Cleaning carpets, drains or restroom grout is hard enough without having to worry about odors that can accompany the mess. When tough smells do arise, it’s necessary to separate the two functions, as a cleaning product doesn’t automatically eliminate pesky odors.

Glen Huizenga, sales leader for Nichols, Spring Lake, Mich., says that regardless of whether odors are in grout, drains or carpet, his go-to chemicals include odor digesters, which are natural bacteria that remain dormant until a favorable environment is made available to them.

An odor digester produces enzymes that basically act like a “fork and knife,” breaking down the compounds that cause the odors into bite-size morsels for the digesters to “eat.” This process is called biodegradation.

“When presenting this technology to end-users we paint the picture of little Pac Man-like dudes running around capturing their food source, slicing and dicing them up to be consumed,” Huizenga says. “The end result is that the compounds causing the odors are eliminated completely — actually changed into a small amount of carbon dioxide and water. It’s nature’s way.”

The digesters can be formulated in many ways to address specific compounds — also called food sources — and the surfaces that they can be used on.

According to Chris Martini, director of marketing for Central Sanitary Supply, Modesto, Calif., the most universal solution that people use in these situations include these enzyme-based products.

“In my experience, most odors can be controlled and eliminated with enzymes,” he says. “Enzymes attack and remove organic debris and have the ability to catalyze a reaction at a very high rate of speed.”

An odor digester can be used to tackle odors on many surfaces, including grout, carpet and drains.

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