The Miracle Liquid that Cleans Toilets, Treats Burns, and Kills Anthrax

By Rachel Cernansky | February 23, 2009 1:00 pm

clorox.jpgIt’s water! (Albeit with a little salt and electrolysis.)

Electrolyzed water is the new cleaning agent of choice for the housekeeping staff at the Sheraton Delfina in Santa Monica. Employees have abandoned their bleach and ammonia to clean toilets and sinks with an elixir made—on site—from table salt and tap water. The salt water is then zapped by an electrolysis machine with low-voltage electricity, which converts the sodium ions into sodium hydroxide, an alkaline liquid with the cleaning abilities of detergent. Meanwhile, the chloride ions become hypchlorous acid, also known as acid water, a powerful disinfectant.

The “magic” water is also being used by the kitchen staff at the Sheraton to disinfect produce, which they say now lasts longer. A New York poultry processor uses it to kill salmonella on chicken carcasses, and it is used to clean the floors of a Michigan prison, leaving inmates without access to potentially lethal cleaners.

In Japan, it is sprayed on sushi to kill bacteria, sterilizes doctors’ equipment, treats foot fungus, and does the task, normally left to chlorine, of disinfecting swimming pools. It is also put down Russian oil wells to kill microbes, used as a treatment for burn victims in Europe, and is now being used to sanitize drinking water in parts of Latin America and Africa.

Electrolyzed water is said to be ten times better than bleach for killing bacteria, capable of killing anthrax spores, and is credited with reducing employee injuries from chemicals—and it costs less than a penny a gallon. No wonder the Sheraton staff calls it “el liquido milagroso”—the miracle liquid.

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Image: Flickr / jm3

  • Been

    You do know that an electrolysis of NaCL (table salt) yields plain old sodium hypochlorite? Which is indeed a good disinfectant. But this is also what is the main ingredient of normal household bleach, which you claim is worse at killing germs…

  • Nial Castle

    I am in San Diego and would like to buy a bottle pf this stuff . Can you help and thanks in advance. Nial in San Diego. 88 yrs old and going strong.

  • Dude

    It’s not water anymore if it goes through a chemical reaction with table salt. :/

    And they’re using it on produce? I’d stand back and wait a while to see if anyone gets sick or dies before getting excited over this.

  • BJ

    This is the same process used by “salt water” pool chlorination systems. It works, I used one for my above ground pool last summer.

  • Will

    It’s alkaline and acidic at the same time! It is a miracle.

  • Martha Groves

    Don’t you want to remove this highly offensive posting from your website?

    Your Mother Says:
    February 23rd, 2009 at 5:20 pm
    Its f[]ing water!!! get over yourself nerds!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  • Melissa Lafsky

    We’ve deleted the comment–it’s our policy to keep all discussions civil here at DISCOVER. Thanks!


  • Uncle Al

    In defense of the blogger, deeply alkaline bleach pH~12.5 (to preserve it against conproportionation back to chlorine gas) is far from optimum for germicidal applications. You want HClO not ClO(-). One should then assay considerable dilution of stock bleach followed by acidification (e.g, vinegar) to pH~7 or a smidge higher, then immediate use.

    This is technically called “chemistry”.

  • Binks

    “which converts the sodium ions into sodium hydroxide, an alkaline liquid with the cleaning abilities of detergent. Meanwhile, the chloride ions become hypochlorous acid, also known as acid water, a powerful disinfectant.”

    How in the world could the process produce both an acid and a base without them simply reacting with one another to produce the standard products of an acid-base reaction? The product of this process could possibly be sodium hydroxide and chlorine gas (which would be bad) or hypochlorous acid and free sodium (which would explode) but if it’s truly both sodium hydroxide and hypochlorous acid it should immediately react with itself, producing a salt (in this case NaCl again). Some of the product might leave the resulting solute, depending on the manufacturing process, but if it’s a straight electrolysis of a liquid solute resulting in a liquid solute without any solid waste (which would be sodium, which reacts violently with wayer) or gaseous waste (chlorine gas being deadly, and hydrogen/oxygen gases being both explosive and simply increasing the ratio of NaCl to water in the product) there should be no net change in the system.

  • Mike

    Its SODIUM HYDROXIDE people. Its not some magic new elixir. Its not from outer space. It is commonly available. Its called various names such as caustic. Alkaline and acidic at the same time???? come on people. Alkalinity is the measure of PH above 7 caustic below 7 acid there is no both. We buy this stuff at work in bulk, by the tanker load literally. Go watch a freight train go by and see how many cars have a sodium hydroxide label on them. Its as common as house fly’s. In the strength we buy xx% (our concentration is classified), it it is serious stuff. It will hurt you.
    It is made from salt. It is not rocket science. Maybe above grade school chemistry but not by much. Sodium hyper chlorate is chlorine bleach, we use alot of that also, and also in fairly strong concentrations. It is a different chemical but it can hurt or kill you as well.

  • Thymio Barbatsis

    If anybody is interested in Alkaline and Acidic water, feel free to email me or go to my website. I own a finance company and I’ve been financing ionizers for a little over a year. After doing some research, I found that a few companies have adopted acidic water as their cleanser to replace chemicals. I sell and finace units that can be setup on any faucet and will produce acidic or alkaline water on demand. I haven’t had to invest in kithcen cleaners in over a year. Its great for my pets, because its non-toxic and is great for plants. Rain water is naturally acidic and plants love it. I’m glad to see Discover print an article about ionized water, to help legitimize its capabilities. Email me if you have any questions to

  • Pingback: Loganotron » Blog Archive » The Miracle Liquid that Cleans Better than Bleach()

  • http://TwoSistersArtandSoul Lisette Root

    I have read about the Lotus water purification system, I think it disinfects by creating water with unstable atoms. The reaction is controlled, and the water is able to be used on any surface for disinfecting, even food. Is this true?

  • water tech

    blink, has the best explanation, mike party correct, caustic is not the came, its what used to be in draino, dont mess with this chlorine gas, it deadly to beath for more then a few breaths,
    the chlorine gas mixes in your lungs with moister and creates HYDROCHLORIC ACID,,..deadly Death
    Hazmat Technician

  • water tech

    I mean caustic is not the Same



  • hopefulever

    I just have a small ??, “acid water”: is this not the same as acid rain? Would you unwittingly be flushing this down your drain and polluting the ocean with the same liquid that has killed lakes? There has to be a better/ safer way!

  • jeanne

    When are people going to learn that salt is a cotaminate. Once added it cannot be removed. It can kill all and future vegetation. It will remain forever in water or soil.

  • Thymio Barbatsis


    You don’t have to add salt to the water to ionize it. Depending on where you live the water from your tap contains the minerals necessary to electrolosize the water. The acidic water that is produced from these machines are not caustic or corrosive. The acidic water will neutralize with other liquids when they go down the drain.


  • gyurika

    you are a staple boy for the FDA trying to shield us from everything that is good cheep or impossible to patent – using for lack of better the similar arguments as you. Congratulations!
    That is why this stuff took decades to get here – being happily used in Russia, Japan etc, read the LA article. They waited 20 years. How many would you say you need to add? Remind you, little reading could shorten that significantly…

  • Jim Smith

    This is total BS. As mentioned above, this really converts a small amount of the water to bleach. For years, I have been using a solution of about 95% water, a little bleach and a small amount of liquid soap. It cleans, deodorizes, and sanitizes in one operation. It also seems to repel insects and is safe around pets and children. With the small amount of bleach in it, you could safely drink it, even though it tastes terrible.

    Of course, it’s very inexpensive, too.

  • Lawrence

    The “acid water” produced through electrolysis, also referred to by some, as “ionization” is NOT caustic to humans. Though, it does indeed kill 99.9% of all known bacteria within 30-60 seconds upon contact, which makes it very useful in a variety of ways, including food preparation. It can also be used topically on the skin for a number of different disorders such as eczema as well as athletes foot. I have gargled with it to take away a sore throat, and used it in my sinuses for clearing up a cold in record time. This technology has been utilized in Japan for nearly 50 years where ionizers (by only one manufacturer) are considered medical devices. Doctors in Japan have saved the gangrenous limbs of diabetics by routinely bathing the affected area with this “miracle” water. There is only ONE commercially available ionizer for home use that produces BOTH the healthy drinking waters AND the strong 2.5 pH “acid-water” for disinfecting. While making the 2.5 pH acid water the devise simultaneously produces 11.5 pH water that emulsifies oils, so it is very useful as a cleaning agent. Drinking ionized water with pH levels ranging from 8.5 to 9.5 have proven health benefits that have been well documented (I have collected a lot of supportive data). Although the Japanese have been utilizing this technology for quite some time, it has only become known here in the US during the last few years. I have done a substantial amount of research in this field and have managed to weed out inferior manufacturers making false claims. There is one manufacturer that far surpasses the rest, and as an earlier post suggested, there is financing available. Anyone interested, please feel free to contact me:

  • Lawrence

    “Though, it does indeed kill 99.9% of all known PATHOGENS within 30-60 seconds upon contact…”

    Pathogens, rather than bacteria would have been a more appropriate word in that sentence.

  • Jill Deanas

    I am actually pretty excited about hearing of this. We use a lot of “green” cleaners around our house and this sounds like a great way to do some cleaning. My only question is there another way to deliver the electricity, I don’t have an electrolysis machine laying around.

  • peter

    does anybody know about a company in japan that provides equipment used to ionize water for commercial fish production.makes them grow bigger,faster.

  • Bbann

    I will never cease to be amazed at the depth of the ignorance of our population.
    Even a rudimentary knowledge of science would make you ROTFL at these claims.
    Wanna buy some snake oil?


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