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Green Cleaning: Understanding Bio-enzymatic Cleaners

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Although not new, many cleaning professionals and facility managers are giving bio-enzymatic cleaners a closer look.
"This is because they [can] complement a Green cleaning program," says Mike Sawchuk, vice president of Enviro-Solutions and Charlotte Products, both leading chemical manufacturers.  "In fact, some of these cleaners have been certified and proven Green."
However, many have questions about bio-enzymatic cleaners and how they work. The following addresses some of these issues:
1.  Bio-enzymatic cleaners contain specific quantities and qualities of bacteria along with enzymes and microbial nutrients that essentially digest chemical and organic waste (soils).
2.  An enzyme is a type of protein that can break up complex molecules into smaller pieces.  Contrary to popular belief, enzymes are not living things.
3.  Odor-causing bacteria are "food" for these microorganisms.

4.  In many cases, bio-enzymatic cleaners can provide immediate odor relief.
5.  The bacteria consumed by the bio-enzymatic cleaners are converted into two basic compounds: carbon dioxide and water.
6.  Some bio-enzymatic cleaners are designed to work up to 80 hours after they are applied.
7.  Overall, bio-enzymatic cleaners may be safer for users and the environment compared to traditional cleaning chemicals, especially if they have been Green certified
8.  Other than odor control, some popular uses of bio-enzymatic cleaners are for washroom cleaning, food prep/kitchen area cleaning, and to remove spots and stains in carpets.
Sawchuk adds that bio-enzymatic cleaners should never be used with bleach or disinfectants because they can reduce or eliminate the effectiveness of the bio-enzymatic cleaner, as well as the microbial efficacy of the bleach or disinfectant.
"Bio-enzymatic cleaners are not going to replace Green cleaning products," says Sawchuk. "But, because many newer bio-enzymatic cleaners perform well, are environmentally preferable, and cost effective, we can expect them to play an even greater role in Green cleaning in the future."