Bio-based cleaners, which include bio-enzymatic cleaners, are derived from agricultural products such as corn, soybeans, and even coconuts. Although they are getting more attention today, the first patent for a bio product dates back to 1932.  Unlike other bio-based cleaners, bio-enzymatic cleaners are formulated with specific enzymes (a type of protein that breaks complex molecules into smaller pieces) and what are termed “good” bacteria that allow them to break down soils.

Enzymes are catalysts that speed up the process of breaking down soils and contaminants. Enzymes and bacteria strains are very specific on what they work on (over 40,000 to choose from) and act on only certain types of soils. For this reason, an effective bio-enzymatic cleaner usually contains a mixture of enzymes and bacteria to tackle a variety of cleaning situations, and the best products are specifically designed for different cleaning applications, not products that are generalist in design with multiple strains.

One of the first large uses of bio-enzymatic cleaners was as grease trap and drain cleaners/maintainers. They essentially eat organic material, the cause of many clogs, causing the drain to unclog to the point that water flows freely. Then the cleaners became popular helping to clean grease-covered surfaces and vents in commercial kitchens as well as to eliminate odors. The odor-eliminating abilities of bio-enzymatic cleaners are still among their best features.

Just as all green cleaning products are not alike, not all bio-enzymatic cleaners are alike. Some of the differences are the following:

  • Some will have more or less, as well as a higher quality and quantity of, enzymes and/or bacteria than others.
  • Some have a high quantity and quality of surfactant to help with the initial cleaning.
  • Some contain protease enzymes, designed specifically to help remove spots and blood from carpets.
  • Some bio-enzymatic cleaners may work better in certain situations, on certain surfaces.
  • Cleaning effectiveness may vary based on what other cleaning chemicals were used on the surface before the bio-enzymatic cleaner was applied. In general, bleach and most disinfectants will minimize or eliminate the cleaning ability of bio-enzymatic cleaners, as well as degrading the microbial efficacy of the disinfectant.

How to Use Them

Bio-enzymatic cleaners can be used to clean a variety of surfaces from countertops and tile and grout areas to carpets. Similar to other cleaning products, they must be diluted and used according to manufacturer’s instructions. Then, in many cases, a spray containing the bio-enzymatic cleaner or odor eliminator is sprayed onto a surface. For instance, if used in a restroom, the restroom bio-enzymatic odor eliminator would be sprayed on the floor around toilets and urinals, creating a super-colony to go after the embedded soils.

One of the unusual qualities of bio-enzymatic cleaners is that they can continue to work for several hours, even days, after they have been applied to a surface as long as the area remains moist, no disinfectants or bleached applied, the temperature remains at normal room temperature, and soils are present. This is especially effective at removing deeply embedded soils such as those found in grout areas or breaking down hard-to-reach odor-causing bacteria found in grout, in grout, under the tiles, in the urinal piping, or floor drains. However, it should be noted that while bio-enzymatic cleaners break down soils and waste, the waste is not necessarily all digested. The surface must be wiped cleaned to remove the gross soils.

Are bio-enzymatic cleaners for you? Much depends on the cleaning challenges in your facility. They are especially effective at eliminating odors, typically caused by bacteria, as well as cleaning hard-to-reach areas. Carpet cleaning technicians find them to be effective when used as a spotter for organic soils, to remove specific soils from carpets, also when performing encapsulation carpet cleaning. Additionally, as referenced earlier, they are often used to clean commercial kitchens and foodservice areas, where grease and oil buildup are common.  In fact, many consider bio-enzymatic cleaners a cleaning worker’s “life saver.”

The bottom-line is that Enviro-Solutions® Proven-Green bio-enzymatic cleaners offer facility managers and BSCs a safe, effective, and cost-effective tool to clean facilities with minimal impact on the user, building occupants, or the environment.


For more information on bio-enzymatic cleaning and cleaners, contact Charlotte Products at