Our family's journey to the heart of a handmade life

Citrus Enzyme Cleaner

Citrus Enzyme Cleaner


I love using fresh lemons. The bright, clean, sweet-tart aroma is intoxicating, and the flavor simply cannot compete with the bottled stuff. I always zest and juice, regardless of what I’m making, since both freeze wonderfully and have infinite uses. But that still leaves the sad-looking pithy parts. Pale and wrinkled, they sit dejectedly on the counter, the citrus-y version of the last kid picked in gym class. If I’m making my lemon syrup for drinks, then it’s quite a big group of sad kids. (Stick with me here, folks.)


Citrus enzyme cleaner is the answer! It takes those leftovers and gives them new life in the form of a powerful grease-fighting brew. It’s like we’re taking those sad kids under our wing and turning them into superheroes. (Okay, end of weird analogy.) It’s nearly effortless and ridiculously cheap. The vinegar pulls the oil from the lemons, which is awesome at cutting grease, disinfecting and deodorizing. I use it to clean the bathroom, kitchen sink, and stove-top, as well as an ingredient in my homemade dish soap (I’ll be posting my recipe for that over at Little House Living next month).

Step 1: Gather your used lemons.

Step 2: Place in jar.

Step 3: Cover with white vinegar.

Step 4: Wait 2 weeks to 1 month. (I usually leave it for a month, to get the most out of my peels.)

Step 5: Strain out and discard the lemons.

That’s it! I usually make it in a quart-sized canning jar, unless I have a lot of peels, then I use a larger container as pictured above. This can also be made with other citrus, such as oranges, grapefruit, or clementines. I have only ever made it with lemons, though, so let me know how it goes if you try something else. Have you ever used an enzyme cleaner like this one? Do you have any other uses?