Practicing safe salt: How we keep things clean
Updated: Jul 19, 2020
We are absolutely thrilled to answer any questions about water quality and our practices. We take pride in our water maintenance and the cleaning standards we uphold. Never hesitate to ask about the inner workings of the filtration system or for the nitty gritty details! It is important that you feel 100% safe at oGo Float and that includes assuring you of our strict and consistent cleaning procedures!
Photo Courtesy of Float Tank Solutions
oGo Float is committed to clean! We strive to minimize our environmental impact, and use only the safest disinfectants with the highest germ killing potential. At oGo Float we research and carefully select the chemicals that we bring into our float studio. We float here too, so it’s a very personal and somewhat self serving mission to ensure the place is absurdly clean!
This might be too much, or too little information for some readers. I’ll try to keep the details as light as possible but it's easy to over-geek this stuff.
Before the solution goes through the filtration system we run a skimmer over the surface of the solution. Almost all loose hair or debris is collected during the manual skim. It's a float tank, so everything floats! Which makes surface skimming pretty darn effective.
Then the solution passes through the filtration system for a minimum of 4 turn overs. The solution enters at the hair basket of the pump which collects anything missed by the surface skim. Next the water travels through a micron filter that traps bacteria and any other particles. The solution is treated with UV light, which penetrates and disinfects the solution, and finally (29%) Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) is maintained at 80-100ppm as an oxidizer to break down organic material.
The UV light is the primary disinfectant and will kill viruses and bacteria. Hydrogen Peroxide boosts the efficacy of the UV light and the combination has proven over the last 30+ years to be a good measure of maintaining safe float tank water. The filter is changed every week, sometimes more frequently depending on the user load. The interior walls, floor and seams are cleaned with Eco friendly hospital grade disinfectant. After each float we disinfect the interior surfaces with a floating UV-C light.
The Epsom Salt solution is so dense that it acts as a deterrent to most pathogens; very few organisms can survive in an environment of 30% salt. If you think of it this way, the Dead Sea gets it's name because nothing wants to live there, and a float tank mimics some of the properties of the Dead Sea. We can’t rely solely on the salt, but it’s a good start.
oGo Float will continue to investigate safe cleaning practices and keep up to date on float tank research, if we ever learn of better practices we will implement them.
Every day we test the water chemistry. We test the temperature, with the goal being 93.5F (34.1C) which is about the same temperature as your skin. We use a hydrometer to test the specific density of the solution (how floaty it is). We test for total alkalinity, pH, and maintain Hydrogen Peroxide. We also check the pump psi and flow rate meter to ensure all parts are moving and functioning properly.
Photo Courtesy of Float Tank Solutions
“How often do you replace the entire solution?”
It would be incredibly costly, and very unpractical to create a brand new water mixture for each floater, and thankfully due to the modern advancements in float tank technology and filtration systems it isn’t necessary.
Each floater takes salt and water with them when they exit, therefore we are always adding fresh salt water solution. After some time of continually adding new water and salt, we will have replaced the entire solution.
The float tank solution can safely be used many times over. If the solution ever deteriorates or in the event of a significant issue or bodily fluid incident - the water would be immediately dumped and replaced.
Photo Courtesy of Float Tank Solutions
We clean all of the surfaces around the centre, including the shower, benches, door handles, and floors with an Eco friendly hospital grade disinfectant. We use a UV-C light in the room to provide an added level of disinfection between each guest.
Lastly, let’s touch on the level of risk associated with floating. Unlike a pool or other water source your chance of orally, or otherwise having the water enter any of your orifices is very low. Statistics say that when you go swimming at a pool you are likely to consume about 1 cup of water, this doesn’t happen in a float tank because your head doesn’t go under the solution, and please trust us when we tell you the solution does not taste good; it's made up of 30% Epsom Salt (not table salt), just trust us.
Anyone that has floated knows the only rule of floating, DON’T GET SALT IN YOUR EYES. It’s not the end of the world, but it sucks! Luckily, it’s quite easy to avoid, and it only takes one salty eye incident before a floater develops their own safe salt practice, #PracticeSafeSalt. The ear plugs restrict or prevent water from entering your ears, and your nose remains above the water line.
So as long as you don’t drink the water, and avoid getting it in your eyes there isn’t a pathway for a potential pathogen to enter your body. This makes floating an incredibly low risk environment. Every floater showers before entering the tank reducing the potential for contaminants, and again after they float. If against all odds you did come in contact with a bacterium, it would likely be washed off in the post float shower. Float tank users are generally mindful, respectful and conscious adults paying hard earned dollars for some quiet relaxation; this is very different than the demographics of a public pool.
Another thing that sets float tanks apart from a public pool is that you float in the nude. Swim suits can harbor nasty chemicals, detergents, or unwanted bacteria from the last water source it entered, and we don’t want them in our tanks. Bathing attire is further discouraged because the goal of a float environment is to reduce your sensory input, including your sense of touch which would be disturbed by a tight bathing suit applying pressure to your skin.
At the 2018 Float Conference Dr. Roy Vore, a microbiologist and expert in recreational water illness gave a presentation titled "Should We Worry About Germs In Float Tanks?".
The answer is almost no. Dr. Vore is quick witted with a slick attitude and uses those skills to break down the math on how much float tank water you would have to consume to get sick. Yuck. Why? It's so much salt! Please don't...
It's amazing to see how easily the research and math can be compounded when you've spent your entire career observing and researching it! Click the picture below to hear the full talk; it's well worth the time investment.
Floater Code of Conduct
We fulfill our responsibilities by competent water testing, frequent filter changes and maintaining the highest standard of cleanliness. We ask that floaters do their part to help keep our systems running optimally by ensuring to remove your make up, scrub your body really well, and don’t float if you have fresh hair dye or have been sick recently. We ask that you treat the float tank in the same manner you would expect from the floater immediately before you. Just like everything else in life, it works so much better when everyone pitches in and does their part.
We have used our best efforts to mitigate any risks that could present themselves, but of course nothing is entirely without risk, including the use of float tanks. If you have any specific questions or concerns that we haven’t answered please give us a call! If we don’t have the answer we will find it!