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The science of nutrition and healthy eating
The science of nutrition and healthy eating

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2.6 Enzymes in washing powder

If you use a biological washing product for your clothes, you are using enzymes to help to digest any food (and other) stains on the clothes (Figure 7). The product may contain one, two or all three of the types of enzyme (proteases, lipases and amylases).

An image of washing powder being poured into a washing machine.
Figure 7 Preparing to wash clothes with a biological washing powder

Activity 3 How does a biological washing powder work?

Timing: Allow approximately 15 minutes.

Answer the following questions.

  1. What sort of food stains are likely to be removed by a biological washing powder?
  2. Why do you think the powder works best at low temperatures of around 40 °C and does not work well in boiling water?
  3. Why should you not use this washing powder on clothes made of silk? (Hint: think about what silk is and how it is made.)

Write your answers in the box below. Click ‘Save’ when you are satisfied with what you have written.

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