A Complete Guide to Odor Removal

A Complete Guide to Odor Removal

The human sense of smell is incredibly powerful. According to a TED-Ed lesson, adults can distinguish up to 10,000 different smells. After all, it is the first sense used when we’re born. This is all made possible by the olfactory epithelium, located in the back of the nose, which detect smells with millions of neurons. 

Humans typically sense 10 basic types of smells. According to Gizmodo, they are:

  • Fragrant (e.g. florals and perfumes)
  • Fruity (all non-citrus fruits)
  • Citrus (e.g. lemon, lime, orange)
  • Woody and resinous (e.g. pine or fresh cut grass)
  • Chemical (e.g. ammonia, bleach)
  • Sweet (e.g. chocolate, vanilla, caramel)
  • Minty and peppermint (e.g. eucalyptus and camphor)
  • Toasted and nutty (e.g popcorn, peanut butter, almonds)
  • Pungent (e.g. blue cheese, cigar smoke)
  • Decayed (e.g. rotting meat, sour milk)

“Smell is processed by the part of the brain that handles emotions,” Terry Molnar, executive director for the Sense of Smell Institute in New York, told the Denver Post. “It is a matter of association,” he said. 

While smell may vary for people based on their own personal experiences, we can all agree some smells are intrinsically bad. Odors that fall into the "pungent" or "decayed" categories can wreak havoc on our nasal passages, but are increasingly difficult to eliminate completely. Many methods simply mask the odor instead of eradicating it. 

With oxidizing power 3,000 times more effective than bleach, ozone is the second most powerful oxidant in existence. When introduced to an environment in a gas state at the right levels, ozone will destroy bacteria, mold or any other organic material, including odors for good.

Pet

We love our pets. We let our animals cuddle on the couch or even snuggle up in bed with us. Over time, many pet owners may not realize the lingering animal odor in their home. Whether it's caused by cat urine, dog urine, or just a general smell, ozone can destroy and eradicate the odor for good.

  • To start, you will need an ozone generator and a tarp
  • Once you have decided which item to ozonate first you will need to take the tarp and drape it over the item
  • Lay something to help hold down the tarp on the sides which will help hold in the ozone
  • Then, take the ozone generator and place the exhaust side under the tarp making sure the air vents aren’t covered and are able to pull fresh air in
  • You will then need to turn on your unit with both plates running, with the fan on high, and with a 30-minute run cycle
  • Exit the house at this point or have this set up in a garage
  • Once the cycle is complete, wait 30 minutes to 1 hour for the ozone to dissipate, then you can enter the area and decide if another treatment is needed
If you are trying to ozonate a smaller object you would need to get a plastic tote and cut a hole for the exhaust of the unit to fit in and another for excess gas to escape. Then run the unit for 30 minutes or less with the fan on a high setting.

Fire Remediation

After a fire it is important to clean all objects that have been impacted. To remove the smell, it is important to use a tactic that will work to kill the particles that are deeply embedded in household objects and the air. Additionally, smoke particles could be stuck in the ducts and ventilation of the air conditioning system. Ozone is an effective way to do this, and is even used by many professional services. The Air Series is most effective for this application.

  • First, treat the individual room that has the worst odor or smoke damage
    • Before turning the unit on, remove all valuables, plants, and/or pets from the room so they do not come into direct contact with ozone
  • Second, determine the severity of the smell, which will dictate the amount of time needed for cleaning
    • For example, heavy smoke smells will require longer treatment times (4 hours or more), while pet smells could be solved in a shorter amount of time (4 hours or less)
  • Next, place the unit into the severely impacted room and turn the unit on full power while selecting the appropriate time setting on the unit
    • Be sure to leave the room immediately after the unit begins producing ozone
  • Use the A/C system to freshen the entire home if the odor is still present
    • This will push ozone through the vents with the A/C fan
  • Determine where the air return vent is on the heating and cooling system
  • Remove the filter and turn the AC fan ON
  • Place the unit in front of or near the return vent and be sure the heating and cooling system’s fan is to the always on position
  • Turn the unit on for a 4-hour cycle and immediately exit the building
  • It will be safe to return to the building at a minimum of 4.5 hours later, but we recommend returning 5 hours later or longer
After the process is complete, ozone reverts back to oxygen meaning no residual chemicals are left behind. This is a preferred method to bleach or other chemical alternatives because it leaves the treated area smelling fresh.

Mold & Mildew

After the source of the mold is removed, ozone can be used to remove the smells left behind. Ozone can be used for mold and mildew removal when it is administered in higher amounts. This means the A7K or Air-7000 would be the most useful solution. At 7000 mg/hr, ozone is an effective agent for mold and mildew removal.
  • First, treat the room with the mold & mildew damage
    • Before turning the unit on, remove all valuables, plants, and/or pets from the room so they do not come into direct contact with ozone
  • For most mold & mildew removal applications, a full four hour treatment is needed
  • Be sure to leave the room immediately after the unit begins producing ozone
  • Repeat the treatment as necessary 

Water Damage

Water damage can leave an unpleasant smell behind in the home. Whether it's a ruptured pipe or water damage from a flood, ozone can help. Ozone is a powerful agent that can eradicate these odors for good. Follow these steps to remove odors caused by water damage: 

  • First, treat each individual room that has been impacted
  • Before turning on your unit, remove all valuables, plants, and/or pets from the room so they do not come into direct contact with ozone
  • Next, determine the amount of time you will run the unit in the space
  • More severe odors typically require a 4-hour treatment cycle, which we recommend for flood cleanup
  • Turn the unit on full power while selecting the appropriate time setting on your unit
  • Be sure to leave the room immediately after your unit begins producing ozone
  • Once you have individually treated each room, the whole house can be treated using your AC system
  • To do this, determine where the air return vent is on your heating and cooling system
  • Remove the filter and turn the AC fan on
  • Place your unit in front of or near the return vent and be sure turn the heating and cooling system’s fan is to the always on position
  • Then turn the ozone generator on for a 4-hour cycle and immediately exit your house
  • It will be safe to return home at a minimum of 4.5 hours later, but we recommend returning home at 5 hours later or longer
  • Keep in mind, the half-life of ozone is 30 minutes
  • If the smell of ozone is still strong after this amount of time has passed, open windows to air out the building

This process can be repeated multiple times to remove the odor or mildew impacting the area. We recommend a 30 minute cool down for the unit after each run. The A7K, the premiere model in the Air Series, boasts a repeat timer and remote to easily restart the treatment process.

Tobacco

Whether you’re a smoker or have a loved one that is, the lingering smell of cigarettes can be an annoyance. The odor can seep into clothing or furniture and feel like it is impossible to remove. Use ozone to oxidize the harmful substances found residing in secondhand smoke. 

 

Furniture

By using a unit from A2Z's powerful Air Series, lingering odors stuck in furniture can be eliminated. Whether it's caused by pets, smoke or more all-natural ozone can eradicate the odors for good.

  • To start, you will need an ozone generator and a tarp
  • Once you have decided which item to ozonate first you will need to take the tarp and drape it over the item
  • Lay something to help hold down the tarp on the sides which will help hold in the ozone
  • Then, take the ozone generator and place the exhaust side under the tarp making sure the air vents aren’t covered and are able to pull fresh air in
  • You will then need to turn on your unit with both plates running, with the fan on high, and with a 30-minute run cycle
  • Exit the house at this point or have this set up in a garage
  • Once the cycle is complete, wait 30 minutes to 1 hour for the ozone to dissipate, then you can enter the area and decide if another treatment is needed

Skunk

Knowing how to get rid of the smell is important as skunk season approaches. If skunk odor has impacted your home, follow these steps to eliminate the odor with an ozone generator:

  • First, treat the individual room that has the worst odor
  • Before turning on your unit, remove all valuables, plants, and/or pets from the room so they do not come into direct contact with ozone
  • Second, you will need to determine the severity of the smell, which will dictate the amount of time needed for cleaning
  • For example, heavy smoke smells will require longer treatment times (4 hours or more), while less severe smells could be solved in a shorter amount of time (4 hours or less)
  • Next, place the unit into the severely impacted room
  • Once you have treated each room individually, you can treat the whole house using the AC method
  • To begin this method, determine where the air return vent is on your heating and cooling system
  • Remove the filter and turn the AC fan ON
  • Place your unit in front of or near the return vent and be sure the heating and cooling system’s fan is to the always on position
  • You will then need to turn on your unit for the 4-hour cycle and immediately exit the building

Generally, the Air Series would be most effective at completing this application. For a more in-depth guide to skunk odor removal, click here.

Car

Follow this step-by-step guide to perform an ozone treatment for any car. Ozone treatment will eradicate unpleasant odors leaving your vehicle smelling fresh. 

  • To treat your car with ozone you will need an ozone generator capable of air sanitization and an extension cord
  • Before beginning, place your car near a power outlet or have an extension cord that will reach the vehicle
  • First, crack the passenger window far enough for the power cord to fit in
  • Then, place your unit on the passenger front floorboard
  • Next, turn your car A/C on with the recirculation turned on
  • Turn on your unit for 15 minutes and allow the car to circulate the ozone through the cooling system to help oxidize smells and allergens in the cooling vents
  • After the ozonation process is complete, wait 30 minutes for the ozone to dissipate
  • Your car should be smelling fresh now, but if you can still smell the odors you were trying to eliminate repeat the process. 

Kitchen

The kitchen can be the source of many foul odors. Whether it's the trash, cooking fumes or appliances, using ozone regularly can freshen the air in this communal space of the home.

Some general guidelines based on square footage are as follows:

Maximum Square Footage

 Air-3500 1000-1500 ft2
A7K 3000-3500 ft2
Air-7000 2500-3000 ft2

 

Bathroom

For severe odors...

  • First, treat the individual room that has the worst odor or smoke damage
    • Before turning the unit on, remove all valuables, plants, and/or pets from the room so they do not come into direct contact with ozone
  • Second, determine the severity of the smell, which will dictate the amount of time needed for cleaning
    • For example, heavy smoke smells will require longer treatment times (4 hours or more), while pet smells could be solved in a shorter amount of time (4 hours or less)
  • Next, place the unit into the severely impacted room and turn the unit on full power while selecting the appropriate time setting on the unit
    • Be sure to leave the room immediately after the unit begins producing ozone
  • Use the A/C system to freshen the entire home if the odor is still present
    • This will push ozone through the vents with the A/C fan
  • Determine where the air return vent is on the heating and cooling system
  • Remove the filter and turn the AC fan ON
  • Place the unit in front of or near the return vent and be sure the heating and cooling system’s fan is to the always on position
  • Turn the unit on for a 4-hour cycle and immediately exit the building
  • It will be safe to return to the building at a minimum of 4.5 hours later, but we recommend returning 5 hours later or longer

    After the process is complete, ozone reverts back to oxygen meaning no residual chemicals are left behind. This is a preferred method to bleach or other chemical alternatives because it leaves the treated area smelling fresh. 

    The unit needed can vary on application and square footage. Contact the office directly at 502-499-4977 or send us an email at info@a2zozone.com for more customized information for your situation. 

    Visit our forum here to discuss more ozone generator applications.

    Sources:

    9 comments

    Emily, Marketing Manager

    Hey Susan, ozone can have reactions with certain materials. That could be what’s happened in your case. For example, we don’t recommend running an air ozone generator after painting because ozone can have a chemical reaction with the fresh paint and bond to the molecules.

    Did you use ozonated water to clean your CPAP machine? Which machine did you use?

    The last question on our FAQ goes over ozone resistance levels. Ozone will degrade certain plastics or rubbers. Here’s a link: https://www.a2zozone.com/pages/faq

    Let us know if there’s anything else we can help you out with!

    Thanks,

    Emily — Marketing Manager

    Susan Foster

    I used an ozone machine for CPAP (sleep apnea) device. The residual ozone odor is so bad I can’t use the CPAP. It has been two days. I followed the instructions exactly. What can I do?

    Emily, Marketing Manager

    Hi Pam, ozone oxidizes everything it comes into contact with, so we recommend removing electronics from the room. Our units designed for shock treatments are very powerful and could potentially damage these items because ozone does not determine “good” or “bad” materials to oxidize.

    As far as ozonating a single room, we recommend leaving the building entirely to be safe. Ozone will dissipate from the air after around 30 minutes, but it is recommended to return to the room one hour after the machine has shut off.
    It is never safe to inhale ozone. Ozone can damage lung tissue.

    Pam

    Weh you say remove electronics from the room because ozone can erode them “over time” what does that mean? With continued use? One use? And what about ozonating one room in the house with the door closed? How long until it’s safe to open the door? Of course, ozone seeps out underneath the door… I just feel safety measures are very vague. If you smell it does it mean it is hurting you? Unsafe? Please give a more detailed explanation.

    Taylor Bishop

    Thanks for the interesting article about odor removal. I didn’t know that after a fire it’s important to try to treat the room with the worst odor. I’m kind of interested to learn if this is something you have to personally guess or if there’s a way to test where the worst odor is coming from. https://www.myairandenergy.com/air-purification-units.html

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