When and why should you clean the membrane in a watermaker?

Deposits and impurities in the membranes can negatively affect the quality of the product water or the performance of the Watermaker. In such cases, using a membrane cleaner for a watermaker can bring improvement and restore its original performance.

Indications for a dirty membrane:

  • Decreased water production: A noticeable decrease in the amount of water produced, other parameters being equal
  • Poor water quality in terms of increased TDS/salinity of the product water
  • Poor water quality in terms of foul taste/odor

Which types of contamination are typical for membranes and which cleaner should be used and when?

The possible contamination can be divided into two categories and there are basically two types of cleaners for these - acidic and alkaline.

  1. Mineral deposits, also called scaling.
    • This simply includes lime scale, but other minerals can also build up on the membranes over time.
    • The formation of mineral deposits is a process that cannot be avoided and depends primarily on the operating hours.
    • This is where the acidic cleaner comes in.
  2. Organic deposits
    • These include bacteria and biologically grown organisms - biofouling, sediments and light oil contamination.
    • This type of contamination can be greatly reduced by careful operation in clean waters and regular flushing of the Watermaker.
    • This is where the alkaline cleaner comes in.

It is often difficult for the user to determine which specific contamination is present. A foul or bad smell and taste can be an indication of organic contamination.

Since scaling is a process that inevitably occurs and cleaning with acidic cleaner at a certain frequency makes sense anyway, if you are unsure, it is advisable to start by using the acidic cleaner first.

Depending on the intensity of use and model, the acidic cleaner can also be used at regular intervals - for example once a year to quarterly.

If there is no improvement after this, the procedure can be repeated with an alkaline cleaner.

Another argument in favor of this approach is the fact that acidic cleaners are less harmful to membranes than alkaline ones.

Since scaling and possibly organic contamination cannot always be avoided, it makes sense to stock up on both cleaners for longer trips. You can find our cleaners here.

What is important to consider when using watermaker cleaners:

  • The system should be thoroughly rinsed with fresh water beforehand.
  • The cleaning agent should always be circulated through the system without pressure - open relief valves or the pressure control valve.
  • Never mix acidic & alkaline cleaners. If used sequentially, the system must be flushed thoroughly between applications.
  • After use, rinse the cleaner thoroughly before operating the system with pressure.
  • After using the alkaline cleaner, the residual salt content of the product water may be increased for a short time. This effect returns to normal over time.