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What Are Enzyme Cleaners and When to Use Them

what are the types of enzyme cleaners

What Are Enzyme Cleaners

Enzyme cleaners harness the power of biological enzymes, which are specialised molecules accelerating chemical reactions, to swiftly and efficiently degrade various types of dirt and grime. These cleaners contain beneficial bacteria that rapidly multiply and initiate the production of these enzymes upon application to a surface. As these bacteria flourish, they contribute to the breakdown of organic matter, such as food particles, grease, and other waste, into smaller components, making them easier to clean or remove and aiding in the thorough cleaning process. So, one of the main differences between regular cleaners and enzymatic cleaners is that enzymatic cleaners perform residual cleaning, meaning they continue to clean once the product has been applied. 
 
Enzymatic cleaners are formulated with enzymes that aid in breaking down soils within a neutral pH range, usually between 6 and 8. These cleaners include diverse enzyme types like proteases, amylases, and lipases, each targeting different soil types. Notably, all these enzymes fall under the category of proteins.

How Do Bio Enzyme Cleaners Work

The bacteria digest waste, soils, stains, and malodorous by producing enzymes that break down molecules into smaller pieces. Contrary to popular belief, enzymes are not alive. They are produced by live bacteria and pave the way for it to work. Enzymes operate as helpful tools that catalyse the reaction speed between bacteria and soils, making the bacteria more efficient. 

Enzymes work to break down complex particles into smaller pieces that the bacteria can consume. These tiny particles, organic wastes, urine, grease, stains, etc., become food for the bacteria to digest and break down into two basic compounds: carbon dioxide and water. The bacteria grow in number and continue to consume the soil until their food supply diminishes and the soil is gone. Then, the bacterial population levels off or decreases and can be washed away during the next cleaning or continue to work against new soils. 

Typically, enzymes can be categorised into four main groups based on the types of soils they react with. Each type of enzyme is different and will catalyse only one type of reaction known as the lock and key mechanism

  1. Proteases: Target protein-based soils, including blood, urine, food, faeces, wine and other beverages. 
  2. Lipases: Act on fat molecules like oils and grease. 
  3. Amylases: Work on starch molecules like eggs, sugar, sauces, ice cream, and gravy. 
  4. Cellulases: Soften the fabric and restore colour to fibres made of cellulose material. They also remove particulate soil and reduce fabric greying and pilling. 

When to Use Enzyme Cleaners

how to clean and enzymatic cleaner products to clean organic buildup in drains

Enzyme cleaners effectively remove organic buildup, like in kitchens or places with food waste. They’re also suitable for removing stains caused by organic materials.

Removing Organic Buildup

Enzyme cleaners can target and break down organic residues from food particles, oils, grease, and other organic substances that often accumulate in drains, sinks, countertops, and floors. The enzymes within cleaners break down the complex organic compounds into simpler forms, making cleaning and removing the buildup easier. They help prevent clogs in drains and pipes by breaking down the substances causing blockages.

Stain Removal

Enzyme cleaners also prove effective in removing stains caused by organic materials. For instance, food spills and pet stains, which often consist of organic matter, can be challenging to eliminate. Enzyme cleaners’ ability to break down the organic components of these stains helps remove and neutralise the odour-causing molecules, rather than just masking the scent. 

Immediate Action without Recurrence

When immediate results are needed without expecting repeated action, quick-acting solutions are essential. These solutions deliver prompt effects, addressing the problem swiftly and efficiently. Unlike regular maintenance treatments, they are designed for one-time use, resolving issues without the need for continuous application. This approach is ideal for situations requiring urgent attention, ensuring that the problem is handled effectively without ongoing intervention.

Enzyme Mechanism

Most enzyme cleaners contains a highly concentrated solution containing enzymes and bacteria that works via the following mechanism:

  • Enzymes swiftly break down organic substances and fats into simpler elements, making them more readily assimilated by bacteria through hydrolysis.
  • Bacteria thrive and reproduce by using the pollutants released by enzymes (metabolization). These bacteria subsequently secrete enzymes and spread throughout the surrounding environment.

DOs and DON’Ts For Enzyme Cleaners

guide on how to use enzyme cleaners

Avoid Using Hot Water

When exposed to high temperatures, enzymes can lose shape and functionality, rendering them less effective or inactive. Additionally, extreme temperatures can alter the pH level of the cleaning solution, which might also impact the enzymes’ ability to function optimally.

Avoid Using on High Alkaline Water/Residue

Enzymes often contain functional groups like -COOH and -NH2, which can ionise at different pH levels. In highly alkaline conditions, excess hydroxide ions can lead to increased deprotonation, altering the properties of these functional groups and subsequently impacting the enzyme’s activity.

Do Not Mix With Other Chemicals

Enzymes have an active site, a region where the substrate (the molecule on which the enzyme acts) binds and undergoes a chemical reaction. This active site has a precise shape that complements the shape of the substrate molecule. Other chemicals or molecules interacting with enzymes can disrupt the enzyme’s structure or alter its active site. This interference can lead to denaturation.

Keep the Bottle Cap Closed

Oxygen can impact enzymes through a process called oxidation. Oxidation involves the loss of electrons or an increase in the oxidation state of atoms in a molecule. Enzymes contain specific functional groups, such as sulfhydryl (-SH) groups in cysteine amino acids that may be sensitive to oxidation.

Avoid Exposure to Sunlight

Enzymes can be sensitive to environmental factors such as sunlight, temperature, or humidity. Sunlight, specifically ultraviolet (UV) radiation, has disinfectant properties due to its ability to damage the DNA and cellular structure of microorganisms like bacteria. Upon direct exposure to sunlight, especially over prolonged periods, the UV radiation can gradually break down the active ingredients within the cleaner.

Check for Sufficient Enzymes

It’s common to find cleaning products that claim to be enzyme cleaners but fail to do the job properly. This is because, to be effective, enzyme cleaners require live, non-harmful bacteria in sufficient quantities. To avoid disappointment, look for the minimum ufc/mL (unit-forming colonies per millilitre) information on the product’s label to ensure that the enzymatic cleaner you choose has adequate enzyme levels for thorough cleaning.

Enzyme Cleaner Application: Drains

How long for enzyme drain cleaner to work
Before starting the drain maintenance program, it is important to clean the drain pneumatically or mechanically. If your pipe is more than 50% clogged, we recommend you begin with the drain cleaning program before moving on to maintenance. 
 
By being thorough and regular with the drain maintenance program, you can avoid the need to physically clean the drain in the future. We will be discussing both drain cleaning and drain maintenance methods in detail.

Drain Cleaning

If your drain is more than 50% clogged, it’s advisable to begin by clearing the blockage and restoring it to an unobstructed state by removing any accumulation of hair, soap residue, grease, and organic matter. Refraining from employing acidic solutions for drain cleaning is recommended due to their higher risk compared to alkaline cleaners.
 
If you use ORAPI’s drain maintenance products on an already clogged drain, you are likely not to get the results you are looking for. In such a case, utilise DRAINSOL first. Later in this article, we’ll present lab test outcomes illustrating how ORAPI DRAIN GUARD effectively transformed the wastewater in our customer’s facility.

ORAPI RECOMMENDS: 

  • Fast-acting alkaline drain opener
  • Attacks the molecular structure of hair, soap scum, grease and organic slime
  • Ideal to unblock wastes from drains, sink traps and toilets
  • Restores free flow to choked drains
  • Produces no gases or violent reaction
  • Non-corrosive to pipes
  • PACK SIZE: 1L x 12

Drain Opener Application

Precautions Before Use

  • Careful Handling: Open the bottle cautiously without squeezing it.
  • Protective Gear: Wear rubber gloves and eye protection while pouring.
  • Avoid Plungers: Do not use a plunger in combination with DRAINSOL.

For Slow Running Drains

  • Initial Rinse: Before using DRAINSOL, rinse the drain with several cups of hot water.

For Clogged Drains

  • Water Removal: Remove most of the standing water from the drain.
  • Application: Pour half the bottle directly into the drain opening.
  • Waiting Period: Allow DRAINSOL to stand for 30 to 60 minutes.
  • Flow Restoration: When the drain starts flowing, flush it with hot water.
  • Tough Clogs: For stubborn clogs, leave DRAINSOL overnight and then flush.

To Maintain Free-Flowing Drains

  • Regular Application: Pour a quarter of the bottle into the drain every week.
  • Waiting Time: Allow it to stand for 20 minutes, then flush with hot water.

Container Disposal

  • Cleaning: Rinse the container thoroughly three times.
  • Safe Disposal: Dispose of the container appropriately after rinsing.

Drain Maintenance

how to maintain clean drain without damage

After drain cleaning comes the step of drain maintenance. However, if your drain is already clean and you only need to maintain the cleanliness, you can start with this step straight.

ORAPI RECOMMENDS: 

DRAIN GUARD, boasting a bacteria count of 5.4×10^7 ufc/mL, stands out among enzyme drain cleaners in the market due to its exceptionally high bacterial content. Comprising a fusion of spores bacillus with amylase and lipase, this product offers a powerful enzymatic formula. Amylase targets starches and sugars, while lipase tackles oils and fats, contributing to the product’s remarkable effectiveness.

Guidelines for Drain Maintenance

  • In multi-storey buildings, start the drain cleaning maintenance routine from the lower floors upwards to prevent potential clogs caused by residue from upper levels accumulating in lower-level pipes. 
  • Avoid simultaneously using DRAIN GUARD alongside bleach, acid, strong alkali, or chlorinated dishwashing compounds. 
  • For optimal results, apply DRAIN GUARD during the lowest water flow period, typically at night. Dosing during nighttime has the added advantage of preventing hot substances such as oils, which may potentially destroy the enzymes in the system, from being poured down the same line after dosing. Therefore, it is recommended to set the metering pump to dispense the dosage only at midnight once all the daily activities have been completed.
  • When using products near the drain where DRAIN GUARD is dosed, it is essential to only use products with a pH range of 5.5 to 7.5. Using highly alkaline or acidic products may harm the bacteria responsible for the enzyme’s function.
  • Store the product in its original packaging, keeping it closed at ambient temperature for ideal preservation and effectiveness. 

Drain Guard Installation

can I use enzyme drain cleaners in plumbing

Install DRAIN GUARD below the kitchen sink, specifically below the grease trap. Make sure to install the pump directly through the cap of the product, whether it’s factory-operated or electrical. Remember to close the lid after installation, as it cannot be left open. The grease trap comes with a filter inside, which needs to be changed regularly to prevent clogging. After a month and a half of regular usage, you can verify the results with a lab test.

Lab Results of Waste Water Testing

We tested the wastewater once before commencing the Applied Maintenance Program and once after. Here are what the results yielded: 

drain cleaners waste water lab test results for clogged drains
In the image above, we conducted wastewater testing in our customer’s facility. It is evident that ORAPI DRAIN GUARD significantly improved various water quality parameters. Prior to its application, the Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) stood at 25,000, indicating the oxygen needed for oxidising organic and inorganic compounds. Post-application, the COD plummeted to 70, meeting the Department of Environment (DOE) standard of 200.
 
Moreover, the Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD), representing the oxygen microorganisms require to decompose organic matter, decreased from 9,200 to 30, remaining comfortably below the permissible limits.
 
Additionally, the presence of oil and grease dropped drastically from 87.3% to being undetectable, indicated as “ND (<1)”. This improvement not only ensures smoother pipe operations but also fewer issues related to pest control owing to reduced odours.

Eco-Friendly Enzymatic Cleaners

are enzyme cleaners biodegradable
Enzymatic cleaners contain active microorganisms that break down the organic waste and make it soluble in water. Therefore, not only do they cause zero damage to the pipes, but they’re also biodegradable and eco-friendly. 
 
Growing consumer awareness of the environmental repercussions of chemical drain cleaners propels the demand for eco-conscious options. This shift inspired ORAI to innovate and unveil eco-friendly drain cleaning solutions, aligning with environmental stewardship and reshaping consumer preferences.

Conclusion: Enzyme Cleaners & Drain Cleaning

In conclusion, enzyme cleaners present a powerful and eco-friendly solution for eliminating organic buildup and stubborn stains in various settings. Harnessing the efficiency of biological enzymes and beneficial bacteria, these cleaners effectively break down complex organic compounds, facilitating easier cleaning and preventing drain blockages. Understanding enzyme cleaner applications’ do’s and don’ts is crucial to maintaining efficacy. The innovative products, such as ORAPI’s DRAIN GUARD and DRAINSOL, exemplify the impact of enzyme-based cleaners in wastewater treatment, significantly reducing COD, BOD, and oil/grease levels. Moreover, their eco-conscious nature aligns with a growing consumer demand for sustainable cleaning solutions, highlighting a shift towards environmentally friendly practices in the cleaning industry.

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