Ionized Water Testing: Clean your ORP Meter
ORP [oxidation reduction potential] meters are scientific instruments which measure the antioxidant qualities of ionized water. I use an ORP meter when I'm doing water ionizer comparisons, as one of many tests.
Read more about the benefits of antioxidants in ionized water.
ORP meters are an essential for me, because I am constantly testing and comparing new and used water ionizers and I need an accurate way to compare them. I need to be able to say “This water ionizer is a great water ionizer…buy it.” or “That water ionizer is not as good quality…avoid it.”
ORP alone is not a good enough measure of the antioxidants a water ionizer model is able to produce. It is the ORP per unit of pH that is the true measure. Some water ionizers only get a good ORP at the highest pH levels, but poor at drinking-levels. Other water ionizers get good ORP at a variety of pH-levels [within the common drinking-levels of pH]. I rate water ionizers that get a good ORP at the drinking levels of pH as the best ones. Read more about water ionizer comparisons
I continue to test and compare water ionizers well beyond the average water ionizer reviewer, because I have found that some water ionizers are only operating at top-quality when new and that their quality drops quickly if either their internal cleaning sytem or overall design is not exceptionally good. I also want to be able to predict which water ionizers will do better with soft water, or hard water, or which water ionizers will perform more consistently over time for years into the future. In addition I have many other things I want to know about ionized water, which all requires testing.
The bottom line is that I am curious about these things, and I really enjoy being able to test out my theories and predictions…so I’ve taught myself how to quickly and ACCURATELY test ionized water.
The biggest trick I had to learn was the one I’m teaching you here…cleaning the ORP meter. The average person has no need for ORP meters, however they are interesting to have, so some people buy them. I will often get calls from these people, asking me why they are not getting good ORP readings for their ionized water. It often turns out that they are not cleaning their ORP meters well enough.
Even when the ORP meter is brand new, out of the box, it is not conditioned for measuring the high levels of antioxidants that are found in ionized water. ORP meters are typically purchased to measure regular tap water, pond water or other positive-ORP-waters. Ionized water is negative-ORP-water, which is very much trickier to measure. Ionized water has more calcium hardness and the calcium in the ionized water is electrically drawn to and wants to stick to the platinum-coated probe of the ORP meter...making it a constant problem for ORP meters. Any amount of calcium on the probe will keep the platinum from contacting the water directly and will prevent you from getting an accurate reading.
By the way, both of the following videos are now also posted on the Milwaukee Instruments website.
Video Demonstration: How & Why to Clean an ORP Meter
In this first video, I show how I test ionized water with an ORP meter [and pH meter], get an accurate reading and so I know I don’t need to clean the ORP meter. In the 2nd video, I see how the ORP meter is giving an inaccurately low reading for my ionized water, way lower than normal for that particular water ionizer. This means the ORP meter needs cleaning, so I quickly clean it, then re-test the ionized water, and finally get an accurate reading again. Whenever I do water ionizer comparisons I make sure to clean my ORP meter is the results seem off.
For me it’s important to be able to maintain a clean ORP meter in such a way as it doesn’t take an excessive amount of time. The tricks I have learned over the years have worked better for me than expensive, special, cleaning solutions to keep my ORP meter clean. I still have $100 worth of cleaning solutions in my cabinet, but never use them, because I’ve learned these easier ways to keep my ORP meter clean! These techniques also work for Molecular Hydrogen testers. The platinum-plated probes on each of these machines are magnets for hardness (calcium) and this is the most usual element which needs to be cleaned off of the probes in order to keep the readings accurate.
- Condition the ORP probe (as you see me doing in the second video) when it's brand new. This is necessary to prepare it for negative ORP water. Use a very, very fine sand paper [such as 220 grit] to get the scale off the probe.
- I used to say "keep the probe from drying out", but now I've learned that it's best to leave it in the open air (don't submerse it in water or solution of any kind). I've been doing this now, very successfully. It stays conditioned for negative ORP better this way. It also preserves the integrity of the probe, because you don't have to clean it as often.
- If ever the probe gives questionable readings, try to condition it once again. Depending on how often you use the ORP meter you can get as many as several months of periodic use when you let it stay out and exposed to the air between uses.
- When you do need to condition it, clean the ORP meter probe as I show you in the videos, very lightly.
- It's better to under-do it and then have to do repeat cleanings than to over-do it with the polishing.
Definition & Explanation of ORP: All liquids have an Oxidation Reduction Potential [ORP]. This is the potential of that liquid to reduce/stop/slow-down oxidation. Oxidation can be seen when you cut an apple in half and leave it open to the air. The oxygen in the air reacts with the apple and oxidizes it [removes a negatively charged electron from it], turning it brown. If you set that apple into a solution with a negative ORP [in other words, a solution with a high antioxidant potential], it wouldn’t turn brown. Put some lemon juice on a cut apple. Lemon juice is full of antioxidants. See how it can stay white for days! Oxidation happening in your body [also can be called “free radical damage”] can be slowed down by adding lots of antioxidants. Only a negative ORP can reduce oxidation. ORP can be measured. Most water [tap & bottled alike] is measured at a positive ORP [+150 to +400]. A water ionizer will take that water, ionize it, and in the process add so many negatively charged electrons that it reduces the ORP to the negative range of -150 to -700 or so [depending on the level of your ionized water]. In other words it makes it contain a fantastic number of natural, easily absorbable antioxidants. Any liquid containing a negative ORP greater than -300 is considered a beneficial substance for your health. You can expect to have better resistance to infection, increased strength and energy, and be younger looking if you drink alkaline ionized water with a -300 or stronger ORP. The ORP of a liquid can be measured with an ORP meter.
SHOULD EVERY WATER IONIZER OWNER GET THEIR OWN ORP METER? No, not at all. They are expensive and hard to maintain. The pH drops that come with your water ionizer are actually a much more reliable tool to use in measuring if your water ionizer is still ionizing well. Provided your water ionizer has a good design for continuous-cleaning, the ratio of pH to ORP ratio is pretty well set. The stronger the ORP of your ionized water per unit of pH, the healthier that ionized water is for your body. It is a test of the design and quality of the water ionizer to get a stronger [more negative] ORP per unit of pH. If your water ionizer has been tested for ORP levels, and it’s good at first, will probably remain good as long as your electrodes stay clean. If you start noticing the pH falling over time, then you can also safely assume your ORP is also falling, and it’s time to clean your water ionizer [&/or get an EOS device].
IF YOU WANT YOUR OWN ORP METER, YOU SHOULD KNOW HOW TO CLEAN AND MAINTAIN IT! For anyone who wishes to have and use their own ORP meter you must know the above general principles of how to clean and maintain an ORP meter! Without this understanding, your very expensive ORP meter will be worthless to you.
My background is in physiology, teaching, nutrition and weight loss. I have raised 5 children who are all grown now. I have a masters degree in education and was a teacher/principal for 24 years. I created Alkaline Water Plus in 2009 to educate people about the benefits of ionized water.
The very best thing I have ever purchased is a WATER IONIZER, and I've been in perfect health ever since I started drinking ionized water 25 years ago!
Cathie LoGrasso Owner, Alkaline Water Plus
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