Home Cleaning & Maintenance A Cleaning Revolution: Electrochemically Activated Solutions Have Arrived

A Cleaning Revolution: Electrochemically Activated Solutions Have Arrived

Jim McCann

Move over caustic chemicals, a new era of cleaning and disinfectant solutions is in town. Electrochemically activated solutions (ECAS) continue to make a splash and shake up the cleaning industry. Easy-to-use, sustainable and effective, they are a trusted cleaning source for many consumer, commercial, institutional and industrial applications. From stadiums, breweries, bakeries, and senior living facilities to indoor agriculture facilities and more, businesses and consumers are ditching archaic, toxic cleaning programs for these sustainable solutions. More cleaning-focused companies are also making it a part of their service offering. But what exactly are ECAS?

ECAS, commonly referred to in the past as electrolyzed or activated water, is a process that requires just salt, water and electricity to produce an effective sodium hydroxide (NaOH) cleaning solution, and a hypochlorous acid (HOCl) sanitizer and disinfecting solution. ECA programs electrically charge water, pulling apart salt molecules so they can be converted into these safe, yet effective solutions.  The foundation of ECA technology was discovered in the 1970s and used mainly in healthcare settings, but technological advancement and heightened cleaning health awareness has propelled it into the mainstream cleaning spotlight. Highly efficacious, ECAS provides pure cleaning solutions without the use of harsh, toxic chemicals that are commonly used in traditional products and proven to emit harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

The Cleaning Evolution to ECA Solutions

Cleaning solutions have been evolving since the beginning of time to help solve the world’s cleaning challenges—most recently by the push for safer ingredients. The earliest evidence of soap dates to the 3rd millennium BCE from Mesopotamian clay tablets. When bath and hand soaps were commercialized in the 19th century, they were made from animal, grease and fats, but these left residue and scum and did not work well in hard water. To solve this problem, Procter & Gamble developed synthetic detergents, including Dreft and Tide, in the 1930s. These foamy detergents work well in hard water and don’t leave scum behind. There is just one problem—they contain harmful ingredients. Many household detergents are under scrutiny for their potential toxicity and harmful effects on both human health and the environment. Enter NaOH—a pure sodium hydroxide cleaner. Produced using ECA technology, it is a safe, effective cleaner and degreaser that is free of additives, fragrances and dyes. It smells and acts like water, but its electrical charge attracts dirt enabling it to clean efficiently and is safe for use on hard surfaces, glass, fabric, plastic, metal, carpets and upholstery—and most importantly safe for people and the environment.

Disinfectant products have had a similar journey. Many disinfectants that have been used for decades contain ingredients known to cause disturbing health risks and asthma, but they are still widely accepted and used in facilities and households. However, hypochlorous acid, which can be produced by ECA technology, has become a disinfectant superstar due to its clean safety profile. It was discovered more than 200 years ago in France and was widely used for wound care and infection prevention during World War 1. An acidic chlorine disinfectant, it is more effective than bleach in bacteria surface disinfection, yet is nontoxic to humans. Proven to kill 99.9 percent of bacteria and pathogens, it is extremely safe, and no first aid measures are required for inhalation, skin contact, eye contact and ingestion. Compared to other disinfectants on the market that contain health hazards and environmental warnings, hypochlorous acid is an ideal disinfectant choice for socially responsible and health-conscious individuals.

Why Are ECAS Gaining Popularity Now?

ECAS have been around for years, so you may be wondering why they are gaining more acceptance now. The COVID-19 pandemic combined with advancements in technology and consumer enlightenment have made it an attractive, cost-effective and sustainable solution for virtually any business, facility, school or manufacturer. While some suppliers only offer bottled products, most ECAS providers offer on-site generators (OSGs). These enable users to generate both cleaning and disinfecting solutions on-site and on-demand—ensuring they will always have enough cleaning and disinfection solutions readily available. This was a critical factor during the pandemic as it provided peace of mind that users would always have enough disinfectant on hand to clean their facilities properly. In addition, since hypochlorous acid disinfectant is a natural product, it has a shelf life of 30 days. Historically, this was not ideal for storage purposes. However, the advancement of on-site generators now enables users to produce the amount that they need, when they need it—and it’s safe to dispose of when the 30-day shelf life is up. This enables hypochlorous acid to easily integrate into any cleaning program without storage concerns.

Additional benefits of ECAs include:

  • Protect Employees and Building Occupants—ECA cleaning solutions are made from pure ingredients, have no odor, are non-drying to the skin and don’t require personal protective equipment (PPE). Cleaning workers and building occupants will no longer be exposed to hazardous cleaning chemicals that come with serious health warnings.
  • Eliminate Supply Chain Woes—Say good riddance to supply chain disruptions. The ability to generate cleaning solutions on-site and on-demand enables users to always meet their cleaning demands without relying on the supply chain.
  • Save Money: ECAS eliminates the need to purchase and store a multitude of cleaning chemicals on site. This is cost-effective, reduces your environmental footprint and simplifies your cleaning program. Many users see significant cost savings in chemical replacement alone.
  • Help Save the Earth—Unlike many traditional cleaning chemicals, ECAS can be safely disposed of down the drain without harm to the environment. They also reduce plastic waste because new age systems allow cleaning professionals to reuse the same bottle and refill products on demand.

Harsh chemicals are not required to effectively clean and disinfect. Proactive, forward-thinking businesses and consumers around the world are joining the ECA movement to clean responsibly in a manner that respects human health and the environment. It’s time to stop ignoring the hazardous health and environmental warnings listed on mainstream cleaning chemicals. A new era of cleaning and disinfecting solutions has officially arrived—don’t get stuck in the past.

About the Author

Jim McCann brings over 25 years of B2B marketing experience to PathoSans where he leads marketing. Prior to PathoSans, he led marketing for businesses with revenues up to $5B, with products and services ranging from healthcare to wholesale distribution, to manufacturing. Jim holds an MBA from Northern Illinois University.