Removing Smoke Odors With An Ozone Generator
Contributed by Marty Hoffman, Operations Manager
Ozone treatments are one of the best tools for removing odor caused by smoke damage. One question we get asked frequently is whether ozone treatments are bad for furniture and other possessions. I hope that this blog answers that question.
What is an ozone generator?
An ozone generator is a machine that generates the molecule ozone (O3), a highly reactive molecule that reacts chemically with the particles it comes into contact with. Professional restoration companies and some drycleaners use industrial ozone generators to remove the smoke odor from furniture, clothes and other belongings after a fire.
How does it work?
Ozone works to remove odors by chemically changing the structure of the molecules in the smoke that are creating the smell. The extra oxygen atom attaches itself to the other molecules to create a new molecule that is non-offensive—and non-smelly—in a process called oxidation. As a gas, ozone can clean anywhere air is allowed to flow. That’s one of the features that makes it so effective in removing odors that other cleaning techniques just can’t touch.
The more smoke damage has been done, the more ozone is needed to eliminate the smell. There need to be enough ozone molecules to react with all of the offending molecules in order for the treatment to be successful.
So, is it bad for my stuff?
Ozone is the most effective way to remove odor caused by smoke damage. Professional restoration contractors can control the temperature, humidity, and treatment time carefully for maximum positive effects. In short—no, ozone is not bad for your belongings, as long as it is being controlled by a professional. The reason this is important is because professional restorers know and understand the power of ozone. They also know that there are certain materials that don’t do well when exposed to ozone—namely certain textiles, leather, rubber, and certain plastics.
Many people think that they can clean their clothes after a fire by washing them multiple times. But this will not remove the smoke odor. Ozone is also cleaner than other methods because it does not leave any byproducts or residue that need to be cleaned later.
As a form of oxygen, ozone itself is not dangerous. However, if overexposure occurs it can be harmful to lungs. This is another reason to allow a professional to perform the ozone treatment. They have the right equipment in place to protect themselves during the process, and once your items are returned to you, they are safe to be in your home.