Ozone Odor Removal in Cars [UPDATED 2022]
You’ve got a bad smell in your car, and no matter what you do, it won’t go away. That usually means you haven’t found the source of the unpleasant smell.
Unfortunately, there’s only so much you can do other than sprinkle baking soda and hope for the best. Removing stubborn odors is a problem best left to professionals.
A skilled professional detailer has all the right equipment, chemicals, and the most effective way to clean any vehicle properly. And when it comes to ozone odor removal in cars, the best way to do that is to use an ozone generator.
In this article, we will learn about ozone odor removal in cars.
Table of Contents
- Ozone Odor Removal in Cars [UPDATED 2022]
- How Do Odors Get Into Cars?
- Locate the Source of Stubborn Odors
- Find the Source of the Odor and Remove it Before Ozone
- Defeating Bad Odors with an Ozone Generator
- What is Ozone?
- What Does Ozone Smell Like?
- Why is Ozone Used to Remove Odors?
- How Does an Ozone Generator Work?
- How Much Do Ozone Generators Cost?
- Using Ozone Generators to Disinfect Against Covid-19 Viruses
- How Much Does Ozone Odor Removal in Cars Cost?
- Ad Copy for Ozone Odor Eliminator for Cars Service
- Bad Odors Make Motivated Customers
- Ozone Odor Removal in Cars
But even before we start with ozone treatments, you must find the source of the smell. The easiest way to do this is to wash and detail your car’s interior. Check out the information below for more info on locating the source of stubborn odors.
How Do Odors Get Into Cars?
Odors get into cars primarily through two sources: water and food.
You know how it goes; you’re driving along, and suddenly the car smells musty, or like someone just opened a can of paint. That’s because water has gotten into the car and created a perfect environment for mold to grow. Not only does mold smell terrible, but it can also cause various health problems.
Food is another common odor-causing culprit in cars. All those french fries, hamburgers, and tacos that we love to eat while on the go can create some pretty powerful smells. And like water, food can also lead to the growth of mold.
It’s essential to find and eliminate the source of car odors if you want the ozone treatment to be effective and permanent.
After cleaning the vehicle’s interior, an ozone machine is placed inside the car and fills it with the gas ozone.
Locate the Source of Stubborn Odors
It would disgust you if you saw all the things that create a bad smell for a professional detailer to locate.
- Body odor from sweat-soaked car seats is one that still gives me nightmares.
- Mold and mildew odors inside vents are a frequent problem that is unhealthy to breathe.
- Spilled food and grease saturate upholstery fibers and create a bacteria breeding ground.
- Cigarette smoke might seem bad, but cigar smoke has it beat for the worst of the odorous compounds.
- Don’t forget secondhand tobacco smoke from riders in the car. Sometimes it’s not the driver.
- Two words – old milk.
- One word – vomit.
And you might think these would be unusual situations, but no young padawan, it is not. Ask any detailer about the worst car they ever cleaned. Then sit down as they regale you with a long story about that one minivan.
It’s always a minivan.
And just because minivans are often in the worst condition, it’s not always kids to blame. I’ve seen many cars owned by salespeople that looked like they let a trash panda live out of it for several months. Ketchup-covered french fries, mashed between the front driver’s seat and the console, seem to be the choice of most salespeople in cars. It’s gross but fixable.
Find the Source of the Odor and Remove it Before Ozone
You can do it yourself or get it done by a professional. Either way, it must be done. Getting a full interior detail is usually the only way you will find the source of the smell. Nearly every smell in a car is caused by various organic sources such as rotten food or body fluids from humans or animals. It could be baby or dog vomit in the backseat. Or the ever-popular french fries in between the center console and driver’s seat. And if you’ve got small children, don’t overlook possible spilled milk on the baby’s car seat. There are simply too many possible sources to list here. We have an extensive list of odor-causing sources and how to remove stains and smells from car seats in our article on How to Clean Cars Seats with Household Products.
Defeating Bad Odors with an Ozone Generator
Professional detailers always boast about their cleaning process. Getting horrible stains out of a car is a big deal and a valuable skill.
Great car detailers also have a secret weapon in defeating foul odors. It’s called the ozone generator. And when combined with interior detailing, odors and smells have no chance.
I have used many deodorizing methods in two decades of cleaning and detailing cars, boats, and planes. But I have never run into bad smells that were impervious to ozone generators on all interior areas of a vehicle.
So let’s learn more about the magic of oxygen molecules and how they interact to make ozone odor removal in cars an excellent service to offer for killing car odors.
What is Ozone?
Ozone (O3) is a gas molecule composed of three oxygen atoms. Also called trioxygen, it is unstable and highly reactive. Ozone is created naturally by the sun’s ultraviolet rays and by lightning.
What Does Ozone Smell Like?
Did you ever hear someone say that they are able to “smell” rain or an oncoming Summer storm? There is some truth to that. They aren’t smelling the rain, per se, it’s actually something called Petrichor, which was named back in 1964 by Australian scientists trying to describe the distinct scent of rain in the air. They found that right before a rainfall, the earth releases a mix of several naturally occurring elements, plant oils, and ozone. This clean, fresh smell will often also remind people of a faint chlorine odor like a nearby pool.
Why is Ozone Used to Remove Odors?
Use ozone odor removal in cars, boats, planes, and anything else that can become smelly over time. It is simply the most effective way to kill an odor.
When ozone comes into contact with odor molecules, it binds to them and destroys the molecules. The ozone molecule is small enough to fit between odor molecules and destroy them, thus eliminating the odor. The smell is gone for good as an ozone treatment does not leave a nasty smelling residue like some irritating chemicals found in commercial cleaners on the market.
When you use an ozone treatment, it is so much more effective than air fresheners that only temporarily mask the problem.
And ozone gas permeates throughout available space. That makes it an excellent choice for getting rid of smells in hard-to-reach areas such as inside a car or boat.
How Does an Ozone Generator Work?
A commercial ozone generator is a relatively simple device consisting of specific wavelength UV light (ultraviolet) lamp tuned to 185nm wavelength, a fan to move air through the machine, a transformer to power it, and a box to hold it all together.
So how does an ozone generator work? It essentially creates negatively charged ions. Those ions attach to the larger particles of the pollutants and odors. Then the generator blower sends the particles through its electrostatic filter to be cleaned out later.
A more detailed lesson on the science behind how an ozone generator works can be found on this excellent web page from Oxidation Technologies, titled “Ozone production from UV.”
The ozone treatment process is somewhat time-consuming since ozone generators are left inside the vehicle from 30 minutes to 120 minutes. It is also crucial to follow safety procedures like never allowing people or animals inside vehicles when using an ozone generator. And always air out the car for at least 40 minutes after ozone treatment.
How Much Do Ozone Generators Cost?
An average-sized Ozone Generator will produce between 5,000 mg/h and 10,000 mg/h and cost anywhere from $100 to $500 or more. You can find cheaper ozone generators, but they won’t necessarily hold up under the stress and frequent use of an auto detail shop. I found several units online that I would consider durable and reasonably priced in the $70 to $199 range. Just be sure to check that the unit you buy doesn’t have a “not for commercial use” disclaimer.
The great thing about ozone generator units is that they work to remove hard to eliminate smells like smoke and mildew, so the upsell is easy. And this service can be a long-term profit source for any detail shop that manages it appropriately.
Using Ozone Generators to Disinfect Against Covid-19 Viruses
Ozone is a very effective disinfectant in buildings, vehicles, and anywhere with surfaces to protect. In a technical information paper titled, “Use of Ozone Generators Against Covid-19”, the US Army Public Health Center found that using 2.5 parts of ozone per million parts of air (parts per million (ppm)) to 5 ppm will effectively disinfect against covid-19 viruses and limit damage to surfaces.
Another report by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in December 2020 listed multiple case studies showing the effective use of ozone gas as a disinfectant and its anti-viral properties. One such study titled “Ozone gas as a virus decontaminating agent” discussed the use of peak ozone gas concentration of 20-25 ppm for a very short time resulted in 99% of viruses being inactivated. In fact, according to the study, “there was not even a single virus which was resistant to ozone.” That is out of 12 viruses they tested.
When you offer ozone odor removal in cars as a service, adding a few items to advertising mentioning how ozone machines can be used as an effective disinfectant could potentially be a significant opportunity for additional profit centers. All your potential customers are worried about viruses, so being able to disinfect customer cars against Covid-19 viruses is a great selling point.
How Much Does Ozone Odor Removal in Cars Cost?
When it comes to an ozone car treatment price, you can usually expect to add $150 to $300 or more onto your standard full detail charge. We call this the Ozone Machine Upsell. Offering ozone odor eliminator services for cars will become a significant profit center for any auto detailing business. You can offer a guarantee to make it an easier sell. Our shops told customers that if we didn’t eliminate the foul smell, they don’t pay the additional ozone car treatment price. That makes it easy to sell.
Ad Copy for Ozone Odor Eliminator for Cars Service
Here’s the copy we use on flyers and web pages when advertising the ozone generators for odor removal services. It spells out precisely what it does for your customers:
Our ozone odor eliminator for cars service is the most advanced in this region. This service is an add-on when combined with an interior detail or a full premium detail. We start by removing any hidden garbage or possible sources of the smell. Then we vacuum the interior carpet and upholstery, followed by steam cleaning the car interior. The Ozone Generator Machine is placed in your vehicle for 30 to 120 minutes, depending on the severity of the smell. This process will neutralize bacteria, mold, mildew, pet odors, smoke, and many viruses, including influenza and Covid-19, on exposed surfaces within your vehicle. The ozone gas fills your car passenger compartment, trunk, air ducts, heater, and air conditioner with concentrated odor-killing ozone gas. This service adds one to two hours to any detailing package.
Bad Odors Make Motivated Customers
Vehicle odors make very motivated customers. Ozone treatments will give you an edge in bringing back the new car smell your customers want.
And they will understand that you invested in ozone machines that will remove everything from pet odors to bad car smells in about half an hour. So it’s going to cost them some money for ozone treatments.
By guaranteeing your work, you give your customers peace of mind that they aren’t getting baited into something they don’t need.
Ozone Odor Removal in Cars
Your focus should be on the technology, required equipment, and effectiveness to sell services for ozone odor removal in cars. The alternative is for the customer to try a DIY baking soda and activated charcoal blend and spend a few hours scrubbing their car interior.
Just make sure they understand that ozone treatments are one of the only reliable methods for eliminating hard-to-remove odors like smoke, bacteria, mold, and mildew in car upholstery and carpets.
Offering ozone odor removal in-car services at your shop will be an excellent value-added service that your customers will appreciate.