What's new

Cleaning and sanitizing the Reverse Osmosis system

gill_za

Never Knows Best
Joined
Jan 30, 2011
Messages
997
Location
Philadephia, PA
Hello,

I have a 4yr old Reverse Osmosis system sitting a garage that has not been used for at-least 2 years.
Filter Direct Online Store (C)

I would like to bring the system back to life and use it for plants and drinking water both. After sitting idle for so long I bet it is borderline a biohazard at this point. So the plan is:

1. Remove the filters, resin and drain the unit
2. Wash it and sterilize it
3. Replace all filters and resin.
4. Profit!

Question: What cleaning and sterilization agents can I use to make sure that nothing survives? I want to achieve a complete purge within the unit :)

Thank you!
 

gill_za

Never Knows Best
Joined
Jan 30, 2011
Messages
997
Location
Philadephia, PA
Interestingly Rubbing alcohol does not always kill acetic bacteria if I am not mistaken. I would use 3% Peroxide but its contact time to kill is long. Bleach solution would I am afraid leave a stink in it for a long time. I have "Star San" which is an acidic sanitization agent (probably phosphoric acid based) but it has added surfactants and also is pretty mild I think. I use it to sanitize brewing equipment. Hmm...

Av8tor1, are you here?
 
Last edited:
Joined
Mar 22, 2016
Messages
12
Location
Israel
I would suggest to look how much a new system would cost.
Replacing the RO membrane and all the filters could cost as much as a new system.

Sent from my phone, so sorry for mistakes
 

gill_za

Never Knows Best
Joined
Jan 30, 2011
Messages
997
Location
Philadephia, PA

Thanks, I did see the video, but was wondering if people here had additional suggestions.

It looks like my filter IS basically a USwater system. I briefly considered buying the kit from them with membrane and resin but Filter-direct comes out cheaper.

I would suggest to look how much a new system would cost.
Replacing the RO membrane and all the filters could cost as much as a new system.

Sent from my phone, so sorry for mistakes

Unfortunately, it definitely would be more expensive to replace the entire unit than a set of filters and maybe some tubing :(
 
Joined
May 13, 2014
Messages
191
Location
South Africa
Interestingly Rubbing alcohol does not always kill acetic bacteria if I am not mistaken. I would use 3% Peroxide but its contact time to kill is long. Bleach solution would I am afraid leave a stink in it for a long time. I have "Star San" which is an acidic sanitization agent (probably phosphoric acid based) but it has added surfactants and also is pretty mild I think. I use it to sanitize brewing equipment. Hmm...

Av8tor1, are you here?

I also though brewing equipment sanitizer could do the job :-))

Or you could use: Iodophor in a water solution and soak it.
You could also try boiling water, but that would mean you will have to submerge the unit into water that is kept boiling for a specific time period.
 
Joined
Jan 19, 2007
Messages
4,832
I would use a 10% bleach solution then rinse with tap water and let dry.
If for no other reason than it is the industry standard for bloodborne pathogen clean up, etc etc
Most of the funk will be contained in the prefilters and membrane since that is where the bacteria had something to munch on long term.

Be sure to make sure the membrane check valve is free of gunk

just my humble opinion
Av
 
Last edited:

gill_za

Never Knows Best
Joined
Jan 30, 2011
Messages
997
Location
Philadephia, PA
Brolloks, Av8tor1,

Thank you for your replies. I have purchased two packets of the USwater sanitization mix and will also clean the system with bleach before or after.
 

Est

War. War never changes.
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Apr 18, 2004
Messages
4,169
Location
Pasadena, CA
I'm late to the party, but I second the 10% bleach solution (exposure 30 min or longer). If you're going to replace your filters anyway, there shouldn't be too many places for the bleach to hang out.

I'd add: good enough for the USDA for the treatment of waste water and effluent containing foreign microbes.
 
Joined
Apr 18, 2011
Messages
251
Location
Finland
RO units don't like hot water so be careful about using anything warmer than tap water.
 

gill_za

Never Knows Best
Joined
Jan 30, 2011
Messages
997
Location
Philadephia, PA
Well ladies and gentlemen DO clean your units once in a while. I thought mine looked OK until it was taken apart. FILTHY!!!! Washed the thing and Nuked it with the sanitization solution from USWaters and 10% Bleach. The only problem is the persistent bleach smell. Those who have used bleach before, do you have any ideas on how to get rid of it without having to do a 1000 cycles of rinsing the unit? I am also googling the solution, so if something comes interesting comes up I'll post it here.
 
Joined
Jan 19, 2007
Messages
4,832
try putting an airstone in the rinse tank/bucket/whatever and let it run and soak overnight
 
Last edited:

gill_za

Never Knows Best
Joined
Jan 30, 2011
Messages
997
Location
Philadephia, PA
I must have misunderstood you, what do you mean by rinse bucket?

Internet suggests using either Sodium Bicarbonate - which makes no sense to me, its not as if baking soda will react with traces of hypochloride or any derivative products produced during sanitization.

Another suggestion is to use vinegar = aslo makes no sense since it has a chance of producing chlorine.

I am leaning towards using 3% peroxide solution (will need a lot of it...), maybe dilute it to 1% and let the solution sit in the unit for an hour or so.
 
Joined
Jan 19, 2007
Messages
4,832
I must have misunderstood you, what do you mean by rinse bucket?

Internet suggests using either Sodium Bicarbonate - which makes no sense to me, its not as if baking soda will react with traces of hypochloride or any derivative products produced during sanitization.

Another suggestion is to use vinegar = aslo makes no sense since it has a chance of producing chlorine.

I am leaning towards using 3% peroxide solution (will need a lot of it...), maybe dilute it to 1% and let the solution sit in the unit for an hour or so.

Whatever container you are rinsing the parts in
 

gill_za

Never Knows Best
Joined
Jan 30, 2011
Messages
997
Location
Philadephia, PA
Whatever container you are rinsing the parts in
Got it. Actually it seems I did not explain myself correctly. I took the unit apart and washed it with soap and removed all the grime I could get. Then it was assembled (no filters/membrane) and a premade bucket with ~10% bleach was recycled through the unit. So all water then had an odor.

However, peroxide seems to have done the trick. I released the pressure, dumped the water from the unit and tank and cycled bunch of diluted peroxide (1.5%), filled the tank and let it stay for 1hr. Odor is pretty much gone it seems!!!
 
Last edited:

gill_za

Never Knows Best
Joined
Jan 30, 2011
Messages
997
Location
Philadephia, PA
Thank you all. Hope this info will be useful to anyone trying to clean their units :) [MENTION=6193]Av8tor1[/MENTION] I am curious, in the future could the system be cleaned like this with the permeate pump installed as well or is it better to take it off?
 
Joined
Jan 19, 2007
Messages
4,832
Gill,

Definitely remove, no question.... that is a seal unit.

You don't want to mess up the check valves or pumping mechanism.
Would be very easy to do if debris or funk was fed through it.
 
Top