We talk a lot about our ozone sanitation products and their effectiveness, but you may still be asking what, exactly, is ozone? In short, it’s a gas. And while it’s potentially harmful, it also protects us from radiation and can be harnessed to effectively sanitize gear.
Ozone has a few other names; it can also be called trioxygen or O3. While ozone is made up of oxygen atoms, it’s different from the oxygen we need to breathe, and much more reactive. In the stratosphere, ozone gas is created when molecular oxygen (O2) reacts with ultraviolet rays. The newly formed ozone then creates a protective shield in the upper atmosphere (commonly called the ozone layer) that prevents harmful UV rays from exposing the earth to dangerous radiation. Without the ozone layer, humans would be much more vulnerable to adverse health effects, like skin cancers and cataracts. In spite of all this protective power, ozone only makes up 0.000006% of earth’s atmosphere.
Dangers of Ozone
Ozone can also be man-made, often as the result of air pollution. When cars and manufacturing plants release exhaust and other pollutants into the air, it can result in ozone forming far too close to the earth’s surface. While ozone protects us from UV rays up in the stratosphere, man-made ozone can cause smog and be dangerous for our health.
When ground-level ozone is inhaled, it causes a number of annoying side effects like coughing, throat irritation, congestion, and chest pain. Over time, these slight irritations can worsen, causing scar tissues in your lungs. People with asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema are especially at risk because ground-level ozone can trigger and worsen their illness.
Ozone is extremely versatile. While it protects from UV rays and acts as a pollutant, it can also be used as a sanitizer. More powerful than chlorine bleach and iodine, ozone can eliminate 99.99% of bacteria, viruses, and molds without leaving behind any residue.
Ozone is a highly-volatile molecule, so when it comes in contact with any other molecules, it quickly causes a chemical reaction. As a result of this reaction, pathogens lurking nearby are inactivated in seconds without using water or any other liquid that could cause damage. Ozone is especially effective on MRSA, a superbug that other disinfectants struggle to kill. The ozone reaction breaks down the MRSA bacteria’s cell membrane, killing the pathogen and neutralizing the threat.
Not only can ozone sanitize your gear, it also eliminates any lingering odor in typically smelly locker rooms and sweaty gear. An overwhelming odor is often a telltale sign of potentially dangerous microbial growth. Using ozone to disinfect leaves behind a fresh, clean scent.
Since ozone is unsafe for people to breathe, the most popular ozone sanitizers use a chamber to prevent any dangerous gas from escaping. Using a secure lockout device, the ozone chamber keeps all of the powerful ozone inside the chamber, ensuring the gear inside is thoroughly cleaned. Ozone chambers are great for sanitizing helmets, pads, mouth pieces, tactical gear, and other hard-to-clean items.
When properly monitored, ozone can also be used to sanitize entire rooms by allowing the gas to fill the room for an appropriate amount of time. This type of ozone sanitizer is especially popular in gyms and locker rooms, where you don’t always have time to disinfect every surface. When using ozone to sanitize larger facilities, always remember to stay out of the room for the entire cycle and follow all the recommended instructions.
Cleaning Benefits of Ozone
There are numerous benefits of using ozone gas to clean and sanitize equipment, from its ability to access difficult-to-reach nooks and crannies to sanitizing gear without any damage or residue. Here are just a few of the cleaning benefits of ozone:
- Eliminate Odors –Ozone destroys odor-causing bacteria and spore molecules. As a gas, ozone can react with odors on surfaces and in the air, penetrating materials such as a uniforms or protective gear. Depending on the need, ozone treatments can be done for a lengthier amount of time or at a higher concentration.
- Kill Several Types of Viruses and Bacteria –Ozone has the power to destroy molecules, making it possible to reduce the risk of contagious diseases, including: MRSA, Staph and more.
- Prevent Equipment/Gear from Being Immersed in Water –As ozone is a gas, cleaning select gear and equipment does not require immersion in water, since ozone permeates most materials.
- Safe, Environmentally Friendly and “Green” Cleaning Method –Ozone is a naturally-occurring gas. It is a safer, more thorough option than bleach or other harsh chemicals.
How to Harness the Power of Ozone Disinfectants
Global Ozone Innovations makes it easy for you to own your own ozone sanitizing system to disinfect your school, gym, locker room, or equipment.
If you’re looking for a simple way to disinfect anything, from football pads to tactical gear, Sports-O-Zone and Decon Zone have sanitizing chambers to ensure every nook and cranny is free from harmful pathogens without fear of ozone exposure. If you need to cover even more ground, Gear Blaster is perfect for both targeted gear sanitizing and large-scale disinfection of entire facilities, covering up to 2,000 square feet. We also have a powerful liquid sanitizing solution, KilZone, that can be used on any hard surface or as a laundry disinfectant.
There’s a Global Ozone product to suit every need; find the best ozone disinfectant system for your needs here.