Many cleaners struggle in their attempt to deodorize urine damaged carpet. For years many pet owners and carpet cleaners attempted to remove this concern but with little or no success! It was frustrating and something needed to be done, since the success rate was low most cleaners stayed away from offering this much needed service. At that time the best that could be done was a topical treatment, but that only covered up and masked the concern for about 2 to 3 days.
By Rande Machell
If enzymes are used in carpet cleaning, hot water extraction (HWE) is essential to make sure the enzyme residue is rinsed from the carpet.
In fact, in a joint study by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Research Triangle Institute, HWE carpet cleaning has been proven to help improve indoor air quality.
Some carpet cleaning companies tout the use of enzymes as the best way to clean and deodorize carpet. It's even been said enzymes actually eat dirt, oils, bacteria, mold, mildew and odors.
Enzymes are not alive and they do not eat anything. Enzymes are proteins created by living organisms. They are simply a chemical catalyst that speed up molecular change. An important characteristic of enzymes is their specificity. They can only act on one substance.
For instance, the majority of detergent formulations use enzymes. The protease enzyme acts on protein-based stains only. The enzyme amylase acts on starch-based stains only. Enzymes have a limited effect in cleaning because they are a highly specific catalyst.
The use of enzymes in detergent formulations became prevalent in the 1960s, but the safety of enzymes use was questioned when workers became ill from the production of those detergents. The bacteria Bacillus spp., used to create enzymes for detergent formulations, have been implicated in outbreaks of Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis (HP), and the enzyme protease from these bacteria have been linked to several HP outbreaks (Institute of Medicine 1993). The American Conference of Governmental Hygienists (ACGIH 1997) lists it as a hazardous chemical.
Today, the process for producing laundry detergents with enzymes has been made safe. When you wash your clothes with them, your washing machine rinses the enzyme residue from your clothes.
Rande Machell is certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, (IICRC) as a Master Cleaner, Master Restorer and Senior Practicing Carpet Instructor. He is a past director of the Carpet and Fabricare Institute (CFI) and a member of the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA). He operates a carpet cleaning and inspection service in Mountain View, CA, and can be reached at 408 836-2137