OTEX, our laundry infection control solution harnesses the power of one of the strongest disinfectants in nature – ozone. OTEX collects oxygen from the air to create ozone, and then injects it via a patented interfusor into the drum of the washing machine, where it eliminates micro-organisms during cool wash cycles.
Discover how JLAs unique OTEX laundry disinfection works and how you can benefit from this fantastic technology.
A natural disinfectant, ozone is capable of destroying even the most hardy micro-organisms. Whether you operate an on-premise laundry in a care home, a hospital, a veterinary practice or any other setting where laundry cross-contamination is a risk, the JLA OTEX ozone laundry disinfection system is a genuine ‘catch-all’ solution.
Ozone is one of the most powerful disinfectants known to man and has been used since the early 1900s for disinfecting our water supplies and a range of other applications. It is created naturally during thunderstorms.
The air that we breathe is made up of around 20% oxygen. In a thunderstorm lightning energizes oxygen to form ozone; the fresh smell we associate after a storm is ozone being produced. We use this same mechanism to produce ozone by recreating the thunderstorm effect: first an oxygen concentrator takes in surrounding air and converts it into 90% oxygen then an ozone generator uses an electrical charge similar to the bolts of lightning to form ozone; a device known as an interfuser then injects ozone into the water inside the drum of the washing machine.
Once in the water ozone penetrates the fabrics and starts to attack all the microorganisms in the load. The process is so effective that even potentially lethal clostridium difficile spores, MRSA, ecoli and flu viruses are destroyed.
Ozone disinfection doesn't rely on temperature so wash cycles use mostly cold water. Temperature is only used to assist with removing stains.
OTEX has other benefits too: ozone separates fibers giving laundry a softer feel and because the cycles are predominantly colder the wash cycle is less aggressive thereby prolonging linen life; this, of course, means energy usage is also substantially reduced and therefore so is carbon emissions. Ozone rapidly reverts back to oxygen once it is disinfected and the quantities used by the otech system are low and perfectly safe. The Health and Safety Executive limit for exposure to ozone is 0.2 parts per million.
The OTEX process generates levels of ozone considerably lower than this limit, however for complete peace of mind a room monitor is installed with every system to warn in the unlikely event of the levels going any higher. If this happens the system automatically shuts down and if the problem persists it should be reported.
For further reassurance, wash cycles are also monitored and disinfection can be verified to confirm that sufficient ozone has been provided for an adequate length of time and prove that laundry has been thoroughly disinfected if validation fails the load must be washed again. If validation continues to fail the load must be thermally disinfected and the problem reported. The OTEX system is extremely simple to operate: you need only select the appropriate cycles on the front of the washer just as you would with conventional machines.
Every cycle will provide the reassurance of disinfection. It's also very easy to maintain: the only components needing regular attention are the filters on the oxygen concentrator and the ozone generator which should be checked on a daily basis and cleaned when necessary for best results. Finally, if you need to report any problems please call the JLA service department on 0800 591 503.
OTEX does more than just disinfect laundry – it provides reassurance to different people, in different sectors, for different reasons:
- The care home owner who gets a print-out of the wash process, providing them with the audit trail they need for CQC inspections.
- The hospital staff who want to be sure that their staff uniforms, towels and microfibre mops are thoroughly disinfected, reducing the transmission risk of healthcare-acquired infections (HCAIs).
- The veterinarian who needs to be sure that their bedding, blankets and linens are hygienic so that pets are kept happy and healthy.
- The spa manager who wants to keep utility costs down while providing clean, soft and fluffy towels and bathrobes to guests.
We were the pioneers of ozone-based laundry disinfection over a decade ago, but it’s not time to sit back and rest on our laurels. We’re always moving forward, constantly assessing the efficiency of our product and exploring new ways to bring cost savings and infection control to more laundry rooms across the UK.
A Brief History of OTEX
Ozone has been a popular method of water supply disinfection for decades, but really only started to appear as a laundry disinfection method in the 1980s and 1990s. As UK market leaders in commercial laundry, we quickly became interested in the idea. Our in-house chemists began several years of research, development and testing.
OTEX was launched in 2004, right at the height of public concern over the rise of HCAIs such as C.diff, MRSA and E.Coli. Hospitals, care homes and clinics needed reassurance that their laundry could be kept clean and hygienic – and OTEX provided a solution.
In 2009, OTEX received a Department of Health RRP1 recommendation, with the Rapid Review Panel stating that ‘evidence shows that it is more effective than current laundry systems.’ In 2016, we developed OTEX Energy, bringing powerful disinfection, reduced utility bills and increased linen life to hotels, leisure centres, spas, pubs, schools and more.
If you’re interested in the science and research behind the development of OTEX, please visit the science of OTEX page.