Ozone is a compound in which three atoms of oxygen are combined to form the molecule O3, which is a strong, naturally occurring oxidizing and disinfecting agent. By injecting ozone gas directly into a laundry wash cycle, hotels can save water, energy, and processing time, and minimize the use of harsh laundry chemicals.
An ozone laundry system works by drawing outside ambient air into a compressor and creating concentrated “ozone” by electrifying oxygen. During the washing process, the ozone gas is injected into the water supply line that feeds into the washer extractors. This ozone injection purifies and disinfects the wash water and efficiently decomposes fat, oil, and grease.
As a general rule, on-premise laundries in hotels consume large amounts of hot water. These systems typically require a minimum water heat of 140°F. In most cases, an ozone system eliminates laundry extractors’ need for domestic hot water, saving space that would otherwise be allocated for water heating equipment. Additionally, after factoring in potential sewer credit, an on-premise ozone laundry system can reduce domestic water use between 20 percent and 40 percent. The ozone system can also reduce the use of chemicals by as much as 30 percent. There is, however, a higher capital cost for the system itself.
Further benefits of an ozone laundry system include improved sterilization and safer working conditions because housekeeping staff is not dealing with dangerous chemicals. Ozone is also less harsh on hotel linens, affording longer linen use life and fewer chemical odors.
About the Author
Dr. William D. Frye is an Associate Professor in the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Niagara University and co-author of AH&LEI’s housekeeping textbook Managing Housekeeping Operations.