What is a Laundry Enzyme Presoak?

Soaking clothes
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All of us want instant gratification when it comes to laundry stain removal. But that's not always possible especially if the stains are heavy or you choose to use a less expensive detergent. A presoak with an enzyme based laundry product and a bit of patience will work wonders in removing stains.

What is a Laundry Enzyme?

Before we talk about presoaks, it might be helpful to understand the role of enzymes in laundry products.

Enzymes in laundry products can be naturally occurring or chemically processed. Different enzymes target specific soils and the catalytic action breaks the soil into smaller molecules to be washed away.

  • protease - degrades protein based soils
  • amylase - degrades starch based or carbohydrate soils
  • cellulase - breaks down cotton fibers to release soils
  • lipase - degrades fat based soils
  • mannanase - degrades food based stains
  • pectinase - degrades fruit based stains

Enzymes are naturally occurring - they help bread rise faster and increase wine yields. The introduction of enzymes into laundry detergents dramatically changed how we do laundry. Enzymes allow us to use lower water temperatures and less detergent to accomplish what we all need and desire - clean clothes. For many, many years the only way to achieve clean laundry was to use boiling water and harsh lye-based soaps.

Today, scientists have created industrial biotechnology or "white biotech", which uses enzyme cells or components of cells to generate industrially useful enzymes for laundry detergents.

Industrial biotechnology has the potential to save the planet up to 2.5 billion tons of CO2 emissions per year and support building a sustainable future, according to a report from the World Wildlife Fund,

What is a Laundry Enzyme Presoak?

Laundry enzyme presoaks are a pre-washing stain removal treatment used to break down protein stains like grass, blood and baby formula so they can be more efficiently removed during the regular wash cycle.

A presoak is necessary when clothes are heavily soiled or stained with oil, protein or tannin stains.

Before you purchase a laundry enzyme stain removal product, take a look at the ingredient components listed on the label. A good enzyme presoak product contains an abundance of one or more of the enzymes needed to break down stains on fabric.

Brand Names of Laundry Enzyme Presoaks

  • Amway Legacy of Clean Tri-zyme Ultra Concentrated Detergent/Laundry Booster Stain Remover Pre-soak  - Tri-zyme is a cleaning booster that features three enzymes and oxygen-based bleach to remove stains and brighten clothing. It can be used in both regular and high-efficiency washers and is safe for septic systems. It can be purchased from an Amway dealer or online from Amazon.com
  • Amway Legacy of Clean Prewash Liquid  -  Plant-based liquid formula presoak. Buy from an Amway dealer or online from Amazon.com
  • Whink Game Stain Remover - Specifically designed to remove heavy soil and blood. Available in sports equipment stores and online from Amazon.com 
  • Biz  - Enzyme-based stain remover and laundry booster offered in both powder and liquid formulas. Biz is available in most laundry aisles in grocery stores and mass marketers or online from Amazon.com

    If you do not have a presoak product on hand, a heavy-duty laundry detergent that contains a high-level of enzymes can be substituted to remove the stains. Not every detergent contains enzymes or enough enzymes to be effective. Choose highly effective Tide or Persil for best results.

    How to Use Laundry Enzyme Presoaks

    Enzyme presoak products can be used to treat any washable fabrics in the washer or in a sink or laundry tub large enough to completely submerge and hold the soiled items in water.

    As with any laundry product, it is best to read the product label and follow specific directions. For effective stain removal, use the correct amount of enzyme presoak product in lukewarm water. Mix the presoak well in the water first to make sure it is dissolved and dispersed before adding clothes.

    Allow the stained clothes to soak the recommended amount of time; at least thirty minutes.

    Overnight soaking may be needed for heavily stained items.

    After soaking, drain away the soaking water. The laundry should then be washed as usual following the fabric care label instructions. There is no need to rinse the clothes prior to washing.