A last resort
The Ozone shock treatment
If the smoke, mould or other vile smell is still there after using the methods above, you may need to do an ozone shock treatment to the cars' interior.
We strongly suggest you try all other methods we have mentioned above first, as this prolonged ozone treatment can hasten the aging to many parts of the cars interior. Strong concentrations of ozone molecules can degrade rubbers, make vinyls and plastics brittle and dull the colour of some fabrics. If done as we prescribe there should not be any issues, as long as multiple treatments haven't been done previously to the car and any treatment you do is not run for longer than an hour. Ozone is toxic for people (and pets) to breathe in, especially for anyone with respiratory issues like asthma, so keep everyone well away from the cars' interior while the machine is being run. It takes around 20 minutes for ozone molecules to break down, so allow the car to be well vented for at least 30 minutes after use.
The way the machine works is by pumping ozone molecules into the car, which enter places that you can't reach in the cleaning procedures above. These molecules then oxidise (kill) odourous, polluting and pathogenic molecules by turning them back to oxygen. This in turn destroys all surface, and air-borne germs, bacteria, moulds and viruses, which are where most foul smells come from.
We have used and seen them used by other professionals a few times over the years, on cars that could never be rid of smoke or "dead" smells. It's the machine to use when all other means to clean the worst interiors are not effective, so give it a go if you believe it's required.
Using the machine.
- Park the car in a well ventilated area and clean all material out of the car. Vacuum the car out and wipe down all surfaces in the car using Orange Agent for all plastic, dash, vinyl, door trims, doors rubbers, roof pillars, followed by Vinyl Care. All leather surfaces given a good, deep clean with Orange Agent, followed up with Leather Love and Leather Guard, and all fabric trim, including the carpets, seat belts, hoodlining and sun-visors with the Fabra Cadabra.
- It's very important that you make sure the cars' interior is 100% totally dry before hooking up the machine for it to work at its best.
- Place the ozone machine outside the passengers door, close all the doors and windows, but leaving the passengers window partially down, only as wide as required for the machines pipe to fit in it. The pipe needs to be as high as possible in the cars interior in the most central part of the car to work effectively. The still open area between the pipe and the top of the window frame should be covered by plastic or cardboard, and sealed with a masking tape to seal the interior of the car off, stopping the ozone from escaping the vehicle.
- Turn the car on, (must be in a well ventilated area, do not do this in a closed garage!) and run the AC on a medium fan setting in recirculate mode. Run the ozone machine for 15 minutes like this, then turn off the machine, take a deep breath and as quick as you can, open the drivers door and turn off the cars engine. Switching the key to the accessories position, to keep the interior fans running. Then switch from the AC setting, to the heater on full heat. Close the drivers door and move a few metres away from the car before taking a needed breath of fresh air. It would be good to do a trial run or two of this “turn car off/switch to accessories/heater on/close door” before you start the machine, so you can do all this as quickly and efficiently as possible. Run the machine for a further 15 minutes before turning it off.
- Open all doors and windows to allow fresh air into the car, and don't breathe the air inside the car! Make sure it's totally vented for at least an hour before going for a drive in it with the windows down, flushing out the last of the ozone from the car.
- You may find you will need to give the interior surfaces another clean after this treatment, as the ozone will leave a slight residue on the hard plastics in the car. You will also smell the ozone for the next few days, but it will eventually disappear. We recommend that you spray some of the Pong-Go in the carpets and other fabric trim to help remove this smell more quickly.
You can hire ozone machines from many different places. A Google search for “hire ozone machine Australia” or in your general area to find a local hirer.
Just to say once again, only use this system if all else fails to remove the offensive smells.