Hydrogen Peroxide vs. Chlorine, and Which is Best for Floating?

Maintaining a float spa means knowing which type of chemical sanitizer is best for your intended purpose. You want to be able to meet or exceed sanitation requirements, but also create a welcoming environment that is free of the smell of harsh cleaning agents. Hydrogen peroxide and chlorine are powerful disinfecting agents that are used in swimming pools, hot tubs, and float spas on a regular basis. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important that you learn as much as you can about each of them.

The Need for Proper Sanitization

Any area where multiple people will be swimming or floating must be properly maintained. This means using a chemical disinfectant to sanitize the area and maintain a pH level that prohibits the growth of bacteria. Many different methods can be used. A few may even be used together. The problem is that the water may be clean, but the harshness of the chemicals (like chlorine) can cause skin irritation. This will limit the amount of time a person can comfortably spend in the spa. Also, chlorine brings with it a strong smell that many people dislike, while other types of cleaners can leave a residue on the skin or spa surface. Local health departments have strict regulations regarding pool and spa maintenance safety standards. In the end, chlorine is one of the easiest ways to maintain those standards at a lower cost.

Chlorine Basics

Most public spas and pools are required to use chlorine as a disinfectant. Chlorine is capable of killing up to 99.9% of all bacteria as long as the levels remain at 1 to 3 parts per million. Compared to other types of pool and spa chemicals, it only takes a small amount of chlorine to disinfect a large amount of water. While chlorine has become the primary standard in terms of keeping pools and spas clean and bacteria-free. It can eventually produce harmful by-products known as disinfectant by-products (DBPs). These DBPs can cause a wide variety of health problems including upper respiratory problems and severe skin irritation. When chlorine is used, it’s important to check the pH of the water frequently to maintain the proper levels and prevent adverse reactions.

The Benefits of Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is not considered to be a strong disinfectant. Instead, hydrogen peroxide acts as an oxidizer. When added to water and exposed to UV light rays, it makes the water cleaner and creates an environment where bacteria cannot thrive. Because it’s less stable and breaks down much faster than chlorine, the water must be tested more often and larger amounts must be used to maintain a bacteria-free environment. Hydrogen peroxide requires 50 to 100 parts per million to be effective. On the Brightside, it does not produce hazardous by-products and will not irritate the skin or cause upper respiratory distress like chlorine or other disinfectants in the halogen family.

Which Is the Wiser Choice?

Chlorine has always been the most popular choice simply because of its sheer power in terms of disinfecting large areas with very little product and lower costs. The power it holds is also a double-edged sword in terms of possible health concerns when too much is used or the DBPs begin to appear. In comparison, hydrogen peroxide requires more work but in the end produces a healthier, bacteria-free environment. Because both human and animal produce hydrogen peroxide, and when exposed to UV rays, it is less likely to be an irritant to either the upper respiratory tract or the skin. Although water must be tested more often and more hydrogen peroxide must be used, it improves the quality of the water through oxidation instead of disinfection. Remember that peroxide also acts much faster than chlorine at producing a bacteria-free environment. In the end, careful monitoring of your pool and spa environments will ensure that the entire area meets or exceeds the standards put in place by your local health department.