How To Clean and Sanitize a Reverse Osmosis Water System

A reverse osmosis water system is a unique water filtration system that removes contaminants from drinking water, so it’s clean and healthy for everyone to consume. The system uses a semi-permeable membrane that filters various contaminants and passes the clean water through small pores.

Reverse osmosis water systems remove contaminants such as:

  • Sediment
  • Carbon
  • Sodium
  • Lead
  • Copper

There are many types of RO water systems. Some filtration systems remove more contaminants than others, but they’re each fundamentally the same.

Maybe you’ve had your RO water system for a while now, and you feel like it isn’t as effective as it used to be. Did you know that you need to clean and sanitize your RO water system once every year?

To ensure your RO system is working to its full capabilities, continue reading to learn how to clean and sanitize a reverse osmosis water system!

Before You Start Cleaning

Wash your hands with soap and warm water before you start the cleaning process. You can also wear sanitary gloves to feel more comfortable as you clean.

Next, before you can truly start, clean and sanitize the area where the RO water system sits—remove as much dirt and dust as you can! This preliminary step ensures that once the real cleaning process is complete, you’ll return the water filter to a clean space.

Stop the Water Supply

Turn off the water supply to the RO water system. If it’s connected to the refrigerator or an icemaker, be sure to stop the water supply to those features as well.

Empty Any Remaining Water

Once the water supply is turned off, empty any leftover water from the system; turn on the faucet until the water stops on its own, then turn the faucet back off. Next, drain all water from the system’s storage tank.

Set Aside or Discard the Filters

Did you know you should also switch out the water filter within your RO water system every year?

For this next step, remove all pre-fill filters, the RO membrane, and any remaining filters from the system. You need to clean around where the filters rest to properly sanitize the water system.

If you decide to reuse the filters already in place, simply set those filters aside until later.

If you’re replacing old filters with new ones, discard the old filters. Don’t open the new filters just yet!

The Cleaning and Sanitation Solutions You Will Need

The first cleaning solution you’ll need is a simple mixture of water and a few drops of fragrance-free liquid dish soap.

Next, there are two sanitizing fluids you can choose from to clean your reverse osmosis water system. The first option is a premade NSF-approved sanitizer that you can purchase. Or you can choose to use about three tablespoons of unscented bleach.

No matter which sanitizer you choose, each will have effective results.

Scrub With the Dish Soap and Water Mixture

To start the cleaning process, use the dish soap and water mixture to scrub inside the housings of the system. Thoroughly clean the areas where you previously removed each filter. Once it’s clean, lightly rinse it with water to remove any soap residue.

Sanitize the Filter Housings

Just like you cleaned thoroughly with soapy water, clean the same filter housing areas with the sanitation solution or bleach. The process disinfects each area and removes any lingering bacteria; it’s the most effective way to ensure your reverse osmosis water system is clean and ready to start running again!

Reconnect the Pre-Filter Housing

After placing the bleach or sanitation solution within the pre-filter housing, screw it back into the system. Remember that the filters should not be in place at this point.

Turn On the Water Supply

To truly allow the disinfection process to start, turn back on the water supply to the reverse osmosis system. Give the system time to fill with water and mix with the sanitation solution or bleach without any of the filters present. Let this sit for about an hour.

Run Two Cycles and Flush Out the Sanitizer

After the hour passes, open the RO faucet to flush out all the water. Once the water exits the system, flush it with water for a second time. You want to make sure you can no longer smell the sanitizer or bleach to confirm it’s all out of the system.

Remember to also let the water run through the RO faucet; you don’t want any lingering sanitation solution or bleach in the water faucet. If you can still smell either of the cleaning solutions in the water, repeat this process for a third time.

Shut Off the Water Supply Again

Once all the water and sanitizing solutions are flushed through the system, shut off the water supply again. You’ll want to let the RO faucet water run until the water stops flowing on its own. This ensures the sanitized water is thoroughly removed from the faucet, and the water will be safe to drink once the system is properly hooked up again.

Reinstall All Filters and RO Membrane

It’s time to put the filters back in place! Whether you’re replacing an old filter with a new one or reusing the current filter, always put it back in its proper position.

Remember, when replacing a filter, ensure you purchase one that matches your reverse osmosis water system.

Turn On the Water Supply

Once you turn the water supply back on, this is the last time you’ll have to worry about it until your next RO system cleaning a year from now!

As the water begins to run again, check for any leaks or complications that may occur. Allow the system to refill in the tank for several hours. Close the faucet as the tank fills up.

Depending on your RO system, you may need to discard one to two tanks full of water before using it again.

Ready To Use!

Your reverse osmosis water system is finally clean and ready to use again! Remember to reconnect the RO system to the refrigerator, ice maker, or other appliance. The water is safe and ready to drink!

Now that you understand how to clean and sanitize a reverse osmosis water system, you’ll always have readily available, clean drinking water! All the dirt, debris, and lingering water contaminants are gone, and your family can drink fresh, clean water just as before.

If you don’t already have a reverse osmosis water system installed, all you need to know is this cleaning process requires very little maintenance for incredible benefits! Find a reverse osmosis water system at Premier H2O, so you can start drinking clean water and feel healthier!

How To Clean and Sanitize a Reverse Osmosis Water System