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How It Works

How does Ozone Work

Oxidation Potential:  Ozone is an oxygen-based compound.  Oxygen is naturally present as a gas that is composed of two oxygen atoms, and represented as O2.  Ozone is composed of three Oxygen atoms and designed as O3.  Ozone is a toxic gas, and extremely unstable, as the Oxygen tends to revert to the stable O2 structure. 

When Ozone is generated, it will revert to the preferred two-atom gas, typically within 15-20 minutes, releasing an extremely active oxidizing atom of Oxygen.  This oxidizing potential is the property that is most important in a laundry operation application.

Compared to other oxidizing substances, Ozone has a relatively high oxidation potential:

Oxidation Potential (eV)
Hydrogen Peroxide
Potassium Permanganate
Chlorine Dioxide
Sodium Hypochlorite
eV = electron-Volts 

Solubility in Water:  Ozone is soluble in water. At 20oC, the solubility of 100% Ozone is typically 570 mg/L.  

Sanitation and Disinfection:  Ozone’s oxidation potential is most important when considering its sanitation properties.  Ozone primarily disinfects or sanitizes by destroying bacterial membranes or cell walls. 

Ozone is capable of oxidizing many organic and inorganic compounds in water.  Ozone is a powerful oxidant able to achieve disinfection with less contact time and concentration than most other commonly used disinfectants, such as Chlorine. 

However, since Ozone dissipates quickly, it cannot maintain a residual presence in the system and it must be constantly regenerated to be effective. 

Hazards in the Workplace

Ozone is a toxic gas and does need to be treated with respect.  To protect workers potentially exposed to Ozone, OSHA has established a permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 0.1 ppm.  iZoneO3 Ozone Disinfection Systems are configured to ensure that recommended permissable limits are not exceeded.

NOTE: iZoneO3 - Ozone Disinfection Systems include calibrated room monitor/alarms, operator awareness instruction and bespoke safety systems to avoid potential for injury...

Ozone in Laundry - Myths Dispelled

Over the last two decades numerous companies have entered the laundry market touting the benefits of on-site Ozone generation in the laundry process.  Generally their claims fall into two broad categories:

  1. Myth: Significant savings can be had by elimination of hot water, as Ozone performs very effectively in cold water, in reality Ozone is not a cleaning agent per se, and some laundry items will still require a wash cycle at an elevated temperature to clear heavy soiling, oils, grease and similar.  Ozone acts as an effective disinfection agent at ambient room temperatures.
  2. Myth: Significant savings can be had by reducing chemicals in the wash process, as Ozone will clean and sanitize in one step, the reality is that Ozone is likely to improve the efficacy of laundry chemicals and not actually replace the need for soaps and bleaching agents.

Additional Benefits - Observations

  1. Due to lower use of chemicals and less harsh washing conditions, textiles will last longer. - Ozone does tend to open fibres in fabrics - which can allow more effective cleaning and drying. Consequently - less processing time can aid longevity of laundry items.
  2. Less rinsing is necessary, since lower levels of chemicals are used, thus saving water.- may be a consequence of Ozone making chemicals more effective.
  3. Cycle times can be shorter, increasing productivity. 
  4. Ozone is a deodorizer, and as such can produce “fresher” smelling processed laundry items.