NEW ORLEANS — Have you ever wondered about the efficacy of ozone laundering? A new study from ClearWater Tech, citing research conducted by North Carolina State University’s Physical Testing Laboratory in the College of Textiles, may answer your questions.
Cameron Tapp, founder and president of ClearWater Tech, along with Dr. Jan Ballard, supervisor of the NCSU’s Physical Testing Laboratory, and Marc DeBrum, assistant sales manager/applications engineer for ClearWater, provided the results of what is described as the industry’s first extensive, independently conducted study to determine the ability of cold-water ozone laundering to extend the useful life of linens vs. traditional hot-water methods.
Speaking during a Clean Show press conference, Tapp said the study came about after a conversation he had with a hotel chain’s sustainability manager, who complained of yellowing and graying fabrics and increased fabric wear when using an ozone method of cleaning. Tapp commissioned an independent study to be conducted at NCSU.
The study compared laundry whiteness, pill resistance and tear strength using both the EcoTex™ ozone cold-water technology from ClearWater and traditional hot-water methods of laundering linens and garments. A number of studies already exist that confirm ozone’s efficiency in killing bacteria, particularly in healthcare fabrics, Tapp says.
ClearWater provided white 60% polyester/40% cotton pillowcases and 100% cotton terry bath towels to be used as samples (all test and control samples were given an initial rinse/dry cycle to remove factory residue). Ecolab supplied chemicals and collaborated on the chemical formulas for wash programs used in the study, and all textiles were washed in the same IPSO washer-extractor.
Ballard presented during the press conference how the study was conducted on 50 cycles of washing using both methods, saying, “We generated a lot of numbers.”
The data analysis conducted showed that whiteness of fabric was improved by 9.7% using the ozone method, pilling was improved by 16.77%, and tear strength of the fabric was 6.26% better over fabric laundered using traditional, hot-water methods.
DeBrum offered results showing that the ozone method was at least 11% more efficient than traditional methods. He also went into the cost savings found using ozone. The study by North Carolina State showed a projected 40% overall savings using the EcoTex ozone method: about 5% savings in electricity, 19% for energy, almost 20% in water and sewer savings, and an almost 40% improvement in savings for facility and labor efforts. He said this latter number included time saved on rinses, on overall wash steps and reduced labor time.
The study results come as no surprise to veterans such as Juan Marcano, president and CEO of Riteway Linen Services in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Riteway serves a variety of customers, including high-end hotels and resorts. Acknowledging that many factors contribute to linen life, Marcado’s experience points to linen replacement at an annual rate of 20-30% in traditional on-premise laundry operations.
“That’s a lot of money for a 100-room hotel working with three pars (sets of linen),” Marcado says in a ClearWater Tech press release. “Our EcoTex ozone process can reduce that replacement by about half, to 12-15% a year, which is a huge difference. It’s an even bigger savings for a 300-room resort that will purchase $8,000 to $10,000 terry cloth linens per month.”
Tapp indicated that a longer and more scientific version of the report would be published and peer-reviewed in a scientific journal in the near future.
“It was great to have a third party to work with on this study,” Tapp says, “and we will make the results available to the entire industry.”
The comparative scores and study details are spelled out in Cold Facts, a summary report that can be obtained by contacting ClearWater Tech via its website, ecotexlaundry.com, or calling 805-549-9724. A more extensive white paper is also available, the company says.