Development of CHARMY Magica Enzyme+ (“Plus”), a dishwashing detergent that uses a proprietary blend of enzymes to break down stubborn oily grime

Development Background

Lion conducted a survey on attitudes toward dishwashing in order to propose a new habit that will reduce the burden of housework on consumers.*1 The results revealed that the most concerning part of dishwashing is the period prior to washing dishes, with respondents feeling especially burdened in instances where dirty dishes, pots and pans have accumulated. Furthermore, while approximately 70% of consumers pre-soak their dishes in water (Figure 1), only approximately 10% use dishwashing detergent when doing so, indicating that the majority of consumers do not pre-soak their dishes with dishwashing detergent. A high percentage of people responded that they pre-soak to make grime removal easier, indicating that pre-soaking for removing stains efficiently is needed. (Figure 2)*2. Therefore, we developed a dishwashing detergent that eliminates the need to scrub and proposed a new habit to reduce the burden of dishwashing just by soaking the dishes. To make this possible, we focused on starches and proteins found in stubborn grime adhering to dishes and pots, and explored incorporating an enzyme to treat this grime into a dishwashing detergent.
*1 Awareness survey on dishwashing (September 2018, Lion survey, n=852)
*2 Survey on pre-soaking dishes (June 2018, Lion survey taken by consumers who pre-soak when dishwashing, n=29,905)

Figure 1. General dishwashing process
Figure 2. Reasons to pre-soak

A New Approach to Stubborn Grime with Enzymes

Grime adhering to dishes is comprised of lipids, starches, and proteins. Generally, the lipids in grime can be cleaned with surfactants, the primary component in dishwashing detergents. On the other hand, it is difficult to remove with only surfactants, therefore, requiring physical removal with strong, forceful scrubbing. Therefore, we focused on the use of enzymes as a new approach to cleaning these starches and proteins. As enzymes specifically act on starches and proteins to break down grime, we thought that by incorporating enzymes to a dishwashing detergent, only light scrubbing would be necessary to remove grime from dishes and pans. In our research, we utilized knowledge previously established with Lion technology that increases the detergency of our laundry detergents against sebum and other complex grime on clothes through the incorporation of enzymes. After examining a variety of candidate enzymes, one was selected that exhibits excellent detergency against starches and proteins.

Enzyme Formula’s Cleaning Effect on Stubborn Grime

To ascertain the effectiveness of a dishwashing detergent with the new enzyme (hereinafter referred to as the enzyme detergent) on washing dishes after soaking, we conducted research using stubborn curry residue, one of the most common problems faced by consumers. We compared the removal of stains from a pot covered with curry residue after applying the enzyme detergent and our conventional detergent without enzymes, and leaving it in lukewarm water for a certain amount of time. The results showed that compared to the pot with the conventional detergent, only light scrubbing was required to remove the grime from the pots treated with the enzyme detergent. This study also confirmed the effectiveness of pre-soaking in warm water with the enzyme-containing detergent (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Evaluation of detergency using enzyme detergent

Enzymes break down the starches and proteins in grime as easily as scissors cut through paper, so we theorized that even stubborn grime in clumps on dishes and pots can be easily removed with light scrubbing by pre-soaking and washing them with enzyme detergent (Figure 4).

Figure 4. Diagram of mechanism for cleaning stubborn grime with enzymes


The enzyme detergent from this study was launched in February 2019 as Magica Enzyme+ (“Plus”), a dishwashing detergent that proposes a new “leave-and-wash (pre-soak)” habit. Going forward, we will continue to provide technologies and products that help reduce the burden and improving the efficiency of our customers’ household chores by utilizing the enzyme technology established through this development.

R&D Case Study