Digestion is one of the four methods of stain removal. The other methods are solvent action, lubrication and chemical action. Digestion uses different enzymes to remove protein stains such as milk, eggs, perspiration and blood. Some enzymes remove starch, food, grease and oil. Enzymes associated with cleaning are proteins that act as catalysts in a biological reaction. A catalyst is defined as a substance that causes a reaction to take place at a faster rate but does not change itself. An enzyme can be identified by its name, typically ending with ase. Enzymes found in detergents include protease, urcase, amylase. Enzymes have the ability to change the staining into a soluble substance which can be flushed or washed away. Some enzymes can be mixed with chemicals and high heat. Other enzymes must be neutral and used at lower temperatures.
THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART
When I was a consultant to the Metropolitan Museum of Art we introduced low temperature enzymes for the cleaning of the textiles and artifacts. The enzymes effectively remove protein matter and starch which helps soil. They were absolutely safe to the fabric since they were neutral and used at low temperatures.
LOW TEMPERATURE ENZYMES
These powdered are the safest of all products. They are completely neutral and can be used on all fabrics including silk, wool, rayon and other similar fabrics. They are considered as safe as water.
1. Put in a quarter teaspoon of enzymes in a clean six ounce bottle.
2. The water temperature is between 90 and 120 ºF. Over 120ºF destroys the enzyme.
3. Add ½ teaspoon of glycerin.
4. Apply to stain
5. Wait ½ hour and re-apply.
6. Flush area.
You can make up the enzyme formula at the start of the day. Even if it cools it will still work. After one day the enzyme formula can not be used and a new one is then made up.
1. One teaspoon enzyme to a gallon of water in a clean bucket.
2. Water temperature 90F-120F
3. Add a teaspoon of salt as a dye setter except on silk.
4. Soak ½ hour.
DO NOT COVER CONTAINER. A COVERED CONTAINER CAUSES DYE BLEEDING
Enzymes are used in all types of detergents. They are used with detergents containing acid, alkali, and bleach. They work in hot water up to 140ºF.
LIQUID ENZYMES-SPOTTING AGENTS
There are some products that are enzyme mixed with detergents. They are used for a substitute for alkaline based protein formulas. They offer a little more safety to delicate colors and silk. They do not set tannin stains.
ALKALINE BASED ENZYME PRODUCTS
There are some alkaline based enzyme products. They are used to remove protein stains in a soaking action. They are very effective since water temperature can be used up to 140F. They, however may not be safe to some dyes, especially wool and silk. They are especially effective on cottons, linens and most synthetic fibers.
ENZYME AND BLEACH
These products are effective for removing mold and mildew on white colored linen, cotton, rayon and synthetics. They can not be used on wool and silk.