News from CRIS: Trending - Laundry Detergent Enzymes

September 27, 2022

What are enzymes

In general, enzymes are proteins that expedite chemical reactions involving various biological components. They perform different roles in digestion, growth, and more and are vital to ensuring our health.
In this post, we’re focusing on enzymes that can aid in the cleaning process.
Enzyme ingredients added to detergents accelerate chemical reactions and processes to help break down stains and dirt on fabric better than soap and water alone.

Why are enzymes useful?

Enzymes target specific types of stains and break them down quickly and effectively. For example, some enzymes will target proteins, starches, or fats and help break down and remove those ingredients quickly. 
Enzymes work better than soap alone because they can break down specific stains effectively without needing hot water.
Modern laundry detergents contain enzymes optimized for washing clothes in cold water while using less water, making detergents containing enzymes better for the environment and more effective at cleaning clothes.

What kinds of enzymes are found in laundry detergent?

There are many types of enzymes found in laundry detergents here are the most common ones (1,2,3,4):

  • Amylases remove starch stains such as pasta, potatoes, and more.
  • Cellulases provide color care for fabric and help remove soils, clay, rust, and more.
  • Lipases remove lipid (fat) stains such as butter, oil, and more.
  • Mannanases remove mannan-containing stains such as barbecue sauce, chocolate, ice cream, and more.
  • Proteases remove protein stains such as grass, eggs, bodily fluids, and more.

Are enzymes found in laundry detergent harmful to my health?

It’s known that some enzymes can trigger allergic reactions, especially if inhaled in large quantities. So, scientists looked at how enzymes in modern detergents (post-1971) could potentially cause allergic reactions or adverse health impacts (1,2,3).
Scientists looked at the exposure routes, focusing on inhalation and skin contact.
The research shows that enzymes found in modern detergents used for washing clothes do not trigger allergic reactions from either inhalation or skin contact (1,2,3). Enzymes in laundry detergent are overwhelmingly safe and effective.
If someone is experiencing a reaction to a laundry detergent, they’re likely impacted by a fragrance or other ingredient rather than an enzyme used in the formulation.


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