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Using an Ozone Generator


Chewy
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Hey all, unfortunately for me, the car I just bought was a smokers car.  He claimed not to smoke in it a lot, but I'm not sure what "not a lot" is, and the car was parked in a garage where he smoked like a chimney. 

 

So...  I ordered an ozone generator to rent for a couple of days.  It's a pretty large unit so I hope it'll work at removing the smell.

 

I've been told to clean everything you can touch which I'll do.  I'm thinking about diluted APC and leather and interior cleaner.  They also told me to clean the headliner.  

 

I'd like to hear from those of you that have used an ozone generator to clean the scent out of a car.  

 

The car is currently in my garage with the windows open and it's better, but still stinks.  

 

Any help you can offer is greatly appreciated. 

 

Chris

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Man I wish you luck with it. We bought a used TBSS a couple years back which had been smoked in. After two days on an ozone machine, it was better but still lingering smells.

 

I had the carpets and seats shampooed and scrubbed the head liner but it was never completely gone. It was still in the HVAC system even after a thorough cleaning. Maybe others can offer some better options aside from replacing the interior lol

 

I know people can do whatever they want in their cars but please, stop ruining good cars for everyone else with your bad habits lol

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Man I wish you luck with it. We bought a used TBSS a couple years back which had been smoked in. After two days on an ozone machine, it was better but still lingering smells.

 

I had the carpets and seats shampooed and scrubbed the head liner but it was never completely gone. It was still in the HVAC system even after a thorough cleaning. Maybe others can offer some better options aside from replacing the interior lol

 

I know people can do whatever they want in their cars but please, stop ruining good cars for everyone else with your bad habits lol

I think the more you put into it, the more you'll get out of it.

 

Also, the Ozone generator has to be pretty big for a vehicle as large as the TB.  

 

It's supposed to be 42º tomorrow so I'll crank up the heat in the garage and start cleaning all the surfaces I guess.

 

I don't have a steam machine like they show in the video, but I'll try to make due. 

 

Chris

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The one the Warehouse has was pretty straight forward when I used it thrice.

 

Clean everything you can. 

Read the instructions a couple of times.

 

I used it in a Suburban and a Passenger Van.  I plugged it in, followed the instructions, let it run for 45 minutes, and it was about 100% better!  It's all arbitrary based on how much that person smoked in there before you.  I would also suggest post machine, that for a few nights, on a paper plate, on the floorboards, leave some baking soda.  

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Swap out the cabin filter, and get some 1Z Klima...along with the above tips.

 

Plus, just the fact the guy mentioned he smoked a liitle in the car...means he smoked like a chimney in it. He's trying to sell the car, not lose a sale.

Edited by 07RS4
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LOL Dave!  He has to be one of the most honest guys I've met actually.  I think the killer is he parked it in his garage which was smoked in like mad!  

 

Leaving the windows open in my garage has helped, but it has that covered up smoke smell going on.  

 

Top Tip from Dylan is DO NOT use an Ozone Generator if anything in your interior is wet.  It'll turn to chorine gas.  BAD BAD BAD, #1 it could kill you, #2 it'll bleach out the interior!  

 

I plan to hook a battery charger to the car so that I can let the cars ventilation system run while the ozone generator is in the car. 

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Ok, so my first run of the ozone generator was tonight. Initial thoughts are that it's working. I'll let it sit off overnight and stick my head in there and see how it smells. Fingers crossed it's better or at least able to be lived with.

 

So far it's been on for 2 hours with the cars ventilation system on as well.

 

I ended up pulling the cabin filter out on Saturday and it was HORRIBLE!!!

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Chewy, make sure you change out the cabin air filter as well. If the previous owner ever ran the HVAC on recirculate then the smell will be on that as well.
 

DISREGARD ABOVE. That is what I get for not reading all the posts. :-)

 

Edited by dipolley
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OK so I'd say that it's 90-95% better.  I'll run it once more today when I get off work and call it done! 

 

The smell of ozone is almost chlorine like.  I'm not a huge fan, but it's better than SMOKE smell.  I truly think most of the smell was due to it sitting in the garage though.

 

Chris

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Glad to hear it is better, hopefully the second time will do the trick............I can't stand the smell of cigarettes. That smell gets in everything. We looked at a few houses when we moved and the smell knocked you over when you walked in the house. Good luck

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OK so I'd say that it's 90-95% better.  I'll run it once more today when I get off work and call it done! 

 

The smell of ozone is almost chlorine like.  I'm not a huge fan, but it's better than SMOKE smell.  I truly think most of the smell was due to it sitting in the garage though.

 

Chris

Spray some DS or Undercarriage Spray in there! :drool:  It's been suggested before, but Adam's needs to come out with some air fresheners based on these products.

Edited by Redbeard
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If anything, I'd spray some interior detail spray/conditioner in it, but I'm wanting a neutral interior. Right now it smells like ozone which smells a lot like chlorine to me. I don't want it smelling like I used something to cover a smell up. That's what it smelled like before the ozone gen. I need to get the leather and plastic conditioned now. Since it's bare, I may use the interior detail spray and keep it looking less shiny going forward.

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So I did one last (3rd) ozone treatment last night before boxing it up.  I don't think any more would help and would probably only hurt the rubber products in the car.  So it ran for a total of 6 hours in the car.  I even removed the bottom of the rear seat and flipped it upside down so the ozone would get to the foam.  

 

It's colder than a witches thorax on the shady side of an iceberg so it's hard to tell if there's still a smell or not.  It may come out when it warms up, or it may not.  It's hard to tell.  I BELIEVE I got about 95% of it though.  

 

Fingers crossed!  

 

Regardless, it WAS worth the 100 bucks to rent the unit.  I got to keep it an extra day because it fell on new years.  Yeah me! ;)  Believe it or not, the unit I got was EXACTLY the same as the one in the video above.  lol 

 

I ordered a container of Ozium so I'll try sitting that in the car when I get it and seeing if that will help too.  I'm not sure how necessary it'll be though.  

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When you change the cabin filter, I would put the A/C on, leave the filter out, and spray probably a whole can of Lysol disinfectant as well through the A/C system, obviously slowly, give a few bursts, let it run, few more bursts, etc, you don't want to saturate the system all at one time.

 

Make sure the A/C is directed through all vents, face and feet, etc, so the Lysol really flows through the whole system.  Have the doors and windows open initially when doing this.

 

After a few mins and using most of the can, close the windows, then close all the doors, and spray a few more bursts of Lysol.  Then turn the vents on a lower setting for speed (in the middle is fine), and hit the RECIRCULATE button.

 

This will do two things, recycle the "Lysol-infused" fresh air you just sucked into the cabin, so it goes through all the rest of the vents, and will really tell you if you got the smoke smell out.  The smoke smell may not be there in the cabin with the fan off, the problem is the smell is lingering in the vents and through the A/C system.

 

I used to smoke cigarettes in rental cars when I was a younger lad, as long as the HVAC system is off, and your windows are rolled down, you barely get any lingering smell that can't be taken care of with a detail and an Ozium spray. 

 

HOWEVER, once you turn on the HVAC system, be it the heat, or the A/C, or the recirculation (which is the worst because its recycling the smoky air through the system), then it becomes almost impossible to get rid of completely, which is why you need the Ozone machine.

 

My Lysol tricks will definitely improve your interior that much more, trust me.  I like to pick a can of "crisp linen" as that is pretty fresh smelling, and clean.  Let me know if you do it and if it helps further.  For maintenance interior spraying, I use Vanilla Ozium.  I don't smoke cigarettes anymore (and even when I did I would NEVER smoke in my cars), but I like to freshen the air with some Vanilla Ozium when I do an interior cleaning.

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I don't think any of that will be needed now.  I let the system run with the ozone generator running and you can't smell anything coming through the vents.  The only time I get a VERY faint hint of a smell, is when I bury my nose in the leather and take a huge whif.  Sticking my head in the car, I smell nothing.  

 

I wonder if the smell neutralizing properties of Adams interior detailer will help.  I've also ordered a product from another company that claims it eliminates odors without adding odors and it gets decent reviews.  

 

Adams REALLY needs to come up with a neutral odor eliminator too.

 

Chris

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If Adam's can come up with their own aerosol glycol-ized spray freshener similar to what I mentioned I've used in the past, I'd definitely buy it and use it.  The key is the glycol based aerosol I think allows for a finer mist and really eliminates odors.

 

I tried another popular brand's fresh car freshener, and after a slight spill of vinegar on the carpet, nearly used the whole bottle and I hate to say it but I wouldn't buy it again.  It came in a 16 oz spray bottle, similar to the Adam's bottles, and since that type of bottle and liquid is only able to be sprayed so fine, you are confined to spraying on carpet mats and rugs of the car only.  You can't just "spray it in the air" of the car as you'll be spraying everything and getting it wet, so needless to say a liquid product freshener has no use for me.  However if they do come up with an aerosol, I'm all for it.  Call it "Adam's All American Fresh" spray or something.

 

TID will probably be a huge help if you're going over all the plastics on the car with it, not only the odor neutralizers but the cleaning properties will help with any buildup on the dash plastics, door panels, etc.

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The surfaces are super clean.  I used in LIC at full strength so clean isn't an issue here.  

 

What I like are products that eliminate smell while having NO smell.  The tech is out there and that's what I bought.  It's like Febreeze on steroids and without the scent. (I believe they make scent free Febreeze too)

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Heat will cause the chemicals that cause the odor to be energized and released into the air. While the process might be slow, filling the car with hot air with some way for it to escape with the odor-causing chemicals will release a lot of the odor over time. This works best in a hot, dry climate with an industrial fan blowing air out of the back of the SUV and all the windows open or perhaps the front windows open for air to come in and the back gate window open so the huge fan can blow air out. You might be able to simulate this in a hot garage, but then you need to have a way to get that out of your garage without it making your garage smell like that. I can't speak to the safety of putting a heater fan in the car and then, once it's good at hot, cracking some windows to encourage the hot air to escape and cooler air to go in. 

It's probably best to use several methods, some repeatedly, if you have heavily imbedded smoke odor. Be patient, taking  are not to ruin the components of the vehicle in the process. 

One method I'd recommend before you do anything is to very carefully clean the inside of the car, removing all dirt, removing extraneous items you can treat separately or replace, and getting under and behind absolutely everything. Heat with steam to dissolve and carry away substances can go a long way toward removing odor. 

Another tactic should be if possible to remove items from the car, including seats, panels and so on if necessary to clean them separately, possibly even having seats restuffed while having the upholstery very carefully and thoroughly cleaned and deodorized. Remove the carpet or vinyl flour liner as well and clean wires and other exposed components. A strong fan in a hot climate can remove a lot. 

Still another tactic, though expensive, is to use a high end chemical air cleaner run in the vehicle while it's not being used to create ultra clean air that basically sucks chemicals into it and captures them in the activated charcoal filters. While this could cost a lot in filters, the cost would be very little compared to the cost of a really nice vehicle. I'm talking about high-end chemical removing air cleaners meant for 1000sf of residential space. (You can also do this in a room that is chemically contaminated or that has items that are chemically contaminated in the room for an extended time. Close up the room well so that the ultra clean air stays in the room and anything off-gassed from the contaminated items will be captured by the charcoal filter. Those large, costly air cleaners also heat up the space a bit if you're running them on the highest settings, giving energy to the toxic chemical molecule, allowing them to separate from the car components and fill the air before being captured.)

While one can cover up the smell of smoke for a little while, the chemicals required to do that are typically toxic. If they are not toxic, they are typically short-lasting and costly. It's better to remove the toxins with heat, moving air, chemical filters in the presence of heat, steam cleaning (heat plus water and something to wipe it off), and moving air. 

In the meantime, get some UNSCENTED kitty litter with activated charcoal bits in it. It's usually cheapest in large buckets from Chewy.com. Put that in the vehicle and use a ladle to stir it up and bring fresh litter from the bottom of the bucket. Or spread it in a shallow large tray placed in the back of the vehicle or on the floor. The more trays the better. Keep the windows open as much as possible when outside, but when in the garage use the kitty litter to reduce the leakage of toxins into your indoor space. 

Here's a tip a about the use of charcoal filters and activated charcoal in unscented kitty litter: If the environment is hot enough, the chemicals might be released into the air. For example, you can buy bags of activated charcoal to put in your car. Use a lot of them if you do this. But, then you can reactivate them by putting them out in the hot sun (if you have that environment) to release some or all of the toxins before putting them back into the car. I made the mistake of putting some on top of my Bronco and then driving away, depositing them somewhere along my route. So, maybe put them on the hood and point the hood toward the sun so you'll remember to remove them. 

Note that everything I'm suggesting is nontoxic and relatively safe. While it might be necessary to use an ozone generator to get faster or more complete odor removal, these methods do not expose you to ozone, a hazardous gas for which there is no safe level of exposure. I would use it if I had a separate garage that was not attached to other people's garages. I might use it when my car is parked outside if I rigged up some kind of energy source, though I'd be concerned about the Bronco and the ozone generator generating the wrong kind of interest in my city environment and not being there in the morning. I don't want to leave it unlocked to air out or drive it to air out in the garage. The garage I rent is open on the ceiling to a space that all the garage stalls share, so that would put ozone at some level into the breathing air of other people and in their cars at some level. I'm new in my area but I wouldn't mind asking a friend to let me use their separate garage to do this if they didn't mind parking their vehicle outside or, more likely, if I could do this outside at the back of their property with the ozone generator on the ground and a hose feeding the ozone into the car that is otherwise sealed up to concentrate the ozone gas. Then, I would remove the hose, seal up the door again and let it sit like that for a little while before lowering the back gate window and walking away for a while to let the ozone seep out, opening side doors a little while later and then later rolling down windows and closing the side doors to keep the battery from running down in my classic Bronco. (It's never been smoked in, but someone stored some smoke saturated things in it and now it's bear to get out. It's far better than it was after heavy steam cleaning, lots of airing in hot climates, and lots of time, but it's not acceptable to me yet. So, I may use ozone treatment when I have access to the right setting and see what that does. I'm willing to disassemble and remove some parts of the vehicle to clean them separately and make it easier to clean under them and also get the seats restuffed to remove the contaminated foam which is finally starting to compress after being in the hot sun a lot. 

I'd try everything that is safest before going to an ozone cleaner and then be very careful. Doing this in an attached garage will certainly allow some of the toxic gas enter your living space. 

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Also, be very wary of using vinegar extensively. It's corrosive and may mar chrome and other metal parts. It also can combine with cigarette smoke components to make more toxic components that are more difficult to remove and very strong smelling. Airing out for a long time in a hot environment works better, meaning for months or longer outside in a protected situation where it won't get wet or filthy. Perhaps a diluted solution of vinegar and water that is very quickly rinsed off with pure water might be okay. But, don't steam the inside of a car or place a big pan of vinegar in the car if you don't want to come back to lots of damage after a few days or maybe less. The key is to dilute it and rinse it thoroughly if you use it at all. 

As for baking soda, it's very weak compared to activated charcoal when used to absorb odors. Even the activated charcoal if just set in the vehicle might reduce the smell of the air quite a bit, but when you remove it, you may find that there is a lot more odor where that came from and it will move into the air and stay there when there is nothing present to capture it. So, I'd definitely use activated charcoal between uses of the vehicle to make it more tolerable to drive, but to speed up removal, you need a filter fan to push the odorous air through a large activated charcoal filter or several over a long period of time.

The hotter the environment, the more will be released into the air. So, you might feel as though you deodorized a vehicle well in January only to find that it's overwhelmingly stinky in July. This may be what some sellers count on if they are experienced such as dealerships selling traded in smoky cars. The smoky smell can be so heavily embedded in the plastic, vinyl and fabric components that it will take years to remove completely. It really depends on how bad it is and what the components are made of. 

The thing that has worked best for me so far are 1) heavy steam cleaning (heat plus water to soak up the chemicals released and cloths to wipe it away), 2) hot weather with open windows. A fan blowing air through the car may greatly magnify the effect, but windy days help a lot too, and 3) using activated charcoal (a LOT of it) to absorb noxious odors especially in warm environments before replacing the charcoal or refreshing it in the hot sun all day if you can do that. Also, remove everything you can't steam clean well and adequately get the smell out of. Sacrifice it and, after the car is much better, replace if you really feel you need those items. 

Be careful not to drive with open windows if you have the kitty little with activated charcoal exposed in the vehicle as the clay dust is bad for your lungs. Seal up the container when driving or you might be able to stabilize the containers and leave them open if you have them in the back away from people and you have all the windows shut without air circulation or very little. Just remember to open them back up before you park the car each time. 

Note that some people will not buy a car that has a heavy chemical smell to it as it seems as though someone is trying to cover up something worse. So, the temptation to spray something toxic but temporarily effective in masking smoke might backfire. 

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