Enzymes. What are they? How do they work?
You see it all the time on cleaning products, “Now with Enzymes” or “Powered by Enzymes”. Have you ever wondered what is an enzyme and how does it help clean or freshen?
In order to understand a little more about enzymes and bio-enzymatic cleaners, you have to understand a little about decomposition. Decomposition is a matter of chemistry. In short, decomposition is the process by which organic substances are broken down into simpler matter. Most stains and smells are composed of some type of organic matter. Organic matter is made primarily of organic compounds. An organic compound is any member of a large class of gaseous, liquid, or solid chemical compounds whose molecules contain carbon.
So why is this important to cleaning? Because organic compounds decompose over time and exposure to the elements. Controlling and speeding up the process of decomposition can enable someone to actual transform an unwanted stain or smell into a completely different substance, thus completely eliminating the issue.
This is where enzymes come in. Enzymes are types of proteins that are present in all living cells. These proteins act as catalysts and help living cells break up complex molecules into smaller pieces. This allows them to be more easily digested. Enzymes can break up compounds that do not react well to detergents or agitation into compounds that are. These smaller compounds are often more soluble and easier to remove. Enzymes can be created to target specific compounds. Proteases targets protein spots like blood and many food-related stains. Lipases are used to target oils and greases. Amylases can be used to target starchy material.
Many enzymatic cleaners contain a combination of enzymes and specific types of bacteria in solution. Often used for tough odors, these solutions when applied to an area start breaking down the target naturally. Called bio-enzymatic cleaners, they use the presence of enzymes to help speed up the bacteria by making it easier for bacteria to consume whatever is causing the stain or odor. These cleaners essentially digest the chemical and organic wastes. The byproduct of these bio-enzymatic cleaners are simply carbon dioxide and water. Making it not only an effective product, but completely safe for children, pets, and the environment. Bio-enzymatic cleaners begin working immediately, but depending on the product and the target, may continue working for hours, even days after application.
One caution, enzymes or bio-enzymatic cleaner should never be used with bleach or disinfectants because these substances can damage or even kill the helpful bacteria and can reduce or eliminate the effectiveness of the enzymes.
Enzymatic and Bio-Enzymatic cleaners are especially useful when dealing with stains and odors left behind from pets or food on carpets and upholstery. So when trying to removed stain and odors and all else fails, get help from the natures littlest helper, enzymes.