Make your own citrus enzyme cleaner

April 5 | Guest post by Jillee

Homemade cleaning product lover Jillee is back this week with another killer recipe I can't wait to add to my cleaning cupboard. I can smell the lemons now! -Cat

Let me start out by saying I AM NOT A PATIENT PERSON. Just ask anyone in my family. No wait, don't. Just trust me on this one.

So when I read about making this enzyme cleaner that takes three MONTHS to "mature"…I just knew I could never stand the waiting! So I ALMOST passed on this idea….until I read a way how to speed the process up from three months to TWO WEEKS!

I thought about it long and hard….and after some DEEP soul searching…I decided I COULD do two weeks.

A month after making my batch of cleaner, I hadn't even gotten around to trying it — so I decided the bathroom would be my first "test subject."

After cleaning the toilet and the tub, I am very impressed!

But let me back up a little. When I found this idea online I was intrigued because I had heard good things about enzymes. So the idea of making my own enzyme cleaner was appealing for several reasons:

  • It's natural, environment-friendly, and non-toxic.
  • It's made from kitchen scraps!
  • It's effective!

So here is the recipe!

Citrus Enzyme Cleaner

Things Needed:

  • 2-liter plastic bottle
  • 100 g (or about 1/2 cup) brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon yeast (optional, to speed up process)
  • 1 liter water
  • 300 g (or about 2 cups) lemon and/or orange scraps
  • Marking pen

  1. Pour the brown sugar into the 2-liter plastic bottle.
  2. Cut the lemon and orange scraps (I only had lemons on hand) into pieces small enough to fit the mouth of the bottle. Put them in the bottle.
  3. Add yeast. Add one liter of tap water into the bottle.
    Tightly screw the cap so that no liquid falls out and dissolve the sugar by shaking the bottle for about 30 seconds.
  4. For the first couple of weeks, give the bottle a shake once a day, making sure to leave the bottle cap loosely fastened to avoid gas build-up (i.e. explosions!) from the fermentation process.
  5. Using a marking pen, write the date on the bottle. It will take three months for the ingredients to ferment. (Or two weeks if you add the yeast.)

When the enzyme cleaner is ready…add half a cup of enzyme cleaner to one liter of water and mix thoroughly. (Use more if you prefer a stronger concentration.)

Some uses recommended for this non-toxic, environmentally friendly enzyme:

  1. For dishes and laundry (use 1/4 cup of enzyme)
  2. For washing bathrooms and toilets. Grime comes off easily (1 part enzyme to 10 parts water)
  3. For removing stubborn stains and odours (coloured fabrics and floors) (use undiluted)
  4. To clean vegetables and fruits (1 part enzyme to 10 parts water)
  5. Clear blockages in kitchen sinks and drains (use concentrated or blended pulp/sludge of enzyme)
  6. As a natural insect repellent (use undiluted) for ants, cockroaches.
  7. For mopping floors (1 part enzyme to 20 parts water)
  8. As fertilizer for plants (use 1 part enzyme to 20 parts water, or use the leftover mop water)
  9. As a skincare product, e.g. facial cleanser or toner (1 part enzyme to 2 parts water)
  10. Wash cars — cars will look as if they have just been polished! (1 part enzyme to 20 parts water)

I have EVEN read about people using this on their faces! I'm not quite brave enough….yet. Maybe someday.

I will definitely be trying out this "wonder cleaner" on more areas around my home. Meanwhile, if you have some leftover citrus laying around…why not make up a batch and see what you think?

  1. After this weekend I'm expecting we'll have a lot of lime scraps. Would limes work as well, or does it have to be lemon or orange for the acidity? Either way, I'm stoked to try this. I've had way better luck with homemade cleaners than Tilex or 409.

    1 agrees
  2. oooh I love this! my go-to for earth-friendly/cheap/non-headachey cleaners are usually white vinegar and/or baking soda, but I am always up for new ones and this one sounds like it probably smells great :D

    6 agree
  3. you just made wine. Citrus wine! Where are the enzymes coming from? The yeast? I am confused on this one.

    2 agree
    • Yeah this is straight up citrus wine – the two weeks vs. 3 months is because wild yeast can be a fickle beast and a slow fermentor. I'm guessing the yeast is still alive which may help the cleaning process.

      1 agrees
  4. It's lemon juice, brown sugar, and water. Why NOT use it on your face? :)

    3 agree
  5. Oh thank goodness. I won't feel so guilty about squeezing lemons and then just tossing the rest, now they're useful! Whoo hoo!

    1 agrees
  6. According to wisegeek.com "Enzymes are biological catalysts or assistants. Enzymes consist of various types of proteins that work to drive the chemical reaction required for a specific action or nutrient. Enzymes can either launch a reaction or speed it up." Simply, they're in all living things, and yeast is alive, and lemons/oranges are alive.

    "Enzymes speed up chemical reactions, which gives them their reputation for being efficient cleaners. While speeding up reactions, enzymes can remain relatively independent of them. They are also not in danger of being consumed or destroyed by the reactions. For this reason, individual enzymes are able to continue combating a stain long after a regular chemical cleaner. In fact, enzymes may be able to keep cleaning until the enzyme itself breaks down. " Yay, science!

    3 agree
  7. I don't usually go for the make your own cleaner stuff because I'm lazy, but this artical caught my attention because of the word enzymes. I have BS in biochem so I'm all about enzymes. I think I'll try it but I wouldn't use it on my face. The enzymes are coming from the micro organizms that are growing in the sugar and stuff for two weeks. You're making a mini-bioreactor! Maybe the stuff won't hurt you be it seems kinda gross to me :P

    3 agree
    • I sort of want my cleaners to get RID of microbiological specimens…not add to them!

      0 agree
      • Well, from a perspective of pathology, I'd much, much, MUCH rather my household surfaces be covered in S. cerevisiae than, say, E. coli.

        7 agree
  8. So I can henna my hair using lemon juice, then use the rest of the lemons to clean up the mess I made dyeing my hair…sounds perfect.

    5 agree
  9. Oooh! I like this idea and will definitely try it! Slowly getting rid of all the commercial store bought cleaners in our home. I've used Jillee's super simple formula for cleaning years-old stains in my carpet (hey, those stains came with the carpet when we bought our house!) and it worked like magic. =)

    0 agree
  10. Stupid question, but…

    Jillee, I see that you say to add 1/2 cup of finished enzyme to 1 L of water, and then you say things like use 1/4 cup for laundry. Is that 1/4 cup of the already diluted solution, or is that 1/4 cup of the original solution, and the dilution is just for miscellaneous around the house use?

    2 agree
  11. enzyme cleaners are amazing. i first learned about them when researching how to get rid of dog urine in the carpets. i tell you what, i havent ever seen anything that works better. it gets rid of the stain and the smell, which if you have dogs you know Is notoriously strong amd stubborn. the only downfall is that a bottle of enzyme cleaner is like 10.00

    0 agree
  12. use a balloon instead of the cap so the bottle doesn't explode. just keep cap handy for shaking the bottle then put the balloon back on. works every time.

    3 agree
  13. I never got around to the 3 month method but made this quicker version recently. I love it for cleaning the kitchen! I even put a little diluted in a bottle with a some dish detergent and it boosts my dishwashing tremendously. One swipe takes the grease off the stove and it cleaned some grease stained wooden cabinets better than anything I've tried. It is even trying to clean the brass handles and drawer pulls. I just made a second batch but it doesn't smell as vinegary. It had the gas build up but no foam
    on top. Do you think it will still be effective? I

    0 agree
  14. Can this enzyme use able in desizing stearch from the cotton warp during the finishing process of Textile Processing

    0 agree

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