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Enzymes -- What are they? How do they work in laundry cleaning? Why do they work?

We hear considerable talk about enzyme detergent washing these days. Actually, the technology has been around for a long time, but like everything else, it runs in cycles. I’m often asked about the benefits thatenzymes can have for laundries. 

If the soil conditions are right, wash operations are conducive to slightly longer formulas and high temperature water usage is a concern, then enzymes may benefit your laundry operation.

However, I have yet to see heavily soiled items such as bar towels, aprons, table linens, etc., come out thoroughly clean without higher alkalinity and use of chlorine bleach. Regardless, there is a valuable place forenzymes when the conditions and expectations are correct. 

Detergent enzymes are large molecules made by bacteria. There are different types of enzymes used in laundry chemical formulations. One type, called protease, goes after protein soils; another type, which is effective against fat is called lipase. The third type, amylase, is used for carbohydrates (starches.) 

 When a laundry tries enzyme washing, everything changes in the wash process. In an enzyme wash there can be no contact with strong caustic solutions, chlorine or high water temperatures. If contact with these conditions occur, then the enzymes are damaged and become inactive.

Enzymes work by attacking soils and breaking them into small, loose fragments. With good detergency, the soil is then flushed away from the linen and down the sewer. Generally, when washing with enzyme detergents, the wash bath must be lengthened and ideal temperatures are between 125 degrees and 145 degrees F (depending on the manufacturer of the product.) The preflushes to an enzyme formula should remain to assist in getting loose soil out, so that when the enzyme detergent is added it can attack stains and the harder to remove embedded soils. If there is no high alkaline bath after the wash and a bleach bath is skipped, it is possible to cut back on some of the rinsing steps.

Match the conditions and soil types and you might find enzyme detergent wash formulations a benefit to your laundry.

Quick Rinse - News From Around The World

Inmate Crushed By Laundry Equipment

GOOCHLAND, Va. — An inmate at the Virginia Correctional Center died when a shuttle that carried hundreds of pounds of wet laundry from washers to dryers fell upon her. The inmates were conducting repairs on the equipment when it fell and she was trapped underneath. The inmate died from her injuries at the VCU Medical Center