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Thread: Sanitize vs. oxidize?

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    Sanitize vs. oxidize?

    I was at the pool store today for confirmation on a test I ran with my test kit (seemed to be off) and got into a discussion on the use of liquid chlorine/bleach. I've been following the BBB method now for about six or seven years and overall do well with it. What was pointed out to me was that bleach is a sanitizer and not an oxidizer. I generally can defend and speak knowledgeably about BBB, but I found myself without an intelligent argument. I was told that the bleach cleans the water but leaves bacteria/pathogens that can cause illness in the people that swim in a pool maintained that way. They recommended an oxidizer, I think the powdered (expensive) shock that I used to use was labeled as an oxidizer.

    I'm fairly certain that the bleach kills anything and everything in the water regardless of what type of pathogen or bacteria it is.

    So does anyone have a defined difference in sanitizer vs. oxidizer?

    As always, I thank everyone on this forum for being there.

    Thanks.
    14'x28' in ground with vinyl liner and a new sand filter (2015).

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Sanitize vs. oxidize?

    I will leave the definition to chem geek, but the person at the pool store is either ignorant or lying. Bleach will kill bacteria/pathogens in the water. Chlorine is chlorine is chlorine. It doesnt matter how the chlorine gets in the water, be it bleach, chlorinating liquid (pool store stuff 10/12.5%), tabs, cal hypo etc. They all add chlorine to kill the stuff in the water. They just differ on what "extra" stuff they bring to the party.
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Sanitize vs. oxidize?

    They have no idea what they are talking about. Chlorine is a sanitizer and an oxidizer ... regardless how you add the chlorine to the pool.

    Although honestly right now I am drawing a blank to explain the difference
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    Re: Sanitize vs. oxidize?

    Nonsense. Bleach, like all forms of chlorine, is both a sanitizer and an oxidizer.

    A sanitizer deactivates/kills pathogens, ie kills bacteria and renders viruses harmless. An oxidizer breaks down organic waste products, like ammonia, into their components. Bleach does both of those things just fine.

    If you ignore the other things that the various solid forms of chlorine add to the pool (i.e. CYA or CH), the chlorine they all add is exactly the same as the chlorine added by bleach. Chlorine is chlorine is chlorine, no matter where it comes from.

    Bromine is, like chlorine, both a sanitizer and an oxidizer. Baqua is a sanitizer, not an oxidizer. It is typically used along with hydrogen peroxide, which is an oxidizer and not a sanitizer.
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Sanitize vs. oxidize?

    He's full of it. Check out the MSDS for plain Clorox:
    VII Reactivity Data
    Stable under normal use and storage conditions. Strong oxidizing agent

    emphasis added.
    http://www.thecloroxcompany.com/down...leach0809_.pdf
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    Re: Sanitize vs. oxidize?

    Aha! Exactly what I thought, but standing there when the term 'oxidizer' came out left me without the ability to speak knowledgeably about it. I've learned some more good stuff today! I have reviewed the Clorox MSDS and that further validates it.

    Thanks to all, especially for the, almost speed of light responses!
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    Re: Sanitize vs. oxidize?

    Technically, the EPA calls chlorine use in swimming pools a disinfectant and not a sanitizer, sterilizer, antiseptic, or germicide. This link describes the subtle differences. To be called a swimming pool disinfectant, the product must pass EPA DIS/TSS-12.

    As others have pointed out, the chlorine from all the chlorine products is identical once in the pool. Chlorine is both a disinfectant and an oxidizer. As for chlorine kill times, this link from the CDC should show what baloney the pool store was dishing out. Chlorine is one of the most effective disinfectants that is also reasonably safe for humans at the very low active chlorine levels used in swimming pools. As for chlorine oxidation and reaction with chemicals, this paper goes into gory details, but generally speaking chlorine is a reasonable oxidizer of ammonia and inorganic chloramines, organic amines, reduced sulfur moieties or activated aromatic systems. In practice, this means ammonia and some amino acids and more slowly urea and creatinine all found in sweat and urine.

    Not all disinfectants are oxidizers and not all oxidizers are disinfectants, but chlorine is both. A disinfectant that is not an oxidizer is Baquacil/biguanide/PHMB and requires hydrogen peroxide to be used with it as the oxidizer. Though the EPA doesn't call them disinfectants because they don't kill quickly enough, copper and silver ions nevertheless can control bacterial growth, but they are not oxidizers. Non-chlorine shock (MPS) is an oxidizer, but does not kill bacteria quickly enough to be called a disinfectant (except at hotter water temperatures in the presence of silver ions).
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    Re: Sanitize vs. oxidize?

    Reading this post reminds me of defending my position and TFP nearly every time I share my experience using bleach to maintain our beautiful clear and sanitized trouble free pool. How many times can I hear " Why would you use Bleach in your pool don`t you know how dangerous that is”

    I have a new response I plan to use. I will inform the negative Nellies the pool store has Pool Shock/Chlorine I can purchase and use granted it is more expensive but it will be safer for my family than using bleach. What was I thinking?

    Just like fishing throw out the bait and when they bite set the hook. Oh by the way do you know Pool Shock/Chlorine and Bleach have the same active ingredient Sodium Hypochlorite. Ranging from 10% to 12% for Shock/Chlorine and 6% to 8.25% for Bleach with most of the remainder inert ingredient being H20.

    The last item I want to share with the negative ones. If I have any Pool Shock/Chlorine unused from this swim season I plan on using it to wash my dirty stained white socks since I bought 10% Sodium Hypochlorite and it is 1.75% stronger than 8.25% Bleach. I will use 6.6 ounces for a load of dirty socks instead of a half cup 8 ounces.

    If my math is wrong for laundry well help me. I don`t want to over disinfect my dirty socks.
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    Re: Sanitize vs. oxidize?

    It's long been my experience that those who are most wrong are often the loudest to defend their position. As for me, I'll just speak softly and carry my big TFP stick

    It's just amazing that it's usually the so-called pool store "experts" that seem to be the most wrong.
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    poolnoob.ca's Avatar
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    Re: Sanitize vs. oxidize?

    according to pool math that is the correct amount of bleach to use for dirty socks
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    Re: Sanitize vs. oxidize?

    I love it!
    14'x28' in ground with vinyl liner and a new sand filter (2015).

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