Info: HOCl Disinfectant Maker
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Hypochlorous Acid is a safe and effective method of both cleaning and disinfecting many household items, and this small appliance can produce it very quickly and easily using just ordinary salt and water.
Now more than ever, it's important to keep all the surfaces of your home that people might touch clean and germ-free, especially when there are visitors (both before and after). There are also many household items that regular cleaners cannot fully clean (of food stains, for example).
"Hypochlorous Acid" may sound a bit scary, but it's really just a different arrangement of three of the elements in water (H2O) and salt or sodium chloride (NaCl) to form a new molecule (HOCL), which is much better at cleaning and disinfecting than salt water alone, but tends to be unstable (quickly reverting back to just salt water) unless prepared properly. It's even produced naturally in our own bodies, by our immune system: a type of white blood cells called neutrophils release it to fight invading pathogens such as bacteria and viruses.
Dozens of studies have shown hypochlorous acid is effective at eliminating many viruses which make people sick, including E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Candida albicans, and can also kill bacteria like listeria Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and salmonella.
84 Disinfectant Maker
In some regions such as China, HOCL solutions are produced commercially (possibly with the addition of other chemicals) and marketed under names such as "84 Disinfectant" as an alternative to chlorine bleach or Sodium Hypochlorite (NaOCl) as a household cleaner, since it is much safer (it is not irritating or caustic, is not toxic, and is quite unlikely to fade colors on fabrics) and it can disinfect items up to 100 times better than bleach. (Because HOCL is a smaller molecule with no electrical charge, it does not get repelled by germs' negatively charged surfaces like Sodium Hypochlorite ions (which are also negatively charged) do, so it can contact and disable them much faster.)
A Safer Sanitizer - Just Salt and Water
This small appliance, which is as easy to operate as a kettle, is able to generate a stable form of HOCL using just salt and water, by using a special metal coil shaped like a stove element in its base and electricity to electrolyze it. (Electrolysis involves passing an electric current through a substance to effect a chemical change.)
It can produce three different concentrations of it (since you may want stronger or weaker forms for slightly different purposes), depending on how much salt you use and the time you press for the generation cycle on its control panel. After it's done 'boiling,' you can either just pour it into a squirt bottle, to spray onto whatever surfaces you want cleaned, or pour some into a container if you want to soak some items in it, to clean organic stains (those produced by foods, beverages, or animal or human waste; it may not work that well in dissolving petrochemical grease stains, or metal tarnish, or other types of non-organic discoloration).
This Hypochlorous Acid Water Generator has an electrolyzing element in its base, which is activated through a touch panel, which is programmed with three time settings (5 minutes, on the top left; 15 minutes, on the top right; and 30 minutes, on the bottom left, which is probably the main one you will use).
To generate a full container of HOCL cleaning solution, simply fill the container to its Max. fill line with clean, warm (about 50°C) tap water; add 30 grams of pure salt (i.e., non-iodized salt); stir it up with a plastic stir stick so the salt dissolves properly as a solution rather than clumping or settling to the bottom; select the appropriate 5, 15, or 30 minute time mode for the concentration you want (Low, Medium, and High, respectively), and just click that button on the control panel to start it.
The manufacturers of some related machines also recommend that you add half a teaspoon of distilled white vinegar for every 500 ml of water to optimize the pH level, to ensure that Hypochlorous Acid is the dominant molecule produced (while minimizing the production of sodium hypochlorite, which has more of a bleaching effect and is not as effective at disinfecting).
The HOCL solution is ready for use as soon as the generating cycle is complete. Unplug the machine, and promptly either:
* Transfer all the solution to one or more spray bottles, to spray it evenly on the surface of the items to be disinfected until they are moist, and then wipe it off later with a clean cloth (but don't wipe it off right away - come back to it about a half hour later, to give it time to work); or,
* Pour the disinfectant solution into an open glass container to soak items in (then rinse them off with regular water and wipe them down, after); or onto the floors to mop with it; or into a clean pail to use a sponge with, etc.
To avoid possible corrosion, use plastic or glass containers to hold the solution in, rather than metal.
The relative amounts of water, salt and time to use for its three modes of operation, and some of the main applications for each of those modes, are as follows.
Generally, people would prepare the full amount, adding the warm water right up to its "Max" fill line mark on the scale on the side of the container (which is about 1.6 L), with the full 30 grams of salt. If you want just some of that full strength disinfecting solution to be less concentrated, you can always dilute part of it with water, later: in a 1 to 1 ratio to change the High strength to Medium, or by adding as much as 5 times water to convert it to the lowest concentration.
To make the least amount the machine is designed to produce, use about half a tablespoon of salt (about 7.5g) in 300ml water, and keep doubling that if you double the amount of water, to the maximum of two tablespoons or 30 grams for the full container.
Low Concentration Uses
The lowest HOCL concentration this machine is designed to produce by applying electrolysis in its shortest 5 minute cycle ranges between 300 and 500 mg/L (or ppm).
Some uses for this lowest concentration include:
* For washing food – be it fruits or vegetables like leafy greens (which can kill bacteria and degrade the pesticides which might be on them; soak them for 5 minutes to achieve this); or fish, or cuts of meat (soak them for 10 minutes).
* For topical uses, such as for hand washing; or to counteract itchy spots on the skin or to disinfect mosquito bites or small wounds (just apply some with a cotton ball or swab without wiping off, as you might with liquid iodine; apply multiple times, if need be); or as a mouthwash or to prevent oral ulcers in your mouth (spray some in your mouth and wait 5 minutes before spitting it out).
Medium Concentration Uses
The 15 minute electrolysis cycle generates an HOCL concentration range of from 500 to 800 mg/L (or ppm). This setting can be used:
* To disinfect baby products such as soothers or baby bottles (soak for 30 minutes, then rinse with clean water).
* To clean toothbrushes, after brushing, or to soak dentures: soak them for 10 minutes, then rinse with clean water.
* To soak your feet (for about five to ten minutes).
* To treat dandruff (keep applying the solution over your scalp and hair as you lean over a sink until they are thoroughly soaked, for about two minutes; do not rinse it off immediately: wrap a towel around your head, and leave it on for 5 minutes; then rinse it off and wash your hair as usual).
* To mop the floor, or to clean bathroom sinks or showers (let the surfaces stay wet with the solution for 10 minutes to take full effect, keep reapplying more, if it evaporates too quickly).
* To disinfect shower or floor drains: use half a litre to rinse around the floor drain, it should all go down the drain. After 5 to 10 minutes, rinse with 5 litres of water. (Have a shower!) Do this twice a week in the summer, if odors are building or to deter bugs from coming in.
* To disinfect undergarments, sheets, or other fabrics, especially after someone has been sick (it takes 10 to 20 minutes of soaking for it to do so). Caution: may cause bleaching.
* To wash pets with it, or the areas where pets reside or where you may keep birds or livestock.
High Concentration Uses
The 30 minute electrolysis cycle generates the highest concentration range of 1,000 to 1,500 mg/L (ppm).
This solution can be used for daily household cleaning (whether with a spray bottle, or mopping or 'Swiffering' with it); or for disinfecting anything from children's or pet's toys, clothing, or bedding to kitchenware (such as cutting boards and utensils), to personal care items like razors. In general, the solution you spray on should be left on the surface for a half hour to take full effect, before rinsing and/or wiping it off.
Other applications for the full strength solution including disinfecting washroom or cleaning items like mops, sponges, toilets, towels, or washing machines (soak for 30 minutes; if they were greasy, you may need to wash them in regular soap first); or for soaking utensils or other items for about 20 to 30 minutes to remove stubborn tea or coffee or food stains from them; or even to clean and possibly disinfect the air in a room, just by spraying it as a mist.
Cautions and Maintenance Issues:
To avoid shocks, exercise caution both when plugging it in (make sure the cord connection and plug are not wet, and that your hands are not wet when plugging it in) and during its operation (do not touch the water in the machine while it is operating).
When storing the unused solution for future use; keep it tightly sealed, in a cool place, away from children; and clearly label what it is (including its strength and the date you made it), to prevent accidental ingestion or using it past its potency period. To preserve its stability/potency (which can be for up to 30 days), it is better to use dark rather than transparent bottles, if you may not be using it right away.
To clean the unit, simply rinse the container out with tap water and leave it to dry, with the lid off, initially. Do not immerse the system in water or clean it in a sink or dishwasher.
The disinfectant solution has an oxidizing effect on metals. Consequently:
- Do not leave the prepared solution for long in the container, to protect its metal element - transfer it promptly to a spray bottle or other container.
- Do not store the solution in metal containers (use plastic or glass ones).
- It is not advisable to soak metal items in the solution for long to disinfect them or remove stains. Rinse any metal items you have treated with the solution with regular water, and wipe them down, afterwards.
The disinfectant water can have a bleaching effect on fabrics. If planning to use the solution on fabrics, patch test it on an inconspicuous spot first, especially for coloured or dark clothes. Do not soak silk or leather with the solution.
National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compound Summary for CID 24341, Hypochlorous acid, 2020.
"Evaluation of liquid- and fog-based application of Sterilox hypochlorous acid solution for surface inactivation of human norovirus." Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2007.
"Hypochlorous Acid: A Review." The Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, 2020.