How Does Ozone Work?
How does ozone shock treatment actually work to remove smells? Organic (living) substances like odors are composed of hydrocarbon molecules. Many times these organic odor substances are microscopic, invisible to the human eye.
Ozone is an unstable molecule (see What Is Ozone? for more information) that attacks hydrocarbon molecules, breaking them down into harmless substances like carbon dioxide, oxygen and trace amounts of water.
When ozone comes into contact with living organisms, like bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeast and protozoa, it disrupts the integrity of the cellular membrane by oxidizing of the phospholipids and lipoproteins. In plain English, as ozone makes contact with these living organisms, it creates tiny holes in the cell wall, injuring the organism, causing it to lose its shape. This reaction is called an "oxidative burst". As ozone molecules continue to collide into the cell wall (a thousand times in just a few seconds) the cell wall can no longer maintain its shape and the organism will die. The human body uses the same technique to attack and destroy bacteria and viruses.
Ozone attacks fungi, inhibiting its cell growth at certain stages. It also attacks viruses, damaging their reproductive cycle.
Because of the impact ozone has on living organisms, it is important that people evacuate the areas being treated by ozone until the process has completed. Once the ozone is no longer being generated, the ozone will quickly convert into safe, breathable oxygen, leaving no residue.