Ozone Facts vs. Fallacies

The increasing popularity of ozone laundering has increased the need for reliable sources of information. The need for such sources is apparent by the flood of misunderstandings and fallacies that are currently in the market place regarding ozone and its application to laundering systems. Below is a list of common fallacies encountered throughout the laundry industry.

  • Fallacy #1: Ambient air does not need to be monitored because ozone is harmless.
  • Fallacy #2: The amount of chemical savings resulting from ozone laundering can be predicted with accuracy.
  • Fallacy #3: Ozone will destroy fabrics.
  • Fallacy #4: The Aquawing ozone systems will damage your washer(s).
  • Fallacy #5: Fill Times are Not Affected when Washing with Ozone.
  • Fallacy #6: Ozone is a Laundry "Bleaching" Agent.
  • Fallacy #7: Ozone Will Disinfect the Wash Load.
  • Fallacy #8: Ozone Laundering Will Allow the Water Heater to be Turned Off.
  • Fallacy #9: My Existing Chemical Representative Will Be Able To Attend To My Ozone Chemistry Needs.
  • Fallacy #10: ORP Meters Are Effective Tools to Measure the Amount of Ozone in a Wash Wheel.
  • Fallacy #11: Charge Systems Eliminate Off-Gassing.
  • Fallacy #12: Charge Systems have faster fill rates.
  • Fallacy #13: Aquawing is like blowing air through a straw into a glass of water, all the ozone bubbles out the top. We have also heard the comparison of a lava rock in a fish tank. Both of these examples are ridiculous over-simplifications.

Fallacy: Ambient air does not need to be monitored because ozone is harmless.
FACT: Ozone can be a dangerous material and breathable air should be monitored.

As a generalized statement, ozone is a strong oxidizing agent and strong disinfectant. Those two features alone qualify ozone to be considered a dangerous material. This is why government agencies regulate the levels of ozone in ambient outdoor and indoor air.

Analogously, so also is chlorine a dangerous material. Each year, accidents with chlorine are reported, usually accompanied by a statement of how many deaths are associated with those chlorine accidents.

But the perception is that chlorine is not a dangerous material. Why? This is because people have learned how to handle chlorine properly, how to design and operate equipment to apply chlorine safely.

Similarly, the professionals at Aquawing are knowledgeable about ozone, its properties and handling, and have learned how to design, apply, monitor and control ozone in the laundry applications.

In more than 100 years of commercial use all over the world, there has never been a single fatality that has been shown to be caused by exposure to ozone. A full review of ozone safety is provided on the safety page of this web site.
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Fallacy: The amount of chemical savings resulting from ozone laundering can be predicted with accuracy.
FACT: Ozone will reduce chemical demand in ozone laundry systems.

It is true that laundry facilities potentially see savings in chemical usage. This is because ozone helps supply oxygen to the wash water, which increases chemical effectiveness and reduces demand. Less chemicals typically are necessary because ozone oxidizes linen soils, making them easier to remove from the wash water.

Throughout the industry claims of 25%-50% savings on chemicals are made. These savings are feasible and can be exaggerated using ozone laundering in certain facilities. The precise amount of savings depends on a multitude of factors. including:

  • The type of linen being washed
  • The soils in the wash
  • The temperature, hardness, pH and ozone-demand of the incoming water
  • The design of the ozone system itself
  • Current chemical usage

Many chemical companies exist, each with their own methodologies and products. Therefore, each laundry room is unique. They are unique from the standpoint that each chemical company and even each representative typically use different chemistry techniques. Every laundry room we walk in to needs to be properly assessed and savings predictions must wait until proper evaluation is conducted. For example, let's say a laundry facility has access to an experienced and skilled chemical representative; the chemical savings attainable most likely will be much less than (if any) at a facility that does not have access to such a knowledgeable chemical representative.

The bottom line: Due to the variations from facility to facility, an accurate amount of chemical savings cannot be estimated with accuracy.
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Fallacy: Ozone will destroy fabrics.
FACT: Aquawing provides a gentle wash and will not destroy fabrics.

There are three main causes of linen degradation: temperature, mechanical washing action, and chemical usage. Each of these parameters is reduced when using the Aquawing system, providing for a better wash process.

  • Temperature: High temperatures, whether during the washing or drying process, degrades the quality of linen fibers–making it the #1 enemy to linen. The lint trapped in any dryer is a prime example of what happens to linens exposed to high temperatures. The lint on dryer screens is composed of fibers that previously comprised the laundered fabrics. . Over time, heat is the primary cause of fabrics becoming coarse, tearing and eventually requiring replacement. Ozone laundering reduces exposure to high temperatures by shortening the washing and drying times as well as washing primarily in cold water.
  • Mechanical Washing Action: During an average wash, soiled cloth materials are lifted by paddles in the drum, and then dropped repeatedly. This washing action flexes the weave of the fabric and forces water and detergent through the load. Aquawing laundering relaxes the weave of fabrics, which allows the washing action to be more effective. This increase in effectiveness results in a decrease in linen degradation.
  • Chemical Usage: Chemicals decrease the quality and longevity of fabrics. High pH chemicals used for the removal of heavy soils (grease, fats, blood) are a main contributing factor to the degradation of linen during the wash process. By potentially reducing the amount of these alkalis being used, ozone aids in maintaining the quality and life of laundered fabrics.

An extensive study was conducted comparing linen degradation from an Aquawing ozone wash to that of a thermal wash (180oF). The testing was conducted on microfiber cloths within the heath care environment. "Microfibers are generally a blend of polyester and polyamide, which have undergone a process of splitting the yarn into thousands of tiny fibers. This creates a structure with a vast surface are.." vast surface area of microfibers provides an excellent measurement tool for linen degradation. The conclusions were that the cloths cleaned by the ozone wash process exhibited less damage than those cleaned using the thermal wash.
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Fallacy: The Aquawing ozone systems will damage your washer(s).
FACT: The Aquawing System will not damage machines, but ozone can destroy components of washing machines if not properly managed.

The Aquawing ozone system will not damage washing machines. However, other ozone laundry systems may use improperly applied ozone, which can have negative affects on machines. Whether ozone will have an adverse effect on laundry machines depends on the materials ozone comes in contact with during the washing process and the contact time with those materials. Most complications arise when ozone is being injected into the incoming water lines. This type of system is called a direct water injection system.

During this process, ozone comes in direct contact with the brass fittings of the washing machine and will deteriorate the fittings on the fill lines. The iron in the brass fittings are slowly dissolved by ozone in water. There is one major washing machine manufacturer that will void its warranty when an ozone system of this design is used with their products. The Aquawing system is a inter-fuser diffusion system and will not cause harm to machines or void warranties.
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Fallacy: Fill Times are Not Affected when Washing with Ozone.
FACT: Improperly Designed Ozone Laundering Systems Will Affect Fill Times and Extend the Wash Process.

An important distinction is that it is not ozone that affects fill times, but rather the method used in injecting ozone into the washing machines. For example, The Aquawing systems do not slow fill times because they inject the ozone in the base of the washing machine utilizing the patented inter-fuser, but an ozone system using a venturi injector may significantly increase fill times (especially when in use with multiple washers).

Venturi injectors can be an effective way of putting ozone into solution, but this may come at a cost in ozone laundering systems. A common misunderstanding is that ozone must be in solution (dissolved in the water) in order to clean and disinfect laundry. This is untrue. Ozone needs to be in solution to purify water, not to clean laundry.

The biggest cost of putting ozone into solution (as Charge systems do) is time. If the ozone system is designed such that all of the fill water must pass through a venturi injector, which usually is 1/4" in diameter, then fill times will be extended. Manufacturers of Charge systems may claim it will not, but it is unavoidable that fill times will be extended. To address the loss of time, some charge manufacturers use holding tanks to store the ozonated water. These holding tanks can range in size from wall-mounted PVC tubing to 200+ gallon tanks depending on the size of the laundry facility. This may help with fill times, but obviously takes up more floor space. Be sure to check with local codes to see if PVC is allowed and, if so, at what quality.
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Fallacy: Ozone is a Laundry "Bleaching" Agent.
FACT: Ozone is a not a laundry bleaching agent.

Ozone is not a laundry bleaching agent and will not replace bleach. A reduction in bleach may be possible because ozone is a better catalyst for bleach than hot water. While ozone activates many laundering chemicals and has a profound effect on the wash process, it is not a laundry bleaching/whitening agent. Bleach still is required to whiten, although less may be required depending on existing conditions within a facility.
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Fallacy & Fallacy: Ozone Will Disinfect the Wash Load.

The Aquawing system is the only system in North America that is clinically validated to disinfect and to kill the super bugs MRSA (staph), C diff, aspergillus niger and many others.

Not all ozone systems, if any except Aquawing, will properly disinfect laundry. This is an important concern for any facility that may be processing linens, mops, cloths, etc., contaminated with infectious materials (correctional institutions, hospitals, nursing homes, sports facilities etc..). Ozone does have powerful disinfecting properties, but simply relying on the reputation of ozone gas as a disinfectant does not mean that all ozone laundering systems will provide sufficient disinfection.

There is no evidence that has proven ozone disinfection for all ozone laundering systems. These microbiologist studies were conducted using technologies that we have developed over years of research and development. Do not be fooled into thinking that simply because a system uses ozone, it will disinfect properly. This is not true.
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Fallacy: Ozone Laundering Will Allow the Water Heater to be Turned Off.
FACT: Washing with Aquawing will dramatically be able to reduce your hot water usage, not eliminate it.

Some companies boast that all washing can be conducted in cold water and that a water heater therefore is unnecessary. This is not accurate. Ozone can clean wonderfully in 100% cold water, but wash results will suffer when hot water is removed completely. Ozone is not a laundry whitening agent and therefore bleach is required to obtain satisfactory visual results. Because bleach requires hot water to be fully activated, turning off the laundry water heater is not practical.

Washing temperatures will be reduced drastically however. The bleaching step in a traditional wash cycle typically is set between 140 oF and 160oF, whereas the bleaching step in an Aquawing wash typically ranges from 100oF to 110oF. Typically, this is only for a single fill, not the entire wash, and the remainder of the fills are cold water. In healthcare setting, we usually see over 80% cold water.

Also, ozone is not able to destroy most greases and fats found on table linens, which is an important consideration for food and beverage applications. A small percentage increase of hot water is needed to break down these substances.
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Fallacy: My Existing Chemical Representative Will Be Able To Attend To My Ozone Chemistry Needs.
FACT: Most chemical representatives are not trained and do not have much experience with ozone chemistry.

Understanding the chemistry occurring during laundering is one of the most critical aspects of any washing process. While most chemical representatives are trained in traditional wash chemistry, they do not receive formal training in ozone wash chemistry. For this reason, the Aquawing's extensive network of distributors play an active role in learning and understanding the responsibilities of wash quality.

This marks a significant change in the dynamics that exist between client and distributor. Distributors historically have been a source of machine support while chemical companies have been responsible for their equipment (soap pumps), products and wash quality. All Aquawing distributors work with chemical representatives in order to share knowledge and develop teamwork, which will provide the end-user with the best results. Furthermore, prospective purchasers of an ozone laundering system should inquire about the ozone chemistry knowledge of local representation. Do not purchase a system without the support of a team that is educated and experienced in ozone chemistry.
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Fallacy: ORP Meters Are Effective Tools to Measure the Amount of Ozone in a Wash Wheel.

What is ORP?

ORP (oxidation reduction potential) meters are commonly used in the ozone community for controlling the operation of ozone systems applying ozone to water, but not for quantifying the concentrations of ozone in water.

Many charge/tank style systems use ORP meters as a form of smoke and mirrors. The claim is that the ORP is accurately monitoring the ozone levels of the water in the washer. This is an absolute farce. In fact, ORP meters measure all oxidizing agents in the water outside the washer, not ozone inside the machines.

For example, if readings of ORP meters are the same in each of two separate ozone laundering facilities, this does not mean that both facilities have the same amount of ozone dissolved in the water used to fill the washers. This is because ORP meters detect all oxidizing agents, not simply ozone. Moreover, an ORP will read both ozone that is dissolved (in solution) and ozone out of solution, the reading is not a reflection of dissolved ozone. ORP meters detect any oxidizing agents in the influent water from municipalities (hypochlorous acid, hypochlorite ion, chloramines, chlorine dioxide, hypobromous acid, hypobromite ion, etc.). The levels of these substances in the incoming water can vary daily and will change the ORP readings. Along with these substances, any variations in other water parameters, including pH, temperature and alkalinity will directly affect the ORP readings.

ORP meters are mounted outside the washer with the intention of controlling the amount of ozone fed into the fill water of a washing machine. This is not an accurate depiction of the concentration of ozone present in the wash wheel water. With this style system, users do not know how much ozone is in the washer. One reason for this is it is a scientific fact that when dissolved ozone (ozone in solution) encounters pressure changes and/or turbulence, it separates from solution and becomes gas in a washer. While filling a washer, the ozonated water goes through a drastic pressure change and when the washer starts to move, the turbulence will take all ozone out of solution. This negates the intended purpose of putting the ozone into solution, and it can create ozone off-gas.
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Fallacy: Charge Systems Eliminate Off-Gassing.
FACT: Charge Systems are More Likely to Off-gas than the Aquawing System.

This common fallacy was addressed in the preceding statement. It is a scientific fact that when dissolved ozone encounters changes in pressure and/or turbulence, it separates from solution and becomes gas in a washer, thereby negating the intended purpose of putting the ozone into solution as well as creating off-gas.

The Aquawing ozone system is equipped with ozone monitors at each washing machine and an ozone sensor monitoring ambient levels. For more information on safety, please refer to the safety section of our web site.
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Fallacy: Charge systems have faster fill rates.
FACT: The Aquawing system does not affect fill rates.

The Aquawing system has a faster fill time than charge systems. Charge systems require extensive plumbing whereas the Aquawing system requires no plumbing alterations. Fill times are not affected at all with the use of the Aquawing system. Charge systems on the other hand require that the incoming water be injected with ozone and held in a tank. When 4 washers are calling for fill water from the same tank, fill times are slowed significantly.
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Fallacy: Aquawing is like blowing air through a straw into a glass of water, all the ozone bubbles out the top. We have also heard the comparison of a lava rock in a fish tank. Both of these examples are ridiculous over-simplifications.
FACT: With the AF system, ozone gas is injected into the base of the washer, but the gas can not escape into the work environment for 4 main reasons:

  • As ozone is injected, it is forced into and through linen by the wash action of the washing machine. Ozone is trapped by the turning linen, which maximizes the contact time of ozone and soils.
  • Every Aquawing system is equipped with ozone monitoring devices at each washing machine, which automatically manage ozone levels. The ozone production will decrease when the load no longer requires additional ozone, leaving superior results without off gassing.
  • As a "double check", every Aquawing system is equipped with a standard, ambient air ozone monitoring device.
  • Aquawing has been validated to not only meet, but surpass OSHA safety standards.

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More information

Click any of the links below to learn more about Ozone.

Aquawing Ozone Injection Systems
45 Priscilla Lane  |  Auburn, NH 03032


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