Oxygen vs. enzyme cleaners: when to use what for households with pets

Face it. It happened. It’s gross. There’s a pile or “present” on the floor from your pet, and now you have to clean it up. Whether you’re staring at a shelf of cleaning products in the store or in your cupboard, you may not know which one to reach for. Most pet owners know that oxygen and enzyme formulas work well on pet stains, but the type of stain should dictate which one you choose.

If you missed our live Q&A with BISSELL’s Chief Chemist (aka “The Stain Solver”), I’ll try to break down his scientific explanations into layman’s terms.

Oxygen formulas are activated upon contact with the stain. The reaction actually alters the color residue at the molecular level, while the odor eliminator breaks up the odor causing particles. This makes oxygen formulas ideal for removing vomit and other colored stains. For example, many pet food manufacturers add dye to their food, so when Fido’s kibble comes up and lands on your carpet, so does all that color.

Enzyme-activated formulas remove organic stains by breaking down protein, starches and oils and can stay active until they are gone. So, if Fluffy forgets where her litter box is and soaks your carpet with a puddle of urine, an enzyme cleaner is your best bet.

With either product though, be sure to follow the usage instructions for best results. BISSELL’s enzyme formulas, for instance, can be covered with a clean damp cloth so the area remains moist for 24 hours or more. If it’s a really nasty stain, this allows the enzymes to continue to do their work until the stain is gone.

We know these tips can be difficult to remember when you’re fighting stains under pressure (when your pet has an accident at say, your mother-in-law’s house), so we’ve put these and tips for tackling 100 other types of stains in a handy iPhone app. You can download the free BISSELL Stain Solver iPhone app for instant access to remedies for stains from pets, food, drinks, and more!