Reducing the amount of chemical used in restroom cleaning can streamline purchasing and product storage. But will managers struggle to convince custodians to give up traditional cleaning products in favor of enzymatic cleaners? Distributors agree that once workers understand how enzymatic cleaners work, educating them on their performance benefits — as well as the differences between traditional and enzymatic cleaners — may persuade them to accept these products into their repertoire.

For example, custodial departments concerned with green cleaning will be pleased to know that enzyme-based cleaners are safe for the environment, as well as human health, according to distributors.

“They’re not harmful because they’re not caustic, and most are at neutral pH levels,” notes Cadell.

In fact, in most instances, enzyme-based cleaners eliminate the need to use harsh chemicals. Additionally, the waste consumed by the enzymes is converted into carbon dioxide and water.

“That in itself is a green philosophy,” says Cadell. “It’s not killing anything, and it’s not a surfactant that gets into streams or wastewater, so it’s not causing any harm.”

One of the major differences between traditional cleaners and enzymatic cleaners is that enzyme-based cleaners perform residual cleaning; that is, they continue cleaning well after the product has been applied. This improved product performance contributes to improved productivity.

“It’s cleaning after you’ve cleaned,” explains Cadell. “When you use the enzyme cleaners, they start to travel down the p-traps and grout lines, and after you’ve cleaned and left, they’re still working on the odor source.”

According to Crisafulli, some enzyme-based cleaners continue to destroy odor-causing organisms for up to 80 hours, as long as the surface remains wet and there is a food source present.

“A lot of people say, ‘When I mop my bathroom floor it’s dry in 15 minutes, so how does the product continue to work if the surface has to remain wet?’” he says. “The answer is, on a porous floor, like a grouted floor, the tile may dry but that grout line stays wet for hours, and that’s where we want a deeper clean.”

Distributors also stress that on non-porous surfaces, enzyme-based cleaners can penetrate into areas where traditional cleaners can’t reach.

“Even on something as simple as traditional floor finish on a vinyl tile floor, there are micro-abrasions and scratches due to normal foot traffic,” says Crisafulli. “Mopping with a bio-enzymatic cleaner will allow you to get into those hard-to-clean places and give you that deeper cleaning ability.”

KASSANDRA KANIA is a freelance writer based in Charlotte, N.C.

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