One day last year I had been making something in the kitchen that required lots of lemons. I had a bunch of lemon peels laying on the bench and I didn’t know what to do with them. I would love to be a zero-waste family, and we’re a way off from that yet, however I always look for ways that I can reduce, reuse and recycle. Most food scraps go into our worm farm or to feed our quails, but citrus cannot be used for either of those.
So I did what any 21st Century solution-seeker does and jumped online. I was excited when I came across a nifty article about homemade lemon enzyme cleaner. As someone who loves fermenting foods, this was right up my alley – a homemade fermented cleaner! As I read the comments I became intrigued – carpet cleaner? clearing blocked drains? natural insect repellent? I had to give this thing a shot!
The trouble is, I can be impatient and the recipe said it required three months. Three months! In my real food journey I have learned that good things take time (think fermented foods, dehydrating foods, sprouting seeds, activating nuts and so on). With that in mind, I decided I had nothing to lose. I made my first batch.
Three months later I opened it and used it as a concentrate in every way I could think of – in my mop bucket water, to clean my bathroom sink, to soak a stain on my kitchen bench. This stuff is great and contains no toxic chemicals! It is basic to make and mega cheap. I have since made a second batch and it is fermenting away while I ration my first batch so that I don’t run out before I have more on hand! The instructions are listed below in my own words and interpretation of the original recipe.
Lemon Enzyme Cleaner by happyhomemaker88
What you need:
2L plastic bottle (this was the hardest part for me, trying to source a plastic bottle! We don’t drink softdrink and/or supermarket juice – if you don’t either, find a friend who does and ask them to save you a bottle! It must be plastic, not glass which can shatter if the gas build up causes the bottle to explode. Scared?)
100g brown sugar
300g lemon peels (you can use any citrus scraps)
1L tap water
What you do:
Pour the sugar into the bottle, using a funnel if required. Add citrus peel and water. Make sure there is lots of room at the top and that the bottle is not full to the brim. There needs to be space for the off-gassing to take place, which may involve the bottle expanding slightly.
Place the lid on and shake that baby! Shake shake shake!
Write the date on the bottle so you know when you made it and when 3 months will be up.
Release the lid slightly so it is about half-closed tight.
Place the bottle somewhere safe for three months.
After three months, strain the solution through a muslin cloth. Use as a concentrate (ie. in most cases you will need to dilute it with water).
Then clean, clean, clean and experience this fragrant liquid work its magic!