If you only have a fork, it’s tough to cut up a piece of meat into tiny consumable pieces. But if you’ve also got a knife, you can trim the meat into bite-size bits with ease.

Adding an enzyme and benevolent bacteria to a cleaner is a lot like using a knife along with your other eating utensils, says Laura Craven, director of communications and marketing for Miami-based Dade Paper. Traditional cleaners only break down so much dirt and soil on a surface, but when enzymes and benevolent bacteria are included, they bond to molecules found in fats, proteins and sugars to break them down even more, making them easier to clean up and remove.

Bio-enzymatic cleaners work similar to the way human bodies use enzymes and good bacteria to digest food. But these cleaners eat away the food source of bad bacteria. And without the food source, there will be no lingering odors.

Bad bacteria converts food sources, such as urine and grease, into methane gas and other noxious odors (whereas good bacteria turns it into carbon dioxide). Without this food source, bad bacteria will die off quickly.

Bio-enzymatic products work just like traditional cleaners…at first. Unlike other chemicals, these products continue to work long after janitors finish cleaning.

For example, a toilet bowl cleaner or a floor cleaner cleans the surface and then the enzymes and benevolent bacteria start working to provide a deeper clean after the initial spray and wipe or mopping is complete.

“The premise of an enzyme-based cleaner is to provide a residual clean after the initial clean,” says Eric Cadell, vice president of operations at Dutch Hollow Supplies in Belleville, Illinois.

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Pick The Right Enzyme To Remove Odor