"Electrolyzed oxidizing water" ("EO" water)
This term is commonly applied to the products of "water ionizing" machines when the marketing focus is on bactericidal properties, rather than on the false claims about the health benefits of alkaline drinking water.
As is explained above, these electrolysis devices produce what amounts to a dilute solution of sodium hypochlorite, similar to what can be obtained by diluting some ordinary laundry bleach such as Clorox to the point at which the odor is no longer noticeable. If this is made slightly acidic (by addition of some vinegar or lemon juice, for example), then most of the hypochlorite ion is in the form of hypochlorous acid, which is a bactericide and is the active product produced when chlorine is used to disinfect drinking water.
The only real issues here are
- Is it worth purchasing an expensive electrolysis device to generate the same mixture than one can get perhaps several hundred gallons of by diluting a $1.49 bottle of home laundry bleach?
- Is this stuff any more effective for purposes such as disinfecting vegetables and foods than by simply washing with ordinary water, or with water acidified by vinegar or lemon juice?
- Do you really want your food to come into contact with an oxidizing agent that can react with some of the organic components to produce potentially carcinogenic by-products? (This is, of course, one argument against the use of chlorine to disinfect waters containing a lot of organic material)?
So while "EOW" may have some legitimacy as a disinfectant, I consider it somewhat deceptive when promoters tout it (as some
do) as a special, "chemical-free" disinfectant. See also this Food Quality article
Electrolytic "bleach generators" are legitimate devices for use in industrial and institutional settings in which large quantities disinfectant are required. They are considered a "green" alternative to shipping or handling chlorine gas (dangerous) or hypochlorite solutions (mostly water, and thus heavy). In early 2009, a widely-reprinted article by an LA Times
reporter touted the use of machines that produce this "miracle water". But for home use, it hardly seems economical; one could probably buy a supply of laundry bleach that would last several lifetimes for the cost of a "water ionizer"! Tennant's untenable claims
The Tennant Company
is a long-established and reputable manufacturer of industrial cleaning equipment. It is sad to see them descend into silly junk science in pushing their new "ech2o" technology which they say
works by unlocking the vast amounts of energy stored in the water molecule H2O...creating highly oxygenated micro-bubbles. ...the oxygenated water is sent through a water cell where an electric current is applied. Flowing out of the water cell is highly charged, acidic and alkaline water with all the attributes of a powerful cleaner. [link
Give me a break! "Vast amounts of energy stored in H2O"? "Highly oxygenated"? (How
highly?) It sounds impressive, but what does oxygen have to do with cleaning, other than reducing the water surface tension by a minute amount, probably less than is produced by the electrolytes they have to add to electrolyze the water? And how can water (or any bulk matter) violate the electroneutrality principle and carry a significant electric charge? Finally, have any of these people passed high school chemistry, where they would learn what happens when you mix "acidic and alkaline water"? Their patent application
, with its references to EOW, describes their "electrolytic sparging" device which suggests to me that this is just another form of a "water ionizer".
Maybe their new machine does clean better and greener, but it is too bad that their marketing people feel the need to propagate pseudoscience; Tennant's engineers must be cringing at having to be associated with this kind of garbage. Active ions clean up!
The dubious Tennant technology described above bears a strong similarity to to this ActiveIon™
hand-held cleaning device which "frees you from chemicals". Their "Science of Activeion™" page
says that the device adds an electrical charge to tap water, resulting in an "oxygen-rich mixture of positive and negative nanobubbles" which "attracts dirt like a magnet". But another page
tells us that the charge is applied to the dirt, breaking it down and loosening it from the cleaning surface. I have no idea of whether the product is any more effective than an ordinary detergent or whether it will work with pure water, but the rather dubious electrochemistry they invoke does leave me highly skeptical.