Enzyme cleaners are very popular because they are incredibly effective at cleaning most stains, especially tough stains that are biological in nature. This can include stains like blood, sweat, urine, vomit and wine. The reason that enzyme cleaners are so good is because of what enzymes naturally do with chemicals.
Regular cleaners use chemical components that eradicates the stain. That’s usually good enough, but not always. Enzymes speed up chemical reactions, ensuring that they can clean better and faster. While there are plenty that you can buy, we are going to go over the DIY approach and teach you how to make an enzyme cleaner at home. You can use this on mattresses or any other surface with a stubborn stain.
Step 1: Gather and Prep Ingredients
Only four ingredients are needed to make your own enzyme cleaner. They might sound weird together, but they create a chemical reaction that produces a very effective cleaner. Your four ingredients are:
-1 teaspoon of yeast
-2 cups of fresh citrus peel
-cup of brown or white sugar (doesn’t matter which, both are the same in this regard)
-1 liter of lukewarm water
Prepping the ingredients is easy as the only one that you must work on is the citrus peel. Make sure to wash it thoroughly and use a brush (like a vegetable brush) to remove all dirt and other debris from the peel. You will then cut it into half-inch sized pieces. The size doesn’t have to be exact, but each piece must be small enough to easily fit into a bottle.
Fresh citrus peel must be used. Old and rotting peels will create mold and bacterial growth in the enzyme cleaner, which is counterintuitive, and dried peel won’t have the citrus oil needed to make this an effective cleaner. Just get several oranges and peel them until you have enough for this recipe.
Step 2: Mix the Ingredients
For this step you’ll need a bottle to hold all the ingredients (usually a 2-liter soda bottle works), along with a funnel to help pour everything into the bottle. While the funnel isn’t essential, it’s very helpful.
Start by pushing the citrus peel into the bottle and then pour in the yeast and sugar. Finish by pouring in the warm water, then screw on the cap and shake the bottle vigorously. You want to mix all the ingredients until everything is dissolved.
If you don’t use a 2-liter soda bottle, then make sure the bottle you’re using has thick plastic. This cleaner will create a fair amount of pressure, which could crush other bottles with thinner plastic.
Step 3: Vent the Bottle
During the first two weeks you’ll want to vent the bottle at least three times a day. This just involves unscrewing the cap, allowing the pressure to regulate and then placing the cap back on. This is essential because pressure is building within the bottle and failing to vent it can cause the bottle to explode.
This is caused due to the interaction between yeast and sugar. As the yeast is dissolving the sugar, it is being converted into alcohol and carbon dioxide. After the two weeks, you should just need to vent the bottle once a day as there will be less carbon dioxide by then.
You might think that it’s easier to keep the cap off so that you never have to vent it. However, this creates some issues. Yeast only works in an oxygen-free environment, so keeping the cap off will prevent the yeast from working on the sugar.
After venting the bottle, shake the bottle vigorously just to help with the dissolving process.
Step 4: Ferment the Mixture
Along with venting the enzyme cleaner, you’ll also need to ferment the mixture to make it stronger. While fermenting is technically an optional step, you want the strongest cleaner possible and this will dramatically improve its cleaning efficiency.
While fermenting might sound difficult, it’s quite easy as long you as remember to do it. You just must leave the bottle on a warm surface of around 95 degrees. You might be scratching your head about where you can do this and what you need to do, but there’s already a perfect surface in your house. The top of the fridge tends to be slightly warmer than room temperature, which is perfect for fermenting.
Just keep it up there for at least two weeks. This is a minimum. Three months is ideal as this will dramatically improve the power of the enzyme cleaner. While you can keep it up there longer, it won’t be of much help.
Step 5: Strain the Cleaner
Get an airtight container and strainer for this next step. Put the strainer over the container and pour the enzyme cleaner over it. This will remove the remnants of the orange peel and any other solids present in the cleaner. What you’ll be left with is a clean mixture that is perfect for picking up stains.
You’ll only want to do this once the fermenting and sugar conversion is done. This requires at least two weeks, but you can leave it for three months to make it as strong as possible. You’ll know when the enzyme cleaner is ready because the liquid will become opaque.
Step 6: Using the Enzyme Cleaner
While you use the enzyme cleaner outright on stains, that’s usually not a good idea. This is a very strong cleaner and using it like that should only be reserved for the hardest stains. It’s a better idea to dilute it.
For delicate jobs that just need some stronger cleaning, mix 20 parts water and 1 part enzyme cleaner. For an all-purpose cleaner, mix together 1 liter of water with cup of enzyme cleaner. Inversely, if you need an even stronger cleaner and the enzyme cleaner alone isn’t doing it, then mix 4 parts enzyme cleaner with 1 part apple cider vinegar.This is very useful for mattress cleaning.
Making your own enzyme cleaner isn’t hard, but it does require a fair amount of time to ensure that it’s strong enough. Once you’re finished, you’ll have an amazingly powerful cleaner that can be used for just about anything. Just be sure to dilute it for most stains to make the most use of your enzyme cleaner.