Make Your Own Citrus Enzyme Cleaner and Scrub

citrus enzyme cleaner

Back in March of last year I posted about making my own Citrus Enzyme Cleaner from leftover lemon rinds! I know, it sounds a little crazy, but after reading pages and pages of information and comments about it, I decided to give it a try…and I have been using it ever since. (You can find the tutorial by CLICKING HERE.)

citrus enzyme cleaner

I love this cleaner because it’s natural, environmentally-friendly, and non-toxic…it’s made from kitchen scraps…AND it’s effective!

Leave it to one of YOU to improve upon the idea! This idea came from a comment left by Red Curl who decided she couldn’t stand to see the rinds, pulp, and seeds go to waste when she strained the liquid out to make her enzyme cleaner. Instead, she decided to grind it all up, add some baking soda for the “scrub factor”, and make a SUPER cleaner! :-) How brilliant is THAT?

I have been meaning to try this for months…but it wasn’t until recently that I finally exhausted my most recent batch of enzyme cleaner and needed to make a new one. Today my new batch was finally ready so I decided to try my hand at making my own enzyme scrub.

citrus enzyme cleaner

citrus enzyme cleaner

First I strained the LIQUID enzyme cleaner into a bowl and set it aside to use in my spray bottle later.

citrus enzyme cleaner

After straining, I took the pulpy stuff left over, threw it in the Blendtec, and pulsed it until it was nice and slushy. (Red Curl used her food processor, so that’s another option.)

citrus enzyme cleaner

Next I added the baking soda and continued to pulse the Blendtec until it formed a nice, thick paste. I ended up adding about 1 1/2 cups of baking soda total…but that amount will depend on how much slush you have in the first place. Just add about a half cup at a time until it’s a good consistency.

citrus enzyme cleaner

Then put the concoction in a lidded container and start cleaning!

citrus enzyme cleaner

So far I’ve only used it on the kitchen sink. The baking soda and citrus enzyme combination not only made my sink clean as a whistle, but made it smell SO clean and fresh at the same time! Can’t wait to try it out on other “messes” around the house. Some of the things Red Curl has used it for include, bathtub rings, pet stains, clothing stains, cleaning the oven, cleaning the toilet, house siding, and, I quote — “16-hundred other things!” — unquote. Pretty powerful endorsement! ;-)

citrus enzyme cleaner

Now you have another powerful tool in your fight against grime, high prices, and chemicals.


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    • the red curl says

      i store mine in a big tub under my sink in the darkest spot. it separates over time, so i just give it a quick shake or stir (i use a long handled spoon) if i haven’t used it in a bit. i had tried the fridge, but it became far too hardened.
      note though, i use mine (even large batches) within under a months time, as it has replaced almost every scrub and scour cleaner in our house (except bon ami which i keep for plates and whatnot). i’m not sure what a timeframe beyond a month is….

      hope that helps! give it a try! i hope you love it as much as i do!

  1. the red curl says

    oh. my. gosh.
    i feell honoured…. wow.
    thank you so much for giving my own little jillee moment a shot! what a powerful endorsement!
    for another bazillion uses, i’ve discovered it works well on infant clothing “issues”, smelly dog collar stains, grass stains in carpet, and the hub thought it was something else (how do you misread a giant cleastic tub with “homemade enzyme paste” handwritten on it?!) and cleaned oil stains off our drive with it (and this stiff bristled long handled brush thing, and a few drops of dawn apparently).
    i am such a hardcore fan of the enzyme cleaner liquid that i not only bought a local market out of their lemons when they were on sale over the holidays, but i ended up giving it all away as gifts! it’s my go-to miracle. and my paste? pure icing on the cake for my really tough jobs, our jobs that just need some oomph!

    thank you thank you jillee for not only giving my cleaning paste a try, but for making a post out of it as well! i couldn’t have made it though, without your awesomesauce cleaner in the first place!

  2. calliope says

    Such a great idea!
    I’ve been making scented vinegar with lemon or orange rinds and then I’d toss them!
    The scented vinegar is a more powerful vinegar where cleaning is concerned AND a scented softener for the washing machine

  3. Susan says

    I have used this since you posted it last year! I use it to wash my produce (Veggie Wash), so I’ve saved a ton of money–those bottles of Veggie Wash are about $5.00 each. I will definitely be making the paste!

  4. Zoquara says

    I love the smell of lemons, and I really want to try making these! Also…. I freaking LOVE the glittery nail polish! I’m also jealous of how long your nails are! Mine don’t grow well. Pretty sure it’s genetics because I’ve tried vitamin supplements and everything, and the ONLY time mine ever grew well was when I was pregnant. I can’t even keep professional fake nails on for more than a couple days before they start lifting!

  5. Sarah says

    Ooo I can’t wait to try this! And I’m more than happy to vote for you, Jillee! I stumbled upon your website totally by accident a few months back and couldn’t believe this great little nook of the internet that I had found. You deserve a win. Thanks for all your spectacular work! :)

  6. Wendy says

    I love how you always refer (and link) old posts. I am new-ish to your blog and feel like there are so many good posts that I will never get to them all. Mentioning your older posts helps me see ones I would otherwise miss. Can’t wait to try both of these out. Good luck on winning the award!

  7. says

    This sounds wonderful. I buy big bags of lemons from Costco because even if I don’t use them all they are cheaper than buying a few at the grocery store. Now I won’t feel so bad if I don’t use them all for cooking.

    • Mindy says


      If you like lemon in your water, you can wedge them all and freeze the wedges to add to your water! Drop one or two small wedges in your glass (or pitcher), add ice and water and use the same wedges all day long! I keep a container of lemon and lime wedges in the freezer just for this purpose!

    • Darlene Konitzer says

      I freeze lemons. I also freeze citrus peels for my next batch of cleaner. I use the lemon/citrus mixed with hair conditioner for laundry softener. I also use for cleaning everything minus the conditioner. maybe it would make a good firniture polish with the conditioner. haven’t tried that yet. Love all these good & simple & inexpensive ideas.

  8. Leslie says

    I love this idea! I didn’t have any luck with the citrus enzyme cleaner, but I do make citrus vinegar that I use for cleaning everything. Now I have something to do with the rinds–thanks so much!

  9. Trixie F says

    DARN IT! Hubby brought home a bucket full of lemons recently and I juiced them all and froze the juice but forgot ALL ABOUT the enzyme cleaner. If I had remembered, now would probably be when it would be about ready. :(

    Shoot!! Next time I guess. Thanks for the great info…………….AGAIN!!

    • the red curl says

      i usually have quite a few limes as well. i usually make my enzyme cleaner with whatever citrus i have… usually lemons, limes, and grapefruits. your cleaner (and your paste) may not be the bright lemony yellow color, but they get the job done just the same and with a nice citrusy smell!

      if you want to boost the scent of the paste, add about 10-20 drops of lemon, lime, or grapefruit essential oil. it all depends on the strength of the scent you want!

  10. says

    I’m so excited to try this.. I used to work for a cleaning company that used their own natural cleaners and they had this wonderful scrub that was baking soda and lemon… and what else I’m not sure but it worked amazingly well! I just ran out of it so I’m hoping this will be similar and I’ve got everything on hand to make the enzyme!

  11. Catherine H graham says

    Hi Jillee! Thanks so much for your lemon cleaner. I am doing it now I am also done making the laundry soap. and am going to use it next week. I love all your ideas.. and am glad you repost them.I have made the orange cleaner as well. ..smells divine.I am so glad to have all this info. and going to try most of them as I am very sensitive to store bought product with all the toxic additives.

  12. kim j says

    I am new to your blog and happy to have found you (i will def vote!) When I saw cleaner I was thinking face cleaner…………this would be a great for exfoliating your skin! If the lemon juice is too strong you could add a little honey or yogurt? I’m going to Wal-mart this evening and will be getting a bag of lemons, I can’t wait to try this!
    Thanks a bunch!

    • the red curl says

      for a face scrub that i use (and i have pale white, delicate, & sensitive skin), take the lemon juice you get from your lemons when you are using your rinds for the enzyme cleaner and add it to baking soda and honey. perfect scrub with all the fantastic benefits of expense scrubs without the high price and all the nice softening and purifying effects!

      usually i mix the lemon juice and honey together so i don’t get a baking soda volcano! my own personal recipe isn’t actually a science. i usually take about 1 to 2 cups baking soda (depending on if i want enough for my hub to use it too, or if i want a big batch), and add enough lemon-honey mix to make a smooth paste. the lemon-honey is a ration of usually 1 to 1…. if that seems too strong, i go 1/2 part lemon to 1 part honey. then i mix it with a fork until it’s smooth and pour it into an old squeeze bottle (like the kind lotion comes in) that i’ve saved for this. we use our batch for quite awhile and just store the bottle in the shower!

  13. patricia says

    Jillee you got my vote!! I clean homes and deal with families who have severe allergies. I have been using this for a while and it’s wonderful and my clients have no problems. For all the people who are finding it doesn’t clean well there’s still hope for all of you. If you have been using traditional cleaners you have years of built up film in your home. With time and using only natural cleaners you will remove the film and find natural keeps your homes so much cleaner.

    Jillee my husband calls this stuff ” Jillee Juice” Our 2 Old English Sheep Dogs ( rescue pups) were skunked and this removed it from their fur and left their coats smelling wonderful! (When he came in from their walk he yelled for me to get the Jillee Juice.) So now all my bottles have the JJ label on them. Thanks for all that you do!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Teri W says

    I have a question about the citrus vinegar.. do you use it just straight or do you dilute it? You can use it in the wash as well? I made a jar way back when and it’s just sitting on my kitchen counter :( I have no idea how to use it, silly me!

    • Calliope says

      I use it mainly as a fabric softener. Undiluted. The lemon-vinegar combined w the sun makes whites sparkle. The orange-vinegar to the rest of my clothes. The clothes smell so good afterwards.
      Never had any issues w my clothes, linens etc
      I also use it as i would use plain vinegar for cleaning purposes, mostly undiluted.
      For mopping floors, i dilute 1 1/2 cup of any vinegar to 1/2 bucket of water
      Hope i’ve helped!

  15. Liza Montes says

    I made a batch of the Citrus Enzyme cleaner and I was quite disappointed. I didn’t see any difference whatsoever in my tub or toilets. I even used less water to make it more concentrate. I also sprayed it on my tub and sinks and let it sit over night. I don’t understand what it was supposed to do, so maybe that is part of my disappointment. And until this day I have yet to find a cleaner that will remove that stubborn dark stain around the tub. Maybe it only works on metal tubs or ceramic tubs.

  16. Gwyn says

    Jillee do you have a system for collecting the rinds or do you just get a bunch of lemons and juice them when you need to make more cleaner? I use lemons a lot but it takes me a while to go through that many. I actually use half a lemon to clean in the kitchen with and sprinkle baking soda on it to scrub the sink. this sounds like a much better plan. Thanks

  17. says

    Jillie, I love to get your emails and see what you have made.
    I have not bought laundry detergent since October 2012. I love the detergent and it cleans!!!!!! I have several friends who have caught on to your great ideas as well.

    Sharron Ginn

  18. CTY says

    Made the enzyme cleaner way back–was very disappointed because it went moldy at about 3 weeks. So after reading this post & your original post I realized that somehow I missed the step of refrigeration. So I don’t win the genius award. Gonna give this another go–I think I am more interested in the paste than original. The paste sounds very close to an orange scrub mechanics use to clean their hands. Just last week I made 4 dozen jars of orange marmalade–I didn’t have it in me to throw out the leftover rinds so I froze them.

    • CTY says

      So I re-read your & re-read your original post–says nothing about the refrigerator. I guess I thought your shelf was in the fridge. Anyway after a careful reading & looking I asked myself “why does Jillee keep so many cans of beans in the refrigerator?” Then the light bulb went on DUH it’s a pantry shelf.
      Still gonna give it a go–fingers crossed for no mold. I think I’ll rest now.

      • Army Girl says

        @CTY, [{Anyway after a careful reading & looking I asked myself “why does Jillee keep so many cans of beans in the refrigerator?” }]

        OMG….ROFLMAO!! I am still just tickled & making DH (who is watching the race) disgruntled at the distraction!! Thank you for that….

  19. Safaia says

    Ya know, those rinds and baking soda would probably make a really good body scrub too. Not sure how it would work with the rest of the ingredients from making the cleaner but its a thought.

  20. Raspberry Leaf says

    I can’t seem to get the link to the enzyme cleaner to open no matter what browser I use, it just either doubles back to your clean menu or to a blank page.
    I would love to read more about this enzyme cleaner and what you are doing with it.

  21. Darla says

    So, I like to use lots of limes and buy them by the bag at Costco. Do limes have the same “power” as lemons? Do you think that they would be interchangeable in the various uses you have given for lemons?

  22. Cille says

    Haven’t tried the citrus scrub yet, but will make some up soon. I have a question, can the homemade laundry detergent also be used in the dishwasher? I have tried it and the dishes came out great but now my machine won’t drain good. Trying to decide if its the detergent or that my dishwasher is just old. Thanks bunches.

  23. jae says

    I just ran across this recipe in my search to broaden my natural cleaner options. I am just curious about the number of lemons (citrus) and amount of baking soda. Jillie has this giant jar she pours from. I typically get the little boxes at the grocery.
    Just guesses would be great. I’m a no-measure kinda cook anyway. Approximations work great.


  24. says

    Hi Jill,

    Do you now use your Enzyme cleaner over your vinegar one or do you use both for different things? What would you say is better at cleaning? I have only ever read of the vinegar citrus cleaner so i’m really interested in the enzyme one and which would be better to use.


  25. nicoleb says

    Ok silly question…do you put all of what is left of the lemons in the blender, rinds and all? Didn’t want to A: ruin my vitamix or B: not make the recipe right. And I couldn’t really tell from the picture.

  26. Murphy says

    Now I see the pictures mason jars- in the original post, didn’t you let it ferment in plastic soda bottles? That’s what I did, and just now, I couldn’t get the citrus scraps out to mix with baking soda for the scrub. Hmm, will have to watch out for large mouth jars next batch. Anyway, 1 cup just went down a smelly kitchen drain, and another down the shower drain that fights 4 long haired people using it! I was hoping to have the scrub for a few ‘special’ projects.

  27. Shanon C says

    Giving the enzyme cleaner a whirl today. I’m very excited to try the scrub on my shower doors, as I have tried everything under the sun and I can’t seem to get them really clean. Really hoping the scrub will do the trick.

  28. rosco says

    Hi! I’ve been doing things more naturally in the last year and i find myself often referring to your website for cleaning ideas! so thanks!!
    question: this has come up a few times regarding the enzyme cleaner and maybe i missed the answer, it seems half of natural cleaning is trial and error and the rest, reading!! my enzyme cleaner went really nasty and moldy after a few weeks of fermenting. i thought the “loosly” fastened lid was the problem and air was getting to it.. i thought maybe it was too loose or needed to only be loose when shaking?? my husband voted my jar wasn’t sterilized properly, but i doubted that since you were using a plastic i wish i paid more attention in science class. i’m giving it another go, but thought id see if i get any ideas on the matter first. Thanks!!

  29. donna says

    My batch just got finished tonight and I chopped the rinds and added the baking soda. I love that I no longer have to use gloves and choke on fumes in the bathroom when cleaning. This is great. My dad plans on using some as the fertilizer for the plants and garden. So many uses for one product….love it.


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