Written by Lisa Truesdale. Reviewed by cleaning expert Sean Busch.

If you’re tired of fighting stubborn stains on your clothing, linens, carpeting, and upholstery, you’re about to meet your new best (cleaning) friend -- enzyme-based cleaners.

What Are Enzymes and How Do They Work?

The short answer is this: Enzymes are very tiny (beyond microscopic) molecules that help to speed up a natural chemical reaction.

For a more detailed explanation, let’s think about the human body’s digestive system for a moment. As soon as we put a bite of food into our mouth, the enzymes in our body go right to work, causing a chemical reaction that breaks down the food into smaller particles so it’s easier to digest. There are different enzymes throughout the digestive system -- in our mouth, our stomach, our small intestine, and so on. Each enzyme has a specific job to do, and it goes directly to the source; for instance, enzymes called amylases split carbohydrates into simple sugars, and enzymes called lipases split fats and oils into fatty acids.

The chemical reaction with enzymatic cleaners is very similar. Bio-enzymatic cleaners like Puracy Natural Stain RemoverPuracy Natural Laundry Detergent, and Puracy Natural Dishwasher Detergent Packs contain plant-based enzymes that quickly go to work on removing hundreds of different types of stains and odors. These enzymes cause a natural chemical reaction that keeps breaking the stain down into smaller and smaller particles until it’s gone completely.

There’s a saying in the industry: If stains are the lock, then enzymes are the key.

Puracy Natural Stain Remover is the only stain remover in America that contains all six plant-based enzymes (our closest competitor uses just three):

  • Mannanase removes FOOD stains from things like coffee, soup, and ice cream
  • Amylase removes STARCH stains like from tomato sauce, chocolate syrup, and baby food
  • Protease removes PROTEIN stains like from grass, blood, meat, baby formula, and urine
  • Pectinase removes FRUIT stains such as those from red wine, watermelon, juice, and berries
  • Lipase removes OIL stains like from sweat, grease, lipstick, and salad dressing
  • Cellulase removes GENERAL stains like from mud and dust. It also brightens and freshens fabrics.

The Benefits of Enzyme Cleaners

Have you ever successfully (or so you thought) removed a stain from a piece of clothing or carpeting only to have it reappear later? Frustrating, isn’t it? That’s because the stain was only removed from the surface; particles of the original stain remained underneath the surface, hidden from view -- and the potential for lasting odors was lurking there, too.

Much like the digestive enzymes in the human body, the enzymes in enzyme-based cleaners simply “eat away” at the stain until it’s completely gone. They don’t need to rely on harmful chemicals, acids, detergents, or abrasive ingredients like many conventional cleaners, because they do their work naturally, without the need for any “elbow grease” from you.

And, because the molecules are so teeny-tiny, the enzymes can really penetrate into the smallest cracks, crevices, and fibers to thoroughly eliminate stains -- not just cover them up temporarily or remove them from the top surface of whatever material you’re cleaning.

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Don’t rush the enzymes, though -- they need time to work their magic. For tough stains, Puracy’s cleaning experts recommend pretreating with Puracy Natural Stain Remover and waiting at least 8 hours before laundering. For normal pretreatment of stains, 15 minutes should do, but the longer you wait, the better your results will be.

What Surfaces Can an Enzymatic Cleaner Be Used On?

Clean stains with Puracy Natural Stain Remover

Enzyme cleaners can be used on any washable surface, whether you’ll be laundering the item in the washing machine (clothing, linens, diapers), with a steam cleaner (carpets, upholstery, car floor mats), or by hand. Basically, if it can get wet, an enzyme-based product will clean and freshen it.

Which Stains and Odors Are Best Eliminated with Enzyme Cleaners?

Because Puracy Natural Stain Remover contains all six plant-based enzymes, there’s no guesswork on your part about which stains and odors it will remove. It’s guaranteed to remove hundreds of different types of stains and odors, without bleaching or discoloring fabrics. Puracy Natural Laundry Detergent will also work on hundreds of stains, since it contains four plant-based enzymes -- lipase, mannanase, amylase, and protease.

If you’re using another enzyme-based cleanser, laundry detergent, or stain remover, you just need to read the product’s label. See which of the six plant-based enzymes are in the ingredients list, then consult the enzyme chart above to see which types of stains it will remove.

Now that you’re an expert in how plant-based enzymes work, learn how to effectively use them in your home to remove stains and odors. How to Use Enzyme-Based Cleaners: A Step-by-Step Guide has all the details. If you’ve got furry friends in your house, you’ll also want to check out our upcoming blog post, An Expert’s Guide on How to Clean & Remove Pet Stains, which we’ll publish in the coming weeks.