Make Your Own Citrus Enzyme Cleaner

citrus enzyme cleaner

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 3 MONTHS to “mature”…I just knew I could never stand the waiting! So I ALMOST passed on this idea….until I read in the COMMENTSof this particular blog post instructions how to speed the process up from 3 months to TWO WEEKS!

I thought about it long and hard….and after some DEEP soul searching…I decided I COULD do 2 weeks. :-)

So the “2 weeks” were up about 2 weeks ago, but things have been a bit hectic around here so I didn’t actually get around to giving it a good test drive until this weekend!  As you can see by the date on the bottle…I ALMOST made it ONE MONTH. :-)   So I figured it should be ready enough for a good test.  I decided the bathroom would be my first “test subject”.

After cleaning the toilet and the tub….I have to say….I am very impressed!  

citrus enzyme cleaner

citrus enzyme cleaner

But let me back up a little. When I found this idea online I was intrigued because I had heard good things about enzymes. As a matter of fact….a few months back we had to call a plumber to deal with some clogged pipes that caused a minor flood. After he took care of the problem he gave us a bottle of enzyme cleaner to pour down the drains on a regular basis to KEEP it that way.  We have been CLOG-FREE ever since. :-)

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!

citrus enzyme cleaner 7

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

citrus enzyme cleaner 6

Pour the brown sugar into the 2-liter plastic bottle.

citrus enzyme cleaner 5
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.
citrus enzyme cleaner
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.
citrus enzyme cleaner 3
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 (ie. Explosions!) from the fermentation process.
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.)
citrus enzyme cleaner 2
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:

  • for dishes and laundry (use 1/4 cup of enzyme)
  • for washing bathrooms and toilets. grime comes off easily (1 part enzyme to 10 parts water)
  • for removing stubborn stains and odours (coloured fabrics and floors) (use undiluted)
  • to clean vegetables and fruits (1 part enzyme to 10 parts water)
  • clear blockages in kitchen sinks and drains (use concentrated or blended pulp/sludge of enzyme)
  • as a natural insect repellent (use undiluted) for ants, cockroaches.
  • for mopping floors (1 part enzyme to 20 parts water)
  • as fertilizer for plants (use 1 part enzyme to 20 parts water, or use the leftover mop water)
  • as a skincare product, e.g. facial cleanser or toner (1 part enzyme to 2 parts water)
  • 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 and will continue to report my “findings” to you.

Meanwhile, if you have some leftover citrus laying around…why not make up a batch and see what you think???

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  1. Lilybean says

    Awesome. I have a crapload of clementines that I bought but were too sour so they're just sitting there. Problem solved!

    • Lealeta says

      There seems to be a step that involves straining this but there are no instructions. After a couple weeks with some yeast, it smells good again instead of like rotten lemons. I guess I’ll puree and strain it and see what happens.

      • says

        Lealeta, I have been researching this cleaner and other sites mention using an old t-shirt or cheese cloth to strain the dredge from the enzyme liquid. Just mixed up my own batch… I wait : )

      • says

        I usually drain mine through 2 sieves stacked on each other, then pour it into a colander, that has a clean old t-shirt laying in it, letting it drain into a pot or bowl. It works great :)

    • Colleen says

      You said to add enzyme cleaner. Where do I get that. You also mentioned your plumber gave you enzymes to put down your drains. Where do I buy that and what is it called?

      • Michayla says

        Hi Jillee,

        I have a question on this enzyme cleaner. At the bottom of this post it says to add 1/2 c to 1L of water… then below that it has a bunch of recommended uses that include using x part enzyme to x part water. My question is.. say for example i wanted to make recommended use #2 for bathrooms where it wants me to use 1:10 enzyme to water. Would I still add the 1/2 cup enzyme to 1 L water and then use only 1 part of that and add 10 parts of water?

        Thanks for clarifying!

      • Yashica says

        The homemade cleanser she just
        Made is the enzyme cleaner she’s referring to. I’m pretty sure you could use this down your drain as well instead of specifically using the one from a plumber .

  2. Anonymous says

    I read some where that vinegar and orange peels in a quart jar for two weeks makes a good cleaner, just wondering if anyone has tried it on kitchen cabinets, mine need cleaned…

    • Chanda says

      I have tried the orange peel/vinegar and was not impressed. The vinegar/lemon/dawn recipe works a lot better so I figured why go through the orange peel ordeal again? I am looking forward to trying this enzyme concoction in my secret laboratory though! Yay for one more good thing! Will report back, jillee!

    • Sarah says

      I use this all the time…I use lemons in my glass of water so i just take the peel off and throw it in a bag in the freezer till i get enough then i toss them in a mason jar with white vinegar and let it set. the longer it sits the better it is and less vinegary it smells. I use it in mop water, as a multipurpose spray cleaner, in a mix with dawn and water in a spray bottle for dishes. It’s a must have for pet owners because it gets rid of the smells instead of masking them like other cleaners.

    • Auntie Ams says

      I have made the vinager/orange cleaner and LOVE IT!! What I read about it was that it was for counter tops. I think it would work wonderful on cabinets too. I’m still using up store bought cleaners and haven’t used it other places yet.

    • says

      Actually, this recipe is not really an “enzyme”, but actually a recipe for homemade citrus vinegar. (The fruit/sugar/yeast ferments 1st to create alcohol, and then ferments a 2nd time to create acetic acid, ie: vinegar) I use regular white vinegar water 1:1 as an all-purpose cleaner. After I make my homemade vinegar, I would bet that it will be a bit stronger than store-bought vinegar so it will need to be more diluted.

    • Donna says

      I actually started making the Orange peel and vinegar cleaner before I found Jillees blog. I really like it, It cleans mirrors like brand new.. I buff them with the blue shop towels you can buy in the automotive dept at wal-mart. I also use it as my all over the kitchen even inside the fridge cleaner. But since I found this website, I am going to buy microfiber cloths. I dont do the Orange peel vinegar by the quart. I am actually making it by the gallon. (milk jugs) and I am now starting to leave it in there longer and longer and its just getting better. the gallon I have in there now is losing the vinegar smell and it getting more and more orangy. Its also turning a dark color. I also started to chop the peels up with my cuisinart so I can put more in the jug. I keep them in the fridge until I add vinegar so they dont mold or dry out. But today I am using my peels to try Jillees enzyme cleaner. I am also using all citrus not just oranges. I am really enjoying making all the home made cleaners. I am excited to try Jillees. I am goinf to make every one of them!! oh .. I am dieting btw.. thats why I have sooo many peels.. LOL

    • Diamond says

      Instead of using lemon peel with vinegar, try citric acid, which is what you’re trying to get out of the citrus peels anyhow. I buy mine in bulk online, and make the following all-purpose cleaner with it:

      Dissolve 1 tablespoon of citric acid in 1 cup of boiling water, let it cool, then mix with 1 cup of vinegar. Pour it all into a spray bottle (you can add a few drops of essential oil if you like), and you’ve just made a fantastic disinfectant cleaner all on your own :)

      If you use this with a sprinkle of baking soda on tough messes – it foams up and works like magic!

      I will still be making the enzyme solution for pet messes and for use as a facial cleanser, but for an easy instant all purpose spray, this is another good solution. enjoy!

    • says

      I HAVE tried the vinegar/citrus concoction and as for me and my experience with it I would say buy Simple Green instead…the concoction did NOT work for me…I used it on interior and exterior refrigerator ,countertop and even my range hood…I was NOT impressed!!!

  3. Anonymous says

    Hi Jillee,

    My friend just sent your link.
    I am going to make and I have a few questions.
    Must it be plastic or could I use a glass jar?
    Also, you say to cut into small pieces but first photo shows a hand lemon juicer. Is that just for a beautiful photo or do you sometimes squeeze the juice out first?

    Don't have a blog or any of those other choices of profiles so I went with anony.

  4. Anonymous says

    Jill!! Where were you 2 1/2 months ago when I started mine! I have 2 weeks left. If it cleans as good as it should I am definitely following your recipe!

  5. Ryann says

    So if lemons..oranges…grapefruit…will work. Can I assume that limes will work as well? I got a bunch on sale, wanted to use them up!

  6. Anonymous says

    OK, I need to share my exerience. Please don't laugh in my face, but be adult and snicker behind my back. I read this post and was so excited. I had a bunch of lemons that I needed to do something with. So I chopped them up and made a DOUBLE batch of this in my 2 liter bottle. BAD IDEA — I am so lucky that it did not explode all over the kitchen. I ended up loosening the cap and letting the pressure off until the bottle was empty. My take away from this — you for sure cannot make a double batch in a 2 liter bottle. I am going to try again — one batch, one bottle. And I love your BLOG, I will eventually try all of your homemade products. Keep up the good work and thanks.

  7. Jill Nystul says

    Natalie…not a dumb question…because it seems like it would! But nothing I have tried it on yet has felt "sticky". Of course you DILUTE it before using. :-)

    Allison…I don't see any reason it wouldn't be perfectly fine for baby clothes. It is 100% natural.

    Anony….Mar 19…I'm not sure about the pet urine. I think that the enzyme used to clean urine stains uses an oxidation method to remove the stain and odor. That being said…it certainly wouldn't hurt anything to try!

    Ruth…I think a glass jar or bottle would be just fine. The juicer you see in the pictures is from juicing the lemons first. These particular lemons I had were getting a little on the overripe side, so I decided to juice them and I froze the juice in ice cube trays and then threw the cubes in the freezer for future use. :-)

    Ryann…I think limes would be AWESOME! :-) ANY citrus fruit will do.

    Anony…Mar 22…Oh dear!! You ARE lucky it didn't explode all over everything! lol. Thanks for the warning. ;-)

    • says

      just wanted to thank u for the simple version of this recipe. i had a tomcat wizz all over the backseat of my car (i know, never leave ur windows down). needless to say the best advice i got was, sell the car. i cant afford that. i used the enzyme cleaner (1/3 cleaner- 2/3 water) in a drizzle bottle. saturated the seat, threw a towel over it n i was amazed, it did wonders. i can drive without the windows down. i live in 29 palms n the air con is a must. thank u again. i can now put my grandsons carseat base back in my car n take him for a ride

  8. Dea says

    Once “fermented”and strained will it keep indefinitely until you need to make another bath or will it “expire” at some point and you need to start again?

  9. Cindy says

    I just tried out my first finished batch of this enzyme cleaner and it is absolutely AMAZING! Cuts the grim off the bathroom sinks, cleaned the toilet as good or better than any purchased cleaner I have used … I am totally geeked because I did it myself, it costs only pennies to make, and it is so versatile and works great! Thanks Jillee!!

    • Jillee says

      Yay! I’m so happy to finally be hearing other people’s experiences with it! I really was amazed at how well it worked in MY bathroom too! thanks for sharing!

  10. Laura says

    Today was the day I got to use my new cleaner!! I loved it, I live in a city with extremly hard water and this cleaner took all my calcium deposits away with very little scrubbing. Always a bonus!! thank youf or sharing your tips, they are fabulous.

    • Jillee says

      Laura….thank YOU for sharing your experience with the cleaner! :-) So glad you liked it!


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