You can make a cleaner out of what?

Would you believe me if I told you you can make a cleaning product out of garbage? Well you can and its called a garbage enzyme cleaner and its what I use to clean my kitchen. Its very good at removing fat and grime build up around the stove, oven and splashback but also works well in the bathroom to remove odours.

The main thing we strive for as permaculturists is to live a more sustainable self-reliant life while treading lightly on the earth. There are lots of things we’re doing to work towards this and probably the single biggest change we’ve made so far is growing some our own food. I do realise that this isn’t possible for everyone but there are lots of other things you can do to make a difference including reducing your use of non-renewable resources, scaling back on unnecessary consumerism, saying no to packaging and plastic bags, cooking  from scratch  using organic and local ingredients and making some of your own cleaning products. Any or any number of these changes will make a difference.


People I speak to often tell me they don’t have time or wouldn’t know where to start and I can assure you, I completely understand that because it took me years to believe I had the power to change the way I lived. My answer is always to start with something simple that doesn’t require much time or effort and soon you will reap the rewards and see how easy it is to make small changes.

At this point I have to say how very proud I am of some of my dearest friends and family who like me, after years of denial and ignorance, are slowly changing old habits and choosing more sustainable options. When I  learn that some are making their own washing powders, soaps and cleaners and others are growing herbs and vegetables, making their own compost, getting chickens and even putting solar panels on their roof I smile knowing  they are firmly on their way.

Making some of your own cleaning products is a great place to start because they really are easy and cheap to make. By making use of simple resources available to you in your home you are following the ethics and principles of permaculture in caring for the earth and producing no waste and end up with a natural product you can use to replace one of the many chemical concoctions that line the supermarket shelves.

So here’s how you make a garbage enzyme cleaner….

Take a clean 2Lt plastic milk or juice bottle. Finely chop up around 300g of citrus peel and push it through the neck of the bottle.


Add 100g brown sugar or molasses and 1L water. Put the lid on and softly shake to mix the ingredients and set aside in a cool dark place.


You must use a plastic container because the decomposition of food produces natural gases which expand. Gases start to build up after a few days and need to be released by simply unscrewing the cap. Tighten it up again. You will need to do this for a couple of weeks until the peel has decomposed sufficiently but the contents will continue to ferment for another 3 to 6 months at which time it is ready to use.

Once ready, strain the brown coloured liquid into a spray bottle and place the solids in your compost bin. Your enzyme cleaner is now ready to use.


When you see how effortless it is to make something yourself out of something you would normally throw away without giving it a second thought,  you will realise how easy it is to take back a tiny bit of control over your life.

Good luck, and remember, trapped gas is bad gas!

2 responses to “You can make a cleaner out of what?

  1. Eileen Grudnoff

    well Kathleen this has got me intrigued; in fact it sounds so unlikely that I am sure it will work (as it obviously has for you) I shall have to wait until I have got the ingredients and then I will give it a go…….if I get reprimanded for creating obnoxious smells I will try and blame it on my experiment. I will add it to my good old fashioned white vinegar and carb soda recipe which I have found excellent for removing “set” perspiration odours on clothes.
    Good for you, every little step is a step forward.

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