Ionic Clean: Use that de-ionized water for cleaning

by Mark R

I had a chance to try out the Ionic Clean by Homeright this weekend. This cleaning system uses de-ionizing technology, which can turn ordinary water into a more purified form for cleaning.

It comes in that airtank thing that you see here, and it comes with an attachment for your hose. When you turn the water on, you have the option of the de-ionizing (DI) water. Think of it as a soap, but not quite as potent as real soap.

You should feel free to add soap to get rid of the real spotted areas on your car, without streaks and no drying required. After you have used the DI water, you can switch to the “rinse” function for some plain and ordinary water on whatever it is that you are washing.

You might notice the extended stick with a brush on the end, which comes in handy for DI washes. In short, the Ionic Clean feels like something that you would use at a car wash, but, without the addition of soap, it doesn’t get your car as clean as you might like.

Anyway, you should be able to get the Ionic Clean from the Homeright website for about $249. Is that too expensive?

13 reviews or comments

moogie Says: May 31, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Could we get a bit more of an in-depth review?
Does it remove tree sap, bird droppings, or tar? How long does the de-ionization process take before it’s ready to use, and what kind of volume does it put out? If you were to wash half of your car with this, and half with soap, would you notice any difference?

And, you tell us, would *you* pay $250 for that glorified piece of crap? 😉

Churba Says: May 31, 2010 at 4:54 pm

Didn’t we go through this with the last Ionic water product that came up on cool tools, and was removed because it was a Scam? Y’know, that bottle one that Bill Nye is promoting?

This is just as much of a scam as that one. De-ionised water being any more effective as a cleaning product is an utter fiction. You’re promoting a product that’s utterly, utterly useless.

So, in answer to your question – Yes, $249 is too expensive, for a device that produces something that produces something that is absolutely no better at cleaning than tap-water.

James Says: May 31, 2010 at 6:41 pm

Two things:
1 – By removing the ionic charge of the water, the surfactants in whatever soap you choose to use becomes more able to remove the dirt and gunk from the surface you’re cleaning. The soap goes a lot further too. Try washing your hands with the soap of your choice in regular tap water and then do the same with a bottle of distilled water. You’ll see a lot more soap suds and your hands feel slick after using the distilled water. They’re slick because there is much less mineral left on your hands to cause friction. BTW, deionization and distillation are two processes that give the same outcome; ultra clean water with no ionic charge. That’s why you use distilled water to fill your car battery; it has no ionic charge and it’s ultra clean.
2 – The review states that you could use regular water to rinse your car. This kinda defeats the purpose. You know when you go to the car wash and one of the amenities or choices is “Spot Free Rinse”? Well, if you get it, you should notice that the water flow slows wwaaayyyy down. That’s because that water is more expensive. You guessed it; it’s deionized water. By eliminating the ionic charge of the water, any mineral in the water cannot stick to your car causing water spots.
Don’t get any bright ideas about drinking or watering your plants with this ultra clean water. This kind of water is nicknamed “Hungry Water”. Since it has no mineral in it, it absorbs mineral from whatever it contacts. It will pull necessary minerals right out of your digestive tract or your plants cells.
No, I don’t work for the manufacturer. I just know a bit about water and I thought this review could use a little more info and clarification.

Churba Says: May 31, 2010 at 8:52 pm

Fascinating. What’s the process behind point number one?

As for point number two – you can also achieve a spot-free wash by A)Mixing borax with the water, or B)Using a Chamois after you wash the car, which should be about ten bucks at most from the store, rather than $246.

I will make a correction, though – The product I mentioned previously wasn’t actually removed, despite being a blatant scam. Not cool, cool tools, not cool.

James Says: June 1, 2010 at 1:55 am

The simple way to explain point number one is: All natural water on earth has dissolved mineral and metal in it. Both hold a positive ionic charge. The tank in this and other deionizers contain special beads(negative charge) hydrogen(positive charge)and anions(negative charge). When water passes through the media/beads the positively charged mineral and metals stick to the beads. The positively charged hydrogen replaces the mineral and metal. Now the water is ultra clean but still positively charged. Within the next section of the tank, the media releases negatively charged anions into the water. Now the water has no charge since positive plus negative equals zero. This water is used for lab work, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and other ways that an ionic charge would alter the chemical makeup of the components.
As far as less expensive ways to achieve this; call your local water filtration expert(Hey Culligan Man) and tell them you want to rent a pre-charged water softener tank set up to attach to your water spigot. It’s about twice the size of a scuba tank but, quite heavy. Then run a hose from that tank. This will last about 50-70 washes. It’s not exactly portable, has no cool wands or brushes included but, it’ll only cost about $20/year. This is only equivalent to the first half of the deionization process but, it’s all you need for spot free washing of cars and such. Keep in mind, the media in the “Coolest Gadget’s” tank needs to be replaced or recharged eventually to keep working. This is, obviously, not free.
Remember, this is a simplified explanation. A real expert or scientist could do much better.

Tim Says: June 3, 2010 at 9:24 am

The Bill Nye product is actually an “ionizer” not a “DE-ionizer”. Ionizing the water charges it so it breaks up dirt particles similar to the chemical reaction of soap.

moogie Says: June 4, 2010 at 5:01 am

I came back to follow up on my original “this product is crap” post, and have thoughtfully read and considered all responses.

From what I can tell (and shame on you, Mark), de-ionized water makes for a good rinse after a normal car wash, but is worthless for washing a car.

I think I’ll be saving money by not buying this product and instead taking my 1978 Gremlin to a valet carwash service that will give her a good Evian rinse.

Tim, ionizing the water results in deionized water. Mansoor, I’d hate to breathe ionized air (O3), but am pretty sure that it’s harmless (except to the wallet) in liquid form.

James, great suggestion. Couldn’t I just add water-softening chemicals to get the same effect, though? (Since it removes the minerals that make water “hard.”)

James Says: June 4, 2010 at 10:42 am

Moogie, you could add so-called water softening chemicals to the wash water. This would improve the quality of the wash as those chemicals reduce the surface tension of the water. The mineral is still there however. It simply has more time to run off the car before the water dries. Which brings up the rinse. Unless you rinse your car with buckets filled with tap water and those chemicals, you are instead rinsing with hard water from a hose. As that water dries, it leaves water spots. You would have to dry it manually to avoid the spots. If the rinse water is first run through a de-ionizer or water softener, the mineral is actually no longer present in the water. You could just let the car sit and air dry, and it would dry spot free.

Ryan Says: June 18, 2010 at 11:11 am

I’ve used the Ionic Clean before. I never needed a soap injector for it, but homeright does sell one on their website. I guess it really depends on how dirty your car is.

Waterboyz Says: July 30, 2010 at 7:24 am

Amaozon and Cal Car Cover sell it for $179.
Other DI units cost several hundered $$s.
Water softeners replace calcium and magnesium (which leave big hard white spots) with sodium( not so hard and white). They do not change the TDS of water. Anything over 17 PPM of TDS leaves spots. It is possible to wash and follow up rinse with DI in direct sunlight and not get spots. The DI (as James mentions) is hunger and likes to grab particles i.e dirt, soap, hard water residue as it rinses. The result is an ultra clean surface. This is why window washers use it. You will not see hard water residue where you chamios cannot reach or get to before water dries. An added benifit of DI is a neutral charge. If you like to take wax off with microfiber you are adding a static charge to you cars surface. DI water will remove that charge and your car will not collect dust.

Miles Says: August 14, 2012 at 1:40 pm

That was the worst product review EVER written,m
You must first understand the item you are reviewing, how,Why,the end goal, things like that. Quote;(Think of it as a soap, but not quite as potent as real soap)

Qaz1 Says: September 5, 2013 at 3:13 pm

I don’t have this specific unit.
On the subject of DI water.
What is soap. Most soaps have surfactants to take care of all the junk in your water. They bind it up so the water can do it’s job. Notice that the dirtier the water the more soap needed.
A dionizer is doing the same job of soap. Except one major advantage. It is NOT ADDING but removing. So when the window or car or what ever you are washing dries there isn’t any dirty soap and crud film left behind.

I was seriously skeptical of my first DI unit. Each job kept impressing me. When I sprayed just at tiny bit on a glob of tape residue and it wiped off after just a few seconds. I realized that this works. And it is safe

Again I do not have this unit and cannot speak for it. But I can speak for the process.

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