Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Enzyme Green Cleaning Products

by Donnalynn Polito

Enzymes have changed cleaning products both in how they work in our homes and how they work in the environment. Enzymes have made our cleaning products green.

Using enzymes in our cleaning products bring a lot of benefit because they eliminate the need for chemicals to do the job. Enzymes are non-toxic to us and the world around us and have the potential of reducing tons of carbon dioxide that’s pouring into our atmosphere.

So what are these enzymes that do so much of the heavy lifting to green our world?

Often I hear people ask if enzymes and green cleaning products do the cleaning job that we’re accustomed to and looking for. The answer is a resounding Yes!

In this article, I am going to give a simplified explanation of enzymes, what they are, how they work and their role in greening our household cleaning products.

Why Think Enzymes For Green Cleaning?

Enzymes were brought on board for household cleaning products because they break down the large stuff, like soil and stains, which are insoluble and turn them into smaller water soluble pieces of soil and stains. This breakdown allows the actual mechanics of the cleaning action to then wisk away the dirt.

Also, enzymes don’t stop working.  In other words, they continue to work, stain after stain. Because they continue working, a small amount of enzymes can do the job of a much large amount of chemicals.

Enzymes don’t require a high temperature to begin their action, like lots detergents do. Recently, chemical detergents have been reformulated to work in cold water, but they still contain other toxins that we need to watch out for.

There are about four enzymes used in household cleaning products and each enzymes works on a specific task. Some household cleaning products only contain one or two enzymes. Others have figured out a way to combine more enzymes that produces a product completely non-toxic.  A product you could eat, not that you’d want to.

And, of course, enzymes are fully biodegradable, which we all love and are grateful for.

Enzymes Speed It Up And Break It Down

Enzymes are proteins that speed up biological reactions and break down molecules to smaller, molecules that are easier to handle within a system. Just like our digestive systems, enzymes are responsible for breaking down the foods we eat which then get wisked away into our bloodstream.

Enzymes are found in all living organisms and are responsible for many of the biological reactions that happen within these organisms. Enzymes are made up of amino acids which are necessary for all metabolic processes or chemical reactions.

Because enzymes speed up chemical reactions, they are called biological catalysts. In order to manufacture products that contain the enzymes, a fermentation process is used. This fermentation process multiplies and harvests these biological catalysts which can then be used in a variety of industrial products, including our household cleaning products.

With cleaning products, enzymes break down the larger components or molecules into smaller ones which then get wisked away by the mechanical washing action.

The really cool thing about enzymes is that they speed up the metabolic process but do not get used up in the process. So, they go from stain to stain doing their work.

Enzymes used in household cleaning products include the following. Proteases work on soils and stains that contain proteins. An example would be grass and blood. The proteases enzymes work to breakdown long-chain proteins into smaller-chain proteins which are then washed away.

Stains from sauces, ice cream and gravies are broken down by the Amylases enzyme that removes starch-based soils. Again these enzymes breakdown larger molecules into smaller ones to be wisked away in the cleaning process.

The Lipases enzyme removes oil and grease, while the Cellulases enzyme provides general cleaning benefits like whitening and softening the fabric.

Putting Enzymes To Work For Us

Because the work of enzymes can be done in lower water temperatures than traditional chemicals, less water and energy is used in the cleaning process. Using less energy always cascades to less environmental pollution.

Enzymes are very cost effective. Enzymes can be used over and over, so more work can be done using less product.

Enzymes have a high efficiency rate because they replace the larger amounts of chemicals required in traditional cleaning products for the same amount of clean.

Enzymes are beneficial to the surfaces they are cleaning. They aren’t as abrasive so they don’t destroy the fabric.

Enzymes are fully biodegradable and save large amounts of raw materials. Enzymes also save energy and water because shorter washing cycles are required.

Enzymes work faster because they cause natural reactions to occur faster.

We can see why enzymes increase the performance of our household clean products and why it’s not only beneficial to the planet and frees our world of toxins, enzyme based products make our workload easier and saves us time, something we all are in need of.

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