Fermented Citrus Enzyme Cleaner

Categories diet, food and drink

Cleaning around the home is always a task, especially when your roommate is a fuzzy cuddle buddy (also known as dog). Throughout the house, different surfaces – wood, linoleum, caulk and ceramic tile – demand different products, and adding in some fabric stain removing power on top will leave you with a menagerie of various spray bottles lying around. If only there were something you could make at home… That could clean countertops, clothes, bathrooms, carpet stains and more…

Turns out, there is! At least, the Internet says so… That means it must be true, right? Recipes abound for a high-powered “enzymatic” cleaner that can clean just about anything. Use it in bathrooms, use it on countertops, use it for doing laundry, use it for wiping away birthmarks with ease! Just kidding – it shouldn’t do anything to a birthmark.


What are these Enzy-cleaners anyway

Enzymes are organic molecules that speed up chemical reactions. Some breakdown proteins, some breakdown sugars, some build proteins, some build sugars, etc., etc., etc. Basically, every chemical reaction that occurs in living things happens with the help of an enzyme.

But why do you want these molecules in your cleaner? As it turns out, enzymes are extremely effective at what they do, so the thought goes that adding some destructive enzymes to a cleaner will help obliterate any difficult to remove proteins or starches left behind by a mess. With me so far? Good. You could buy an enzyme cleaner online, but where’s the fun in that? You can make it at home with a great smelling source of enzymes you’d throw away anyway: citrus peels.


So start saving up, especially if you’re using plenty of fruit in your homemade soda! You’ll want to collect enough rinds to fill a little less than half of a two-liter bottle. Scrape as much of the white stuff off the rinds as you can then cut what’s left into small pieces – small enough to get into the top of a two-liter!

Now you need some sugar, brown or white, and some yeast – these are the puppies that will start up your yummy fermentation broth. Just don’t drink it. The basic idea behind this recipe is that the citrus rinds are naturally full of enzymes that can be dissolved into a cleaning solution of water and alcohol.

These enzymes cleave chemical bonds, so having a cleaner saturated with them should help remove a range of different stains. The alcohol comes from the yeast, which eats the sugar and makes alcohol as a byproduct – that’s called fermentation, a.k.a. how we’ve been getting drunk for millennia.

We like this basic recipe for enzyme cleaner the best, but we’ll share our thoughts to make it better below the ingredient list.


What You’ll Need

  • 2 Liter Bottle
  • 4 cups citrus fruit rind
  • ½ cup brown or white sugar
  • 1 tsp of active yeast
  • 1 liter of water
  • Funnel to add brown sugar
  • Strainer or cheese cloth
  • 1 cup organic apple cider vinegar


What to Know

  • Your concoction will be gassy. Another byproduct of fermentation is carbon dioxide gas. You’ll have to vent your bottle to keep it from popping open or possibly erupting.
  • But not too often. Yeast cells only make ethanol anaerobically – without oxygen. So leaving the bottle open to the air, as most others suggest, will actually reduce the strength of the cleaner. Instead, check on the bottle regularly and vent it a few times a day.
  • Don’t wait on it. Other recipes tell you to wait 3 months for your recipe to be full strength. In chemical terms, that is so two thousand and late. Any funny business going on is long over. 10-14 days should be plenty.
  • Heat it up instead. Applying heat is the easiest way to speed up any chemical process. Keeping your mixture warm, especially in the first few days after you make it, will give you the best results. This is when the vast majority of fermentation will occur!


Hopefully, these tips will give you a good, strong cleaner that can handle some tough negotiations with the dirty surfaces of your home. Most recipes call for diluting the concoction for different purposes. Figuring out the right ones for you will be a process of trial and error. But whatever you use this for, you can sure you’ll no longer have noxious fumes every time the shower needs a scrub.


Want to Skip the Yeast?

You can always dissolve lemon rinds in a mixture of water and vinegar to achieve a similar effect. Unfortunately, you can’t really add alcohol to this mix, unless you have some Everclear lying around or you don’t mind your cleaner smelling like vodka.


Either way, try it out and tell us what you think. Be happy, be healthy!


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