Enzyme cleaners contain beneficial bacteria that emit enzymes to break down molecules found in organic material like urine, feces, and food.
Once the enzymes break the molecules down into smaller pieces, the bacteria swoops in to consume those molecules, leaving you with a clean carpet sans pee stain.
While enzyme cleaners can be used on many types of stains, they’re especially popular among pet owners since they have such great odor-busting properties.
Enzyme cleaners are wonderful to use when you have pets because they “actively eliminate odors rather than simply covering them up with fragrance like most cleaning products,” Micaela Preston, lifestyle blogger and founder of Mindful Momma, tells mbg. They’re also non-toxic, safe to use, and unlikely to cause skin or respiratory irritation.
With enzymes existing in every living thing on the planet, enzymatic cleaners are a more natural alternative to conventional cleaners. Still, sometimes it helps to use a combo of the two since enzymes alone are cleaners but not disinfectants. (While they’ll break down organic stains, they won’t kill off viruses or bacteria.)
“Enzymes also help boost the cleaning power of laundry detergents, non-chlorine bleaches, and other laundry aids,” Samara Geller, a senior research and database analyst for the environmental champion Environmental Working Group (EWG), says. “They’re also added to more general household stain removers, dish detergents, and drain and septic maintenance products.”