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Old 04-23-2018, 03:38 AM   #1
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Default Messed up fresh water system sanitation

Didn't really think that was possible, but we managed to do it. Heck, only done it dozens of times, why not mess it up?

Anyway, dewinterized, flushed the system with a couple of tank fills and drains and pumped through system as always.

Went in the house and asked for the bleach and put in 1/4 cup as usual, and then noticed it seemed somewhat thick. Bottle said Clorox no splash bleach so figured all was good. Next day go to pump out and drain and find I get some suds in the catch bucket in the sink and shower. Looked like soap bubbles to me. Went back to the bleach bottle and then looked it up on the Clorox site. It says that the product is not intended to be used to sanitize and don't use in food prep areas. What? Look at the ingredients and it has sodium hydroxide in it, aka drain cleaner or detergent. Back to the bottle and it says the same in tiny, tiny, print on the label, but they still call it bleach because it has some chlorine.

So now we have basically poison in the system we were trying to make healthy. I have since flushed it multiple times and has finally stopped sudsing out of the faucets and is sitting full of clean water overnight. I will do a bunch more flushing tomorrow and then do a sanitize with real bleach and then vinegar and see how it turns out.

So I warn all-----be sure to check your bleach bottle to make sure it only has chlorine in it, not matter what the bottle looks like or says on it.

I am just glad we caught it right away
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Old 04-23-2018, 01:52 PM   #2
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Learning from your mistake. Thank you!

Seriously, thank you for posting.... No matter how embarassing it must have felt.
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Old 04-23-2018, 02:15 PM   #3
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NEVER would have occurred to me to check the fine print on our bottle of "no splash" Clorox. Thank you so much for posting this!!!
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Old 04-23-2018, 02:19 PM   #4
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This is the bottle that gave us the grief--"#1 Bleach in America"

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Old 04-23-2018, 02:26 PM   #5
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.

sodium hydroxide = lye = soap

Don't worry, it won't kill you.

Did you rinse the system with vinegar?
or baking soda?
No I am not recommending it, I heard some people do that to bring the ph down. It can be dangerous if not done right.
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Old 04-23-2018, 02:48 PM   #6
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I try to buy the cheapest house brand bleach. Minimizes the likelihood that I am getting anything 'extra'.

Same thing with window cleaner. All the "multi-surface" or "extra sheen" versions are vastly inferior to Windex-classic.
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Old 04-23-2018, 03:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBQ View Post
.

sodium hydroxide = lye = soap

Don't worry, it won't kill you.

Did you rinse the system with vinegar?
or baking soda?
No I am not recommending it, I heard some people do that to bring the ph down. It can be dangerous if not done right.
Yep, it is all about concentration, both as a heath hazard and corrosive. In this case, the concentration would be low, but it was enough to suds the water, so probably similar to soapy water. Like any alkaline in the water you can get some corrosive effect and or buildup, I think.

We do use vinegar in our sanitizing, both to get rid of the chlorine smell and taste, but also to help clean any alkaline buildup in things. We leave a mild mix in overnight, which is just about enough time to do what we need. I know people who leave vinegar in whenever the RV is stored, but I don't think that is a good idea. We never us baking soda, as it seems we are much more likely to have alkaline stuff in the water we get than acids.
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Old 04-23-2018, 03:10 PM   #8
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I try to buy the cheapest house brand bleach. Minimizes the likelihood that I am getting anything 'extra'.

Same thing with window cleaner. All the "multi-surface" or "extra sheen" versions are vastly inferior to Windex-classic.
DW gravitates toward brand names more than I do, for sure, but the basic glass cleaners are certainly the way to go.
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Old 04-23-2018, 07:35 PM   #9
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This is fascinating timing. Just yesterday I was de-wintering ours and I had grabbed the Clorox and measured a 1/4 cup to pour into a gallon jug to pre-mix and noticed the bleach was weirdly thick & almost lumpy. So I asked my wife what was up with the bleach and she knew it was 'splash-less' and said not to use and produced a jug of regular simple bleach. Disaster was avoided, but only because my wife knew the difference - without her input I would have used the bad stuff.
Like others, I thank you for providing very useful info for the rest of us and, after my close call yesterday, I think this is a lessen even I will remember.
One of my pet peeves is when manufacturers used virtually identical appearing markings for what are actually different products.
BTW, I still do our house windows with old fashioned sudsy ammonia and a squeegee. For the car, I agree that original Windex is far superior to all the newer window cleaners out there.
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Old 04-23-2018, 08:13 PM   #10
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That would be an easy misssteak to make, booster. I keep a gallon of el cheapo generic bleach and a gallon of distilled water in the garage with the Roadtrek. I also keep a bottle of rubbing alcohol on the shelf. The alcohol is for prepping stick on stuff on the shower wall, removing velcro residue etc. The water is for the batteries and the bleach is for sanitizing the system.

We also keep several gallons of drinking water on the shelf because we always just drink cheap bottled water in our RVs when traveling. Never had a bug or been sick in all these years and we are creatures of habit. Two people use about a gallon a day.

I sanitize the system after most trips and we have very good tasting and tested water in our municipal system so I always refill at home before starting a trip. I don't mind leaving it in a sanitized system for a month or so and it has never been a problem.

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Old 04-27-2018, 04:15 AM   #11
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Vinegar (Acetic acid) will neutralize Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) to give Sodium Acetate. MSDS does list it as "hazardous in the event of ingestion". Definitely rinse out the tank throughly and run lots of water through the system. I don't know what other nasty stuff might be in the Clorox variant you used.
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Old 04-27-2018, 05:17 AM   #12
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Quote:
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Vinegar (Acetic acid) will neutralize Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) to give Sodium Acetate. MSDS does list it as "hazardous in the event of ingestion". Definitely rinse out the tank throughly and run lots of water through the system. I don't know what other nasty stuff might be in the Clorox variant you used.
I agree, actually using a very diluted hydrochloric acid would resulted with a plain salt, and at pH of 7 it will be safe, so having a pH paper strips would help. A few $ on Amazonhttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OS9M7E6/ref=sspa_dk_detail_17?psc=1&pd_rd_i=B00OS9M7E6&pd_ rd_wg=BeiQH&pd_rd_r=6J25HXKZA9WA9WZ3D0BP&pd_rd_w=G 29uO . Either way, hydrochloric or acetic I would use pH paper strips to make sure that a nasty stuff is gone. I use it.
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Old 04-27-2018, 01:18 PM   #13
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Multiple rinses until no more soaplike bubbles in the water when run seems to have gotten rid of any visible traces of the sodium hydroxide. Then I let it sit with vinegar in clean water for a day. Vinegar smell got less over the day, so likely did a small amount of reacting, but it also could have been hard water deposits.

Flushed it all out yesterday and now all looks to be normal and shows the same ph as our softened well water that was put in.
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Old 04-27-2018, 04:22 PM   #14
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Glad it turned out OK! And thanks again for saving us from doing the same thing! I also posted this info on the Crossfit forum, where also, no one had considered that problem.
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Old 04-27-2018, 04:41 PM   #15
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It does make on wonder if there have been others that have done it and never known. If you didn't notice the bubbles in the water when you ran it into a pan, you might never know, especially if you never drink the tank water. We do drink ours, but it goes through a 3M .2 micron filter that takes out most anything that is hazardous, although I don't know if it would take out sodium hydroxide.
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Old 04-27-2018, 05:05 PM   #16
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Quote:
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...............We do drink ours, but it goes through a 3M .2 micron filter that takes out most anything that is hazardous, although I don't know if it would take out sodium hydroxide.
Congratulation, having a clean water tank must feel good. No filter would remove sodium hydroxide.
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Old 04-27-2018, 07:00 PM   #17
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I wonder how cheap vodka would be for sanitizing purposes.

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Old 04-27-2018, 07:04 PM   #18
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So, are you guys recommending a routine vinegar flush IN ADDITION to the normal bleach flush? Or, is this just a response to Booster's "oops" event?

If the former, what is the procedure?
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Old 04-27-2018, 07:04 PM   #19
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I wonder how cheap vodka would be for sanitizing purposes.

Paul
I use it daily, for years.

ymmv

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Old 04-27-2018, 07:23 PM   #20
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Quote:
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So, are you guys recommending a routine vinegar flush IN ADDITION to the normal bleach flush? Or, is this just a response to Booster's "oops" event?

If the former, what is the procedure?
I used a small cup (see hose filter below) of Clorox bleach/12 gal. tank (just sodium hypochlorite) and rinse 2-3 times. Partially fill with water and drive x 2-3 times. http://sds.staples.com/msds/951358.pdf

I can only use pressure fill so I have this garden hose filter and inject bleach into the tank. https://www.amazon.com/Powerfit-AP31.../dp/B00DY0SVI6. Works great. Using pH test strip can assure a complete rinse, but just a chlorine smell is sufficient in my opinion.
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