Enzymes in Textile Care

For decades, enzymes have been widely used in cleaning products for their exceptional cleaning abilities and eco-friendly characteristics. However, their sensitivity and specificity represent a challenge when creating optimal working conditions. In this article we will discuss enzymes in Textile Care and explain how Christeyns is changing the game for sustainable washing with their innovation – EPIC.

Understanding enzymes 

Enzymes, derived from microorganisms, have been extensively used in cleaning products due to their selective cleaning properties and eco-friendly nature. Acting as biocatalysts, enzymes facilitate chemical reactions without being consumed or permanently altered themselves. They are highly specific, and each enzyme is designed to break down specific components in stains, breaking them down into smaller, more soluble molecules that are easier to remove, without damaging the textiles being cleaned.

Advantages of enzymes

Enzymes offer several advantages for the textile industry:

  • Effective stain removal: enzymes can break down and remove stubborn stains that traditional cleaning agents might struggle to eliminate.
  • Lowering water temperature: enzymes can be effective at lower water temperatures, reducing energy consumption.
  • Environmentally friendly: enzymes can enhance the cleaning process with fewer chemicals. By specifically breaking down/water-solubilising components in the stain, less surfactant is needed to emulsify the dirt components in the water.
Enzyme sensitivity and specificity

While enzymes are incredibly powerful, their sensitivity presents a challenge. They are responsive to environmental conditions such as temperature, pH, and specific chemicals.

Another challenge is their specificity. Each enzyme can only break down specific components in a stain.  Some common types of enzymes:

  • Proteases: these enzymes break down protein-based stains such as blood, grass, and food.
  • Amylases: amylases are effective at removing starch-based stains like pasta and rice.
  • Lipases: lipases target fat and oil-based stains, such as grease and oil.
  • Cellulases: these enzymes help remove stains caused by plant-based fibres like cotton and grass.

Grease viewed under a microscope                       Grease seen with the naked eye

Enzymes in commercial laundries

To address the challenge of effectively treating complex stains, particularly those arising from substances like blood and grease, conventional enzyme blends prove inadequate. Only highly specialised enzyme blends demonstrate efficacy, and their performance relies upon an optimal chemical environment.

This is precisely the achievement realised by Christeyns with the introduction of EPIC, or Enzymatic Process Innovation by Christeyns. This groundbreaking advancement has been seamlessly integrated into their PureSan and Cool Chemistry wash concepts, marking a pivotal enhancement in stain removal capabilities in the year 2022.

EPIC embodies an innovative detergent system built upon two fundamental pillars: a concentrated detergent that enhances enzyme activity and a blend of concentrated enzymes meticulously designed to target specific components in stains.

The detergent – The detergent is developed for seamless integration into Christeyns’ established wash concepts, PureSan and Cool Chemistry. This integration has given rise to two compatible detergents – PureSan EPIC and Cool EPIC, respectively, each boasting concentrated formulas. These detergents feature a new generation of surfactants designed to enhance the efficacy of enzyme reactions.

The enzyme blend – The concentrated enzyme blend, known as EPIC-CORE, serves as a foundational mixture, partially replacing the action of surfactants. This blend can be fortified with boost mixtures meticulously crafted to target complex stains specifically. These enzyme blends are applied separately from the new detergent, optimising the cleaning process. The development of a patent application for these unique enzyme blends underscores the commitment to innovation in this domain.

The EPIC enzyme blends precisely address specific stains, requiring minimal dosages of just 0.05 grams per kilogram of textile. This stands in stark contrast to previous practices where more surfactants were typically introduced into the wash process. These images demonstrate the smooth removal of grease from kitchen towels by applying EPIC enzyme technology.

This shift towards fewer surfactants and the introduction of enzymes results in a significant 20 to 30 percent reduction in COD (chemical oxygen demand), leading to substantial savings for commercial laundries.

EPIX Technology: A Game-ChangerEPIX device

As mentioned earlier, enzymes are sensitive to environmental conditions, necessitating precise storage and use. Plus, to offer commercial laundries more flexibility to clean different types of soiling, Christeyns has developed EPIX, a high-tech unit for on-site production, mixing, and administration of enzyme blends. With integrated safety systems and autocalibration, EPIX not only ensures safety and reliability, but also distinguishes itself as a patented and innovative solution.

This technology permits precise enzyme micro-dosing, reducing the carbon footprint by up to 20 percent when compared to conventional washing methods and lowering the transportation, storage and handling of chemical products by 40 to 50 percent.

Field Tests and Benefits

EPIC has undergone rigorous field tests in various industries, including hospitality and healthcare, with outstanding results. Some of the key benefits include:

  1. Minimising wastewater impact:
  • A substantial reduction in chemical and surfactant usage, resulting in a 20-30% decrease in Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD).
  • Lower ecotoxicity, contributing to cleaner waterways and reduced taxes.
  • Lower levels of Hexane Extractable Material (HEM) in wastewater, minimising the release of oils and fats.

 

 

 

 

COD LEVELS – This graph shows the decrease in COD for different segments after implementing EPIC in comparison to conventional wash processes. 

 

 

 

  1. Cost-Effective Solutions:
  • Lower wastewater costs due to reduced pollution levels and taxes.
  • Potential for additional water and energy savings through reduced COD levels.
  1. Greener Branding:
  • EPIC relies on enzymes, reducing reliance on non-renewable resources.
  • A significant reduction in surfactants emphasizes the system’s commitment to sustainability.
The New Standard for Sustainable Washing

The application of enzymes in textile care brings numerous benefits. Their selective cleaning properties and eco-friendly nature make them an ideal choice for effective stain removal and overall cleaning processes. Despite their sensitivity and specificity, innovations like Christeyns’ EPIC technology have redefined enzyme application, allowing for tailored enzyme blends and precise dosing for complex stains while minimising environmental impact.

Moreover, EPIC seamlessly integrates into existing PureSan or Cool Chemistry wash concepts with minimal adjustments. This empowers commercial laundries to maintain their existing processes while meeting stringent wastewater regulations, limiting their environmental impact, and experiencing substantial cost savings.

In essence, EPIC has proven to be a game-changer in the textile care industry by setting the new standard for sustainable washing, promising a brighter, cleaner, and more eco-friendly future for the commercial laundry industry.

If you’re are interested in learning more about how this EPIC technology can be your game-changer, contact us today for further information.

Authors

Team Christeyns Laundry Technology

Getting textile care providers ready for new challenges has been the mission of Christeyns Laundry Technology since 1946. Alongside providing first-class cleaning and disinfection products globally, we continuously invest in pioneering technologies. From enzyme technology for washing to water purification systems for recycling water, and energy-efficient equipment, we're committed to innovation and sustainability.

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