One common question that people have about using ozone is exactly how an ozone machine is able to remove odors from houses, cars, clothing, etc. To help answer the question I figured it was worth a quick mention here.
Basically, ozone removes odor by destroying the molecules, bacteria, and spores that cause unpleasant smells. Ozone (O3) is a highly reactive molecule and is very quick to chemically react with particles that it comes into contact with in the air and on surfaces. The extra oxygen atom in the ozone attaches itself to other molecules, chemically changing their structure to create non-offensive molecules – eliminating the smell
When considering bacteria and spores the same process applies, with ozone attacking the outer shell of the cell causing it to break down. When the outer shell degrades, the cell itself breaks apart and dies.
With this in mind, it makes sense that a situation with stronger odor (and more odor-causing molecules or particles) requires more ozone to remove the smell – there needs to be enough ozone to react with all of the offensive molecules it encounters. This requires either A) a longer ozone treatment or B) higher concentrations of ozone (a larger ozone generator). Check out this chart of common odors to see typical treatment times for common problems.
One common scenario involves people who have “tried everything” to get rid of a smell, but are still left with lingering scents that just don’t seem to go away. One reason that ozone is effective in these situations is because, as a gas, ozone effectively “cleans” any place that air can go. This includes air, walls, ceilings, ductwork, carpet fibers, gaps between floorboards, cracks in walls, and more. Ozone is able to penetrate into these areas and destroy odors that it finds there.
So how does ozone get rid of smells? It chemically breaks down odor-causing molecules in any area where air is allowed to flow.