BUNZL Cleaning & Hygiene Supplies Blog

What is Biological Cleaning and Biotechnology?

As the wider public and commercial interest in helping the environment continues to grow, there is a growing demand for more environmentally-friendly cleaning products and biological cleaning products in particular – but how many of us truly understand what they are?

what is biological cleaning products biotechnology

While they have taken a step to the forefront in more recent years, biological cleaning products are nothing new, as biological washing detergents in particular have been in household use since the 1960s. Even decades later we still must choose between ‘bio’ and ‘non-bio’ washing powders and liquids at the supermarket, despite the fact that many of us perhaps have a less than squeaky-clean idea of the differences between them.

And what those differences are, are the microbes and/ or enzymes that they contain. Biological laundry detergents and cleaning products contain natural enzymes, which are biological catalysts that work to ‘boost’ the effectiveness of the product by breaking down proteins, fats, oils and starches in dirt and stains. These enzymes are at their most effective at low temperatures, between 30-50 degrees Celcius, and many are in fact denatured at temperatures above 50 degrees Celcius – this is why biological washing powders and liquids became so popular, as they enable even heavily soiled clothes to be washed at lower temperatures which is more efficient in terms of both cost and energy. True biological cleaning products use microbes, which produce enzymes.

While we are focusing on biological cleaning products in this blog post, it’s interesting to look at the broader uses of biotechnology, the science behind biological cleaning, as it’s far more prevalent than most of us realise.

The Biotechnology Industry Association defines biotechnology as a “technology based on biology” that “harnesses cellular and biomolecular processes to develop technologies and products that help improve our lives and the health of the planet”. Indeed, biotechnology has been used to make and engineer everything from bread to biofuels, cheese to vaccines, and even to genetically modify crops to make them more resistant to disease or herbicides, richer in nutrients, or produce a larger yield.

Thanks to biotechnology, products and technologies are now available that fight previously untreatable diseases, wage the war against world hunger, reduce energy use and the environmental footprint and also enable manufacturers to use cleaner, safer and more efficient processes – indeed, right down to their choice of washing powders.

 On the Bunzl Cleaning and Hygiene Supplies blog, we have already touched on the new REACH CLP regulations and their impact on the cleaning industry. The UK government set their standard for cleaning chemicals in 2011, through the DEFRA Government Buying Standard, as mandatory for central government departments and advised best practice for other public and private sector entities. It’s likely that this will become mandatory for all public sector entities over time, and increase the demand for biological cleaning products.

The more immediate legislative impact, which will boost the use of alternatives to more traditional chemical cleaning products such as biological cleaning products, is the pending regulations for the cleaning industry by the Equality and Human Right Commission (EHRC). Following its report on the cleaning industry and its treatment of cleaning operatives, impacting on operatives human rights, an industry task force has set up to compile these regulations, which are expected this Autumn. It’s thought that these regulations will encourage the use of products that are not hazardous to operative health.

Now that biological cleaning products are becoming even more plentiful and readily available, you may wish to consider making the switch from more traditional cleaning products that do not have biological properties. Here are the main advantages of biological cleaning products:

  • As they use natural ingredients, they are safer for the environment and their users;
  • Their highly specialised properties mean they treat the dirt that traditional cleaning products do not;
  • Rather than just displacing dirt or bacteria, they completely break it down, which also helps to remove associated odours;
  • They continue to work for up to 80 hours after application due to ‘residual cleaning’, helping to reduce overall labour costs;
  • They displace unwanted bacteria with healthy microbes, which have far more preferable implications for our health.

There are several cleaning product brands that either specialise in or offer biological cleaning products, but at the forefront of the biological cleaning product revolution is InnuScience. As the world’s leading producer of biological cleaning products with a presence in over 30 countries, InnuScience is committed to environmentally-friendly cleaning with many or all of its products bearing the EcoLogo, Ecolabel, and BUAV Leaping Bunny certifications.

Nick Winstone, Managing Director of InnuScience UK, tells us:

“At InnuScience, it’s in our DNA to produce biological products that produce superior cleaning results, at a cost-effective price. We have 22 years of R&D heritage, delivering greener solutions for the cleaning industry. Through our partnership with Bunzl Cleaning and Hygiene Supplies, we have proved that chemicals can be substituted with biological products in every sector.”

We’re proud to offer InnuScience biological cleaning products at Bunzl Cleaning and Hygiene Supplies, and you can see our full range that includes Nu-Kleen Smell, Nu-Bioscrub, and Nu Karpet Kare in the Biological Cleaning section of our website.

Do you already use biological cleaning products, or are you planning to make the switch? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave us a comment below, or tweet at us @BunzlCleaning to share your views.