Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cleaning with Enzymes, Let Nature do the Hard Work for You!

Today I was in a Clean Trust class for odor control and it reminded me of one of my favorite cleaning technologies.   Enzymes are very powerful and under used cleaning agents.  Enzymes are proteins that are created by living things to break down biological material. We have millions of enzymes in our bodies that cause a chemical catalyst to break down the food we eat.  Plants have enzymes that turn soil into the nutrients needed to grow.  Said a different way, enzymes are naturally occurring chemicals catalysts that accelerate the natural biodegradable or breaking down of organic material.  Because these are natural chemicals they are safe, non toxic, and biodegradable making them very popular in green cleaning.  There is nothing greener than an enzyme based cleaner.

Where enzymes really shine is on removing organic stains and smells such as blood, urine, grass stains, and oil.  The trick in using enzyme based cleaners is to find the right one.  There are literally millions of enzymes and they all work on different organic material.  An enzyme that breaks down oil may not do anything to blood.  As a result most enzyme based cleaners are designed for one specific use only.  There is no such thing as a all purpose enzyme cleaner.  This is why you will often see specialty products for blood, wine, grass stain removal and so on.  A well known example of an enzyme based cleaner is Nature's Miracle which is used on animal urine.

Remember that enzyme based cleaners are causing a biological reaction to take place.  You are biodegrading the organic material.  Biological reactions take time.  You cannot spray an enzyme on and expect instant results.  Read the label carefully because some enzyme based products say to leave it on for minutes, others say hours.  Also remember that you can kill a biological reaction so do not mix chemicals.  If you mix a disinfectant or a sanitizer with a enzyme, you will kill all the biological activity you are trying to create.  I see this all the time when people use Nature's Miracle but then they mix it with bleach and then wonder why it did not work.  The bleach killed all the enzymes and the bacteria created by enzymatic cleaners. 

I recommend most companies invest the time to meet with a professional janitorial distributor and buy some of these products.  You will not normally find these products at retail.  You can buy these one at a time or often these products are sold in a kit with 4 – 8 specialty “stain removers”.  This is not something you need to carry all the time but when you can get the blood stain off the carpet or the urine scent out of the basement that no one else can fix, you will prove yourself to be a true expert.   The great thing is because the way enzymes work, you do not even need to scrub.  Apply the right product.  Leave it alone and let nature take it's course.  Then amaze the customer with your knowledge.


Castle Keepers of Charleston said...

Yesterday on a LinkedIn thread about ATP meter use, the question was asked whether enzymes also contain adenosine triphosphates, which are present in all living organisms. Another way to ask this question is "are enzymes biological organisms or a byproduct (protein) of organisms?

Derek Christian said...

Goo question. I think to answer it I need to write my next blog on ATP meters.