One of the most difficult odors to remove from any setting is the smell of cigarette smoke. In the closed confines of an elevator, tobacco odors can be persistent even after many years since the last cigarette was lit. This odor resists ordinary cleaning efforts, such as the use of vacuum cleaners, shampoos and old-fashioned scrubbing. However, the use of ozone can be a powerful cleaning method for removing tobacco odors and it can provide lasting results. Below is a list of equipment you will need as well as a step-by-step procedure for using ozone to strip the smell of burned tobacco from the interior of elevators:
What you will need
- Commercial-quality ozone generator — you will need to obtain an ozone generator capable of producing at least 400 milligrams of ozone per hour. Consumer units used for ordinary air freshening are not capable of producing sufficient ozone to cleanse tobacco odors. Ozone generators can be readily purchased from online vendors.
- Ozone test kit — the ozone generator vendor may also be able to provide this item, but test kits can be purchased from lab science supply companies, as well. Just be sure to buy a kit designed for use with air-based ozone.
- Floor fan
- Elevator access key
- Extension cord with power strip
- Paper and magic marker
How to remove cigarette odors - a step-by-step procedure
1. Understand why ozone is an effective cleaner and why you must use it safely - ozone is a trivalent form of oxygen, meaning each molecule consists of three atoms. The ordinary, more stable form of oxygen consists of two oxygen molecules, but the tendency for the extra molecule in ozone to separate from the pair is what makes it a powerful cleaning agent. The molecule combines in an oxidizing relationship with other substances, such as cigarette smoke residue, and it "burns" the odor-causing particles.
Just as this powerful reaction can be effective at destroying odor-causing agents, it can also be harmful to human health. Ozone causes respiratory tract and eye irritation, and long-term exposure can result in permanent lung impairment. That is why it is vital to remove yourself from the presence of ozone during the cleaning process; never permit human occupancy of an elevator until it has been purged and tested to ensure it contains safe levels of ozone.
2. Prepare the elevator for ozone treatment - to prepare the elevator for treatment, you will need to first remove the car from service as you would do with any ordinary cleaning. Prepare a sign that warns others not to enter the elevator car and attach it to the elevator doors. Be sure that any interior elevator ventilation systems are turned-off, but do not block any vents leading into the car. Plug in an extension cord into a nearby convenient outlet and route it into the car; plug in a power strip to the end of the cord.
3. Set-up and initiate the ozone generator - once the extension cord and power strip are in-place, place the ozone generator inside the car in a spot away from a wall. Next, also place a floor fan inside the car and aim the direction of airflow away from the generator. Plug-in both units, set the floor fan on a low or medium air setting, and power-on the ozone generator. If it has a timer setting, set it to twenty-four hours. Exit the car quickly and close the elevator doors.
4. Operate and shut down the ozone generator - be sure that elevator access is sufficiently restricted to guard against accidental intrusion into the car, and allow the generator and fan to operate for twenty-four hours. At the end of the period, open and lock the car doors, enter the car and immediately shut down the generator. Quickly leave the car and allow the fan to continue to circulate for another two-to-three hours.
5. Test the air quality for safe occupancy - after permitting the fan to ventilate the interior of the elevator car for at least two hours, use the ozone test kit to check the air levels. Be sure to follow the directions contained with the test kit, and also reference them to see whether or not the ozone levels are safe for human occupancy. If they are, then you may restore the elevator to service after removing the equipment. If not, continue to allow free air circulation for another eight hours, then check the levels again.
Check out sites like http://www.capitalelevatorservice.com for additional information.