There are so many great things about owning a pet - the laughs, the friendship, the love, and the cuddles. But sometimes, it’s not all roses owning a pet, and it certainly doesn’t smell like them either.
Finding the right stain and odor remover is key to keeping your house looking and smelling good if you own a pet. But, not all are created equal. We’ve rounded up everything you need to know about oxidation cleaners and why they’re better at removing pet stains and odor than enzyme cleaners.
What Is an Oxidation Cleaner?
An oxidation cleaning product is one where effervescent oxygen is released onto a surface. Upon contact with a stain or mess, the oxygen immediately causes a chemical reaction. This chemical reaction results in the breakdown of elements that make up stains and odors, like carbon dioxide and nitrogen.
Oxidation works because it changes the structure of a stain or mess, making it easier to clean up and remove both the mess’s smell and sight. Oxidation cleaners change the form of a stain or mess by the transfer of electrons.
Electrons are some of the smallest particles you can come across. They move around atoms and produce a negative charge. When oxidation occurs, the cleaner’s oxidizing agent loses an electron, typically resulting in the stain or odorous residue you are trying to clean, gaining an electron. This electron gain changes the stain’s structure and can help make a mess easier to clean (1).
What Is an Enzyme Cleaner?
On the other hand, an enzyme cleaner is one where a bio-enzyme is used as the main ingredient for removing stains and odors. Many cleaning products use enzymes as a means to remove odor and stains, and you will often find that many of these enzyme-based cleaners will use multiple enzymes to break down whatever the cleaning product targets.
So what exactly is an enzyme?
An enzyme is what is known as a biological catalyst, meaning that it speeds up a chemical reaction rate. You might think of an enzyme as being “alive,” but it is a product produced by a live bacteria. Most enzymes are proteins, and their role is to break down complex structures for the bacteria that produce them, allowing the bacteria to consume the now smaller particles.
An enzyme’s role in nature is what lends itself so perfectly to being a cleaning agent. In the same way that enzymes break down bacterial waste, they can also break down the stains and odors’ components.
Certain enzymes can break down certain types of substances. For example, a protease enzyme can break down protein-based substances like food, blood, or wine, while a lipase enzyme is better suited to breaking down an oil-based stain (2).
What Makes an Oxidation Cleaner Better than an Enzyme Cleaner?
Now that we know how oxidation and enzyme cleaners work, we can start to examine precisely why oxidation cleaners are more effective at removing pet stains and odors from your house than enzyme cleaners.
One of the main benefits of oxidation cleaners, a better option over enzyme cleaners, is the length of time it takes for enzyme cleaners to be effective.
A catalytic reaction caused by an enzyme is a naturally occurring biological process that can often take many hours to break down stain residue effectively. Some enzymes can take up to a day to be effective and require multiple visits by a professional cleaner.
Oxidation cleaners, on the other hand, are much faster thanks to the chemistry of their reaction. An oxidation reaction is instant. Electrons are switched as soon as it occurs, and the structural change to the stain residue arises—no need to wait hours on end for the cleaner to work (3).
Another benefit of oxidation cleaners over enzyme cleaners is that you don’t have to worry about environmental factors affecting an oxidation reaction’s effectiveness, whereas you do with an enzymatic reaction.
Enzymes are sensitive to their environment, so conditions like temperature, light, or surrounding chemicals could alter the stain- or odor-removing result you get from an enzyme cleaner (4).
Oxidation cleaners tend to be a little bit more stable and not as prone to changes in their effectiveness by environmental cues.
Effectiveness on Urine
Everyone who owns a pet will know that removing urine stains from carpet can be the bane of your life!
Another reason to choose oxidation over enzyme cleaning products is their effectiveness on urine stains. Oxidizers are typically thought of as more effective on visible stains due to their instant ability to change the stain’s structure, making it easier to remove. This means that oxidizers are probably your best choice when it comes to getting those pesky, yellow urine marks out of your once clean carpet.
It’s More Satisfying
Okay, this may be a silly reason, but there is something much more satisfying about watching an oxidation cleaner at work than an enzyme cleaner. Once you apply an oxidation cleaner to a stain, you can see it start to bubble and fizz. Not only is this satisfying, but it also helps you to know that the product is working and active.
You won’t get this lovely view watching a slower-to-react enzyme cleaner.
Where Do I Get an Enzyme Cleaner?
If this article has convinced you to side with team oxidation, the next step is to find a quality oxidation cleaner to help keep your house free from pet stains and odor.
We recommend our PetFX® OdorOut Spray. This easy-to-use spray bottle contains no bacteria or enzymes; instead, it gets to work on your pet’s little messes by causing a spontaneous oxidation-reduction reaction.
The Bottom Line
We can all agree that while our pets are cute, their stains and smells are not.
There are many effective cleaning products out there to help with pet messes, but some work better than others. For the most effective and fastest option, oxidation cleaners surpass enzyme cleaners in a range of categories.
So pick up a bottle of oxidation cleaner, and have pet stains and odors be a thing of the past in your home.