What is Ozone Odor Removal [Updated 2020]

by | Jul 1, 2020 | Auto Detailing Equipment, Detailing Services, Technology

Ozone Odor Removal

You’ve got a smelly car and can’t get the odor out. When this happens, you need a detailed process to remove the odor. My step-by-step odor removal process includes using an ozone generator.

The combination of identifying and cleaning the odor source, together with an ozone generator, will take your odor removal services to the next level. Don’t worry if you run into a few issues along the way. That’s all part of learning. After successfully completing several odor removal jobs, your skills should improve dramatically.


What is Ozone Odor Removal?

Ozone Odor Removal is a highly effective process of locating and eliminating odors in vehicles. This process combines the deep cleaning of the odor-causing source, along with the rest of the vehicle interior. Then placing an ozone generator machine inside the vehicle for several hours.

Ozone Odor Removal Step-by-Step Process

People spend a lot of time in their cars. Sometimes their cars get smelly. Eventually, they all do if they aren’t taken care of with regular cleanings.

Visually Identify Possible Odor Sources

My odor removal step-by-step process starts by first identifying the odor-causing source. This is an important step. I have seen, first hand, auto detailers that bother to identify the possible sources. They jump straight to steam cleaning the interior of the vehicle. Only to still smell the odor, however faint, after they have cleaned it. A simple visual inspection with written notes about problem areas will help you immensely if you run into this issue.

Sometimes this step is as easy as visually noticing a stain. Like that one created by a spilled grape juice box in the back seat of a minivan. In vehicles used to transport kids, a major problem area is underneath and around car seats.

And it’s not always kids. 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, seems to be the choice of most salespeople in cars. It’s gross but fixable.

Use Your Nose to Identify Additional Odor Sources

There’s nothing quite like the smell of rotten fish sandwiches that made their way under the passenger seat for a few months. Ah yes, take a deep whiff of that lovely aroma. It will haunt you…

Your nose is an amazing tool for finding and identifying odors. Think about the last time you smelled a faint odor, but couldn’t quite place what it was. You can actually train yourself to get better at identifying those smells, however faint they might be.

In our auto detailing shops, it’s not unusual to see several of our detailers with their noses near carpets and upholstery. They are usually trying to find the source of some faint odor that was missed in the initial steam cleaning of the carpets and upholstery of that vehicle.

This is why finding and identifying the source of any odors at the very start of an auto detailing project is so important. Once you find the cause, you can eliminate it by thoroughly deep cleaning the vehicle interior. With extra attention paid to the odor source area.

And don’t listen to people that try and tell you differently. Your nose is an amazing tool. If you don’t believe me, here’s the science to back this up.

Humans Can Identify Over 1 Trillion Smells – 3X More than Dogs

Back in 2014, Rockefeller University and the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) conducted a study to determine how many different smells humans were capable of identifying. The answer was over 1 Trillion smells. This surprised everyone since it was was previously believed to be at most about a hundred million. To put this in perspective, dogs can identify about 300 million smells.

The previous major smell study was from the 1920s. And they determined that humans could identify roughly 10,000 smells. So unless we’ve evolved that drastically in a hundred years, this new number is more reliable.

Know Your PH Balance

Yes, we are still talking about auto detailing and odor removal, not pool maintenance.

One of the basic lessons in high school chemistry class was knowing the difference between alkalines and acids. Who knew that stuff would play such a big role in understanding how to properly clean carpets and upholstery to remove odors?

If it’s been a while since high school, here’s a refresher for you.

The last and most important step is to place an ozone generator machine inside the vehicle. Then it is turned on and left for a few hours to fill the vehicle with odor eliminating ozone.

This step not only attacks the source of the odors but also permeates the fabric, HVAC (heating and air conditioning system), and all the nooks and crannies where those odors were hiding.

Ozone cleaning processes are nearly always successful. Detail shops have used these systems for years to locate and eliminate the source of nearly all foul smells in a vehicle.

How Does Ozone Eliminate Odors?

The ozone generator machine creates negatively charged ions. Those ions attach to the larger particles of the pollutants and odors. Then the generator blower filters the particles through its filter to be cleaned out later.

It sounds like a simple procedure, but the equipment is expensive. The process is also time-consuming since ozone equipment is left in the vehicle for several hours. On more difficult jobs you might have to leave it running overnight.

Ozone generators are highly effective, state of the art machines that cleanse the air of pollutants and foul odors inside vehicles.

Ozone Generator Cost

An average-sized Ozone Generator Machine will cost anywhere from $500 to $1,500 or more. You can get cheaper ozone generators, but they won’t necessarily hold up under the stress and frequent use of an auto detail shop.

The great thing about ozone generator units is that they really do work at removing odors, so the upsell is easy. And this will be a profit generator for any detail shop that manages it properly.

Ad Copy for Odor Removal Services

Here’s the ad copy we use when advertising the ozone generator for odor removal services. It spells out exactly what it does for your customers:

We are experts at odor removal! Our ozone odor removal system is the most advanced in this region. This service is perfect when combined with an interior detail or a full premium detail. Our system will find the source of the odor problem and remove it through a steam cleaning and carpet extraction process. The Ozone Generator Machine is then placed in your vehicle and any bacteria, mold, mildew, or other odor-causing element is neutralized. This is done by filling your passenger compartment, trunk, air ducts, heater, and air conditioner with odor-killing ozone. This entire process takes between 4 or 5 hours, although we have had vehicles with odor problems that needed ozone working overnight.

How Much Do I Charge for Ozone Odor Removal?

On average you can usually talk your detail customer into adding an additional $100 to $180 or more onto your standard full detail charge. We call this the Ozone Odor Removal Upsell. You can offer a guarantee to make it an easier sell. Our shops told customers if we didn’t eliminate the foul smell, then they don’t pay the additional ozone cost. That makes it easy to sell.

Their car stinks right now, so you’ve got a pretty motivated customer. I’m not saying to take advantage of the situation, but your customer needs to understand that if you make the investment in the equipment that will remove that odor, it’s going to cost them some money.

And by guaranteeing your work, you give your customer peace of mind that they aren’t getting baited into something they don’t need.

Offering Ozone Odor Removal at your shop will definitely be a great value-added service that your customers will appreciate.