Good, better, best … chemical cleaners vs. enzymic vs. biological

There is no denying that we live in an age where people are more environmentally aware and increasingly knowledgeable about the substances that make up our cleaning products. Not only do they question the harm that the ingredients in chemical cleaning products pose to natural habitats, they also demand that these solutions do the job efficiently whilst being more cost effective.

There is a rapid move away from traditional harmful chemical cleaners to enzymic and biological ones. But the difference between these different approaches is often confusing, and the claims that long-stablished manufacturers make about their products further deter consumers from making the switch.

Chemical cleaning products … around since the nineteenth century

In simple terms, chemical cleaners use caustic, acidic or oxidising action to literally dissolve and weaken the structure of dirt and grime after which the waste products are washed away into the environment. These substances are effective in attacking the problem … but at a price. Often sold in large volumes and diluted to make them relatively safe for domestic use, their ingredients do not readily break down in the environment making it hazardous for human health and aquatic life especially. And the harsh effects are not just limited to the environment. These chemicals are also damaging to natural building materials and all types of pipes; a real headache for facilities managers and building owners.

Enzymic … a better option

Enzymic cleaning products are a better option. As a start they are free of dangerous chemicals and break down organic waste into smaller parts making it easier to be flushed into the environment. And they do not possess the same destructive effects on anything that it comes into contact with. However, they are not capable of consuming waste materials, such as hardened grease, uric scale, or ammonia. Rather, all that they can do is convert complex wastes into simple wastes. Bacteria are still needed to consume the waste material – enzymes alone will not do the job.

Biological … best, for longer and cheaper

Biological cleaning products in turn use friendly bacteria. These friendly pathogens consume waste materials. When bacteria consume waste, they convert the waste into safe by-products – carbon dioxide and water. When the waste materials are very complex; such as hardened grease or uric scale build-up; bacteria actually produce enzymes to break down the complex waste into simple compounds that the bacteria can consume, further prolonging its effectiveness over that of enzymatic and chemical cleaners.

Bacteria and enzymes work better together; and this can only be achieved using proven biological cleaning approaches. Enzymes are not alive; they are produced by live bacteria which are necessary for it to work. As long as organic waste is present these microscopic ‘cleaners’ multiply, continuing to remove traces of grime and odour days after the initial application.

Biological cleaning products are not harmful to people or the environment. In addition, there is none of the damaging effects that chemical cleaners have on assets and infrastructure. Because less product is needed to achieve the same outcome, biological solutions also use less water and are much easier on the hip-pocket.

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