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Easy DIY Tips for Cleaning Reverse Osmosis Membrane

Updated: Feb 6


Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems

Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems play a crucial role in providing clean and purified water, but over time, their membranes can face fouling and scaling issues. Proper maintenance is essential to ensure optimal performance and longevity of the membranes. While professional off-site cleaning services are available, there are also practical do-it-yourself (DIY) tips for cleaning RO membranes at home.


Understanding the Need for Cleaning


RO membranes reject impurities from feed water, leading to fouling and scaling over time. This results in increased operating pressures, higher costs, reduced output, and lower water quality. A typical RO system requires membrane cleaning every 3 to 12 months, depending on its application.


Off-Site Membrane Cleaning


Professional off-site cleaning, such as Aqua-Wise Water Solutions, has proven to be highly effective. Using a specialized cleaning regimen with quality solutions, off-site cleaning restores membranes to near-new performance. Membranes are pre and post-tested, and a detailed cleaning report is provided, showcasing the effectiveness in restoring flow and salt rejection.


DIY RO Membrane Cleaning Tips


1. Perform Cleaning in Stages


Cleaning each stage individually allows for maximum flow velocity during the process. This ensures optimal surface scouring without causing membrane telescoping.


2. High pH Cleaning


Use high-pH cleaning chemicals to remove biological or organic foulants containing carboxylic functional groups. High pH solutions effectively chelate calcium, crucial for dislodging foulants and biofilms from the membrane surface.


3. Low pH Cleaning


Consider low pH cleaning before high pH cleaning in some cases. However, assess your system's needs through a foulant analysis to determine the most suitable approach.


4. Sanitizing RO Membrane


Add ½ cup of bleach (chlorine) to the Stage-1 housing. This bleach will flow through the entire system, effectively sanitizing it when the feed water is turned on.


5. Chemical Options


Conduct a cleaning study to determine the best chemical for your RO membrane. Citric acid is often recommended for its chelating properties before using high-pH cleaning chemicals.





DIY Chemical Cleaning Procedure


1. Inspect and Prepare


Check and clean the cleaning tank, hoses, and cartridge filters. Install new filters and fill the tank with RO permeate or DI water.


2. Add Cleaning Product


Add the selected cleaning product to the tank based on the total volume and required strength. Ensure thorough mixing.


3. Check Temperature and pH


Verify solution temperature and pH. Adjust as needed to meet manufacturer recommendations.


4. Circulate Solution


Circulate the solution through one stage at a time for 30 minutes, following the flow rate recommended by the membrane manufacturer.


5. Monitor and Rinse


Keep an eye on the solution's clarity; if it looks cloudy or has an unusual color, make a new solution. Rinse the system with RO permeate before putting it back into operation.


6. Soak Period (if needed)


Depending on the fouling nature, a soak period may be necessary. Consult with experts for specific details.


By incorporating these easy DIY tips, you can maintain the efficiency of your RO membrane, ensuring a continuous supply of clean and purified water. Regular cleaning will not only extend the life of your system but also contribute to cost savings and improved water quality.


For more water solutions, such as Water Softener Installation in Tampa or a FREE Water Test, contact Aqua-Wise Water Solutions at 727-236-7161 for RO System Installation Service. Additionally, explore their services for Reverse Osmosis System Installation, DIY Tips for Hard Water Softening Solutions, Water Odor Removal, and Water Softener Inspection in Tampa Bay.



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - Easy DIY Tips in Cleaning Reverse Osmosis Membrane


Why is cleaning the Reverse Osmosis (RO) membrane important?


RO membranes reject impurities over time, leading to fouling and scaling. Regular cleaning ensures optimal performance, preventing increased operating pressures, higher costs, reduced output, and lower water quality.


How often should I clean my RO system?


Typically, RO systems require membrane cleaning every 3 to 12 months, depending on their application. Regular cleaning intervals prevent long-term issues and maintain system efficiency.

What is the benefit of off-site membrane cleaning services?


Professional off-site cleaning, like Aqua-Wise Water Solutions, is highly effective. It uses specialized cleaning regimens with quality solutions, restoring membranes to near-new performance. Pre and post-testing ensures the cleaning's effectiveness.

Can I clean the RO membrane at home?


Yes, there are practical do-it-yourself (DIY) tips for cleaning RO membranes at home. Performing cleaning in stages, using high and low-pH cleaning chemicals, and sanitizing with bleach are some DIY methods explained in the article.



Why is cleaning in stages recommended?


Cleaning each stage individually allows for maximum flow velocity during the process, ensuring optimal surface scouring without causing membrane telescoping.


How do high-pH cleaning chemicals work?


High-pH cleaning chemicals effectively chelate calcium, crucial for dislodging biological or organic foulants containing carboxylic functional groups from the membrane surface.


What is the purpose of low pH cleaning before high pH cleaning?


Low pH cleaning may be considered before high pH cleaning in some cases. It helps assess the system's needs through a foulant analysis to determine the most suitable approach.


How can I sanitize the RO membrane?


Adding ½ cup of bleach (chlorine) to the Stage-1 housing allows the bleach to flow through the entire system, effectively sanitizing it when the feed water is turned on.


Why conduct a cleaning study for chemical options?


A cleaning study helps determine the best chemical for your RO membrane. Citric acid, known for its chelating properties, is often recommended before using high-pH cleaning chemicals.


Can I contact Aqua-Wise Water Solutions for additional water services?


Absolutely! For Water Softener Installation in Tampa, a FREE Water Test, or services like Reverse Osmosis System Installation, DIY Tips for Hard Water Softening Solutions, Water Odor Removal, and Water Softener Inspection, contact Aqua-Wise Water Solutions at 727-236-7161 or visit www.aqua-wise.com.



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