Microbe or enzyme? Comparison of pipe cleaning methods

Various products are available for cleaning pipes and removing blockages. However, many products are harmful to the environment as they contain harmful or toxic substances. The commonest cleaning methods are based on enzymes or microbes. These methods seem to function in a similar way in pipes and remove problems, but their effects on the environment and water purification process are very different.


An enzyme-based cleaning process dissolves grease chemically, changing its composition from solid to fluid to enable its exit from pipes. However, grease will return to its solid state in the later stages of water purification, causing a number of problems at water treatment plants, for example. That is why enzyme-based cleaning methods are forbidden in many cities and countries – such as Sweden. Another drawback with enzymes is that they do not remove or dissolve any organic waste other than grease, and do not therefore prevent the formation of hydrogen sulphide, which causes pipes to become brittle.


In many ways, a microbial cleaning method is a better and smarter choice than enzymes. Microbes feed not only on grease but all organic waste, preventing the formation of hydrogen sulphide, which turns pipes brittle. This extends the service life of pipes. Microbes feed on grease and organic waste, leaving only water and carbon dioxide. This is beneficial to subsequent waste water treatment, because it reduces the volume of waste in waste water treatment plants. The microbial method is also an environmentally sound choice, being based on a natural process instead of harmful chemicals. Property users enjoy not only lower maintenance costs but also fewer problems with unpleasant odours. The following table compares the key differences between enzyme-based and microbial cleaning methods.


TABLE: Comparison of the commonest pipe cleaning methods: enzyme-based and microbial cleaning.