Force of Nature Independent Testing
Does Force of Nature water really kill germs?
Answer: It seems to kill some germs on a relatively clean surface.
Force of Nature is a system that you buy that allows you to produce your own electrolyzed water for cleaning. It is basically a solution of hypochlorous acid and sodium hydroxide. I did not buy the system. A website viewer who owns the system sent me a sample of the Force of Nature electrolyzed water that she had made. She made the water on Nov. 29, 2016 and all of my experiments were done within 2 weeks of production. The company says that the electrolyzed water is good for 2 weeks. So, keep in mind that my experiments were all done with ONE batch of electrolyzed water. If anyone else wants to send me some of their Force of Nature water or if the company wants to send me a system, I would like to do more tests with it.
This is my basic procedure that I use to test all cleaning products on my countertop. I used masking tape to section off squares on my kitchen countertop and labeled them according to what I would be testing. I made sure that my countertop was very clean to start with, of course.
Next I made germy water. To do this I mixed a small scoop of mud from our back yard into purified water. Then I poured the muddy water through a paper towel to filter out the chunks. I was left with very dirty water which contains lots of bacteria. For some experiments, I also scraped bacteria off of an already grown agar plate from a previous experiment and mixed those germs in. This way my "germ water" had lots of bacteria in it.
I rubbed the germ water around the square with my gloved finger. Then I let the squares dry completely which took 2-3 hours.
Once the squares were dry, I put .5mL of each cleaning product onto its respective square.
I rubbed the cleaning product around to completely cover the square using a clean gloved finger. I went over the square a few times to make sure that the cleaning product completely covered it. Then I set a timer and let the cleaning product sit on its square for 5 minutes.
After the allotted time, I used a sterile swab to swab the square. The squares were still wet after 5 minutes. I rubbed all over the square but I did not touch the tape (just in case the tape held onto bacteria and interfered with the experiment).
Then I scribbled all over an agar plate with the swab.
available on amazon. They come with the sterile swabs.
The plates were incubated for 24-48 hours in my homemade incubator consisting of a plastic box and a heat lamp. The temperature was about 90 degrees F. In case you are repeating this, the plates need to be put into the incubator upside down. (That means that the agar is on top so condensation does not settle on the bacteria colonies.) Any bacteria present on the plate will grow and multiply. After about 24 hours you can see colonies (or piles) of bacteria on the plates. It is important to remember that viruses do not grow on these plates. Just bacteria and some fungus. Also all types of bacteria do not grow on these plates. So, a clean looking plate does not necessarily mean that there were no microorganisms present. It just means that nothing that could grow on the agar plate was present. However, this is still a very valuable information for comparing different cleaning products.
Understanding Agar Plates
In case you are new at looking at agar plates, let me explain. Agar is a Jello-like substance that bacteria and fungus like to grow on. The whitish/yellowish dots you see are colonies (or piles) of millions of bacteria. Some types of bacteria are not able to grow on these agar plates. Viruses can not grow on these agar plates. So, just because a plate looks clean, doesn't mean that no microorganisms whatsoever were present. We assume that a clean plate means that most bacteria were killed. However, there is the tiny possibility that the cleaning product just stopped the bacteria from growing as opposed to actually killing it. Also, I can't make any determination as to the time it took the product to kill the bacteria since the product was still with the bacteria on the agar plate. (Both the bacteria and the cleaner would be picked up in the sterile swab.) So, I don't know if it took 1 minute to kill the bacteria or hours. These experiments are still very useful when used to compare cleaning products and cleaning methods.
Force of Nature Results
The Force of Nature did not do well in this experiment. Don't panic. Lots of products that aren't tough enough to do well in these experiments, still do fine in the kitchen sink. This is because my countertop experiments have a lot of dirt and germs and may overwhelm some disinfectants. That is why I also test products in a real-life situation, the kitchen sink. Force of Nature did well in the kitchen sink so keep reading. I also tested a cleaning product called H2O at Home in that experiment and it did not do well in the countertop experiments, either.
Will Force of Nature disinfect the kitchen sink?
Many cleaning products are not strong enough to do well in my countertop experiments with dirt and lots of germs. So, I also like to test everything in a real life situation, the kitchen sink. Any cleaner that we expect to kill germs, should be able to kill germs in my kitchen sink experiments. To do these experiments, I use my neighbors' kitchen sinks. They don't disinfect their sinks very often so they are usually germy enough for me to do a good experiment. I can only do one experiment per week per kitchen sink because there needs to be time for plenty of bacteria to grow again. So, these experiments take some time. I have not done all of the products yet. Check back for more results.
First I rinse off the sinks so there is no food debris stuck on them. Then I swab both sides of the dirty sink and rub the swabs onto agar plates. Then I spray the product all over one side of the sink. I usually use at least 20 sprays to fully cover that side of the sink. The other side is the control and I spray that side with 3% hydrogen peroxide because that always seems to generate very clean results. So, all of these products are being compared the 3% hydrogen peroxide.
Force of Nature did not appear to do much in my countertop experiments with lots of dirt and lots of bacteria. However, Force of Nature definitely demonstrated significant bacteria-killing power in the sink experiments. Kelly's sink wasn't perfectly clean after Force of Nature but there was a very noticeable decrease in the amount of bacteria. Jennifer's sink looked perfectly clean. Now, I used a TON of Force of nature on these sinks. I had a tiny bottle which produced small sprays. I sprayed the sinks about 100 times with the Force of nature compared to about 25 sprays of the 3% hydrogen peroxide. No matter what you use to disinfect your sink, you need to use a lot of it to fully cover the sink. It is only going to kill germs where it touches. The Force of Nature website claims that it kills germs as well as bleach. That can be true depending on the concentration of bleach. Does it kill germs as well as a 10% chlorine bleach solution? No. Does it kill germs as well as Clorox Anywhere spray? It probably does better. The Force of Nature results seem similar to the results I got with the Clean Smart cleaner which is also hypochlorous acid. Force of Nature is safe for so many surfaces so I do think it is a good choice for cleaning your kitchen countertops.
Disclaimer: I can't be 100% certain that any product that I test is actually killing bacteria as opposed to somehow preventing the bacteria from growing on the agar plate by some other means. I also can't tell how long it takes a product to kill the germs since the product is picked up in the swab with the germs and stays on the agar plate during incubation.
If someone in the house comes down with any type of vomiting or diarrhea illness, I recommend cleaning with a solution of 10% chlorine bleach in water or the Clorox Hydrogen Peroxide spray and wipes. The Clorox Hydrogen peroxide products have been tested and shown to kill the norovirus surrogates and regular 3% hydrogen peroxide has not.