Nov 29, 2012

Organic Lemoncello Enzyme Cleaner for Coops and Homes

Earlier this summer, I shared some recipes for making apple cider vinegar with the mother, both for its health benefits and its cleaning properties. I use it in my chickens’water to improve gut health and clean their coops with great results, however, I am less than enthusiastic about using it inside our house due to the vinegar scent, fleeting though it may be. So, I decided to try my hand at another fermented multipurpose product, affectionately referred to as garbage enzymes, eco-enzyme or O3 enzyme. Not being a fan of the usual names for this versatile product, I call it Lemoncello Enzyme Cleaner as it is made using primarily lemon rinds and the end result is alcohol. Makes sense and sound much more appealing, don’t you think? **NOTE: This is not intended for human or animal consumption**
Much has been written about fermenting fresh kitchen scraps that result in organic, alcohol-based, eco-friendly, multi-purpose cleaners, so I won't re-hash that information; citations are provided below for further reading on the subject. The essence of the concept is that organic material such as lemon rinds can be combined with sugar and water to produce an inexpensive, natural cleaning product. Sounds good to me! The concoction requires a 3 month fermentation period, so some patience is required. I started mine in August using the following recipe:
Lemoncello Cleaner Recipe
1 cup of brown sugar (not white)
5 lemons (rinds and/or sliced lemons. I added a lime too)
4 cups water

Add lemons and brown sugar to a 2 liter bottle and add water.
Cap the bottle tightly and shake until sugar is dissolved.
*LOOSEN cap to allow pressure from the fermentation process to escape. *
Date bottle and place in a convenient location that will be accessed daily as it must be shaken regularly, ideally several times daily.
Before agitating, slowly loosen cap to allow gases to escape, then tighten cap fully and shake.
Again loosen cap before storing the bottle.
At the end of 3 months, strain the liquid into a clean container, composting the citrus rinds.
Some of the garbage enzymes articles offer varying dilution ratios for use, but I haven’t been able to find the justification for it and don’t dilute mine. I have used it to clean my engagement ring, chicken coop, kitchen counters, refrigerator shelves and more with brilliant results. The scent that is left behind is delightful! In the last few weeks of fermentation, various herbs such as lavender or thyme may be added to make a more complex scent profile.
I discovered this week that the Lemoncello cleaner is an outstanding pine sap remover AND it left my hands smelling fantastic!
As I was writing this blog post, one of my fellow bloggers and chicken-keepers, Jennifer Sartell of Iron Oak Farm, published an article about the benefits of chicken coop cleaning with vodka
Image courtesy of Iron Oak Farm, used with permission.
 In her article, Jennifer cites the following benefits of cleaning the coop with vodka:
kills mold and mildew
evaporates quickly
fabric freshener (for nest box curtains and window treatments)
can be used to make tinctures by adding lavender, vanilla beans, etc.

 Whether using apple cider vinegar or alcohol to clean the home or chicken coop, both are effective, organic, natural choices that are good for the environment and the health of both chickens and humans.

Additional reading:

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  1. This is very interesting.  But I'm confused about why it needs to ferment.  I make up a vinegar cleaner that is citrus, lavender and vinegar.  I let it sit for a few weeks but no sugar is added and there is no fermentation.  In your recipe is the fermentation for the alcohol benefit?  If that's the case then I understand the vodka article better.  Could regular rubbing alcohol replace the vodka or fermentation in these cleaner recipes or is it hazardous to chickens?

  2. TheChickenChick11/29/12, 9:22 PM

    Yes, the fermentation of the sugars and the natural yeasts creates alcohol. Rubbing alcohol is not an acceptable substitute ingredient in this cleaner.

  3. What a fantastic idea! I bet this would make my house smell wonderful.

  4. Noq I have 2 reasons for Vodka! And a use for older lemons

  5. This could just be me because I don't raise chickens...but I would probably drink it all before it ever got used for cleaning *winks* It looks delish! And I bet it smells great too!....Those lucky chickens....Vanna

  6. TheChickenChick11/30/12, 6:49 PM

    It smells WONDERFUL, Vanna! (but don't drink it!) LOL

  7. TheChickenChick11/30/12, 6:49 PM

    Thanks Nicky. It does!

  8. Costin Comba12/2/12, 3:10 PM

    Wonderful. Have a beautiful week.

  9. Thank you for this post! I'm trying to use more and natural cleaning product. Last year I let some orange rind soak in vinegar for 3 months and now we add a little of the vinegar to water to clean floors, sinks and such. I feel SO much better because of it and after cleaning, things sure smell better, just like your lemon enzyme. :)

  10. Madelyn Bloom12/3/12, 8:20 PM

    How interesting, I never would have thought of this!  I do like using fewer chemicals... Thank you for sharing on Weekly Top Shot #59!

  11. TheChickenChick12/3/12, 8:28 PM

    Thanks for having me, Madge!

  12. TheChickenChick12/5/12, 10:10 PM

    My pleasure, MJ! Have you ever tried making your own vinegar? It's super easy and very satisfying. I clean my chicken coops and house with it:

  13. Marci Vaughn12/27/12, 7:05 AM

    I must try this cleaner!  Thank you for the recipe!  -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

  14. Oh!  I'm going to have to try that cleaner!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer... From Dream To Reality!

  15. Paula Jones4/13/13, 2:28 PM

    Genius! Love it, Pinned and shared on FAcebook, thanks for linking up to Saturday Dishes. ~~ Paula

  16. What a fantastic idea - I just love this! Thanks for linking up on Saturday Dishes with us!

  17. Lemon is a great alternative.

  18. Lori Hampton7/11/13, 4:37 PM

    This is awesome....I juice so I have lots of citrus rinds.... you could start one every two weeks or every month and have endless supply!!

  19. TheChickenChick7/12/13, 12:09 AM

    Happy cleaning, Lori! :)

  20. Little miss9/28/13, 8:51 AM

    Do you need to store this in the fridge or anything? Is there an expirey date after it has been drained?? I cant wait to try this!! :)

  21. Ann Marie Wallace2/9/14, 5:24 PM

    Gonna start mine now for spring cleaning.

  22. I have a question. Do you need to use a glass container or can you use plastic?

  23. TheChickenChick2/9/14, 10:54 PM

    Plastic is fine.

  24. Awesome info

  25. Jennifer Pudenz5/12/14, 6:15 PM

    My three months is up in just a few days - excited to give it a try. Thank you!

  26. I want to make some of this it sounds so easy. What does it smell like?


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