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Updated November 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for Best enzymatic cleaners

There are plenty of cleaning products on the market that promise a clean house, but they’re often loaded with chemicals. If you’re looking for a non-toxic alternative to the usual household cleaning products, consider an enzymatic cleaner. Enzymatic cleaners use biological compounds to break down messes, stains, and odors around your home.

Choosing the right enzymatic cleaner can be tough if you’re not sure what to look for, however. With so many of these eco-friendly cleaners on the market, how do you find the best formula for your home? 

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Unlike traditional cleaners, enzymatic cleaners don’t release toxic fumes, making them a much safer, eco-friendly cleaning option.

What are enzymatic cleaners?

Enzymatic cleaners contain enzymes that break down the biological components in the messes around your home.

Enzymes are biological compounds that increase the speed at which other biological substances like starches, oils, fats, and proteins break down, so you can wipe away messes easily.

What are the benefits of enzymatic cleaners?

Non-toxic

Enzymatic cleaners are safer for both people and animals than traditional cleaning products. You don’t have to worry about enzymatic cleaners affecting the health of any members of your household.

Eco-friendly

Because they contain natural, non-toxic ingredients, enzymatic cleaners are better for the environment.

Expert Tip
For laundry items, like a throw or even a pair of stinky socks, washing them with just an enzymatic cleaner can help reduce bad odors.
BestReviews Cleaning Expert

Deep cleaning

The enzymes in these cleaners work their way into even the smallest crevices. Enzymatic cleaners often provide a deeper clean than traditional cleaning products.

Odor removing

Enzymatic cleaners are especially effective at removing foul odors, including pet odors.

Long-lasting

The enzymes that enzymatic cleaners leave behind linger on surfaces. They continue to work for up to 24 hours to fully remove dirt and odors.

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Testing enzymatic cleaners
We spent 68 hours researching 17 enzymatic cleaners. We bought our favorite and tested it on different stains and carpets.
STAFF
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How do you use enzymatic cleaners?

Enzymatic cleaners can be used around the house in a variety of ways.

  • Scrub your kitchen floor, bathroom floor, and countertop tile with an enzymatic cleaner instead of bleach.

  • Banish mold and mildew around sinks, tubs, and kitchen appliances by scrubbing with an enzymatic cleaner.

  • Soak clothing and other laundry with stubborn stains, such as grease or coffee, in an enzymatic cleaner as a pre-wash treatment.

  • Get rid of pet stains on carpeting, hard floors, and furniture by applying an enzymatic cleaner, letting it soak in for a day or two, and then scrubbing it off. Many enzymatic cleaners work for 12 to 24 hours, which is why they’re so effective at breaking down stains and removing odors.

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Expert Tip
Remember to never mix an Enzymatic cleaner with any other cleaning solutions.
BestReviews Cleaning Expert

What to consider when buying enzymatic cleaners

Spray bottles vs. pour bottles

Enzymatic cleaners typically come in either spray bottles or pour bottles.

Spray bottles: Spray bottles allow you to spray the enzymatic cleaner directly on the affected area. They usually range in size from 24 to 32 ounces. Spray bottles work especially well for treating pet stains and odors.

Pour bottles: With a pour bottle, you pour the enzymatic cleaner on the affected area. It’s harder to control how much is applied with a pour bottle. However, pour bottles are typically gallon-size, so they’re a good option if you use an enzymatic cleaner regularly.

Type of stain

The formulas of enzymatic cleaners are designed to treat specific stains and odors. That’s because the enzymes they contain break down specific organic materials.

  • Proteases: Enzymatic cleaners that contain proteases target protein-based stains, such as blood, urine, feces, food, and wine.

  • Amylases: Enzymatic cleaners that contain amylases target starch-based stains, such as sugars, eggs, ice cream, and sauces.

  • Lipases: Enzymatic cleaners that contain lipases target fat-based stains, such as grease and oil.

  • Multiple enzymes: Some enzymatic cleaners contain a combination of enzymes to treat a wide range of stains.

Concentration

For particularly stubborn or foul-smelling stains, a concentrated enzymatic cleaner is best. Instead of the standard formula, look for a cleaner that’s designated “super strength,” “industrial strength,” or “commercial strength.” These concentrated cleaners contain more enzymes, so they work faster and more effectively than standard enzymatic cleaners.

Expert Tip
Enzymatic cleaners are 100% natural and safe to use around kids and pets, making these products great to have in any home with either or both.
BestReviews Cleaning Expert

Drying time

Enzymatic cleaners need to dry completely to effectively remove stains and odors. Some cleaners dry faster than others, so it’s important to consider the drying time for the formula you’re considering. Look for an enzymatic cleaner that dries completely in 12 to 24 hours.

Scent

Many enzymatic cleaners are unscented. However, some formulas do have a scent, which can be fairly strong. If you’re sensitive to fragrances, avoid cleaners that are scented.

Price

Enzymatic cleaners vary in price based on the size of the bottle and the concentration of the formula, but you can typically expect to spend between $10 and $50.

For a 24- to 32-ounce spray bottle of enzymatic cleaner, you’ll usually pay between $10 and $20. For a gallon pour bottle of enzymatic cleaner, you’ll usually pay between $25 and $50.

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Did you know?
Enzymatic cleaners typically have a shelf life of one to two years before they start losing their effectiveness.
STAFF
BestReviews

Tips for using enzymatic cleaners

  • Before you apply an enzymatic cleaner to a stain, make sure the area is clean of any other chemicals, including soap or detergent. Even natural cleaners like vinegar should be rinsed away because they may inhibit the effectiveness of the enzymes.

  • Remember to never mix an Enzymatic cleaner with any other cleaning solutions.

  • Most enzymatic cleaners should be used at full strength. Check the label before diluting any cleaner with water.

  • Avoid damage to the surfaces you’re cleaning by testing the enzymatic cleaner in an inconspicuous spot. Once you’re sure that it doesn’t remove any color from the surface, you can use the cleaner all over.

  • After you’ve applied an enzymatic cleaner, cover the affected area with a piece of plastic to create a warm, humid environment to boost the enzyme action.

  • Some enzymatic cleaners aren’t suitable for use on hardwood floors or other surfaces, so be sure to read the label carefully to check where you can use the cleaner.

  • For particularly stubborn stains, scrub the enzymatic cleaner into the affected area with a soft bristle brush for a minute or two before allowing it to dry.

  • The enzymes in enzymatic cleaners don’t hold up well to extreme temperatures, so you shouldn’t use them with hot water.

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Enzymatic cleaners can be used outdoors to clean patio surfaces. With these cleaners, no toxic chemicals will affect your grass, plants, and shrubs.

FAQ

Q. Are enzymatic cleaners safe to use around children and pets?

A. Enzymatic cleaners don’t contain toxic ingredients, so they’re much safer than traditional cleaning products. You can use them safely around children and pets. However, as with any cleaning product, make sure that enzymatic cleaners are kept in a secure location where children and pets can’t access them.

Q. What types of stains do enzymatic cleaners remove?

A. Enzymatic cleaners work well on a variety of organic stains. They can break down blood, urine, and other bodily fluids to remove the associated stains and odors, but they’re also effective at removing food stains, including oil, grease, and wine.

Q. Can I use an enzymatic cleaner in a carpet cleaner or steamer?

A. Enzymatic cleaners should not be used in carpet cleaners or steamers. These appliances use extremely high temperatures to heat water and convert it to steam, which can prevent the enzymes from working effectively.

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