When someone talks about an enzymatic cleaner, he or she is usually referring to a specific type of biodegradable, non-toxic cleaning agent. While an enzymatic cleaner is a special type of cleaning agent, its uses are not confined to any particular product. Enzymatic cleaners can be used on various home and personal items including carpets, laundry, and contact lenses.
Enzymatic cleaners are popular because of their ability to break down soils, stains, and other debris with the use of natural enzymes. Typically, the enzymes used to create an enzymatic cleaner include species of the bacteria Bacillus. Out of this bacteria, proteases and amylases are used the most, though lipases have also been known to be incorporated into detergent formulations. Each of these enzymes function differently. Proteases combat protein-based stains, amylases work on carbohydrates and starches, and lipolases break down lipids or fats.
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Many laundry detergents formulations include enzymes. Detergent formulations that have enzymes in them are generally recognized as having the ability to remove stains such as sweat, blood, milk, and grass with ease. The amount of enzymes in each detergent formulation may vary significantly between brands. Generally, though, enzymes work faster on stains than regular chemical cleaners and they can also clean in lower temperatures, thus requiring less electricity to complete a load of laundry.
Enzymes speed up chemical reactions, which gives them their reputation for being efficient cleaners. While speeding up reactions, enzymes can remain relatively independent of them. They are also not in danger of being consumed or destroyed by the reactions. For this reason, individual enzymes are able to continue combating a stain long after a regular chemical cleaner. In fact, enzymes may be able to keep cleaning until the enzyme itself breaks down.
Since enzymatic cleaners use naturally-occurring proteins to combat stains, they are an especially useful alternative cleaner for those concerned with green living or who do not react well to typical chemical cleaners. Using an enzymatic cleaner can reduce environmental impact and help keep the user safe from adverse, allergic reactions associated with using average cleaning products. When choosing an enzymatic cleaner, consumers should take care to select one that seeks to maximize the enzymatic cleaning process, since many cleaners include enzymes in cleaner formulations by default. Though even a small amount of enzymes in a formulation can have significant effects on the agent's cleaning abilities, more enzymes can mean more cleaning benefits. Consumers should also select an enzymatic cleaner that is most appropriate for the item to be cleaned.