OBG Services, Inc.

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Ozone II

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Ozone – Misunderstood and Misused

Will OZONE harm my car?

The answer is yes. Many websites admit that OZONE is a powerful oxidizer. But they imply that OZONE somehow discriminates between a contaminant that is causing an odor and the components in your automobile. It doesn’t. It can’t. OZONE will react with anything that a free radical will react to, which is most materials. That includes many plastics, fabrics, and pretty much all metals except gold, platinum, and iridium. Yes, that means copper electrical connections. It will also fade, damage, and age leather and upholstery, and color dyes.

The amount of immediate damage varies according to concentration and time. When used as recommended, the immediate damage will be minimal and not immediately noticeable. However, damage is cumulative over successive ozone treatments. In particular, once corrosion in electrical contacts begins it tends to continue depending on what by-products were created by the reaction. The situation is further complicated with greases, oils, and other products that manufacturers might coat the connection points with to increase electrical reliability. Also, the structural integrity of fabrics will be damaged to some extent, maybe a little, maybe a lot, reducing the durability and wear lifetime. Same for wear surfaces on dashboards, steering wheels, and armrests. In any case, you might not see a failure for some time, probably years, if you ozone your car only once.

I have personally experienced this after a detailer treated my car without my permission as a “standard part” of his service. The surface of my factory leather steering wheel cover, instead of being smooth from use, became pitted and suddenly wore through at the points of frequent handling. The stenciled lettering suddenly wore off the headlight button (a high wear point). The leather in my seats had a crease mark from years of use. Suddenly the creased part wore through to show the cushion. Since all this was on a beloved 15 year old car, the detailer said that the car was just old and of course I couldn’t prove otherwise. In a newer car the same thing can happen. Aging is aging and wear is wear whether at the beginning of a car’s life or once it is older.

The bottom line is that ozone will chemically reduce the total lifespan of your car interior and will eventually cause the failure of some component or other in your car interior sooner than might be otherwise. It might be that the headliner falls down because ozone reacted with the glue. It might be intermittent failures of the dashboard electrical system, switches, or lights. Exactly what fails and when depends on how long the exposure was and how strong. Where ozone is concerned, even materials that are considered to have “excellent” ozone resistance often are susceptible to some damage. Just not as much as other materials. Ozoning is an inexpensive and easy treatment to do. But we will never, ever use it because it doesn’t work reliably and reduces the lifespan and value of your car.

Will OZONE clean my car and fix the odors?

The answer is that ozone absolutely will not remove the contaminants that are causing the odors. It might dry them out and therefore reduce the smell but will not remove the odor causing contaminants. Many contaminants will actually turn into dry airborne particulates when dried out. This is particularly true of blood, mildew, and molds. After ozoning you might not smell it but that doesn’t mean that you aren’t breathing it. If the odor is just a transient air contaminant then it will leave the car and not return after driving a bit with the windows down. But if you are considering ozoning your automobile then that is not your situation. You have an odor-producing contaminant in your car and ozone will not remove it.

Will OZONE harm me or my family?

Breathing ozone is known to cause severe respiratory damage, even in relatively low concentrations. It can kill. However, you are unlikely to come in direct contact with ozone after a detailing since it rapidly dissipates once the car is opened and vented. Having said that, many people use small cigarette lighter powered ozone devices in their cars which raise the persistent ozone concentration inside the vehicle. Ironically, often the reason they installed the device is to help with a breathing difficulty. Don’t use these devices in your home or car. Yes, they do indeed make your house or car smell like a thunderstorm just happened, but this is because ozone in nature is caused by lightning. But the overall natural background levels of ozone we experience are much, much lower than the persistent concentrations produced by these devices within the enclosed spaces of our home or automobile. OZONE from lightning strikes is indeed strong but it is fleeting. Do not use these devices. They can harm you.

How should I deodorize my car?

By cleaning it thoroughly enough to remove the contaminants that are causing the odors. If the odors remain after cleaning or detailing then you have a more serious problem than simple dirt and you need our services. However, there are some things that you absolutely should not attempt to clean yourself and should not have a detailer do because they are or can be hazardous, such as mildew, mold, “hazmat” substances (mercury, blood and infectious materials, drug residues, vomit, and gasoline).

There are other things you should not clean yourself or have a detailer clean because if it isn’t done by an expert you will just increase your expense when you don’t get a good result. These are tobacco smoke grime, household cleaners (Pine-Sol, bleach, detergents, etc.), dyes, paints, oils, and solvents, aromatics such as perfume, cologne, and liquid air fresheners. Also, decomposing food, milk, beer, and the like that has leaked into carpets or upholstery should not be cleaned by the user or detailer in most cases. Removing solids sitting on the surface is fine. But washing with more than a damp cloth could dilute and spread the contaminants to other deeper and less accessible parts of your car and just make it harder and more expensive when you finally bring it to us.

Soaps, shampoos, and other cleaning products work by changing the beading / wetting property of water so that it can soak into fabrics and more easily dissolve the dirt and grim to be carried away in rinsing. But in an automobile there is nowhere to rinse the resulting solution to. Furthermore, the now diluted and dissolved contaminants are suspended in water that no longer beads. It now has properties that causes it to soak into cushions or spread under carpet and into insulation, wicking up the sides of anything it comes into contact with and flowing into crevices in the metal structure of the car. Meanwhile, it continues to produce odors. Also, the cleaning method itself frequently causes its own damage, particularly to leather.

In general, if you call us before you clean or detail we’ll advise you on whether detailing or your own cleaning can work. Or we will advise you on how to preserve your car so that damage and cost is minimized until you can get the car to us. Clean and vacuum or use a detailer when the issue is dirt, dust, and ordinary grime. Call us when the issue is beyond the scope of detailing. The very best detailers and dealers that know us will know when to refer you to us.

I feel that it bears repeating: In the case of mercury contamination in any amount you should not use your car or any contents. Few people know that liquid mercury slowly vaporizes at room temperatures and quite quickly in a hot kitchen or car to form an odorless and colorless gas. It doesn’t look dangerous but it is dangerous to you and anyone that unknowingly breathes it. Call us and we will be glad to advise you. Or call the fire department. People don’t take mercury seriously but it is a “hazmat” material that is deceptively dangerous.

What if I already had my car cleaned, detailed, ozoned, etc.?

Well, then the problem is harder and more expensive. But call us. Usually we can find an affordable solution to get you back on the road with a pristine car. And often we are able to work with your insurance company to limit your cleanup costs of your mishap. But things generally work out the best if you call us before you try to clean it yourself or have it detailed. You can always then make a more informed decision.

THERE IS NO VEHICLE MANUFACTURER THAT RECOMMENDS THE USE OF OZONE OR IONIZING MACHINES INSIDE THEIR VEHICLES FOR ANY REASON.

IN SOME CASES THE USE OF THESE MACHINES MAY EVEN VOID THE FACTORY WARRANTY.

OBG CAN NOW TEST FOR OZONE INSIDE OF VEHICLES.

OBG is a green company which extracts odors. We do not cover up the odor or try to clean it by using an Ozone machine, instead we find the root of the problem and extract it with the residue left behind. We stand behind our service which is why we offer a lifetime warranty on all completed work, so feel free to give us a call.

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Guest Aug 23, 2017