorous acid, the disinfecting agent formed by saltwater electrolysis, actually develops in the human body when white blood cells fight infections. For this reason, hypochlorous acid cleaners are popular in medical facilities and food processing plants, where they can provide the required level of disinfection without toxicity. Since this is a natural compound, it can be used to clean organic products without endangering their organic certification status.
The hospitality and foodservice industries likewise use these cleaning agents to wash surfaces without causing chemical sensitivities. Electrolyzed water cleaners are even used in water treatment facilities to help ensure that a city’s water supply is disinfected and safe to drink.
Since hypochlorous acid also oxidizes mold and fungus spores, it is an excellent choice for cleaning bathrooms, both in public places and in homes. Because it does not produce a chemical odor and is non-toxic, it is especially useful for people with sensitive skin or respiratory conditions. However, anyone who does not want to expose themselves to chemical disinfectants like bleach can benefit from using an electrolyzed water cleaner.
How an Electrolyzed Water Cleaner Works
Electrolyzed water is a powerful oxidant that works on bacteria, viruses, mold, and fungus. When it gets placed on a surface (by wiping or spraying), it oxidizes the substances that it comes into contact with. In other words, it alters the cellular structure of the unwanted substance, destroying cell walls and proteins.
Unlike some mold treatments, electrolyzed water cleaners typically work on all forms and species of fungus.
Furthermore, electrolyzed water has a low molecular weight, which makes it possible to penetrate the cell walls of pathogens quickly. It can render a virus or bacteria-covered surface safe in a matter of seconds. Bleach, ammonia, or alcohol-containing cleaners often have to remain on a surface for minutes (or longer) to ensure complete disinfection.
The Cleansing Power of Saltwater
Even without electrolysis, saltwater has disinfecting properties. It draws water away from some bacteria, therefore making it impossible for them to function. Saltwater has long been a natural remedy for mild oral or topical infections. The process of wicking water away from the cells of pathogens is known as osmosis. Saltwater does not oxidize cells in the same way as hypochlorous acid. Furthermore, some bacteria are halotolerant, which means they can survive in saltwater. For these reasons, plain saline is not as reliable as an all-purpose disinfectant as electrolyzed water, which can destroy a wider range of pathogens, molds, and fungi.
Where to Find an Electrolyzed Water Cleaner
Effective cleaners need to undergo the correct process of electrolysis. Also, they need to be stabilized and packaged correctly; otherwise, their shelf life is limited to two weeks or less. Rather than purchasing an electrolysis machine for thousands of dollars, you are better off getting ready-made electrolyzed water cleaners from a reputable retailer. For example, PathoSans Direct offers Pathonex, a hypochlorous acid disinfectant, and Pathopure, a sodium hydroxide detergent and degreaser.