What is Ozone Laundry?
Ozone Laundry is a term generally used to describe a philosophy of textile care that uses electricity and oxygen in a unique way to replace many of the chemicals normally used in a traditional washing process. Oxygen and electricity are used to create ozone. Ozone is dissolved into water and applied to the wash wheel in place of the chemicals. This fundamental change to one of the major aspects of textile care comes with a litany of benefits that all serve to improve the efficiency and reduce operating costs of a laundry. Water Energy Ozone Laundry Systems greatly reduce the environmental impact of traditional laundry operations.
A quality finished product requires a combination of 4 things:
- Water (hot & cold)
- Mechanical Action
Each of these factors must be applied in the proper combination. If you reduce one, you must increase others to create the balance needed to reliably deliver a quality finished product. By properly applying ozone, you can REPLACE many of the chemicals with ozone which is environmentally friendly and is made right on the spot. Therefore you can reduce the chemicals without having to increase something else because you’ve actually replaced them with something that works much better. So much better in fact that you can also reduce water and time and still have the correct balance to produce a superior finished product. The mechanical action is still critical to quality results.
Ozone Laundry Uses Cold Water and Oxygen
The underlying foundation of ozone laundry begins with a paradigm shift in traditional laundry fundamentals.
- Hot Water
- Cold Water
The big shift is realizing that you can achieve high quality standards without using all the hot water and chemicals. Ozone is a highly effective oxidizer that actually delivers multiple cleaning factors to your laundry process using only cold water.
In traditional laundry programs so much alkali and hot water are used that the wash water becomes very caustic and damaging to your valuable linens. Most chemical suppliers will tell you this is done to help swell the fibers of the cloth to release the dirt, etc. The fibers do swell but only as a result of the extremely damaging effects such a high pH has on the fabric. Acid must be used to neutralize the high pH before the wash process is complete. The truth about what is going on is that extremely high pH is required to bring about the creation of OH Radicals from water (H²O) molecules. One of the Hydrogen atoms gets ripped-off the water molecule and voila, you’ve got a Hydroxyl radical to do your ‘dirty’ work. With ozone laundry, you can create the same OH radicals with a pH of 8 in cold water containing dissolved ozone. It is a revolution.
Ozone works extremely well when properly integrated into your overall laundry regimen. There are many types of linens and many types of soil loading. The vast majority of dirty linens are sheets and towels with a minimal amount of soil and stains. Ozone is a powerful oxidant thereby a powerful bleaching agent. With a small amount of alkali, cold water and a little detergent, you can achieve cleaning and brightening equal to or greater than you would by using chlorine and hot water. This means that the overwhelming majority of your volume of linen can be processed with vastly less energy and chemicals while still producing a superior finished product.
Ozone is an unstable molecule and heat energy causes it to break down much more rapidly. The colder your water is, the more stable ozone is and the longer it lasts. In temperatures above 95-degrees, ozone looses all of its effectiveness because the heat causes the ozone to break down and come out of solution or off-gas. This is why for ozone to be effective it is must be used with water below 90-degrees. Actually, ozone mass transfer gets more and more efficient the colder the water gets, right down to freezing. In the context of ozone, mass transfer means getting ozone gas dissolved into water. The colder your water is, the better it is for you.
Not a Panacea
Ozone is not a panacea. Some laundries will still need to use some hot water. The amount of hot water required will be dependent on the volume of heavily-soiled linens to be processed.
Occasionally, some linen will have heavier soil loading and stains including, lipstick, shoe polish, ink, etc. Cold water is not suited to perform well on these types of stains because of the physical nature of oil at low temperatures. Oil-based products are harder to dissolve when they are cold and less viscous. Heat and stronger chemistry are required for more rapid emulsification of these oil-based stains and heat and Chlorine bleach are required for bleaching an occasional stubborn stain. For these types of stains you will need to create a wash program with at least one hot fill and standard hot-water chemistry. These loads usually account for only a small percentage of your production.
The Water Energy Solution
Our equipment is completely Non-Invasive to your laundry room. The only connection between the washers and our ozone laundry system is a water line connected to a water inlet valve on the washers. A Water Energy Green Laundry System requires that all washer/extractors have 3 water inlets to be properly integrated with our ozone laundry system. If you only have 2 inlets, you can dedicate certain washers to ozone-only and others to hot-only.
The process of making ozone and dissolving it into the water is fully independent of the washers and is achieved in a completely closed and pressurized system before the water is sent to the washers.
You can easily set the dissolved ozone concentration you want on a Water Energy Ozone Laundry System from the panel located on the front of the equipment. The readout tells you exactly how much dissolved ozone is being delivered to the washers in .001ppm increments. We normally set a range of 1.5 to 3.0ppm for standard operations but you can go higher or lower if you want. This device is made by Emerson Process Management and is a defining feature of our unique Ozone Laundry Systems. Our onboard PLC computer will maintain this preset level of dissolved ozone in a reservoir tank until it is needed by a washer.
You can use an on-demand hot water heater to supply a washer with hot water for the occasional heavily-soiled load. If your ratio of heavy soil goes up, you can simply add an on-demand water heater to another machine. This configuration provides you with maximum flexibility in your laundry.
The housekeeping staff will not have to change their routine to take advantage of this flexibility. Every load requires that you enter a particular code into the control panel relating to the type of linen and amount and type of soil loading present. It’s exactly the same with our Green Laundry Systems. The programs are designed to take advantage of the most appropriate technology available for the job. Ozone and cold water or hot water and more chemicals will automatically be dispensed whenever they are needed.