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Odor elimination with Ozone or Hydroxyl

Biohazard Clean Up


Odors come from every where. Good and bad, all of them are remnants of some chemical reaction.

Whether it’s the smells left behind by tobacco smoke, the smell from water damage and mildew, cooking smells or the smell left by a fire damage or smoke, all are the residue of some chemical reaction. Our objective is to remove the smoke smell.  To do that we remove the residue, the chemical residue that is causing the smell.

In our business PuroClean Disaster Response is called in to deal with severe odor problems, odors from tobacco smoke or the odors left by a home fire, sometimes odors from a cooking catastrophe. Our approach is the same in every case, the exact time it will take and specific methods we use will vary depending on the circumstances but the basic steps are the same:

Clean as much of the residue as we can. We will use various cleaning compounds some times it may be as simple as Dawn detergent, other times we may need more aggressive cleaning agents. The idea is to clean the remaining residue off of all the surfaces we can reach. This includes floors, walls, ceilings, cabinets as well as appliances and other household items. Any surface will be a collecting point for the chemical residue causing the odor. In severe instances this may be expanded to include cleaning duct work and the HVAC system as well. Some items can’t be cleaned, in severe cases carpets may have to be replaced along with draperies and other textiles in the home, carpet pad will have to be replaced, the foam carpet pads will absorb the chemicals and continue to release them into the air for ever.

Seal remaining surfaces. Surfaces that can’t be cleaned or that still emit odors after the cleaning will be sealed with high grade sealants. Professional painters may use shellac or multiple coats of a high quality primer such as KILZ. If we are doing an extensive smoke job this step will include sealing the subfloor both top and bottom and sealing of all walls and ceilings before final paint. Sealing won’t eliminate the odor causing chemical but is does encapsulate and starve it of oxygen and air which effectively eliminates it as a source of odor.

Employ odor eliminating technology. This can include fogging the area with chemicals that will counteract the odor. These come in two basic varieties, masking agents that cover the oder and Pairing agents that chemically combine with the odor to neutralize it. Masking agents are the most commonly available to homeowners, super markets are full of them.

We can also employ more aggressive odor elimination techniques; Ozone or Hydroxyl generators. Both of these machines produce oxidizing agents that combine with and neutralize odor causing molecules.

Many people have heard of Ozone.  Ozone will eliminate odors but it is a very concentrated oxidizer and is harmful to humans, animals and plants as well as to rubber compounds and various other substances in the home. We can employ Ozone when we are deodorizing clothing or other textiles. When we use an Ozone generator the space with the ozone must be sealed and off limits to humans. Ozone is the most aggressive option. When we use ozone we are basically filling the space with ozone gas to eliminate the odor.

On jobs or in environments where complete evacuation isn’t possible, the hydroxyl generator is a better choice.  Hydroxyl is a friendlier option. Hydroxyl is safe for people, pets and plants. The drawback is that deodorization may take a bit longer. A hydroxyl generator produces free electrons and hydroxyl radicals that, when dispersed by a fan, combine with and convert organic and inorganic gases and odor causing particles into carbon dioxide and water. For more on the science of Hydroxyl check this site.

Translation: Stinky air is safely neutralized and people and pets don’t have to leave the building! Hydroxyl is rapidly becoming our preferred method to eliminate odors in all environments.

For fire damage restoration and flood restoration sites, mildew smells, medical waiting areas, nursing homes, daycare centers, kitchens and any place that can’t be evacuated Hydroxyl is the choice for odor treatment.

It will take a Hydroxyl generator 4-8 times longer than ozone neutralize odors to the same extent but the trade off may be worth it. When the machine is running, there is no odor and no noise.


PuroClean Disaster Response provides damage restoration services including odor elimination, smoke cleanup, fire damage mitigation, water damage restoration and mold remediation to the communities of Boulder, Broomfield, Erie, Arvada, Westminster, Thornton, Commerce Cuty, Lafayette, Louisville, Longmont, Berthoud, Frederick, Firestone, Dacono and others across Colorado’s northern front range.

Last edited on 10th of October 2023