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Washing Cash Down the Drain – Ozone Laundry

By September 3, 2013December 26th, 2021Briefs

Money Laundering

Tony Soprano wouldn’t like it much if some of his cash went down the drain while it was being laundered. Although this Energy Brief does not talk about criminal money laundering in the movies or the news, there may still be a crime in progress considering the energy waste that may be going on every day at commercial laundries.

Consider what goes into a load of laundry (besides the fabric to be cleaned). Unlike plugging coins and buying expensive tiny boxes of detergent at laundromats, people don’t consider water, water heating, and detergent costs with zeal in commercial laundries. So how can some of the cost of doing business be saved?


Adding ozone to wash water is one way to reduce cost. Wait a minute, isn’t ozone bad for the environment (as in smog)? Yes, when it is released in the air at ground level, but it also is important in the upper atmosphere to absorb ultraviolet radiation. And as it turns out, adding it to laundry wash water can aid in getting laundry clean using less energy.

Detergents are able to work better in cold water when ozone is present, requiring less detergent and rinsing, and leaving fewer residues on the laundered material. Ozone also sanitizes the laundry, further reducing the chemicals needed. In all, this means there are fewer cycles needed, less detergent needed, less sanitizer needed, less water used, and most importantly, less HOT water used – saving water, natural gas, electricity, and chemical costs. Fabrics may even last longer to boot! Ozone also reduces the amount of fabric softener that is needed, which in turn means less drying time.

Powerful Oxidizer

Ozone is made by splitting an oxygen molecule (O2) into single oxygen atoms, which then combine with other O2 molecules to make ozone (O3). The ozone is then injected into laundry water. Ozone is a powerful oxidizer, since that third oxygen atom is weakly bonded and readily breaks off of the ozone atom to combine with other substances (stains) in the laundry. This happens too fast in hot water, so colder water is actually better to keep the ozone from immediately oxidizing after introduction to the wash water.

Choose the Right Application

Heavily soiled and oily fabric may still need hot water and/or bleach to get them clean, so ozone may not be the right solution for all laundry. Hotels and institutional facilities (like hospitals) typically have consistent laundry content, and this is where ozone can really shine. Evaluation of the type of laundry and soil content is important when deciding whether adding ozone to a laundering facility might be beneficial. Water savings, chemical savings (consequently less chemicals in the environment) AND natural gas and electricity savings – it’s definitely worth a look to see if adding ozone to your laundry operation is an option!

Michaels Energy

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