How to Sanitize Reverse Osmosis System

Occasionally cleaning or rather sanitizing reverse osmosis systems ensures optimal performance. It’s a process that helps stop scaling or fouling of your water supply. This way, you get high water quality and flow results. More so, you are also safe from potentially harmful contaminants or pathogens.

How to sanitize RO system correctly? Well, it’s a simple process, and you don’t necessarily have to consult with a professional service. You will find all the information you need in this guide.

You should note that cleaning, and particularly sanitizing an RO system is not crucial per se. If your feed water is already clean, then you won’t necessarily need the RO system.

Still, its highly recommended that you follow through with the process, because it’s simple and does not require a lot of time. More so, it also helps ensure you safe and protected from harmful microorganisms. Also, it helps ensure that issues such as scaling or fouling won’t compromise the quality of your water. 

How often should you clean or sanitize the system? Ideally, you want to clean it once a year, or twice if required. The most crucial factor is to ensure that you clean it regularly, to prevent any form of damage. The recommended perspective is to clean the system when you change one or more filter elements.

In this case, the steps involved include:

For specific instructions, please check the user manual. Also, remember that post filter treatment will require replacement after this unless you bypass the process.

  1. Start by washing by your hands.
  2. Prepare a bucket of some warm water. You should also use a scouring pad, or brush for the process. Additionally, you will need an average of 3 tablespoons of household bleach, chlorine, and hydrogen peroxide for the disinfection process. Even more, any NSF approved sanitizer should be suitable for the procedure.
  3. Turn off the water supply unit, because you don’t want to flood your room.
  4. Then, disconnect any ice makers such as refrigerators.
  5. Open the filtered water dispenser to help depressurize the system. You have to wait until the flow of water stops. 
  6. Remove ALL pre-filters, as well as the RO membranes from their compartments
  7. Clean the inside of the containers by using dishwater. Then rinse it thoroughly after the cleaning process
  8. Add some bleach into the housing during the first stage. Double-check to confirm that the rubber O-rings are correctly installed, and screw, the empty housings correctly
  9. The only filter installed at this point should be the post filter. Once you do this, open the tap until it produces water. Remember to check the system for any leakages
  10. Allow the storage tank to fill up, and let bleach stay in the system for half an hour. Then, flush the system completely
  11. Allow the tank to refill for a second time, and then rinse it clean. At this point, ensure that any instance of the sanitizer is eliminated. If not, then repeat the flushing process. 
  12. Turn off the water supply once again. You should depressurize the system by opening the faucet. 
  13. At this point, you can install new filter components, the old types that are still in good condition. Again, ensure that the rubber O-rings are sealed tight to prevent leakages. Also, remember to replace the polishing filter during this process.
  14. Then, turn on the water supply. Let it run freely, to flush any preservatives or chemicals from the system. Also, check the system for leakages. Then, close the faucet, and allow the tank to fill. You should discard 1 or 2 containers full of water before usage. That said, this might not be necessary, and it all depends on the type of system.

Cleaning the RO Membrane

As you wait for bleach to clean the system, you can also wash the semipermeable RO membrane at this point. 

To wash the RO membrane, ensure that you soak it in the correct chemical solutions. Remember to keep track of the instructions that require safe handling and disposal of products. Techniques for cleaning will depend on the membrane type and manufacturer recommendations.

Cleaning the RO membrane helps remove organic matter, mineral precipitates, milder and various other types of nasty contaminants.

Step by Step Cleaning

  1. First, put on protective hand gear such as gloves and protective eyewear. Why? Because these cleaning chemicals tend to be concentrated, and your hands may also get dirty. 
  2. Prepare cleaning solutions by using high-quality containers.
  3. Then, close the water supply + tank valve. Then, depressurize the system to ensure water flows correctly. 
  4. Remove the RO membrane from its housing. Then, soak the membrane in the chemical solutions for a few minutes. Once complete, rinse the systems thoroughly for the best results.
  5. Put the system back together. You will have to let the water run freely through the system, as it flushes out any remaining chemicals.

How to Clean a Reverse Osmosis Tank

If you follow the steps above, which explains how to sanitize an RO system, there is no need to clean the storage tank separately. That said, you might have noticed a strange taste in your water, or perhaps a funny smell. Never assume things at such a point, especially if you think it’s from the tank. Then, cleaning the storage tank alone will have benefits. Here are some of them: 

  1. The post-filter might not need any cleaning after this process, unless you perform the bypassing process correctly
  2. You may also have to shut off the feed water supply. Then, open the RO faucet, a process which helps to depressurize the system. You will have to wait until the flow stops. 
  3. Then, close the tank valve, and disconnect the tube from the rest of your water filtration system. Remember to leave the tubing connected to the tank.
  4. Drain water that is on the inside of the tube. Remember to use a funnel or eyedropper to add some bleach into the tube. It’s good to use an unscented bleach for the best results. Half a tablespoon of the chemical should be sufficient. The common ones include hydrogen peroxide, chlorine and more.
  5. Then, reconnect the tubing, and ensure that the sanitizer chemicals never leak out. Open the tank valve, and ensure that you close the RO dispenser. Then, turn on the feed water supply, to release water to the system. Also, check the system for any leakages. 
  6. Let the tank fill, and the bleach should clean any pathogens on the inside of the system. More so, let the bleach solution sit for half an hour.
  7. Lastly, open the RO faucet, to allow the tank to drain. Let it refill, and then drain it out again. All the sanitizer scent should have vanished from the system at this point. If not, then repeat the flushing procedure.   

Leave a Comment