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Ozone -The game changer that’s not yet optimised in the Indian laundry industry

Infusing ozone as a cleaning agent proves cost-effective and efficient, yet it still hasn’t caught on in the Indian subcontinent

The primary function of Ozone is that of a disinfectant that neutralises any pathogens within seconds.  Technically, it is a ‘wetting agent’ that opens up the fibre of any fabric and loosens the soil particles present in it.  The softening effect of this agent restricts the fabric from holding more moisture which enhances the drying process tremendously.

Levels to keep in mind when using ozone

In technical terms, ozone can clean any fabric in cold water up to 110°C and is measured by an electrical charge (millivolts) that increases in the water in the presence of an oxidizer. This measurement is called Oxidation Reduction Potential (ORP). A reading of 850 to 925 is the ideal range for an effective washing process. Hence it is vital to maintain the required parameters to ensure one gets the optimal desired results.

The quality of your water also affects your cleaning process. Hard water or high pH levels affect the process. If these are high, you will require a higher quantity of ozone to reach your required range.  If the water quality is soft or has a low pH level, you will need less ozone to reach ideal ORP levels. Fluctuating levels have adverse effects on your machinery and result in its deterioration. Therefore,  it is almost mandatory to keep a check on these details at all times.

These parameters and strict guidelines clubbed with the warm climatic conditions in the subcontinent have been a deterrent to the use of Ozone in the Indian laundry industry.  These factors have minimised the very importance of this cleaning agent and have been the reasons why it has not yet caught on in the country.

Ozone’s benefits

It would be most beneficial to consider using ozone as a cleaning agent as it is cost-effective and is an energy saver. It reduces the amount of detergent required and consumes less power in the process. However, ozone is ineffective when fabrics are overdosed with detergents by the customer in previous wash cycles; this could be a minor setback that you could face when the fabric comes to you. Another plus point for ozone is that it cuts away all smell, mould and mildew factors that may have once been present in the washing machines. This refreshes the walk-in customers at commercial launderettes and also elevates the pleasant factor for the end-user of the fabric.

Few draw-backs

It is futile to mix ozone with hot water, and it does not affect oil-based stains. The combination oxidises and leaves behind a yellow stain, which is not the desired result. The best solution for this is a chemical dose combined with a warm or hot water session to remove this oil-based stain. Citrus based cleaners hurt the ozone processes, though they are most efficient for oil and grease stains. Another point to note is that oxygen bleach and ozone don’t go together. On the contrary, ozone is more effective than bleach as a cleaning agent.

Excessive ozone can cause a potential health hazard to an individual’s respiratory system. It could endanger those whose respiratory systems are already compromised. Hence, it would be advisable to install sensors to monitor high ozone levels in the air.

We have a limited set of individuals who are using Ozone and it is still a challenge to get the laundry fraternity to accept and use it as a cleaning agent.  We ought to have started the use of Ozone a decade or so ago, but as stated earlier, the strict parameters and climatic influences have played a deterrent to its popularity.  The challenge is that most people do not look at the productivity or the cost savings that Ozone can offer you.

Hospitals and Hospitality Industry gain the most from the use of ozone

Ozone is the best cleaning agent when it comes to human and animal soiled fabrics. This is seen especially in the case of bodily liquid residues such as blood, urine, sweat etc. Ozone is essentially used for all whites, hence it’s not your first best option for the retail laundry. It is usually the hospitality, centralized laundry or health care facilities that could adopt it more easily but have not yet comprehended its importance.

Akash Dharamsey, Director at ADD Laundry Concepts says ”If market leaders and centralised laundries give more importance to the use of Ozone as a time saver and best alternative cleaning agent, this would help muster a higher rate of adoption by their colleagues.  It needs to be spelt out as a policy by the hospitality groups, which would really help in the promotion of Ozone as a cleaning application.”

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