DIY Enzyme Cleaner!
The Results Show.


You may remember way back in July I decided to start some enzyme cleaner.  A homemade enzyme cleaner that’s supposed to have the magical properties of a thousand unicorns.

Basically it’s a combination of water, old citrus peels and some brown sugar.  You can see my original post on how to make it here.  It’s supposed to replace regular toxic household cleaners and do an even better job.  The catch?  It takes 3 months to make.  It needs that time to develop and ferment.

What happens is the citrus peels produce a small amount of yeast, which in turns eats up the sugar which somehow turns into enzymes.  I have no idea how.  I don’t really care either.  Enzymes are known to be great cleaners and any products that are used for getting rid of pet urine stink are usually made of enzymes.  So homemade enzyme cleaner is good.

Of course I had to try making it because why wouldn’t I?  It’s what I do.  Try things.  And this was looking especially appealing for some reason.  The 3 months was a pain in the ass but I’ve waited much longer for far less so I figured I could tough it out.

Besides.  If this enzyme cleaner was as good as the people of the Internet were professing 3 months of waiting was a minuscule price to pay. According to the tribe of enzyme Internet people, once it’s done, this stuff will clean bathtubs, mirrors, toilets, food, pet urine, remove brown spots from your skin and of course, warts.  Yes.  That is what they say.

The last thing to get people this worked up was snake oil.

Here’s how it all turned out for me …

July 6th I started my batch of enzyme cleaner.  3 months later it hadn’t done a thing.  No fermenting, no gassing up, no nothin.  All instructions for making this stuff warned you about the fact that so much gas will be produced in the bottle while it’s working it’s magic that the lid might explode off.  No exploding.   3 months later it was the same as it was from day one, with a little extra colour and stink.

I also knew the enzyme cleaner wasn’t ready because it was incredibly sticky.   Any of the sugar I put in there was still there.   If the enzyme cleaner had  properly fermented there wouldn’t be any sugar left in it.

So after 3 months of nothing happening I added a teaspoon of yeast to my concoction.  This did the trick and within a few days the bottle was bubbling and fermenting and producing more gas than Honey Boo Boo at a chili eating contest.

About 2 weeks later it stopped producing gas and wasn’t sticky at all, so I knew it was done.

I measured out the recommended ratio of Enzyme Cleaner to water.  All the sites that extoll the virtues of this cleaner say to use it straight for pet accidents, one part enzyme to 5 parts water for cleaning glass, and 1 part enzyme to 10 parts water for general cleaning, like in bathrooms and kitchens.

And then I started cleaning.  And what did I think?

DIY Enzyme Cleaner is stupid.

I started off by cleaning some sticky windows.  It didn’t work.  Windex did.

Then I moved onto a mirror.  It worked.  So did Windex and so did plain water.

Then into the bathroom I went.  It did a fine job on the sink and bathtub.  Just like my regular cleaner only not as good.

Off to the kitchen.  Again it did a fine job on the counters and windowsills but a terrible job on the baseboards (which had some kind of grease on them).

That’s where I stopped my experiment.  It seemed pointless to continue because I knew … I was never going to make this again.

It wasn’t that it was completely terrible, it just wasn’t worth the effort and really didn’t clean nearly as well as commercial cleaners.  Yes, I know … if you lick it though, you won’t die!  You won’t die if you lick Windex either so don’t worry about it.  Neither will your baby.

If you’re worried about that sort of thing there’s a myriad of products out there that are safe for you and your baby and your curious licking problem.

I don’t know if was just me, or my particular batch but after reading what other bloggers had to say about this stuff I was expecting rays of sunshine to come exploding out of my toilet after I cleaned with it.  They did not.

I’m kind of suspicous about these other bloggers and what they normally use for cleaning products if they’re so impressed with this.  I suspect prior to making enzyme cleaner they’d been trying to clean their homes with roadkill.

And that’s basically my assessment of this DIY Enzyme Cleaner.  It’s better than roadkill.


  1. Emily says:

    Thank you for your test, glad I didnt have to go through those grueling months of waiting…and for nothing, ugh. Basically it sounds like homemade vinegar but even more lame right?! I will stick with good old white vinegar for my cleaning, those internet people you speak of sound wacky 😀

    • Joanna says:

      Well…it sounds like it didn’t develop properly…maybe thats why it didn’t clean well?

      • Jen says:

        I agree. If it stated 3 months but then you quit two weeks after it finally started bubbling, maybe it needed 3 months from there.

        Oh well, like someone else said, I like vinegar. But what I do is put my citrus rinds straight into my bottle of vinegar. When the bottle is done, I trash the whole thing, but while I’m using it, I just keep adding rinds! I mostly use it for small urine accidents, though. Beyond that, enzymatic cleaners are the way to go, chemical or not.

      • Eric says:

        it sounds like you were making alcohol…not an enzyme cleaner lol. yeast + sugar = alcohol. The bubbling was a release of CO2 gas.

  2. Lemurific says:

    That stinks, but thanks for doing the legwork. For pet stains and smells, the Equalizer Carpet Stain & Odor Eliminator is the best thing I have found. Much better than natures miracle. It cleans my neurotic cat’s messes from rugs and couches without that lingering smell. It is easy to apply too. Fricking cat.

    • Karen says:

      Good to know! I’ll look for the Equalizer. I too have a cat with questionable habits at times. SO frustrating. I think I tried to toilet train her too early. ~ karen

      • Lemurific says:

        FYI: I can buy it through my vet or via amazon. I have never seen it in a store. That is exactly what I did with my cat. I suppose I ruined her. Plus she hates skunks and marks by the windows.

        • vera wroe says:

          The remarks you made about your cat seem as if an excuse for it’s behavior. Whilst you obviously need to clean the smells I would suggest you deal with the behavior. Create an area outside (it can be small) after the cat has eaten inside put “it” out in the area. and walk away (without comment). If you notice it peeing let it back inside and give it a small treat/tickle. Don’t fuss if the cat goes to an area it likes to pee simply put it out in it’s area immedietly, after a while establish the outside routine. Fussing or telling it off etc. is rewarding the cat for it’s unwanted behavior. I hope you take my comment in the way it’s intended because many owners have similar problems, remember (you must replace a behavior with an acceptable on. Regards to all Vera in Australia.

          • Corrie says:

            Also a reason for your cat not liking to use the litter box is that you may have had yourgent cat declared. Instead of just removing her/his nails, you are in fact removing the toes from the last knuckle! The problem then arises when you try to return your cat back to their litter before they were fully healed or returning them to a type of litter that is too rough on their super sensitive paws! If you think this may be the case ask your vet to suggest a more suitable litter.

    • Deb says:

      I’ll be looking for The Equalizer as well for my 16 yr old cat with kidney disease. His accidents are not entirely his fault, but are definitely a major pain.

      • Angela says:

        I also have a 16 year old cat with kidney disease. Must find this stuff!

        • Kathy says:

          And I have a 15 year old cat with kidney disease, most likely due to being locked in a foreclosed house for 21 days without water or food….she’s not the pisser, but her neurotic sister is…so off to Amazon I go.

          I love to use baking soda as a cleaner, too, in addition to vinegar. It’s great in drains (with vinegar) and well, has at least 1001 uses, according to my husband who composed an ode to Arm and Hammer….

  3. Lemurific says:

    Leave the homemade fermentation for making some alcoholic beverages.

  4. Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams says:

    So basically this is a Pinterest fail? LOL. Thanks for letting us know how it [didn’t] work…

    Gotta wonder if they do use road kill for cleaning…


  5. Marti says:

    K- you have a political ad on your site. Is that a specific campaign that contacted you or did you join one of those ad groups (like Google Adsense, only something that will actually MAKE MONEY) and it’s coming through the group?

    • Karen says:

      No, I have nothing to do with the ad. Who the hell are they promoting? It’s either from Google or Glam. Either way, there’s a new ad network on my horizon. ~ karen!

      • Lisa says:

        I don’t see any political ads on my view. Of course, if it’s an American political ad, I cringe at putting it on a Canadian blog… but there ya go.

        • Shauna says:

          Yes, I saw a political ad yesterday at the bottom of the post telling me to vote for Romney. Thankfully, I had already voted otherwise this ad on Karen’s blog could have made all the difference;)

          • Candace says:

            Hi Karen,

            For what it’s worth, “conservatives” read your site, too. Considering our country basically is at a 50/50 split, it’s hardly surprising–and hopefully not too disturbing, assuming all readership is welcome by the writer.

      • Lindsay B says:

        I saw a political ad too and was very surprised! Mine was for crazy pants Michele Bachmann, a MN Congressional candidate that doesn’t even represent my district.

        • Shauna says:

          It all has to do with what you’ve been searching and reading. Yes, the internet bots know that. Today, I see an ad for party standups. And, you know what? I recently ordered a party standup. And, yes, I’ve been reading political crap lately – go figure.

          The scariest ads that are shown are the ones that pop up after I’ve been reading medical posts – like WebMD or something.

    • Jackie says:

      FYI I saw a huge ad that seemed to be part of your post at the end (there was no box or delineation between your words and the words of the ad) and it was advertising steam cleaning for my city (Calgary AB). Because of the topic of your blog, it actually seemed like part of your post.

  6. Marti says:

    As for “pinterest fail,” I tried the “ammonia and hot water in spray bottle, steam ironed with a white towel” for getting rid of rug stains. Worked. Worked great, matter of fact.

    Of course, that’s another “please don’t lick this” moments for you, isn’t it?

  7. Claudine says:

    “…your curious licking problem.”

    The best enzymatic cleaner I’ve used for pet mess is Anti-Icky Poo. Yes, it sounds silly, but it works very well. One of my cats was very angry with me (long story) and peed for two days on a futon mattress. There was some discoloration of the cotton, but the stickiness and smell went away very quickly. Anti-Icky Poo is recommended by veterinarians and can be purchased at pet supply stores, but is less expensive online.

  8. Rachel says:

    Baaah haa haaaa..I saw the pic and thought, Oh yum, that looks good! I’m thinking it was some kind of dietary cleanse. I’m so bummed.

    I have to agree with Lemurific’s sentiments. Good try though, and kudos on the patience!

  9. Trysha says:

    Skip the “OMG! This is the best cleaner. Mix vinegar and blue dawn dish soap”. No. It sucks and it stinks. I’d rather use straight vinegar and have my house smell like pickles than clean my bathtub with that gawd awful mix again.

  10. Danni says:

    I too, I have a disgusting pet that required the FREQUENT use of concoctions to pull urine out of wool carpets. Yes, wool. Ten years ago when I was still worried about such things as off-gassing in synthetic carpets — now I am worried about the organic stuff growing in the wool/jute/urine carpet in my house. But bc I have tried just about every product on the planet…. Woolite Oxy Pet works amazingly for me. It is enzymy and also works in my kids’ bath that also has a stray urine ‘situation’ that I don’t want to investigate too closely, but can spray with the Oxy and odors completely disapear. If that helps anyone… great. Pets suck.

  11. kate says:

    oooh – i have been waitng to read the results of your experiment. I was hoping it would work great. I have two citrus trees – one lemon, one orange – and we get lots of peels – especially in the winter. I was hoping i could maybe even earn some extra income by becoming a small scale enzyme manufacturer if this thing worked out. The one thing peels are good for is impressing people by lighting a match and then flexing a peel so as the oil spurts out it catches fire — poof!!!

    • Karen says:

      That *does* sound like fun! ~ k

    • Honey says:

      You can also make limoncello, orangecello (a word I’m fairly certain I just made up), or a combination.

      Take the zest and soak it in a bottle of vodka or Everclear in a cool(ish), dark(ish) place for 1-3 months. Strain and add simple syrup. Bottle, label, and sell! Or bottle and drink yourself. I don’t judge.

  12. Sam says:

    Ha! I wonder if the huge jar of kombucha I had the bright idea of starting could double as “enzyme” cleaner (so it’d just be a big jar of vinegar at this point)? I decided to put the creepy jar next to my pumkins and torture-looking tools for halloween, so it wasn’t totally wasted. Maybe you could let it ferment a little more and feed it to teenagers, I’m sure they’ll like it with some kool aid or something. Ooh, how about enzyme cleaner and coke?

  13. bex says:

    Hi i decided to do the two week wait with yeast which produced the ‘result’ of enzyme mixture it was suposed to… Then i heard that if it smells like wine, u got wine (which i believe i had been cleaning my floors, counters, etc with) but if it smells more like vinigar then its good to go. Hmm, good old water and vinegar does exactly that. Yep, that idea got tossed!

  14. I’ve made orange & vinegar cleaner, and it works great.. I shared how and why here:

    No offense, but that gunky enzyme stuff looks pretty nasty!!!

  15. sarah says:

    i made the cleaner too, i really looked after that bottle almost taking it on holiday with me to ensure it didn’t explode. It fizzed and burped for weeks. I was so excited when it came time to use it and nothing, it did virtually nothing. It might have helped a drain problem i had but i had to use so much of that stuff that took so long to wait for it wasn’t worth it. Back to vinegar and bicarb. Though the excitement whilst
    waiting was almost worth the disappointment.

  16. qtpuh2tme says:

    FYI –As a professional “Domestic Goddess” (my actual business name) for 40+ years, and for those of you that don’t mind terribly using OTC products…there only 4 you really, actually need for danged near ALL cleaning issues:

    Windshield Wiper Wash — you can cut it up to 50% w/water and it’ll still work wonderfully! Plus, it absolutely will not streak — unlike Windex. (Cost — maximum $1 per gallon.)

    Comet Cleanser — the plain ‘old fashioned’ mint-grit stuff your momma always used. (Cost — usually less than $1 per large can.)

    Fantastik (brand name) all-purpose liquid spray cleaner — here again, you can cut it w/water up to 50% and it will still work, well…fantastically! (Cost –

    And last, but never least — Quad-aught (0000) steel wool. (NOT the same thing as SOS or Brillo pads.) Four zero steel wool is your BFF when it comes to cleaning large expanses of glass (shower, car, window, etc.), mirror, chrome. (NO brass — it scratches!). Use it DRY — never wet. (Cost — about CHEAP!)

    I guarantee it will get rid of the MOST stubborn water spots from shower/bathroom glass…and even the outside window’s all-year-long layers of water spots/scum/dirt, etc. You may have to put a bit of “elbow grease” into those tougher jobs, but it will be SO worth it; cost wise and time wise. Just wipe or vacuum up the steel wool ‘dust’ after you’ve finished. Easy-peasy.


  17. Kathy says:

    This question has nothing to do with enzyme cleaners or road kill. I noticed you have an ad for ollas. Have you used any in your garden? I’ve read about them but didn’t know if they would really work.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kathy – Yes, that’s my latest advertiser. Lori from Texas has these to sell. I had never even *heard* of them! The concept certain seems plausible but I have never tried one myself. I’d love to though. I have a sprinkler system for my front yard vegetable garden, but there are other areas in the yard that never seem to get water even if it rains. ~ karen!

      • Lisa says:

        Ollas – which is spanish for “pots” – have to be dug up in areas where the ground freezes otherwise they break. If your ground doesn’t freeze, have at it.

        I’ve used 1/2 gallon milk jugs with a million pin holes, but only in my planters.

        • Kathy says:

          Freezing isn’t much of an issue in Houston…unfortunately. It was 88 here yesterday…ugh! I’ve seen instructions for making ollas using 2 clay pots, silcone to hold them together and copper tubing attached used to fill it with water. However, the homemade version probably doesn’t work as well as the ones Karen’s advertiser sells. Karen…I hope there is a post if you try them!

  18. I’m so glad you do these things so we don’t have to. You are like my best friend only I have never met you (unlike my real best friend…I met her 50 years ago). Thanks, Fake Bestie!

  19. Odoban is the ONLY product I have found to eliminate pet odors or any odors, not cover them up like febreeze and, it also disinfects. The lady poured ammonia onto a cloth and had me smell it. Couple of sprays of odo ban and when she held it up to my nose the odor was completely gone. Sold on it every since.

  20. Brenda says:

    Well the BEST DIY cleaner I know is the DE-Skunk for Dogs one which we had to use last night..ugggg.
    Dawn dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, warm water and I use a bit of spectro-derm in with it….apparently works with kitty mistakes according to my lab friends as well.

  21. Suanne Jefferies says:

    “…produced more gas than Honey Boo Boo at a chili eating contest”??????????? Bwahahahahahaha!!!

  22. Mary Werner says:

    I never got any political commercial – why is she so special? I get 30 phone calls a day for Romney yet not one on the internet. Was it something I said? You know they can hear and see inside your home – at least that is what it said on the internet and so I believe it. Better get to cleaning before they send in the authorities to check my current level of dust bunnies.

  23. Rose says:

    I concur with you Karen. As the reader that suggested this to you, I have to say I’m sorry. I think I mentioned that this stuff stinks? Smells and it doesn’t work, yup this is a Pintrest fail. However, I’ve still got it stored under the sink. Just HOW do you get rid of it? I’m not sure that this stuff should be down the drain, or the real reason what happens if it DOESN’T go down? It’s alive!!!!

    • Donna T says:

      Rose… go ahead and pour your DIY cleaner down the drain… except for the peels of course… the enzymes are good for the drain and septic tank if you have one! Sound like a great use for it! 🙂

  24. karol says:

    Is that picture the end result?! Because it kind of looks like something you’d find in a hoarders bathroom, but not for cleaning. And I’m guessing it smells nearly as bad as it looks. eww

  25. Jeff Walker says:

    “More gas than Honey Bo-Bo in a chili eating contest.” This is why I read this blog. Well that and the antics of chickens.

  26. Marce says:

    Sorry it failed at cleaning but it made for great reading! you have a way with words! lol

  27. Lynnl says:

    The political ad showing on my screen is one for State Representative in my district. Pretty spot on, seeing how the street in front of my house is the border of my district. I’ve admired the candidate’s rival’s campaigning, but now I’m getting the heebie jeebies.

  28. Suzy says:

    here is something I found on the Internet that really works and you don’t have to wait 3 months. Heat up 1 cup of vinegar in the microwave and mix in 1 cup dawn dish washing (I used a little less Dawn) mix in a spray bottle. Spray your shower or bath toilet or sink. Walk away for an hour, come back and hose down. Your taps will be gleaming your tiles will shine and your tub will sing. We have an acyrlic tub that was gross because nothing would clean the scum but this works.

  29. Jodi says:

    Ha! when I read your tutorial on how to make the cleaner I ALMOST tried it and then thought it would be better to let you go first. YAY! I’m a lover of Clorox, ammonia, and anything that looks and smells toxic.;) I love the ease of spraying that noxious stuff on my tub and watching it eat the grime. I’m so glad this one failed! Back to sniffing bleach!Cheers.

  30. J9 says:

    Your honesty kills me, that’s why I keep coming back. Gosh I love Windex….

  31. Langela says:

    “Better than roadkill” HAH! High praise indeed.

  32. Lori says:

    Thanks for doing all the work for us! Now I know I don’t have to do it!

  33. nicola jones says:

    I have made Epic Fails a specialty… and much of science is spent discovering how things don’t work to find the one way they will. Who knows maybe the cure for acne or or squeeky hinges brews in that bottle…til then- try “pink” solution.: )

  34. Pat says:

    For any glass cleaning I simply use a “norwex” cleaning cloth….absolutely NO cleaner except water and the cloth. The cloth contains silver thread which does the cleaning. Check out their products as then you won’t need most commercial cleaners other than some vinegar, baking soda, borax for those heavy duty jobs. I am not a Norwex salesperson, just love the product. I don’t have any pets so am not an expert at pet mess. You know that build up of stuff you get on your gas fireplace glass, the norwex cloth and water takes it off. We used to use some expensive cleaner.

  35. Karen the Coffee Spewer says:

    I HATE reading your blog … while I am drinking coffee. What advise do you have for cleaning coffee off a computer screen! Honey Boo Boo at a chili eating contest! I am still laughing!

  36. cred says:

    Crap! When you started your concoction, I started one under my sink, too. If I waited 3 months for your experiment and then found out that this stuff was brilliant and then had to wait another 3 months to make my own, I would have been pissed.
    Mine did create gas- I used a balloon on top as a reader suggested b/c I couldn’t be trusted to release the gas often enough (although I religiously shook the bottle every day). But oddly after a week or so, the balloon collapse as though it was consuming air. Then the bottle was collapsing- I would release the balloon to give it air- WTF! I don’t know of a reaction/biological process that would create a vacuum. I wasn’t sure what I’d created so I hadn’t tried mine.
    Now I, too, have a batch of useless diy cleaner. However, I won’t bother with trying mine especially since I’m not sure what my experiment under the sink became.
    It might create a cosmic wormhole in the kitchen drain. Perhaps I have just completed some important work in quantum mechanics. I better go clean my sink, I expect that I may have some theoretical physicists knocking at my door shortly.

  37. DearTufy says:

    I do make a natural cleaner that’s known for it’s antibacterial, fungicidal, anti viral and germicidal properties — called Four Thieves Vinegar. It is a centuries old legend and recipe. Basically it’s vinegar infused (think Sun tea) with at least 4 of the following herbs along with crushed garlic (and make sure to bruise or mull herbs): Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, Fennel, Peppermint, Melissa (Lemon Balm), Lavender. After the herbs have infused for several weeks, strain out the herbs and toss, dilute with distilled water in a spray bottle and use to clean bathrooms, counters, spray in sickrooms (like Lysol) and many other uses. There other other recipes you can find, some using more toxic herbs, but this is the recipe I use as it’s so safe.

  38. Brenda J. M says:

    Put all that in a hollowed out pumpkin and you’d have a home-made moonshine! Probably would have made you happier than all that double cleaning.
    I’m all for home fixins’ etc., but after cleaning my drains with baking soda and vinegar a number of years..and then breaking up the hardened mass of old baking soda in the down drain…well – BRING ON THE DRAINO!
    I do use vinegar and lemon juice on glass etc., but I’m all for modern science too.

  39. Patra says:

    OMGosh you are the funniest person ever. Stupid is my favorite word. Thank you for using it – and restoring my faith in Windex.

  40. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Glad I decided to wait and see how your experiment did..It looks totally gross..kinda like Honey Boo Boo when she acts rude and obnoxious..which is most of the time..

  41. Leslie says:

    I’d chalk up the glowing reviews from “the other bloggers” to the Bad Idea Syndrome. What’s the Bad Idea Syndrome? Think of it this way: However much Misery loves company, multiply that by the number of people on the Internet and that’s how much Bad Ideas love company. Bad Idea Syndrome … BIS … we can call it BS for short.

  42. Kate S. says:

    I have noticed a curious phenomenon among blogs–products, recipes, and DIY fixes are lauded as “better than the original” and “ZOMG amazing.” Sometimes they’re things I’ve tried and know to be inferior, sometimes I can look at a recipe and say, ‘there is no way that is edible.’ I am now suspicious of any blogger who lauds anything to the heavens. I think they do it for the Pinterest popularity, honestly. And I kind of hate them for it.

  43. Leena says:

    That is almost exactly how we make 1st of May drink Sima. But instead of cleaning with it we drink it.
    Enzymes?? seriously…. you made alcohol.

  44. Shana says:

    Brenda said “bring on the draino”. I had a plumber tell me to pore 1 cup of rock salt & boiling water down the sink once a month. Think Pop Rocks.

    I use RainX on my windows & mirrors. Works on eye glasses also for anti-fogging. (the wipes or spray)
    The paste I use on white erase boards. Wipe on then buff off. Makes the writing wipe off better.

  45. v says:

    Best glass cleaner for me thus far is windshield washing solution which I use for my car’s front window. I keep it in what used to be ordinary glass cleaner spray container. The reason I believe it works is because of its alcohol content. Adding yeast to liquid that also contains some sugar (the citrus peels) most likely results in alcohol formation. If you wnt to keep it simple..use windshield washing solution.

  46. Laura says:

    I look forward to your wayward thoughts that are always spot on!!:) I like your comment on windex vs natural regarding health benefits. I drive myself insane trying to go natural(especially on skin products)yet find that ‘science’ mixed in shows better results. In my biz, there’s always a sample being passed around hoping for a distributor, so I gotta try….
    Glad you tested this one for me.

  47. taria says:

    my mama was the queen of cleaning. she had the cleanest house and laundry was her specialty. her washing machine died the day she did, honestly and literally. 409, comet, tide were brands I remember. they were good enough for her and I use them too. btw, she judged women by the cleanliness of their baseboards. Apple fell far from the tree with all 5 of her daughters though!

  48. Jodie says:

    Hilarious! The info is much more appreciated with laughter!!!

  49. Janet says:

    Thank you, Karen….for spending all that time on your enzyme experiment…so that we, your faithful readers would not have to. You are amazing!

  50. Barbie says:

    LOL I had to read this one to my husband! So glad you did this so I didn’t have to! Funny Funny!

  51. Stephanie says:

    I tried it about a year ago and came to the same conclusion. When I blogged about it I thought about trying again using different fruit to see if it worked better, but never did because I love my other DIY cleaners better (mostly made of vinegar).

  52. Ha-You made my day! Wait, 3 months? I can’t wait that long for anything (except my children and I didn’t have any say about that) I met my husband and 7 weeks later we were married…been 31 years now. This was waaaay too funny! Where did you see this recipe again?

  53. Elle says:

    I have an acrylic bath tub that is hard to clean since there are so many products you are not allowed to use on it as it will ruin it.

    I hate chemical commercial cleaners – just being in the same room makes my lungs burn and make me nauseous.

    in the past few weeks I have been using a really good homemade bathtub cleaner (haven’t tried it anywhere else in the house yet – recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart):
    Baking soda, a little bit of water enough to make a paste, 1 drop of liquid soap (the kind you use on yourself) and a drop or two of essential oil such as lavender (my favorite), tea tree oil or some other to your liking. Mix it all up.
    Scrub the bathtub with some non-abrasive (for acrylic tub) sponge/brush/etc and the above mentioned paste and wash with water.

    7 minutes tops including making the concoction and you have a clean, nice smelling bathtub.

  54. Renee says:

    I second the person the said woolite oxy deep. Not organic, but did a great job of getting dark rabbit pee stains out of an off-white carpet.

  55. Chris says:

    Thanks for experimenting with the cleaner! I’m a Pinterest junkie and want to believe in all the great DIY stuff people share, but have found some (like making a cotton ball holder from an old candle jar) are just more work than they’re worth. Besides, someone’s gotta keep the economy going by buying the enzymatic cleaners others produce!

    Thanks for experimenting with the cleaner! I’m a Pinterest junkie and want to believe in all the great DIY stuff people share, but have found some (like making a cotton ball holder from an old candle jar) are just more work than they’re worth. Besides, someone’s gotta keep the economy going by buying the enzymatic cleaner others produce!

    And I second @Brenda’s recommendation for the de-skunking concoction. My terrier was hit point-blank last month and the hydrogen peroxide/baking soda/dish soap mix did the trick!

  56. Roxy Bee says:

    Thanks for sharing something that didn’t work! I am so freakin tired of bloggers ignoring the question of efficacy and just going on about “OMG LOOOKIE YOU CAN DO XYZ!!!!” Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should– it really should be the pinterest motto. I think I’ll make a board with that title. 😀 you are an inspiration!

  57. Maria says:

    I love the The Art of Doing Stuff #2, We love you for doing this and alerting us to a complete waste of time!

  58. Jo Daniels says:

    Blot up as much of the urine as you can, but this works on old stuff, too. Place in a glass bowl or jar: 2 tsp. baking soda, 2 small drops liquid dish soap, 16 oz. hydrogen peroxide. GENTLY stir until soda is dissolved. Soak entire area down with it. Don’t rub or scrub! let dry…. for 24 hours..without disturbing. After 24 hours, gently blot up (again: don’t rub or scrub). Allow to totally air dry. Odor is gone. Good on floors, rugs, couches……. I’ve even used it on persian carpets! I have a 16 yr old cat who is making many mistakes now, also a psyco cat who hates the others & the litter box…and a mischievous kitty who just wants to irritate the psyco one by peeing in psyco’s favorite places. IT WORKS!

  59. calliek says:

    I know you said you didn’t care how this is supposed to work but the explanation is very simple. As you mentioned, yeast was supposed to eat the sugar but there’s another step that maybe wasn’t clear. Here’s the simplified process:
    Step: 1 yeast + sugar = alcohol + carbon dioxide (the reason why you don’t tighten the lid)
    Step 2: alcohol + bacteria = vinegar + water
    (Both the yeast and the bacteria should have been found on the orange peels)
    So you are basically making citrus scented homemade vinegar which, as a previous commenter pointed out, you can do much easier using plain white vinegar.

  60. Debi says:

    Finally, the voice of reasoned restraint! THANK YOU. My suspicions confirmed about this magical cleaner. Now, about that licking problem… LOL

    Forgive me a mini-vent, please? It’s disturbing that powwow (people of world-wide web) don’t take the time to discover whether the concoction the are making & using is safe. “Natural” does not equal safe. Scorpions are natural and I don’t consider them safe.

    Thanks for saving me time and aggravation.


  61. vi says:

    I made the two week version recently and it works better in my kitchen than any cleanser I’ve ever used as far as greasy and food stains. One wipe on my stove and it’s clean. I’ve tried plain vinegar before and there’s no comparison. It works great on kids handprints on doorfranes as well. I’ve to try in on windows or bathrooms though and wouldn’t want to mix it with comet or bleach. Mixed with water it doesn’t smell as strong as store bought sprays and slightly like vinegar. This will be ongong use in my kitchen.

  62. Tanis says:

    An update a few months later – I made your concoction, but didn’t use it until just recently. I filtered out all the chunky bits with a coffee filter, and put it in a spray bottle. Just the other day my cat had an accident on my carpet. I blotted it up with paper towels, soaked it with the enzyme for half hour, then blotted up the enzyeme. Absolutely *no* smell. I am so grateful!!!!

  63. Katana says:

    I have just made my enzyme cleaner. I did not wait 3 months. I did mine in two weeks. Followed instructions. And whola.
    I have tested it and it has made a world of difference to my daily chores.

  64. diysvh says:

    I have been making and using the 2-week yeast added version for six months now. I love it. I use less of other detergents when usingh the enzyme, e.g., I tsp laundry soap plus 1/2 to 1 cup of enzyme for a big load of hardcore laundry, and it gets cleaner than anything else I’ve used, including Oxy wash products, bleaches, etc. It has been a godsend for our incontinent dog and carpets and we sprayed for ants with the citrus enzyme three weeks ago. Nothing has worked against the damned ants, but we haven’t seen one in three weeks. I also like to put some in a bath twice a week. feels like a micromassage with gentle exfoliation. Sorry yours didn’t work out.

  65. Chasity says:

    I realize this is an old post,(found it while googling for my recipe for enzymes) but I figured I would write and share my experience. I make this all the time but I do the two week method with the yeast. I have never had any issues, and I have found it cleans grout like nothing else I have ever used. I use it on my cloth diapers, carpet stains, mopped with it, cleaned the bath tub. I have experimented with different citrus blends. I personally like using pineapple. I am not sure what you did wrong but it should smell like the citrus you used. If done correctly, it works very well. Just my two cents. I am sorry it did not work for you.

  66. DB says:

    You have to shake the containers every day. I put my containers in a spot where I would see them to remember. This is the same enzyme cleaner used for cat and dog urine. By three months, and if you shook the containers daily, there is very little left to strain – it is mostly liquid by then. I wouldn’t do this again. Too much trouble, but I did save about $100. bucks!

  67. Thanks for this. Was going to try. Now, I am thinking, maybe not. However, I am the fool who will try it even when I think it won’t work just to say “I did.” LOL

    As for cleaning the tub and sink. Dry baking soda and a terry wash cloth. Nothing is easier, cheaper or healthier. The key – Don’t get it wet. The rag and the baking soda just wipes the soap scum and crud right off the tub. If you get it wet, it doesn’t work without a bit of elbow grease. The day my daughter and I discovered this, we felt kinda stupid and awed by the ease of it. We had tried everything else (Scrubber bubbles, vinegar and BS, Simple green, scrubbing with comet until our arms fell off, brushes, etc.–Hadn’t heard of the Dawn/vinegar stuff yet.)

    I use the vinegar citrus peels as a homemade “Fabreeze” and disenfector.

    Norwex cloth and water for the windows and mirrors.

  68. Eve says:

    Haha. You are funny.

    I like the way you describe your experiment.

    I really am looking for a way to get cat pee stench out of a Lazy Boy chair that I really don’t want to throw out because of a hopefully resolvable odor challenge.

    I wouldn’t dream of using such a cleaner on anything other than pet excretions!

    I can’t wait 3 months, though. I need the chair ready before the baby comes!

    I might just have to go out and buy some Nok Out.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Eve! I’d recommend “Nature’s Miracle” for that. It’s a store bought enzyme cleaner specific for cat urine. I’ve tried it and it works. Hope that helps. Good look with the pee and the baby! And the baby’s pee for that matter. ~ karen!

  69. Domi says:

    To ferment anything properly, the ingredients need to be organic. The sprays, waxes, and chemicals killed the naturally occurring enzymes on your peels, so there was nothing to fed and nurture. The fermentation failed, not the recipe for a beautiful enzymatic cleaner.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Domi. Thanks for your input. Not necessarily true though. For one thing, just because something is natural doesn’t always make it better or more beautiful. Poison Ivy for instance. ~ karen

  70. Carolyn says:

    I know of a product that REALLY WORKS!! but it is expensive. I use it for my basement when my drain occasionally decides to back up. Usually after excessive heavy rains and the local storm drains back up. It is just rain run-off, but by the time it all gets into my basement, once it goes down it leaves a smelly slimy residue. The ONLY product I have ever found that cuts it like crazy, is a commercial product named ‘D-Molish’, sold by ‘Neutron Industries’ in Arizona. I don’t know if I am allowed to ‘advertise’ on this site, as it is my first visit here. I found you by doing a search on the internet for ‘enzyme cleansers’. Thank you for the ‘test lab’ results on the home made version. I hope I have been able to assist someone in some way with this information. By the way, it Does Work on Pet .. you know. It is normally sold to institutions for, well, similar cleansing issues. Thank you again! ~ Carolyn

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  73. Marta says:

    What a hilarious post! Very informative!

  74. john says:

    I enjoyed reading your test and your comical way of writing. I’m the owner of a dog kennel and we currently use Industrial enzyme cleaner which is very effective but costly currently $40 a gallon. I would have attempted to try DIY enzyme cleaner if it wasn’t for your investment of effort and time thank you so much for saving me the inconvenience.

    • Karen says:

      You can always give it a shot John. Other people claim it works great, but for me? No. It did not. For ME the best thing to use (works just as great as store bought enzyme cleaner) is this … 16 0z Hydrogen Peroxide, 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid, 1 Tablespoon of Baking Soda. Mix, soak, let dry. You’d need to mix up a bigger batch but this is one DIY I’d definitely recommend. ~ karen!

  75. Kevin says:

    Hi Karen,
    Thanks for the objective input on the enzyme cleaner. So far the information I gathered from Chinese websites, blogs, and Youtubers are positively gleaming with joy over this product.
    I chanced upon enzyme cleaners while researching for more info on this commercial product called ETL 9 which has very similar claims to an enzyme cleaner, and one thing led to another and before I know it I’m jumping from sites to sites looking for more info.
    Thanks again, and I’ll review the ETL 9 cleaner when I get a bottle of it~

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kevin! You may find it works for you and you love it but it I did not, lol. For pet stains I really find hydrogen peroxide, dish detergent and baking soda is best. Great results with that. ~ karen!

  76. minnie cheng says:

    hi there ! so i think this is why ot didnt work…. it didnt ferment properly

    what gas up at the end was yeast not your fruit , so they never fermented and it was yeast which ate the sugar not fruit enzyme itself

    try this if you ever wanna give it a try again

    1 part sugar
    3 part fruit
    10 part water

    needs ti be shaken everyday so fruit get sugar evenly. if you dont wanna wait three months add yeast in beginning. if it stinks u need to add more sugar.

    hooe it helpe and hope u dont loose faith yet !

    • minnie cheng says:

      by adding yeast it should cut.time from 3 months to two weeks btw

      • Karen says:

        Thanks Minnie! I’ve actually taken to using and loving another cleaning product that does the same thing. Hydrogen peroxide mixed with baking soda and dish soap. Works great! ~ karen

  77. Dorey says:

    Awwww what a bummer! I was really hoping for some good reports, as I run a doggy daycare. I’m glad this was so well written, because after reading both blogs about this only to come up empty handed, at least I got a good laugh. Thanks for saving me 3 months. 🙂

  78. Melanthia says:

    There is more information to consider when making enzyme cleaners.

    As with other fermented projects, you may need some trial and error to get this one right, including storing it in the right conditions and sometimes adding yeast, if the fermentation appears to be going poorly. It’s also IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT CITRUS ENZYMES AREN’T UNIVERSAL CLEANERS, so this product will only work on some household stains!

    While enzymatic cleaners won’t replace all your cleaning needs, they can be a great choice for a non-toxic, all-natural cleaning tool that’s especially useful for instant odor relief. When used in combination with other eco-friendly cleaning practices and attentive maintenance, they can keep your home looking and smelling fresh.

    Read more:

  79. I was researching a related issue when I came across your article. Unfortunately, what you made was nothing more than citrus wine. The small amount of alcohol might make the mix a bit better than water but that’s about it.

    If you want an enzyme product that works extremely well to remove “pet stains” and their odour, we have it. It’s called Envirozyme and has been used by Ontario vets for about 20 years. It’s non-toxic, safe and most importantly, it works.

    By the way the best way to find “old” stains is with a black-light. Urea Salts fluoresce yellow under a black light.

  80. Nancy says:

    Fermenting tips from a winemaker’s wife: allow your concoction to be exposed to air – don’t put the cap on right away. This will allow the natural yeast in the air (yes, it’s everywhere) to interact with your peels and sugar. (We just started a batch of homemade hard cider like this – with nothing but apple cider and air.) Adding yeast will definitely speed up the process. You can cover the top of your container with cloth. Too much yeast or sugar might make it too exciting and overflow. Perhaps set your container in another container (dishpan) just in case of accident.
    All this just because my dog peed on the floor!

    • Karen says:

      Ha! Well … thanks to the dog then. 😉 I actually do a lot of fermenting myself. I ferment pickles every year, ferment chicken feed, and make my own sourdough start with, yup, the yeast in the air. And all of these things ferment in NO time. Within days. I’m not sure who started this Enzyme cleaner thing but it really just seems kind of fundamentally flawed to me. The hunt continues for a really great urine cleaner Although I do have a fair amount of luck with mixing hydrogen peroxide, with baking soda and Dawn. At the very least it’s fun to watch it all fizz up when you spray it on the urine stains. ~ karen!

  81. I have a dog daycare and have been trying to find anyone who knows what they’re talking about in regards to making my own Enzyme solution. Starting to doubt it. One blog or site did have someone who basically said that you can’t make a solution of animal waste eating enzymes out of plants and sugar. Makes sense to me. The factories that make the animal byproduct eating enzymes use animal fat and have fancy machines and chemists who know what they’re doing, which is why those products that work cost so much. Maybe he was a rep for one of those companies looking to steer people away from hurting his livelihood. Maybe it was all true. Sounded true. Anyway, just thought you’d like to know.

  82. Sara Houston says:

    HELP PLEASE!! Thank you so much for doing the “foot work” for us on the DIY enzyme cleaner, as I was about to try making the same enzyme cleaner myself. I have light beige carpets & need to desperately find something that will remove old dog & cat urine stains. I’m to the point of embarrassment in having company over due to the looks of my carpets. I even keep rugs in my hall closet & pull them out quickly when I see a car pull in the drive! On a humid day the smell is awful & just lingers in the air. UGGH! Eventually, I will be replacing the carpet, but for now my finances just won’t allow me to. I’ve used several DIY recipes & think YES, FINALLY Success!! And then, days later it the stain returns. It doesnt help either that in some rooms there is double padding under the carpet. I just found your blog and can’t wait to read more! You have a new follower!! ANY & ALL ADVICE will be tried & used. I’ll post back my findings.

    Much Kindness,

  83. Lyn says:

    I was told you need a glass container to ferment properly, and that plastic containers would not work. perhaps that was a factor?

    • Karen says:

      That technically makes sense Lyn, but I ferment in plastic all the time. :/ I ferment pickles and chicken feed and all kinds of stuff. All in plastic. This DIY enzyme cleaner was a bit thing on the Internet a few years ago but you barely hear or see anything about it now. I’m guessing because it didn’t actually work, lol. ~ karen!

  84. Kennedy says:

    I know this is late in the game, but thought I’d leave my comment for people who happen on this like I did. Sorry to hear that you did not have much success with your enzyme cleaner, especially after waiting so long. It sounds like something went awry. Even though the adding of the yeast seemed to do the trick, perhaps it helped, but didn’t go all the way. I’ve had a lot of success with the enzyme cleaner made with and without yeast. Both produce a lot of gas, without yeast takes longer to ferment, but I have a ding in my kitchen ceiling from a lid that popped off when I went to loosen a lid that I forgot to loosen after shaking. Over night it created that much gas. I have not used the enzymes for pet problems, but have had a super success using it on my herbs and other plants, fixtures (the only thing that cleaned some brass drain plates from black back to a lustrous brass they once where before being neglected for years), I add a bit of Thieves to it and use an AP cleaner & degreaser. I will admit on the rare occasion that something is fried and there is a lot of grease spatter I find it does not cut through the grease as easily as something else. I just use another cleaner on those occasions or put in a little more elbow grease and use it. Since I started using the enzyme cleaner (w/ Thieves) on my butcher’s block I find that I do not have to oil it like I used to. Last but not least when I moved in to a home that had been vacant awhile there was a smell of mildew and mold emanating from the pipes, especially in one shower drain. It could just about knock you down. I thought usage and time would help, which it did a bit, but not enough. Then I started using different things, called plumbers and they wanted to replace this or all the pipes…well that wasn’t going to happen any time soon. I started DIY’g because I didn’t have any money, so… months down the road I came upon the citrus enzyme and someone mentioning it for drain maintenance. It took a few months and a lot of treatment at first, but the stank is gone and has been for a good long while. Saved me thousands of dollars. Now I regularly treat all the drains once a month with the enzymes (about 1/2 C down each drain at night, flush with hot water next morning…toilets too). The toilets used to get clogged fairly easily, but that is a very rare occasion now. So, I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t tried it to give it a shot. You may not love it for everything, but even if you find that you only use it for a few things you are still saving money and only takes a few active minutes to make. LOL… I shake my bottles while I’m trying to remember why I walked into the kitchen in the first place. I constantly have a rotation going, because I use it so much. I have to say that for the most part I much prefer my DIY cleaners over commercial products with the exception of DIY dishwasher detergent. Also, because, on occasion I still buy my beloved Caldrea for its yummy scents that I can’t quite duplicate or another commercial cleaner just because I do notice that sometimes there seems to be a transition period from going to certain commercial cleaners to the enzyme cleaner. It takes a few cleanings with the enzyme cleaner to really start doing it’s stuff.

  85. Jessica M Chattopadhyay says:

    Well from all I have learned from all i have searched you have to expirament wth any and all things untill you get it right.

  86. Chast4 says:

    I love your willingness to say “it doesn’t work”. Drug companies and cosmetics makers hide their bad results. – retired scientist.

  87. Dela says:

    Thank you for your honest depiction of this DIY. You have debunked another snake oil theory.

  88. Sharon Pavlovits says:

    I tried the formula and it worked great! Mixing the left over pulp in a blender with baking soda, the paste cleaned soap,suck easily off all my son’s whether plastic, porcelain or steel. And I usually use vinegar and baking soda. This did work faster and better, leaving a shine where before it was dull. And they drained faster, too.

    Mixing the liquid 1:20 with water, my son washed the family van. Shone like it was just waxed! And it’s 10+ years old.

    Then I tried 4 tablespoons in the dishwasher instead of detergent, just the liquid portion of the formula. Dished were super clean, even my usually stained coffee cups and even removed most of the odd grey streaks off older dishes … you know the ones from improper loading… yeah..gone!

    I’m sold. Making it again and in a larger batch. I did use organic peels, both lemon and orange. Sat with yeast from the get go for three weeks on countertop, shaken daily.

  89. Sharon Pavlovits says:

    Okay. Stupid auto correct. That should say cleaned soap scum off all my sinks

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