Organic Stains: When Life Gets Messy

Not to be outdone by synthetic stains there are a pretty wide variety of organic stains that life can dish up on any given day as well.  Picture, if you will, the following scenario:

The kids have finally gone to bed and the dog is asleep by the fire. All of the potentially bad spilly-pants perpetrators in your home are either tucked-in or curled-up for the night. During this rare moment of calm and relaxation you pour yourself a glass of wine from that bottle of cab-merlot that’s been calling your name. Poised to put your feet up, you reach for a book and your favorite micro-fibre blanket—a moment of pure heaven now within your grasp—and, all of a sudden, you lose your grip on the glass and splash, down to the floor, via the arm of the couch, it goes!

“Who’s the spilly-pants now!?” you scream to yourself, furiously rummaging through your cupboards for towels and rags, thinking all the while that you are totally screwed because everyone knows red wine is the stain to end all stains: It’s never coming out!

Enzymatic Stains: Blood, Grass, Tea, Coffee and Red Wine

First of all, you need to calm down. Red wine is bad, but it’s not, by any means, an impossible stain to get rid of. The good news is that enzymatic stains, such as blood, grass, tea, coffee and, yes, even red wine, can be cleaned with an enzyme-based cleaner. As with all other stains it’s important to work quickly, with cold water, blotting and saturating the area, keeping the stain wet while you work.

In the same way that the digestive enzymes in our stomachs break down food molecules into smaller building blocks that can be absorbed by the body, so, too, will enzyme-based cleaners break down and remove the organic material that is responsible for a stain.

And the really good news is that enzymatic cleaners don’t just stop at stains, they work on odours too. The principle is the same—the cleaner is not masking odour, rather it is breaking down the organic material that is responsible for the odour.

Greasy stains: Olive Oil and Butter

Most people have heard the old adage, “Oil and water don’t mix” or they have at least seen evidence of it in action. Try giving that Thanksgiving turkey a rub-down with butter. Yes, he will brown up beautifully in about 5 hours—almost as long as it will take you to wash the slick of butter off your fingers. It’s no small wonder greasy stains ever come out of clothes.

Without getting into too much chemistry, just as enzymes can work miracles to break down other enzymes, detergents and surfactants can work together to eliminate greasy stains like oil and butter. Detergents contain synthetic ingredients that can clean fabrics but also prevent dirt from being re-deposited. Surfactants are one of the essential ingredients in detergent and these compounds have an amazing dual approach to molecular biology: One end of the surfactant molecule is attracted to water but not oil, and the other end is attracted to oil but not to water.  The end result is the dissolution and emulsification of oily stains, even in the presence of water.

So, should you choose to spend your quiet evening with a slice of hot buttered toast—instead of the aforementioned glass of merlot—but you are met with a similarly unfortunate spill, detergent and water will do well to get rid of the mess. But don’t underestimate the potential effectiveness of enzymatic cleaners in this situation as well. They are becoming increasingly popular for widespread use because they contribute to the overall efficiency and effectiveness of household cleaning and maintenance.

Why have 7 or 8 different products clogging up your cupboards, when 1 can suffice?