Professional Carwashing & Detailing

Using ozone to treat odors

July 17, 2013

Ozone is a popular form of odor treatment. Most detailers use a small, portable ozone machine to treat odor problems ranging anywhere from animal and smoke to spilled, rotten food embedded in vehicle fabric.

Treating vehicle interiors and AC systems with ozone is an effective way of sanitizing potentially harmful substances such as pathogens and mold spores.

Ozone generators used in the detailing industry operate by means of a corona discharge tube. Most machines do not require input from an oxygen source other than surrounding air, making machine use simple and cost effective.

Machine capacity is measured by mg/hr or g/hr; the quantity of ozone produced vs. in-air flow. Small ozone machines can be purchased to treat one vehicle at a time or larger units can be used to treat several vehicles at once by hooking up hoses to individual vehicles.

Consumers can take many steps to prevent foul odors in their vehicles. Obvious causes of odor should be removed, (it’s time remove those fast-food wrappers from under the seats) and the vehicle should be vacuumed and kept clean at all times. “In order for ozone machines to work, you have to remove the source of the odor. It’s only a temporary fix if you don’t remove source,” said Bruce Bejsovec, president of Recondition USA, Inc.

The most common complaint of vehicle odor is cigarette smoke. “In this case, vehicle owners who smoke in the car should have their cars treated occasionally as preventative maintenance,” said Curtis Nipp, general manager at CB&I Howe-Baker Engineers, LTD.

Consumers who are chemically sensitive can also have their cars treated periodically to prevent any reaction to irritants that may build up over time.

Gina Budhai is managing partner of Car Pool Detail LLC, Richmond, VA, and president of the National Association of Professional Detailing and Reconditioning (NAPDR). She can be reached at: 804-288-1515,