What Are These Enzymes Doing in My Laundry Detergent?

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An Enzyme-based Laundry Detergent Sounds Neat, but Why Is It Good?

There are a half dozen or so different kinds of chemicals you could use to wash clothes, although the most common forms are chlorine and oxygenating bleaches. But almost anything you use short of acid or fire (which is not recommended) has a lot of trouble with heavy grime and soil. Even if a soap can disinfect your laundry, the clothes  might still smell afterwards because the organic materials caked on your jeans gum up the chemical reactions. This is where enzymes come in.

What the Crap is an Enzyme?

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An enzyme is basically a specialized protein that moves or changes other proteins. They usually have a particular shape that matches  another molecule so they can latch on and carry that molecule off. You’ve got about a bajillion in your body breaking down food particles right now, along with a hundred other functions that keep you alive and healthy. Enzymes are powerful little tools with specific functions which they carry out very quickly and thoroughly. That’s why it’s in your laundry detergent. Nothing breaks down stench-ridden soil like an enzyme (assuming you’re using the right one).

So What Does It Do On Clothes?

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The purpose of an enzyme in laundry detergent is to break down hard soil and grime. It takes care of all the stuff that most forms of bleach might take several cycles to wash away, and even then can’t quite get all the smells out. It’s actually similar to the concept of regular hand soap, which is generally designed to combine with oils on the skin so water can wash it away. In this case though it’s enzymes breaking down dirt so a bleach or bleach alternative can sanitize what’s left over. This combination makes the cleaning process much faster and much more effective at removing smells.

Good for Clothes, Good for the Environment

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The extra benefit of this is that there’s no harmful byproduct from using enzymes because they aren’t chemicals. They’re natural proteins, so you don’t have to worry about dangerous concoctions draining into drinking water or poisoning the ground. In the case of large industries like hog farms, that can mean anything from reducing the risk of foaming manure to cutting way down on water usage (the star benefit here, of course, is removing the stench from hog pens). But even for industries that don’t have to worry about lakes of pig waste can benefit from a well made enzyme detergent.

But It’s a Team Effort

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It’s important to remember that enzymes alone are not a sure way to completely clean your laundry. They might be good at what they do, but they have a pretty limited scope. Enzymes work best when used in combination with some form of bleach, ideally an oxygen bleach (since chlorine bleach pretty much throws environmental concerns out the window). So if you were on the fence about enzyme cleaners, the main thing you need to know is that they really do work so long as they’re made right.

That’s why Hog Farm Laundry Soap isn’t just a random concoction of ingredients that sound vaguely scientific. It’s a carefully formulated detergent that utilizes enzymes and oxygen bleaches to their fullest potential.

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