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What is Enzyme Laundry Detergent and Laundry Enzyme Presoak?

What is Enzyme Laundry Detergent and Laundry Enzyme Presoak?

by Sarah Thomas

Have your clothes ever come out of the washing machine still not smelling as amazing as you wanted them to? Or they smelled clean right out of the dryer, but as soon as your body warmed them up, the stink was back? Do you feel like the detergent did not fully clean your clothes?

That sudden stink is a result of biofilm in your clothes, and simply washing your clothes with traditional laundry detergent does not always get body odor out of your clothes. That is where an enzyme pretreat for laundry comes in.

So what exactly is an enzyme pretreat? How do enzymes work to remove odor stains - aka: permastink?

See the answers to these questions and more about the benefits of pretreating your clothes with the power of enzymes to make your favorite laundry detergent work better so your clothes smell better longer!

The Science

What is biofilm?

Biofilm is what’s making your clothes stink. It’s a complex colony of microorganisms made up of bacteria, fungus, and mold. These microorganisms excrete sugars, fats, proteins and starches that cement themselves to the fibers of your clothes, making it impossible for regular detergent to wash it out. It builds up over time and is making your clean clothes stink way too soon in the day. Using a concentrated powerful enzyme blend to pretreat clothes will break up biofilm so your favorite detergent can wash it away.

Laundry detergent by itself is a cleaning agent used for cleaning clothes and other fabric surfaces. Traditional detergents are not particularly great at breaking down starches, sugars and fats that build up in your clothes, because they are so diluted. When you add a concentrated enzyme pretreatment to your laundry routine, you get a natural odor-stain fighting power machine. 

What makes enzymes so powerful?

Enzymes are a type of protein. They can create a certain chemical reaction with other naturally occurring substances. The enzymes target specific substances that build up and cause invisible odor stains, and break down the matter that is left in your clothing. It takes the large mass and breaks it down into tiny molecules and makes it possible for your detergent to wash it away.

Specific enzymes deal with breaking down specific substances. Enzymes are natural substances. They tend to work best on persistent odor stains that are caused by organic things as well, for example, bodily fluids, lipids, waxes from deodorant, and fats. Lipolases work on fats or oil-based stains, proteases break down protein-based stains, and amylases tackle carbohydrates and starches.

Fabrics Have Changed, Detergent Has Been The Same For Decades!

Modern fabrics contain man made or synthetic fibers made from plastic (polyester, lycra, spandex, modal, rayon) and it’s well established that man made fibers stink faster and retain body odor to far greater degree than natural fibers like cotton and wool. Why?

It has to do with the shape and texture of man made fibers. Man made fibers are irregularly shaped with sharp edges and microtubules that trap bacteria, fungus and mold making it easy for biofilm to adhere to. And nearly impossible for detergents to effectively remove it. Clothes made from synthetic fibers are more common than ever, and detergents have not evolved.

Pretreating Your Clothes So Your Detergent Works Better

Using an enzyme pretreat spray like Lume BIOfilm Buster for Laundry - when used as a first step can make your favorite laundry detergent work better. There are a few things you need to understand to ensure you get the full benefit of this powerful enzyme blend.

The best time to treat your shirts to an enzyme blast is right after you take them off. Turn clothes inside out and spritz your pits and other odor prone areas. Allow clothes to remain damp and sit at least 30 minutes before laundering, so enzymes can do the work of eating away at the biofilm. If you don’t plan to launder clothes right away, they can sit in your hamper until laundry day. Once sprayed, clothes should be laundered before worn again.

Enzymes take time to start becoming effective. You need to allow time for the enzymes to work before you add laundry detergent or bleach. Bleach can deactivate enzymes that are hard at work.

The Benefits of Cleaning With The Power of Enzymes

Using enzyme pretreat sprays and soaks are among the most effective ways that you can get stubborn odor stains out of your favorite clothes.

Here are some of the other benefits from using enzyme cleaners.


Traditional laundry detergents contain a lot of chemicals that do not break down and end up contaminating the water supply. Phosphates from detergents can make their way into streams, rivers, and oceans and cause algae blooms and other disruptions in the ecosystem. Surfactants meant to help lift oil stains from clothes are toxic to aquatic life, and can actually strip the protective mucous layer from fish, leaving them vulnerable to disease and parasites.

Unlike traditional laundry detergents, Lume BIOfilm Buster Pretreat Spray and Sink Soak contain a highly concentrated blend of enzymes that is 100% biodegradable. It is a sustainable plant based enzyme blend that is free from sulfates, phosphates, fragrances, dyes, optical brighteners, parabens and formaldehyde donors.

Restore Your Clothes to Their Loveable Odor Free Condition

During the cleaning process, the enzyme detergent lifts the filaments in the clothing fibers. However, it does this without harming the actual structure of the thread. This means that biofilm is removed without breaking down the strands of the fabric. 

Enzyme cleaners are tough on biofilm, but gentle on clothes. Clothes smell better longer, you get more wear out of them between washings, and you’ll extend the life of your clothes when permastink is no longer an issue.

Do Less Laundry!

You save time and money when you effectively remove biofilm from your clothing because you are able to get more wear out of your clothes and do less laundry. This saves you money on your water bill, your energy bill, and your clothing budget. Overall, adding an enzyme pretreat to your laundry routine is going to be an effective way to clean your clothing and make your favorite detergent work better.

It's Safe for Your Skin

Most dermatologists will tell you that if a fabric or piece of clothing is bothering your skin, it is because of the scent from your detergent, or the dyes. So even if you have sensitive skin, you will be safe to use enzyme based pretreat sprays and soaks. Lume BIOfilm Buster Pretreat Spray and Sink Soak are free and clear, and contain no optical brighteners, fabric softeners, fragrances, thickeners, or blue dyes.

What Is Laundry Enzyme Sink Soak?

An enzyme sink soak - like pretreat spray - is an independent product that contains highly concentrated levels of enzymes. When using as a presoak, you will need to mix the solution with water. Use the solution as soon as possible because the enzymes become inactive if they sit for too long.

Presoak Process

Read the instructions on the back of Lume BIOfilm Buster Sink Soak solution and add a capful to a gallon of water. Mix that in with lukewarm water, or the hottest temperature water tolerated by the clothes you are soaking. Make sure to combine the solution well before you add your clothing in.

Fully submerge the fabrics into the water. You will need to leave them in for at least an hour. If the odor stain that you are trying to remove is especially resilient, you may need to soak it overnight.

After that, wash the garment as you normally would. There is no need to rinse out the piece of clothing beforehand.

Live the Natural Life

Body odor happens in 2 places, ON your skin and IN your clothes. Lume has an outrageously effective solution for both problems. Lume BIOfilm Buster for Laundry tackles persistent odor in your clothes. If you are looking for a natural deodorant, come shop Lume deodorants. See how using natural products can make your life better in so many ways!

Sarah Thomas

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