Hello, lovelies! I know I said that I would talk about Shield and Oregano essential oils today; but I seriously forgot that I was supposed to do a follow-up to my Lemonade Concentrate post for this Homemade Citrus Enzyme Cleaner. That’s kinda how I roll, always trying to do too many things at once and not being able to concentrate on any of them. Haha. There’s hope for me out there, I just KNOW it.
That being said, I promised that I would give you a recipe of what to do with all those peels and pulp left over from juicing your lemons. Now, you don’t have to use lemon peels. You can use orange, grapefruit, lime, pineapple, or even apple peels for this recipe; I just happened to have an excessive amount of lemon peels handy.
You’ll need a 2-liter jar or bottle and a marker or sticky-note. I find that I prefer a jar because of the wide opening at the top, and being glass, there is no concern for BPA or other odd and unknown things leaching out into your cleaner. I did use a plastic juice bottle for my two-week cleaner and used jars for the rest of the batch that I will let sit for three months but you only need one to start with.
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups of citrus peels (and pulp if it’s attached – no need to pick it off)
As you can see, I went a little crazy with the peels and pulp when filling my jars – more on that later.
4 cups of water
1 tsp active dry yeast (optional)
Add all of your ingredients to a 2-liter bottle or jar, put the lid on and shake well to combine and dissolve the sugar. Then loosen the lid to allow gas to escape your jar (this will ensure that the jar or bottle doesn’t explode from gas build-up inside). Mark your jar with a sticky-note or a marker to note what date you made the cleaner. Every day for the first week or so, tighten the lid and give your mixture a good shake, then re-loosen that bad boy. Don’t worry if you see a white-ish film forming on top of the mixture, it’s perfectly normal (that’s natural yeast, by the way), just keep shaking and it’ll mix right in to your cleaner.
Now, if you opted not to add the yeast to your bottle, you will need to let it “ferment” for about three months. This gives the citrus time to break down and release all its power into the liquid. If you DID add the yeast, your mixture will be ready to use in just two short weeks. Hooray!
For the next steps you will need a large pitcher or measuring cup, a fine mesh strainer and possibly some cheesecloth or a flour sack cloth. Pour the citrus enzyme cleaner through your strainer to remove the solids (don’t throw them away). I, being a bit obtuse at times, ended up straining mine three times, once through a regular strainer, once through a fine mesh strainer, and yet again through a flour sack cloth. I didn’t get a picture of the third time – but you get the idea.
I guess I’m just an optimist thinking that each time it would be strained good enough. LOL. You want to make sure that your liquid is completely devoid of any solids or you will hate me later when your spray bottle gets clogged up; so please do this because I would be really sad if you hate me later.
Once you have removed all the solids, you are ready to clean! For general all-purpose cleaning, add 1/2 cup of citrus enzyme cleaner to a 16 – 20 oz. spray bottle (I got mine on Amazon) and fill the bottle the rest of the way with tap water. I love the fresh, clean scent of lemons, so for an extra boost of scent and cleaning power, I added 20 drops of Lemon Essential Oil – just because. Give the bottle a good shake before you spray each time. I tested this out on my microwave which lives quietly above the stove top. I didn’t think to take a before picture, but I am very impressed with the squeaky clean results. It cut right through the grease spatters and left a streak free shine. Yayyy me! I’m so sad for those other all-purpose cleaner manufacturers – NOT!
Uses for your citrus enzyme cleaner are practically limitless, but here’s a quick list of a few options for you from around the world-wide web. Just use your imagination, I’m sure your very creative minds can come up with hundreds of uses.
All-purpose cleaner – 1/2 cup enzyme, 12-16 oz. water
Bathroom cleaner – 1 part enzyme, 10 parts water
Floor cleaner – 1 part enzyme, 20 parts water
Dish washing – add 1/4 cup enzyme (I haven’t tried this in the dishwasher, I’m thinking I’m going to try it in the extra soap cup)**
Laundry – use 1/4 cup enzyme per load
Cleaning produce – 1 part enzyme, 10 parts water
Car wash – 1 part enzyme, 20 parts water
Fertilizer for plants – pour your leftover mop water into your plants (1 part enzyme, 20 parts water)
Insect repellant – use undiluted to deter ants and other pests
Stain buster – use undiluted directly on stain (spot test a small hidden area before using on permanent items such as carpeting)
Skin care – 1 part enzyme, 2 parts water as a facial cleanser or toner
Drain cleaner – pour undiluted into slow or clogged drains
**UPDATE (2/8/14) – I used 1 to 2 ounces undiluted in my dishwasher’s “extra soap” cup and my glassware came out GORGEOUS! I am so super happy with these results!
Now, remember how I told you not to throw out those solids? Yep, I have a use for those too! It’s time to make a scrubbing power-house, work-horse, cleaner for those really tough jobs. Pour all those solids into your favorite chopping/blending/pulverizing appliance and hit pulse a few times to get them all chopped down to a smooth consistency. The solids will be mostly broken down from making your cleaner so it shouldn’t take much. You will need about 1 1/2 cups of baking soda (more or less depending on how much solids you had left and how wet they are). Add baking soda to your food processor in 1/2 cup increments and give your scrub a whirl to incorporate well. Keep adding baking soda until you have a thick paste texture. Put it in an airtight container to store.
The Citrus Enzyme Power Scrub is for the tough jobs. Baking soda is a mild abrasive so I would not recommend using this on any delicate surfaces just to be on the safe side. You can use it to scrub your stainless steel cookware, sinks, oven, tile and grout, shower walls, bathtubs, mud-room floors, wheel rims, garage floor, or wherever else your family makes a big ol’ ugly mess in your house. Now remember that this stuff is chemical free so you’re gonna have to put in a little elbow grease; but don’t you think it’s worth it if you can remove yet another toxin from your life?
So, now you know what to do when your compost pile just can’t take any more citrus peels, or whenever you start running low on your Citrus Enzyme Cleaner. I hope you try it and I hope you’re just as impressed as I am.
I’ll be back tomorrow with that post about Oregano and Shield essential oils. Come on back and I’ll see ya then.
A special shout out goes to Jill at One Good Thing by Jillee for the inspiration for this post. Thanks, Jillee!
I am sharing this post at Simply Saturdays blog hop, over at Simply Living Simply. Stop by if you have a chance. 🙂
PS. – If you want to buy your own bottle of 100% pure, therapeutic grade Lemon Essential Oil, go here and enter the code “Trixie” in the coupon code box for a 10% discount