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Show Highlights

Ashkahn and Graham respond to a follow up question about cleaning the waterline of the float tank without running the risk of contaminating the float tank solution with disinfectant.

Show Resources

This is a follow up episode to Surface Disinfectant for Tank Walls – DSP 335

As for Ashkahn’s claim about the Model Aquatic Health Code requiring interior surface cleaning every day and additional surfaces every week, he’s absolutely correct. Here is the relevant section of the MAHC: Cleaning Daily Cleaning FLOATATION TANK interior surfaces at the waterline shall be scrubbed
or wiped down on a daily basis to prevent build-up of slime and biofilm layers. Weekly Cleaning FLOATATION TANK interior surfaces shall be scrubbed or wiped down
on a weekly basis to prevent build-up of slime and biofilm layers. Draining FLOATATION TANKS shall be drained and all interior surfaces shall be
scrubbed or wiped down prior to refilling at a frequency necessary to prevent build-up of slime and biofilm

Other Ashkahn claims:

In DSP 171 – How is the Float Industry Different? Ashkahn stated, “the solution we’re using in our float tanks, seems to be pretty specific and pretty unique to the float industry.” Which… yeah, is true.

Ashkahn was talking about humidity in DSP 185 – How to Deal with Humidity in Float Rooms, and claimed that “the ideal humidity for a float tank is 80%” , which as Graham pointed out immediately afterwards, was not based on any information nor is it where Float On adjusts their humidity to.

DSP 210 – 5½ of the Most Common Construction Mistakes Float Centers Make, Ashkahn claimed that a “super common” mistake that float centers make during construction is forgetting to put float tanks in their float rooms, which, as it turns out, isn’t something that happens.  

Ashkahn has claimed that his middle name was legally changed to “Danger”. This has been confirmed correct, although the corroborating story he tells at parties has not been. 

Listen to Just the Audio

Transcription of this episode… (in case you prefer reading)

Graham: Hi. Happy election time everybody.

Ashkahn: This is Ashkahn.

Graham: I am Graham Talley, fierce rival.

Ashkahn: It’s a little awkward.

Graham: Yeah, I don’t know why we got put on this debate, apparently to answer questions together. Yeah, we have a question today. It’s actually-

Ashkahn: That’s new.

Graham: It’s a follow up question for someone who we already answered a question for.

Ashkahn: Someone’s getting a bonus.

Graham: A little greedy.

Ashkahn: Yeah, geez.

Graham: Oh, but before we do that we actually, I wanted to make sure that we let you guys know again that we are doing our final episode of the podcast coming up.

Ashkahn: That’s right, yeah. We’re kind of wrapping up this whole show and as a way of finishing it out we decided to do a big, long live episode where people can actually call in.

Graham: Yeah, so join us for that. It’ll be really fun. We’ll have special prizes that we’re giving out to people who call in.

Ashkahn: Apparently we’re giving out prizes prizes.

Graham: Yeah, I just decided right now. It sounded really exciting and we did a whole, kind of special podcast that covers why we’re closing down shop over here and all the details like that, so make sure to check out the recording if yeah, you’re interested.

Ashkahn: Yeah, this will be happening on November 29th. You can join us there, ask us your questions live.

Graham: And that’ll be happening at?

Ashkahn: 3:00.

Graham: Yeah, Pacific Time.

Ashkahn: Pacific Time.

Graham: Pacific Time.

Ashkahn: Yeah, 3:00 pm Pacific Time.

Graham: Yeah, that’s 4:00 pm Mountain Time.

Ashkahn: Yeah, 5:00 pm Central Time.

Graham: And 10:00 pm Eastern Time. That’s not-

Ashkahn: And I’m pretty sure 2:30 in the morning Atlantic Time. You should ask a computer. They’ll be able to tell you better than us.

Graham: Anyway, the 29th, 3:00 pm Pacific Time. Be there or be-

Ashkahn: Somewhere else.

Graham: Probably. All right, back to the question which is still a good one.

Ashkahn: All right, let’s hear it.

Graham: “Daily Solutions answered one of my questions recently.” No problem. “But I had a follow up question. I asked about using disinfectant on the interior walls of the flow tank with my concern being what will happen to disinfectant that enters the solution.” Good question by the way. “The guys answered this really well, but I want to go deeper. Would you use disinfectant to wipe clean the water line and basin floor? Note I’m not draining the solution when I wipe the water line and basin. I am a solution purist…” I think as we call ourselves, float tank solution purists. “… in that I don’t add anything to the tank I don’t absolutely have to. I don’t use spa enzymes because the solution is full enough as it is. My gut tells me that the disinfectant won’t hurt the solution and would get caught by the filter, but I’m also nervous about possible negative interactions. That last bonus question, is a liner considered a hard surface?”

Ashkahn: Okay.

Graham: So that was a good, yeah.

Ashkahn: It was a lot. Do they, yeah.

Graham: But basically just how do you disinfect the water line? What are using on the tub under the water line, the basin?

Ashkahn: We’ll put the original question in the show notes. Listen to that first probably. Will make more sense then than just jumping in right here.

Graham: Yeah, so go on and do that. We’ll wait. Welcome back.

Ashkahn: Basically we were talking about using something more hardcore than vinegar or hydrogen peroxide or something like that to clean your walls, the stuff above the water line and part of that concern is that is this whatever more hardcore cleaning agent you’re using going to get into the float tank liquid and what’s the harm of it getting into the float tank liquid and in our previous episode we said, “Hey it’s probably really, it’s not really gonna get in there that much,” but they bring up a good point of the actual water line which really is, if there’s anywhere that’s especially a good place to make sure you’re cleaning on the walls of the float tank, like right where the water line is is definitely one of those spots. So it’s a good question.

Graham: Yeah and there’s some de-salting that has to happen at the water line every week and there’s also the actual disinfecting around there. So the nice thing is when you’re getting close to the water line, if what you’re trying to do is get all the salt off and do kind of pass at maybe a little water, scum line or something building up around there, you can do that very safely below the water without worrying about getting disinfectant in just by taking a rag or something that’s clean and rubbing it along the inside or using vinegar in that case to kind of do the water line. So it’s for the actual, not the disinfecting, but just cleaning and making sure it’s free of salt and any other oils or anything like that that might be collecting along the side of your basin, then that’s not actually too dangerous. Again you can wipe that free and you don’t need to worry about having disinfectant on the rag or the sponge that you’re using to get in there for the cleaning part.

Ashkahn: Yeah there’s certainly a benefit to just elbow grease.

Graham: Yeah, for sure.

Ashkahn: Just scrubbing is just one part of keeping the systems clean and especially around that kind of water line is where that scrubbing can be key. What we talked about in our last episode was the build up of these things called bio-films, where certain organisms can clump together and form an almost membrane layer around their outside to further protect them from things like disinfectants and stuff like that. Scrubbing those things clean is one of the methods of dealing with bio-films. So scrubbing your water line is definitely good and it is good to hit with some sort of some cleaning agent as well, just like the rest of your system and at this point it pretty much comes into trying to do it really carefully.

Graham: Yeah, it’s like trimming in painting or anything where you actually need to cut just a very fine line close to something where if you touch it you have a splotch of paint on your ceiling now, right? Same premise, but with water and disinfectant.

Ashkahn: The nice thing is the depth of your solution is going down over the course of your operation. For us, we’re replenishing our kind of tanks every week. So over the course of the week the water line is going lower. So one thing we like to do is clean before we re-up our water and salt and that way the water line is at the lowest point that it is, the most of the kind of tub is exposed when we’ll do that nice cleaning pass then before we kind of re-bounce it up to 11 inches or whatever is the right kind of height for each one of our tanks.

Graham: So the order kind of goes for the deep clean day, get into the tank, de-salt everything on the interior so it’s just smooth and you’re not worried about both doing the scrubbing and the disinfecting at the same time around the water line. So once that’s all smooth and just feels like baby fresh fiberglass, then you go in and very carefully cut a line with, yeah hard surface disinfectant and same thing that we mentioned last time, either some kind of rag there using, it’s been soaked in a disinfectant or an actual just hard surface wipes that come pre-packaged, but just for mental image clarity, what I like to do is wrap that around my finger so then you’re just kind of tracing your finger along the line, that you’re tracing along the water line there. So sounds kind of silly but that is then nitty gritty answer and details about what you’re doing here.

Ashkahn: There’s an interesting concept you brought up of being a kind of a purist of what goes into your solution. I think that is true. I personally feel like I relate to that in a lot of ways along the lines of what you were saying of not using spin zymes and kind of these other manufactured chemicals for use in pool and spas.

Graham: I just, I actually just sneak things into the tanks sometimes while other people aren’t looking.

Ashkahn: But in my mind there’s kind of two different things going on when I think about not adding extra stuff to the float tank and one of them is yeah, I just don’t want any random chemicals in there if they don’t need to be.

Graham: Yeah, sorry about that.

Ashkahn: And the other is actually one of the reasons that I’m always hesitant to grab some sort of name pool cleaner thing, like Crystal Clear Pool or whatever. There’s a lot of these products out there that sometimes you don’t even know what exactly they are. They’re just clarifiers or some sort of product, is just because in float tanks we don’t know exactly, there’s so much difficulty in measuring kind of what’s going on in float tanks in terms of the various levels of chemistry and stuff like that. When we’re trying to figure this all out, there’s always this kind of desire to try to reduce the number of variables that we’re trying to deal with and to me keeping stuff out like name brand clarifiers and stuff like that is one of the ways of simplifying down some of the complexity of what we’re trying to unravel with what is happening with the chemistry of these float tanks.

So that’s kind of one perspective of being a float tank purist that I definitely abide by as well in our float center and the other side of trying just to not have stuff in your float tank is a little bit of a more difficult thing to think as like perfectly happening just because whether you like it or not, there’s stuff getting into the float tank, you know what I mean?

Graham: There’s stuff in the city water supply that’s getting into the float tank. Even if you’re filtering water it’s still getting in there. Stuff people are sweating off of their skin when they’re in the float tank. Even though they’re not sweating like you’re doing laps in the float tank. It’s just being in there and things that we have in our body naturally come out, whether that’s medications or oils or anything like that.

Ashkahn: Chemicals in people’s makeup.

Graham: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Ashkahn: There’s a lot of stuff people put on their bodies.

Graham: There’s probably more weird chemicals inside of any body of water than you think and for the most part though, they’re just in such small concentrations, it doesn’t start doing weird things until you start combining it with a lot of the other weird chemicals that we have out there, you know?

Ashkahn: And this is a thing. We saw a talk at one of these conferences we went to about these trace amounts of pharmaceuticals and chemicals from makeup and stuff like that from the city water that is then having these interactions with disinfectants like chlorine in pools.

Graham: Or UV which is crazy as well.

Ashkahn: Exactly, and one of the funny things to me about UV in pools is that they have to deal with the fact that people wear a bunch of sunscreen when they go swimming and sunscreen is literally meant to block the UV rays of the sun, so it naturally hurts the performance of your UV system. So stuff like that is just going on. I think we have it better in float tanks than a lot of other kind of recreational water. People shower before they go in. That’s helping us out a ton. Again, like Graham said, we don’t know if people are sweating. There’s all these things that make it so that this is less of an issue for us than it is for a lot of pools, hot tubs, spray parks sort of things, stuff like that. So we have that going for us, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. If you were to measure what’s in our float tanks, it would literally just be like H2O and magnesium sulfate. That’s probably not the case of what’s going on in there.

Graham: Also you don’t have a machine you can just pour float tank water into and it’ll tell you everything that’s there by the way. I thought a machine like that existed before I got into this world and it totally doesn’t. So as to what is in any body of water, you kind of actively have to go looking for certain compounds, so we’ll probably never know, you know? We have two more questions from this question, too before we keep going on.

Ashkahn: Okay, as I guess the last thing is just that, yeah, probably some of this disinfectant is gonna get in and no you don’t want to get a bunch of it in there. I mean if you look at the labels of this stuff, it tells you not to ingest it and get it in your eyes and stuff like that.

Graham: Yeah, don’t add this to a float tank, it’s one of the warning labels.

Ashkahn: But like you know, being careful with it and trying to minimize that as much as possible is probably gonna be a kind of nice middle ground in keeping things clean and keeping your solution pure.

Graham: And basically yeah, if you’re running a hard surface, disinfectant wipe over the actual water line of your float tank and then later you fill up that water so that water line is covered with float tank water, that’s probably fine. You shouldn’t be worried about that residual amount of disinfectant on the wall getting into the float tank water.

Ashkahn: The bottom of the tub-

Graham: Yeah, that’s was what I was gonna move onto, yeah.

Ashkahn: I’m not sure I actually understand, you’re getting down under the water with some sort of rag or something?

Graham: Yeah, yeah, yeah. They’re saying under the water. They don’t drain it between-

Ashkahn: That I probably would not do.

Graham: Well, I mean it’s being yeah, I yeah.

Ashkahn: I mean so if I were to clean the bottom of the tub-

Graham: Other than with scrubbing and stuff. We’ll vacuum it up. We’ll scrub it down.

Ashkahn: When I’m thinking about that I’m thinking about physically cleaning it somehow without some sort of disinfectant and basically what you’re then relying on is that whatever is the kind of active cleaning process of float tank solution is handling whatever is being kind of released from the bottom of the tub.

Graham: Yeah, if there are biofilms or just there’s something kind of gathering on the actual surface under there, you’re trying to dislodge it, get it into the water and then be throwing it through your filtration system or whatever it is you’re using for-

Ashkahn: And you try not to scrub too hard. If you start physically scratching the bottom of your tub with something, that’s just gonna make things worse. That makes it easier for things to grow in there inside of tiny little abrasions and stuff like that.

Graham: This is a great manufacturer question as well to find out what they actually recommend cleaning the inside of the float tank with ’cause they’ll know what doesn’t mess up their own gel coat and stuff like that.

Ashkahn: So yeah, be careful of that, but yeah I probably wouldn’t just be dipping some sort of disinfectant soaked rag or something, but when you do go to, if you’re draining your system-

Graham: Oh I see, yeah, yeah.

Ashkahn: This is a great thing to do in between. This is what we do. If we’re kind of doing our routine, drain and refill, once we’re dumping everything we’re taking the opportunity now that our whole float tank is empty to do this. To actually go and disinfect the entire bottom and wipe things down and do that. We’re not doing it every day, but we’re doing it on some sort of rotating cycle that at least is happening every once in a while.

Graham: Yeah. So yeah, I think that’s it for the bottom of the tub. I definitely wouldn’t put anything with just straight disinfectant on it in the solution at any point. I mean first of all, it’s gonna be off the rag. By the time it makes it to the wall it’s just hanging out in the water which I think their instinct was to already not do that, so and then last bonus question was is the liner hard surface like when we’re talking about hard surface disinfectants are we including liners in that? Which yeah, so yeah.

Ashkahn: Yeah, basically non-porous.

Graham: Even though it’s a flexible surface, it’s not, yeah, it’s not actually hard. It’s technically hard, not colloquially hard, right?

Ashkahn: Yeah. We’re looking for something that is not going to have a bunch of absorption or nooks and crannies and stuff like that. That’s what makes things kind of a hard surface. A carpet would not be a hard surface.

Graham: Yep, Ashkahn’s beard would not be considered a hard surface.

Ashkahn: No. A mattress, that wouldn’t be a hard surface.

Graham: But his rock hard abs, that’d be considered a rock hard surface actually. That’s a different-

Ashkahn: It’s a whole different classification.

Graham: A different level of disinfection, yeah. Cool, I think that was actually everything for that. Did you have any other else you wanted to-

Ashkahn: No, like this is good. We should be talking about this as an industry ’cause this is one of those things that’s not as intuitive for people to think about at the beginning but is important. Like we mentioned on the other episode, we’re gonna hopefully start getting some data about what’s going on on the walls of float tanks and figure out from there if we need to kind of up our protocol as an industry or what’s actually happening.

Graham: Yeah, so if you have a follow follow up question. No really don’t be shy.

Ashkahn: Just to throw this out there, there is some language in this whole new model, aquatic health code section on float tanks. It actually says or requires by its kind of language that you clean the surface line everyday and then do the rest of the interior surfaces on a weekly basis. So something to keep in mind, I think. I think that’s what it says. It did say that at some point. I’m almost certain it’s still in there.

Graham: Cool, put it in the show notes whether Ashkahn’s right or not right now.

Ashkahn: We’ll check in the show notes to see if I’m saying this correctly, but yeah I’m pretty sure.

Graham: Yeah, we’ll also fact check just other random things that Ashkahn said over time and put those in the show notes as well. Maybe part of this show, maybe not. Just things we’ve heard him say over beers. We’ll add in the rest.

Ashkahn: Gonna be hard ’cause everything I say is pretty much accurate.

Graham: I was gonna say you pretty much make everything up regardless of facts. All right, if you do have your own questions or your own follow up questions or in this case your own follow follow up question.

Ashkahn: For you that one particular question.

Graham: Yeah, go to floattanksolutions… Well for that person I guess they know where to find it obviously. They’ve hit us up twice now. Go to floattanksolutons.com.

Ashkahn: /podcast, type it in. We’ll be here.

Graham: Yep, it’s cool. It’ll be really, really cool.

Ashkahn: Yeah.

Graham: You won’t regret it.

Ashkahn: You won’t.

Graham: Bye.

Ashkahn: Bye.

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