Final judgement: “ec-H2O” no better than tap water

23 September 2013, 18:41 CET ( by Alfred Kärcher GmbH & Co. KG )         No Comments »


So-called “activated water” is no more effective than tap water. Tennant’s advertising claims ascribing the cleaning power of an all-purpose cleaner to water “activated” using the ec-H2O technology, are anti-competitive: This landmark decision by the Stuttgart Regional Court is now legally binding. Tennant has withdrawn its appeal.


“The evidence was overwhelming. We were always confident that the facts would prevail in the end. With the withdrawal of the appeal the court’s decision is now legally effective: ec-H2O cleans no better than tap water,” says Markus Asch, Deputy Chairman of the Management Board of Alfred Kärcher GmbH & Co. KG. “The court decision is a success that benefits all customers. Competitive cases such as this one create confidence and trust.“


Tennant is required to bear the costs of the proceedings. This judgment will make waves worldwide. It heavily relies on the findings of the independent expert Thomas Hofmann (Zurich University of Applied Sciences) who had been appointed by the court. Besides Kärcher, other competitors and associations had publicly thrown doubt on the effectiveness of “ec-H2O” and carried out scientific studies as well as practical tests regarding the alleged cleaning effect.

Victory for Kärcher in court case over Tennant’s advertising claims on the ec-H2O-technology

17 June 2013, 21:45 CET ( by Alfred Kärcher GmbH & Co. KG )         No Comments »

The Stuttgart regional court has decided. According to the court, the Tennant advertisements claiming that the machines with “ec-H2O-technology” clean as well as scrubber dryers using cleaning agents are misleading. Specifically, the following claims were at issue:


  • ec-H2O-technology activates water, so that it achieves the same effect as a powerful cleaning agent.
  • ec-H2O produces its own powerful cleaning agent; there is therefore no more need to purchase an all-purpose cleaner for scrubber dryers.
  • ec-H2O reduces costs as no all-purpose cleaner needs to be purchased for the scrubber dryers.
  • ec-H2O is a tested and proven technology.


Tennant’s counterclaim was also rejected by the court: Kärcher’s claim that the cleaning effect of “ec-H20” is no better than that of mains water has been accepted.


Tennant has appealed against the judgment of the court of first instance.


You can find further information on the ruling with this link.

Tennant v. Kärcher: Press report after hearing at Stuttgart regional court

29 April 2013, 14:02 CET ( by Alfred Kärcher GmbH & Co. KG )         No Comments »


After the hearing in Stuttgart regional court on 19 April, the German press agency dpa published the following report:

Cleaning dispute: Partial victory for Kärcher


Stuttgart (dpa/lsw) – Cleaning giant Kärcher has won a partial victory in the bizarre lawsuit against US rival Tennant. At a hearing on Friday in the Stuttgart regional court, an expert witness essentially contradicted Tennant’s claims about the functioning of its machines. However, the expert testimony referred only to individual modules. The court did not rule out the possibility of a further test of the entire range. A Kärcher spokesman said he was very satisfied. “We see this as a decisive step,” he said. The opposing party declined to comment on the ongoing proceedings.

According to previous information, Tennant had claimed that its scrubber-driers – which are used to clean school corridors or station platforms, for example – use electricity to activate water, thereby converting it into a kind of cleaning agent that renders chemicals superfluous. Kärcher considers this claim misleading and filed a suit against its rival.


Tennant vs. Kärcher: Second hearing before the Stuttgart District Court

18 April 2013, 9:35 CET ( by Alfred Kärcher GmbH & Co. KG )         No Comments »

The second oral hearing in the dispute between Kärcher and Tennant will be held at the Stuttgart District Court on Friday, 19 April, starting at 10.45 a.m. The court will be dealing with the report that it commissioned from an independent expert. The point at issue is whether water “activated” by Tennant’s so-called ec-H2O technology cleans better or worse than ordinary tap water when used in scrubber driers.

Stuttgart District Court announces order to take evidence: Tennant technology to be put to the test

29 June 2012, 18:55 CET ( by Alfred Kärcher GmbH & Co. KG )         No Comments »

“Tennant’s so-called ec-H2O technology can achieve no better cleaning results in scrubber-driers than by using ordinary tap water,” Kärcher stated in a blog and in the suit it filed against its competitor before the Stuttgart District Court. After Tennant instituted legal proceedings against this statement, the Court’s 31st chamber for commercial matters today announced that the technology is to be investigated by a court-appointed expert.


“We welcome this ruling by the Stuttgart District Court unreservedly,” said Markus Asch, Deputy Chairman of the Kärcher Group’s Management Board. “The ec-H2O technology that Tennant advertises is now to be put to the scientific test by a court-appointed expert. That tallies with the approach that we have pursued since the start of the proceedings.”

British Advertising Standards Authority rules on “ec-H2O” advertisement: Tennant’s advertising claim “misleading”

13 June 2012, 0:01 CET ( by Alfred Kärcher GmbH & Co. KG )         No Comments »

”The ad must not appear again in its current form” is the ruling of the British Advertising Standards Authority [1]) on an advertising claim regarding the “ec-H2O“ technology used in scrubber dryers of the cleaning equipment manufacturer Tennant in the United Kingdom. According to the ASA decision, the company must no longer claim that this technology cleans better compared to traditional cleaning chemicals and methods. One of the reasons that Tennant had given in support of the better cleaning result was that using ec-H2O more bacteria had been proven to be removed than with detergents. As no robust evidence on the point was presented, this advertising message was misleading. Therefore Tennant breaches several elements of the ASA Code of Practice.


“We are happy with this ruling of the ASA,“ says Markus Asch, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Management of the Kärcher Group. “Following the recommendation of the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the respected American Advertising Self-Regulatory Council, Tennant has now also been prohibited by the ASA from disseminating one of its advertising messages. Kärcher is willing to accept in principle that a cleaning process free from chemicals has a lower environmental impact and saves costs, as all scrubber dryers are after all able to achieve satisfactory results even without detergents in the case of light soiling. Just like tap water, ‘ec-H2O’ reaches its limits when tackling very stubborn dirt,” continues Markus Asch.


Those who wish to form their own opinion of the ASA reasoning can access the original comments on the organisation’s website ( Tennant has been given until 14 June to submit a request for the review of the ASA recommendation.


InGermany, an initial court decision is due at the end of June, when the Regional Court of Stuttgart will announce its decision in the case Kärcher versus Tennant.

[1] The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is the self-regulatory organisation of the advertising industry in the United Kingdom which prosecutes breaches against the Code of Practice.

Tennant case: Stuttgart District Court postpones ruling date

26 April 2012, 21:19 CET ( by Alfred Kärcher GmbH & Co. KG )         No Comments »

The ruling date for the Tennant case, originally scheduled for 27 April, has been postponed. The Stuttgart District Court announced today that the ruling will be given at 14:00 pm on 29 June 2012.

ec-H2O: NAD objects to a number of Tennant advertising claims

19 April 2012, 18:00 CET ( by Alfred Kärcher GmbH & Co. KG )         No Comments »

In the United States the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureau has investigated a number of advertising claims made by the Tennant Company relating to its ec-H2O technology. The NAD is responsible for reviewing national advertising for truthfulness and accuracy and is in place to foster public confidence in the credibility of advertising.


The NAD’s investigation found that Tennant’s claims could not to be adequately borne out by the tests that they presented. They include, especially, the Tennant slogans:


-       ecH2O electronically converts water into a superior cleaning solution


-       ecH2O outperforms [many] conventional chemicals


The NAD also welcomed the fact that the Tennant Company is no longer using the slogan:


-       ecH2O technology makes water perform like a powerful detergent.


The cleaning equipment manufacturer Nilfisk-Advance submitted Tennant’s advertising claims to the NAD. Nilfisk-Advance reported on the NAD’s findings in a Press release.

Kärcher too is currently engaged in legal proceedings against Tennant’s British and German subsidiaries in connection with similar advertising claims for the ec-H2O technology and has taken its case to the UK Advertising Standards Authority and the Stuttgart District Court.


Link to NAD Press release

Link to Nilfisk-Advance Press release

Three questions to Dr. Andreas Dreusch, managing director of the renowned MicroMol research and development laboratory

13 February 2012, 14:46 CET ( by Alfred Kärcher GmbH & Co. KG )         1 Comment »

Since 1996 MicroMol GmbH has worked – and continues to work – on a number of complex issues relating to the development, evaluation and validation of cleaning agents and disinfectants and cleaning and disinfection processes. In biological systems especially the use of tensides and a knowledge of their chemistry is very widespread and important. MicroMol GmbH is also accredited by the German Accreditation Agency (DAkkS) for a number of test procedures. MicroMol’s Dr. Andreas Dreusch is an auditor appointed by the German Accreditation Agency for the areas of biology and chemistry and therefore inspects other laboratories or public bodies to ensure that their work complies with the standards.



Dr. Dreusch, you can clean quite well using water alone, can’t you?


You can clean very well with normal tap water. However, water is no good for fatty dirt. And that is increasingly widespread. A carton of milk bursts in the supermarket, a sandwich is dropped at a fast-food outlet, in a shopping mall for example, factories have oil and grease stains from machines, and soot. And fat particles are present everywhere where there are a lot of people, such as schools, kindergartens or hospitals.


In other words, to get a surface contaminated with fat or oil really clean, you need to add cleaning agents?


Of course, you can also strengthen the mechanical component when cleaning, by brushing harder or longer. Or you can try to clean with hot water. That won’t work particularly well, but it will make the floor surface look clean. However, in many cases hygienic, reliable cleaning is only possible with the use of cleaning agents that dissolve fats so that they are picked up rather than being spread evenly across the floor.


How clean do scrubber-driers that use ec-H2O technology really clean?


We have examined this technology thoroughly in our laboratory and found that it is possible to achieve good results with these machines. However, the results are just as good as those achieved using normal water. In the case of fatty, that is water-repellent, dirt, we were able to prove clearly that particles are distributed, but not dissolved or removed. The cleaning result was definitely worse than that of machines that use cleaning agents.

Tennant case in Germany – Ruling at the end of April

7 February 2012, 19:04 CET ( by Alfred Kärcher GmbH & Co. KG )         No Comments »

Today was the first day of hearings at the Stuttgart District Court in the legal dispute between Kärcher and Tennant. Tennant has until March 13 to submit a further opinion to the Chamber for Commercial Affairs, and Kärcher has until April 3 to submit a response. The Court is due to issue its ruling on April 27.

“In the oral proceedings we reiterated our view of the matter clearly and precisely, and it was evident that the Court had familiarised itself very well with the facts of the case. So we look forward in confidence to the pronouncement of judgment at the end of April,” said Markus Asch, Managing Director Professional Products and Deputy Chairman of the Alfred Kärcher GmbH & Co. KG management.

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