Friday, February 24, 2017

How to make Bio Enzyme or Garbage Enzyme for household cleaning purposes (and its many uses)

Here's a very detailed FAQ on What are Bio Enzymes, how to make them and how to use them that I came up with* for the coaching sessions I run on Sustainable Living. Please do go through and let me know if you have more questions I can add to the list.

The questions are divided into three parts so that it’s easier for you to assimilate the information as and when you need it:

  1. before, when you need know what are Bio Enzymes and how exactly to make them 
  2. during, when you might come across issues or doubts about whether it is progressing well for you and
  3. after, when you might want to explore the many different uses of the Bio Enzyme
Do go through this list to get a good understanding about Bio Enzymes and get armed with the necessary information to make it really work for you.

Part 1:

Here are the Q & As you will need to go through BEFORE you make the Bio Enzyme

1. What are Bio Enzymes?
Bio Enzyme (also referred to as Garbage Enzyme or Fruit Enzyme) is a multi-purpose, natural cleaner produced from vegetable/fruit peels (usually citrus) or waste. It is an effective alternative to harsh chemicals such as bleach, phenyl, and other chemical solutions we typically use in households to wash our bathrooms, clean toilets, wipe our floors, tiles and other surfaces. Chemically, the Bio Enzymes are a mixture of complex organic substances such as proteins, salts and other materials that are by-products of the bacteria/yeast (naturally occurring) that we will use to make the Bio Enzyme. These organic substances which are in the Bio Enzyme are capable of breaking down chemical and other organic waste thus helping us in removing stains, odor, getting rid of other harmful microbes, etc. They also greatly neutralize toxins and pollutants. In short, they are the next best thing to be discovered by man after a ripe and sweet Mango!

2. Why do we need to use Bio Enzyme instead of chemicals and solutions like Harpic, Mr. Muscle, Phenyl, etc.?
You might have read all the recent news about lakes frothing, lakes catching fire, sewage contaminating water bodies and so on and so forth. As human population grows and our lifestyles becomes increasingly convenience driven, we are polluting our living environment more and more. A polluted environment is in no way conducive to a healthy living – causing us disease, disturbance and distress. As people who are conscious of our footprint on the environment, we must do all that we can to not just stop adding to the pollution but also to prevent it actively. One of the most important and easy way to do that is to completely eliminate all chemicals from your household and replace them with Bio Enzyme and its variations.

Moreover, it is in our personal best interest as well to switch to the Bio Enzymes! Chemical cleaners, in addition to polluting the environment, also leave chemical residues in your household – potential and slowly accumulating toxins that can cause great harm to children, pets and adults as well. A recent news article I read cited the residue of dishwash bars on vessels as one of the major causes of cancer (as they can turn carcinogenic)!! While we do not know the scientific validity of such claims, it is always easier to be safer than sorry. It’s even more safer to go green completely!

3. What are the uses of Bio Enzyme?
Bio Enzymes has a veritable list of uses – I keep discovering more and more uses to it!

Let me try to bracket them for you:
1. As a surface cleaner: Floor Cleaner, Tile Cleaner, Toilet Cleaner, Stove/Chimney Cleaner (concentrated version or the pulpy residue), Window Cleaner, Car wash, etc.
2. As a dirt remover: Laundry liquid (with or without other additions such as soapnut), Vessel Cleaner (with or without other additions such as soapnut), stain remover, etc.
3. As a personal care product (to be used after individual testing ONLY): Body wash, Shampoo, Hair conditioner, Shoe odor remover
4. As an anti-bacterial and anti-viral: Refrigerator cleaner, Cabinet cleaner, Unclogging drains
5. Washing Vegetables and Fruits to neutralize harmful fertilizers/pesticide residues on them
6. Pest Control: Continued use of Bio Enzyme have been known to repel small insects, ants, cockroaches at home (though it doesn't kill them). Also, Bio Enzyme is being used extremely effectively in fumigation along with Soapnuts and Neem Oil.
7. Plant Care: It is a wonderful bloom nutrient. Also helps in managing plant pests like white flies, mealy bugs and spider mites.There may be many more uses that may just need to be discovered!

4. Who invented the Bio Enzyme?
Bio Enzyme is developed by Dr Rosukun Poompanvong from Thailand. However, although called an Enzyme, it is not an enzyme in technical sense. Also, the term Garbage Enzyme (another name by which it is called) can also be misleading! Some call it as Fruit enzyme... but Fruit Enzyme and Garbage Enzyme are different; Fruit Enzymes are editable while Bio enzymes are not.

5. How do we exactly make Bio Enzymes?
Very simple. Remember the ratio 1:3:10 – Jaggery to Citrus Peels to Water. That is take one part of Jaggery, 3 parts of Citrus peels and 10 parts of Water. If you use one cup of Jaggery, use the same cup to measure the other two ingredients as well. But you need not be 100% accurate to the last dot – the Bio enzyme is forgiving if you add a bit more of this or that (not too much or too less though!). Take a big enough and air tight container with a lid which can accommodate this solution + still have a 10 – 15 % space left empty. Mix these three ingredients in that container, put the lid on, label it with the date of creation and leave it in a dark place (such as inside your kitchen cupboard or under the sink).

Once the solution starts fermenting (will be explained in a bit), it will start releasing some gases that will get built up in the empty space in the container. Before this gas becomes too much and “pops” outside, you will need to release them. Hence, you will need to open the lid once in a day (for first one week at least), air it out for a minute or so (no need to stir or do anything else!), put the lid back on, keep it back in the dark place and again forget it for another day. From second week onwards, the gas activity will reduce a bit and you need not open every day - you can open every other day.

6. Can I use a metal or glass container instead of plastic?
No, not advisable as metal and glass will not be able to expand. There are gases that will get released during the process of production – so plastic is a better option. You can use any old plastic container lying around.

7. Why is an airtight container required?
The airtight container is necessary to promote fermentation (minimize oxygen) and to also avoid flies from getting in.

8. How long before my Bio Enzyme will be ready?
Usually, it will take three months for the Bio Enzyme to be produced if you do not use any other additional ingredient other than that which are mentioned above (Jaggery, Citrus Peels and Water). That is why it is important that you label the container with the date of creation. This way, you can start multiple batches and stagger them so that you can get a continuous supply.

9. What is the rationale for the stipulated 3 months’ period?
During the first month of the fermentation, alcohol will be released, so you will smell alcohol when you open the container. In the second month, you will smell an acidic smell, which is the smell of acetic acid. With many compounds such as minerals and vitamins, it will continue breaking down and naturally form the enzyme. Hence, the minimum duration suggested is 3 months.

10. Does the Bio Enzyme have an expiry date?
No, you can use the Bio Enzyme lifelong! They do not get spoilt, go bad or anything like that. Of course, you need to ensure you keep them safely closed away from pests and flies.

11. What are the fruit peels I can use to make Bio Enzyme? Can I use Banana and Mango?
While the Bio Enzyme can be made with all the Fruits peels, for greater household cleaning abilities, it is usually recommended only to use Citrus Fruit peels – i.e. Lemon, Orange, Lime and Pineapple. You can either use all four of them separately in different batches to test which is more effective or combine them into one. As mentioned, you can use Banana and Mango – but they won’t be as effective as Citrus.  Plus, they may not smell as great as citrus!

12. Can I use the entire fruit instead of just the peels?
Yes, you can but why would you want to “waste” the whole fruit instead of consuming it? But if the fruit is rotten or spoilt, you can put it in whole or cut up, not a problem.

13. Should I wash the peels before I use them to make Bio Enzymes?
No, not required. During the process of creating the Bio Enzyme, all chemical residues, if any, will get neutralized completely.

14. Does the fruits/peels I must use to make the Bio Enzymes be organic?
Again, same answer as above. All chemical residues will get neutralized during the process – so it doesn’t matter if it is organic or not.

15. Why is regular opening and closing of the container needed? 
Biogases will be produced as by-products of the anaerobic breakdown of the sugars (usually hydrogen, CO2, and less likely methane). Thus, releasing the gases produced, especially during the initial stages, is essential.

16. Do I really need to open the Bio Enzyme every day? What will happen if I forget to stir for a few days?
No, not every day but every other day definitely – at least for the first 3 – 4 weeks when the bacterial activity will be at its peak. Slowly, the speed of the process will decrease and the amount of gases that will get produced will also decrease – so you can increase the gap between the time you go and check out your Enzyme from 2 days (for fist 3-4 weeks) to 4 days (for next 3-4 days) and then to once a week.

17. What is the purpose of brown sugar or Jaggery in the process?
The purpose of Jaggery or molasses or brown sugar is to provide “simple” carbon source or energy for the microorganisms to first feed and grow. When growth is sizeable, the microbes may then turn their attention to the additional food source (the waste materials or peels) that is harder to digest due to the complexity in their molecular structures. This process is usually energy consuming for the microorganisms, and the added sugar may provide them the extra energy needed for this.

18. Can I use White Sugar instead of Jaggery or Brown Sugar?
No, you can’t.

19. Can I use dried peels instead of fresh ones?
No, it’s preferable that you use fresh peels as much as possible

20. Can I use Frozen and Thawed peels?
Well, if you can’t get access to fresh peels, you may use frozen and thawed ones.

21. What do I do after three months?
Take another container (such a big enough vessel or bucket), filter out the liquid from the Bio Enzyme container using a fine mesh cloth or filter, squeeze the pulp to take out remaining liquid and voila – the Bio Enzyme is ready! The liquid (which should be clear and orange to brownish in color) you have collected in the other container is the Bio Enzyme – it might still have some very fine residue which will settle down once you keep it undisturbed for some time – you can use along with the residue, not a problem. You can retain the pulp to start another batch (along with fresh peels of course) or to use as a concentrated cleaner. Store both the liquid and the pulp safely in closed containers for everyday use.

22. Is there a way to make the Bio Enzymes that is quicker?
Yes! There are two ways you can make this process faster.
Option 1: You can add yeast (the regular Baker’s yeast you will get in Departmental stores). This will make the Bio Enzyme ready in just 20 days.
Option 2: You can add the leftover pulp of a previous batch. This will make the Bio Enzyme ready in 30 days.

23. So why can’t we just do the quicker option?
Because the main method taught here works with three ingredients (jiggery, citrus peels, and water) that are readily available in every kitchen. Many of us are not aware of yeast or do not know where to source it from or we do not want to spend on them. Moreover, the traditional method is going to take three months only for the first time. For your next batch onwards, you can use the left over pulp after filtering the Bio Enzyme as a starter and produce it in just 30 days without any yeast.

24. I want to use Yeast. Will there be a difference in the quality of the Bio Enzyme produced if I use Yeast?
No, the quality of Bio Enzyme produced seems to have no difference at all if you use Yeast OR not. So, if you can source Yeast, go right ahead and use it. But don’t forget to save the pulp once your 20 days are up and you filter out the Bio Enzyme – as you need not buy Yeast and incur that additional cost every time – you can use the pulp to speeden up the next batch. But adding  Yeast by ourselves (as they are will naturally occur in your Enzyme anyway over the three month process) does produce more gas – so you might need to open your container every day against the every other day we will follow in the other method.

25. Where can I get Yeast? What do I ask for in the shop?
Yeast is easily available (known as Active Dry Yeast) in any big departmental stores in the likes of MORE, Big Bazaar, Nilgiris, MK Ahmed, etc. Just buy one small packet (should not cost more than Rs. 50 if I remember correctly). Ants are crazily attracted to Yeast so don’t leave it a container with a loose lid or don’t leave it open (as that can dull the effectiveness of Yeast). Also, before you buy, check the expiry date on the packet – as we don’t want to be left with a dead packet!

26. What is the quantity of Yeast to be used?
Just a mere small teaspoon or even lesser is fine. Active Dry Yeast will be like mini globules – so you can use just 3-4 globules actually! If you are using Yeast, just mix/stir the Enzyme-in-production for the first few days (you don’t need to stir if you are not using Yeast).

27. I use an herbal floor cleaner and find it extremely effective. Why should I shift to Bio Enzyme?
Can you be 100% certain that the “herbal” cleaner you use does not have any chemical whatsoever? And that it contains only totally natural substances? Please verify that. Clever marketing and use of words such a “herbal”, “organic”, “all natural” are becoming more and more commonplace by companies that are out to fool customers. Please do not fall pray to such tactics. Once you have verified the authenticity of your herbal cleaner, check whether they are safe to use and the residues they leave are safe to use. If you are fully satisfied, you may continue to use your herbal cleaner – but at a cost! But I wonder why you would do that when you can make your own cleaner with the least and minimum cost which will be equally effective if not more? What’s more, you can be super proud as well.

Part 2: During the process of making the Bio Enzyme

28. I’m curious to know the scientific principle behind Bio Enzyme. Can you explain?
Chemically, Bio Enzymes are a mixture of concentrated Vinegar or Alcohol (or a mixture/blend of both, along with other organic compounds) produced by microorganisms which are naturally occurring in the environment that were a part of the solution you prepared. It is a simple fermentation process where the food waste is broken down into smaller compounds along with the release of gases. Once all the food (Jaggery and what is in Citrus that you added) is digested by the microbes, they will have nothing to eat and will die naturally. But what they leave behind (as their waste product so to speak) is precious - the Bio Enzyme. As they say, one man's waste is another man's gold. In this case, the microbes do all the hard work and we get to enjoy their labour!

29. I see a white layer, like Fungus, forming on top of the peels! What do I do?
This is a good indication. Simply ignore the layer and keep airing out the Enzyme-in-process. The white layer is nothing but naturally occurring yeast that has come up for air. Do open it more frequently and stir in the white mixture every once in a while.

30. I have got worms in my Bio-Enzyme! Help me!
Uh-uh, someone has not been careful in keeping the lid tightly closed! So the flies have come in and laid their eggs! Well, not to worry, add some more Jaggery, put the lid back on and keep it very tight. Open and close once in 2-3 days (beware of the wriggly worms though harmless they are!). The worms will go away by themselves. Don’t ask where!

31. Is my Bio Enzyme supposed to smell a certain way?  How do we get to know if the process is completed?
Not really, since we will be using only citrus, they will only smell nicely citrusy.

As for how to know when it is ready:
Three factors.
1. Time  - As mentioned, it takes 3 months to make the Bio Enzyme without any yeast. If one adds yeast, it can get done in 20-25 days (provided right environment is maintained for the microbes to flourish). This has been calculated based on lot of people's experience and research.
2. Stopping of Gas production - As the fermentation slows down, so will the production of gases from the solution. At the end of the time period, most of the food materials, if not all, would have been converted by the microbes into Vinegar or Alchohol and there wont be anything left for them to munch. So they will start to de-activate or die. This signals that solution is ready. However, one needs to use this indicator along with the time as sometimes fermentation might slow down in between also due to unfavorable conditions (we will see more details of this below).
3. Peels settling down - the Peels we used to make the Enzyme - as they get processed by the micorbes (in essence, eaten up) - will start to settle down to the bottom of the container. This is a good indicator - sometimes, some peels will continue to float while most settle down. That is okay.

32. What If your enzyme becomes very smelly like the smell of rotten eggs or feces? 
Just add one portion of brown sugar. For instance, this bottle contains one liter of water. Then you need to quickly add 100 grams of brown sugar to it. Stir it thoroughly and then cover the cap tightly. After you seal it, do not open it again. One month later, you will find that it’s good again when you open it.

33. What are the Gases that will get released when we make the Bio Enzymes?
Some of the gases that will be produced by Bio Enzymes are CO2, O3, NO3, CO3, etc. None of these gases are toxic or unsafe. Moreover, only negligible quantities of these gases will be produced during the process.

33a. So what are some of the "unfavorable" things that can happen that can slow down or affect the Bio Enzyme production process?
1. Leaving your container open and letting in too much oxygen - As mentioned, fermentation releases carbon di oxide along with minor quantities of other gases. This CO2 needs to be let out while letting in bit of Oxygen. However, if we completely leave the container open, too much aerobic condition will affect the final quality of the Enzyme produced.
2. Worms and Flies in your Bio Enzyme container - this will also occur only if you had NOT been careful about your container and left it open at some point inviting flies to come in and breed. This can slow down fermentation to a great extent and take away the food meant for microbes. We can try to correct when worms occur (we need to add extra jaggery and by closing container in air tight manner for 1 week - hopefully, the worms will die. Otherwise, one just needs to abandon and start again.
3. Temperature - Microbes like a temperature that is close to our body temperature. So if we are able to maintain that in the solution, then the fermentation will happen pretty fast. But if we create extreme temperature fluctuations or worse make it too hot or too cold, fermentation will get affected. For example, keeping the Enzyme inside your fridge - thats a big NO. Keeping your Enzyme in direct sunlight - that's a big NO. Shifting your container continuously from place to place causing lot of temperature fluctuations - that's a BIG No. Tip: Try to keep the Enzyme under the sink in your kitchen (relatively warm place in your house) or even on top of your fridge (where heat is generated) protected by a cloth underneath.

4. Forgetting to open for months and months - Now, just the way leaving your container totally open is also a problem, not opening at all can also be a disaster. The built up gas, for one, can cause an explosion! Two - the accumulated CO2 will end up killing the microbes as well. Hence, the suggestion to open it once a week initially (when fermentation rate if at its highest). After that, when fermentation slows down and gas production slows down, you can open it once in two or three days.

Part 3: AFTER your Bio Enzyme is ready

34. My Bio Enzyme is ready. Do I need to use it right away? 
When you are done making the enzyme, you don’t need to use it right away. You can keep it for years - one year, two years, three years, even 10 or 20 years. The longer the period is, the smaller the molecules become, as the mixture continues to ferment and decompose. When the molecules get smaller, it will have a better penetration. Definitely, longer durations would be more ideal to ensure a more complete fermentation process where there will be no (or little) sugars left, and higher concentrations of products could be achieved. Also, the lack of food and the low pH levels would most likely kill/deactivate the microorganisms present (safer for handling).

35. Is the Bio Enzyme alive? In other words, does it by itself contain microorganism?
No, by the time the Bio Enzyme is ready at the end of three months (in the 100% natural way of producing with just the three ingredients mentioned), all the bacteria/yeast that were working super hard to produce the Enzyme for you would have died leaving just the organic compounds and proteins behind. There might be very minor traces of them if you take them to a microscope but you don’t need to be concerned about it.

36. Is the Bio Enzyme same as Fermented Fruit Juice?
No, not at all though the FFJ is made pretty much the same way but with a different ratio and different duration. FFJ is predominantly for gardening use to aid greater flowering and fruiting in your plant. You can use the Bio Enzyme as well in your garden (in 1: 1000 dilution, mind you) as a pest control or general well-being tonic for your plants.

37. Can I use the Bio Enzymes in my garden/for my plants?
Yes, you can but in very high dilution. Also refer the question on fermented fruit juice above.

38. Can I use the Bio Enzymes in my composting?
Generally, in composting, we do not add any liquid as much as preventable – so while Bio Enzyme might help in the composting process, it would not be advisable to use it any great quantity. You can use the pulp though – just add the leftovers to your compost bin to speeden up the compost!

39. How come a single product has such multiple benefits in different areas?
The high acetic acid concentration and low pH could be the main reasons for the many purposes of GE, as vinegar is well known to be used a cleaning agent, odor removal, preventing drain blockages, etc. Ethanol is known to have antiseptic properties, while propionic acid is used in food preservation. These substances may allow Bio Enzyme to act as an anti-microbial agent, insecticide and pesticide. When diluted, it could provide nutrients to plants due to the “growth hormones”, minerals, enzymes and/or other organic compounds extracted directly or converted from the waste materials. The highlight of Bio Enzyme is that it is organic and can be homemade at low costs, as compared to other products that contain synthetic chemicals (may be toxic to human health or environment) and consume high energy in their production.

40. Is Bio Enzyme scientifically analyzed and proven?
No, the scientific community has not come out with claims either for or against the Bio Enzyme though there are a lot of critics that call the Bio Enzyme nothing more than a glorified homemade vinegar. While some tall claims like "It reduces global warming" are scoffed at, it has definitely been found effective in household cleaning to a great extent.

In essence, Bio Enzymes can help you save yourself from harsh chemicals, save money, save waste, save the clutter of multiple cleaning liquids in your house, and finally save the Earth from pollutants and restore back the balance.

Many thanks to my WhatsApp coaching students and Mrs. Meena Krishnamurthy for their questions and many suggestions to make this FAQ more effectively presented. 

Uses of Bio Enzyme

As with anything else, if the use of something is clearly defined, it will find better and easier adoption with everyone - same is the case with Bio Enzyme. While the Internet abounds with a huge list of how the Bio Enzyme can be used, there seems to be no single resource that goes in depth along with the dilution ratio for each usage type. So here's a humble attempt to do that (as I find more uses/corrections to the notes here on dilution or other aspects, I will keep modifying this section).

Cleaning Purpose
Bio Enzyme/Variant
Surface Cleaner/ Dirt Remover
Bio Enzyme
1 small cup of Bio Enzyme (about 100-150 ml) to half a bucket of water. DO NOT USE on Marble Flooring as it is known to cause discoloration to marble. Can be comfortably used on Granite/Tiles.
Bio Enzyme
50 ml in one mug of water. Apply directly and wipe/scrub clean. If it doesn't seem to be effective, use undiltuted.
Bio Enzyme OR Bio Enzyme Pu
Use undiluted to cover the entire surface, let it sit for 15 – 30 minutes, scrub and clean as usual. However, the pulpy part is more effective here than just the clear liquid. 
Bio Enzyme + Shikakai Concentrate

OR Bio Enzyme Pulp
Soak Shikakai in Bio Enzyme for a few days. The Shikakai pods would reduce to pulp state. Use as-is (without filtering) for Chimney/Other highly dirty and greasy surfaces along with warm water for quicker cleaning.

Alternatively, use the Bio Enzyme pulp as-is to clean Chimney and greasy surfaces.
Laundry (Hand/Washing Machine)
Bio Enzyme + Soapnut Pods in Sock (OR Soapnut Powder in Sock)
1. Use about 100 ml of Bio Enzyme for one load of Laundry in Washing Machine or one bucket of Water. Soak for 15 minutes along with water as required and then wash as usual. But this might work only for clothing that are not very dirty.
2. For very dirty clothes, use along with Soapnut. Take about 10 pods of Soapnut, tie in a sock, and put it along with the rest of the laundry and 100-150 ml of Bio Enzyme. For Collars and Cuffs, you will need to scrub as with any other cleaning agent.
3. You can also soak the Soapnuts in Bio Enzyme overnight (or prepare a solution for 10 days at one shot) and use a little every day.
Test what works best for your load of laundry.
Bio Enzyme + Soapnut PODS (OR Soapnut Powder)
Soak Soapnut overnight in Bio Enzyme. If you are using Soapnut powder, you can mix and use immediately. Please note that foam is not a great indication of cleaning so don’t be put off if you don’t get too much foam. Experiment with different dilution proportions (with water) and see what works best for you. Else, you can use without any dilution.
Personal Care
Face Cleanser/Toner (ALWAYS DO A PATCH TEST)
Bio Enzyme
Mix Bio Enzyme in Water in the ratio of 1:2 (1 part of Bio Enzyme to 2 parts of Water), dab on face, leave for a minute or two and wash off with water.
Bio Enzyme
50-100 ml of Bio Enzyme in one bucket of water.
Bio Enzyme + Shikakai + Soapnut (Pods or Powder)
Soak Shikakai and Soapnut overnight in Bio Enzyme and use next day. Additionally, you may want to cook the Soapnut before soaking. You can also mix your regular Shikakai+Soapnut herbal hair wash in Bio Enzyme instead of water and use that.
Hand Wash
Bio Enzyme + Soapnut
Soak Soapnut in Water (about 10 pods in 1 litre). If very dry, you may want to pressure cook the Soapnut. Mix into a pulp. Filter and use the resultant liquid as hand wash.
Bio Enzyme
Wipe surfaces with Bio Enzyme (1:10 dilution with water) directly first and then wipe clean with water
First dry dust the car. Then take a clean cloth, soak up the Bio Enzyme (diluted with water @1:20 dilution), wipe the car surface clean once, and then wipe once more with just water
Unclogging Drains
Pour a cup of undiluted Bio Enzyme after removing all visible clogging substances from the drain. Leave it overnight before use.
Washing Vegetables/Fruits
Soak Vegetables/Fruits in Bio Enzyme and Water
(1:10 Dilution) for 15 minutes and use.
Taps/Faucets (For descaling as well as general cleaning)
Wipe faucets with Bio Enzyme (1:5 or 1:10 dilution), leave on for 15 – 30 minutes, scrub if required and then wipe clean with water.
Washing Machine with hard water/lime deposits
For descaling the deposits in your washing machine, you can use 10-20 ml of Bio Enzyme and run an empty cycle of load (once or twice a month or lesser depending on the intensity/hardiness of the water you use).
Bio Enzyme
Dilute 1:100 (or 1:500/1000) with water and apply to soil  (do a test patch to check if your plants are okay with the dilution else increase the dilution – this is important as high concentration can burn your plants)

Pest Control
Dilute 1: 100) with water and spray on infected areas


  1. Awesome. Detailed explanation.

  2. Hi.thank you for such a lovely post. I have some peels that are 15 days old. They are dry and soft, and seem to have retained their juices. Do you think it'll work?

    1. It's always a good idea to use fresh peels (2-3 days old is fine). But if you are sure the 15 days old peels aren't dry yet, you can use them - perhaps you can add activated yeast and kickstart the bio enzyme?

    2. mam is it used for farming other than pest control

  3. May i ask that in second batch citrus peels are to be added to the pulp.
    or just jaggery and water to the pulp.

    1. No, no - Second batch will be just like first one - you add all three ingredients. Just that you will add a bit of first batch's leftover pulp to the second batch as a starter in the place of yeast so that Bio Enzyme gets ready faster (otherwise, natural process takes three months)

  4. How much of the pulp is to be added to the next batch to accelerate the process. Say for one 3kgs of citrus peel s.

    1. You can add about a handful..that should be enough to get the second batch started. You can compost the rest of the pulp or even sundry and add them to your bath powder.

  5. Which is superior bioenzyme made from citrus or from pineapple.

    1. I read somewhere that pineapple makes for the best enzyme :) I have tried only orange so far and I am happy with it.

    2. I personally prefer Lemon as it has the best smell. Pineapple, though ppl say makes the best enzyme, has a very verys strong pineapple adour. So unlike someone really likes pineapple, they may not like their cleaning products smelling like it :)

  6. What do I do with excess I make. Is there a market for this product.

    1. Yes, there is. Pls check -

  7. Hi hey! Nice detailed explanation :)
    But I have made with white sugar and it works as well.

  8. can I add soapnuts along with citrus fruit peel while making enzyme for better cleaning?

    1. In that case, the Soapnuts will also get completely fermented - am not sure if they will loose their surfactants during this process? Needs to be checked. If you do experiment, pls let me know :) Else, you can just add soapnuts to Bio enzyme and use after a week to excellent results.

  9. Thank you for a very informative post. How do we know when it is ready? I'm asking because if we were in colder climates it may not be ready in 3 months right? What signs should we look for?

    1. True, in colder climates it might delay - but then I am assuming you will have temperature control inside the house and since we will be keeping this inside the house, that should take care of it? But to find out how its done - two main indicators - gas formation reduces, and/or peels settle down. And theres still a nice citrusy smell (not rotten smell which might indicate the process has gone bad)

  10. Please tell me whether we can use this to wash our raw fruits and vegetables before cooking as we generally wash them with plain water... I think

    1. Yes, you can use this - pretty much like Vinegar

  11. Hi fellas,
    Thank you so much for this wonderful article really!
    If someone want to read more about that sustainable living I think this is the right place for you!

  12. what bacteria involved in the fermentation?

    1. We havent done any bio tests yet to find the exact species. But broadly aerobic bacteria and yeast

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. Hi Vaijanti , i was at ur cubbon park share this sunday, Made the first batch right away when I went home.
    Just had one important question, I have used a 10 litre bucket with an airtight lid, though only 2 litre waterquantity batch.. Will it be an issue witht he gasses and breakdown if the container is not full to it's max limit?
    And if the container is too big, can I add more quantity of the mix in it now, or better not to interfere once process is started already..?

    1. Hey Sunain, that's awesome :) No prob, it need not be full - infact, one shd leave at least 85% space empty. Now, if you get access to more peels, you can add them over next two weeks - but once you add the last of your peels (while making sure you also add water in the reqd proportion), pls add the remaining jaggery required (as per the proportion), mark the date when you last added - count 20-25 days from then on (provided you used yeast) - so that will be your harvest day. Additionally, pls check on slow down of gas production and settling down of peels when you near 20-25 days as additional indicators. If in doubt, leave for another week or so.

  15. Hello, I had a question, I read that there is really no enzyme as such in this, so why is it called a bio enzyme? I read that the cleaning is done by the citrus vinegar that gets formed after fermentation just like any other vinegar does the cleaning. Also I read that there was a claim that this purifies waste water. Would you know if there is any evidence supporting the same?

    1. That's right - many claims online suggest there is no "enzyme" per our understanding of what others enzyme look like. However, the definition of enzyme itself goes (Google ka jai ho!) "a substance produced by a living organism which acts as a catalyst to bring about a specific biochemical reaction" - so in that respect, since yeast works on the peels and gives us the end vinegar (but not just vinegar but also has other protein and other compounds), we can call it enzyme (which is why it might have been named that way). Vinegar (at least in Indian market) is a tad bit costly for using in everyday cleaning - Bio Enzyme is a fantastic, low cost alternative (as I said, it has more than vinegar as well in it). Yes, it purifies waste water and there are claims that it relesaes Ozone helping in controlling ozone depletion, greenhouse gas control, etc, etc - all very exciting! Read this research paper to know more -

  16. Very good info. Just started using my first batch. The enzyme does not smell rotten but smells more like vinegar which is unpleasant. I used only citrus peels.

    How does the 1:3:10 ratio work for 2 solids and liquid. I can weigh the two solids, in that case how do i arrive at the volume of water?

    1. Great to know. Yes, it will have an acidic smell like Vinegar - that's a good indicator to know your enzyme has turned out well. You may use essential oil or herbs like lemon grass, citronella, Vetiver (Khus) to give a diff, more pleasing smell.

      About the ratio - we dont have to exact to the last dot.

  17. Can I use mouldy fruit to make Garbage enzyme?

    1. Depends on how mouldy :) If its not black or too degraded, go ahead and try it after washing off the mould :)

    2. But do use yeast and keep a close watch

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  19. It's your claim that the ozone released from this project is useful but the Ozone that is released in troposphere i.e. lower atmosphere is harmful than the one found at ozone level in stratosphere. Then this ozone which is byproduct can be harmful isn't it ???

    1. It's not my claim exactly :) It's not like I set up a chemistry laboratory to deduct the gases released. It's what Dr Rosukun and her peers have been discovering through their continued research. Moreover, while the benefit at hand is so evident (helping us go chemical free in our immediate surroundings while causing the least amt of harm to the environment compared to other solns), why not appreciate that? If we are looking at a perfect solution, its better to stop using everything, EVERYTHING, and live completely, 100% natural - no bathing, no cleaning, etc, etc - like our animal friends :)

  20. Thank you for your very informative site! I made the enzyme according to instructions but residue never developed on top of the solution. Did I do something wrong? I used regular tap water, brown sugar and all orange peels. Will it still be as effective?

    1. Residue need not develop. In fact, if you are very prompt and thorough in opening and airing out, no white layer will form. Is the final solution smelling fine? that's more important. it shd smell citrusy/like vinegar

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  22. How does the 1:3:10 ratio change when using previous batches pulp or bioenzyme?

    1. You may use a maximum of 30% of old peels when starting a new batch - however all other ingredients ratio remain same - meaning you will still need 3 times the fresh citrus to 1 time jaggery and 10 times water. You will end up getting more of pulpy soln depending on the amt of old pulp you have used.

  23. I use one lemon a day so have citrus peel in small quantities everyday. Can i keep on adding it to the to about it?

    1. Yes, you can save the peels in the freezer till you get a sizeable quantity (say for two weeks), thaw them and then start the enzyme. Alternatively, you can source peels from a nearby juice shop. You can also keep adding fresh peels but your harvest date will keep moving forward then.

    2. Thank you so much for your prompt response. I think I am going to hound some pineapple sellers!

  24. Hello,

    This was a very useful post - thanks for writing it in so much detail!

    I have a question - I started making my first batch about one and a half months ago and missed out on adding jaggery due to travel and work issues. Now the container has fruit peels and water, and it is covered with a white layer of fungus (I'm guessing). Would you advise on adding jaggery to this now or should I start afresh? If I need to start afresh, what can I do with this mixture? I don't want to just throw it away if it can be of any use.

    Thanks a lot!

  25. Thanks so much for such detailed notes on bioenzyme. I made a batch with yeast. It stoppped producing gas after 2 weeks. its been 25 days now and it smells great. Will you say that it is ready now.

  26. Hi. I came across your blog today and found it really amazing and very informative. Can you please help me. I am planning to make herbal shampoo with soap nuts and shikakai for selling purpose and I got to know that you can preserve it using citrus enzyme. I read a lot about citrus enzymes and found your blog to be the best on the internet. Just wanted to know the procedure and method of how should I prepare this shampoo. Should i make the shampoo separate and citrus enzyme separately and then mix them both or should i soak everything together with peels n sugars n yeast.please help me out. Its a request. Thanks

    1. Hi! yes, make your shampoo (with whatever herbs u prefer) and then add 5% bio enzyme to it (not more) and store in dark bottle. This will preserve the shampoo. But the shampoo making process itself shdnt take more than 5 days as we dont want the shampoo without bio enzyme to start fermenting/decomposing before adding the bio enzyme.

  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

  28. Hi! Thanks for the detailed info on the preparation of the bio enzyme cleaner. I observe moisture formation in the container 20 days after starting the process. Is this normal? I have kept the container below the sink. I used yeast to prepare the enzyme.

  29. Hi! This is a great blog and I started my making my first bio enzyme with all the tips here. Thank you! I added yeast and its been 25 days now. The peels have kind of settled and there is no gas formation now. But I am still not sure if its ready. Anything else that I can check to know for sure?

    1. If you have added yeast, it will be about ready by 25 days

  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

  31. Hi plz can you suggest as you mention all but it removed pesticide of vegtabkes and fruits

    1. There is no scientific before and after study of the effect of bio enzyme removing persticide if thats what you are asking. But the effect of vinegar/acetic acid is known to dissolve most chemicals effectively to an extent.

  32. Hi, thanks for such a detailed post. I have kept the peels soaked in a little water in a container for 5 months now. Can I add jaggery now. .how long will it take for the bio enzyme to be ready

    1. hmmm, better to start afresh. Abt the soaked peels, drain water, and bury them to make compost

  33. can u give little more information like which enzyme can be identified in this process. to make sure any test do u suggest to confirm the particular enzyme present and how to know about it concentration

    1. If you are asking about how to make sure if the Bio Enzyme you prepared is effective, then you can do a simple PH paper test. The PH paper is available at few chemists. The ideal PH shd be 3 and below - anything above indicates the soln is too diluted OR it is still not completed. As for what enzyme is present in Bio Enzyme, the name is kind of a misnomer - the enzyme refers to the production of acetic acid and other components thru microbial activity.

  34. Can I grind lemon peeling in to a paste &crush the jaggery and set
    Them according to the measure will that ok ? And to prepare a 20 G valve to open and to close to release the pressure in a plastic bottle? Just a triel !

    1. Sure, you can grind them but that is unnecessary waste of energy

  35. Hi.. thank you for the detailed explanation. I prepared everything as described. When I opened the lid on third day most of the pulp and liquid came out of the container. Can I put the fallen out pulp back to the container? Should I add extra pulp, jaggery and water?

    1. Hi, glad you did the Bio Enzyme. Yes, you may put the spilt contents back. Looks like fermentation rate is very high. Hope you did leave 20% empty space in the container. Pls open the container 2 to 3 times a day, whenever you pass by it, for the first 2 weeks.

  36. Thank you for the reply:) will continue to do as said.. will share the result of my first bio enzyme once done :)

  37. This is easily the most comprehensive blog on making Bio Enzymes. Thank you for the effort. I have a couple of queries. 1. I did not powder the jaggery completely, they were a bit lumpy crushed it just a wee with a pestle. Hoping that doesnt slow down the breakdown process. 2. I have added a bit of yeast, the container is about 10-15% empty. When the process is complete after 20-30 days or more, will the peels still remain as is or will they completely be converted to the enzyme state. I mean to ask if this process is similar to organic composting, where the longer you keep the tinier and finer the end product becomes. Thanks once more.

    1. Thank you. To answer your questions:
      1. It's okay to not powder Jaggery as Jaggery will anyway dissolve in water. Just stir it in after a few hours and that shd done.
      2. Do open everyday without fail as u have added yeast. Some peels will remain as they are - you can add them to next batch and subsequently over next 2-3 batches, they will also break down. Alternatively, you can just squash them nicely (or gring them in a mixie if u want) and use as a pulpy/thick bio enzyme. And yes, it is similar to the composting process you could say :)

      All the best!

  38. Hi, thank you so much for such detailed explanation. I made the bio enzyme with yeast and stored in an air tight plastic container. However, there is no release of gas when I open it everyday. There is a white layer on the peels though. It was made on November 7 2018

    1. Sometimes, the gas production is not much or may not be as visible. That is fine. The formation of white layer is also a good indication that microbial activity is on so dont worry. Do keep opening every day and stir in the white stuff. You can just filter them out when the liquid becomes ready

  39. Thanks for the article! Explore vast selection of laundry products online at an affordable price.

  40. I did my first batch. to start second I want to use pulpy
    enzyme as a starter for that which ratio can I use first batch pulp.and how many days it will complete.

    1. You can use up to 30% of the old pulp ALONGWITH same ratio of new peels (i.e. new peel of 3 parts, jaggery 1 part and water 10 parts). It will become ready in abt 30 days.

  41. Hi.. thanks for the detailed information.I heard that cutting citrus peels to smaller pieces help in the formation of enzyme faster.Will the ratio gets altered if we cut the peels?

    1. You can cut it up and yes it will help a bit. But I would still let the solution ferment for 80 - 90 days (if not using yeast) and at least 20 days if using yeast.

    2. Thanks so much for your reply. I watched your YouTube videos.It was really helpful.

  42. Wondering how we measure a cup for cup or peals (sparse solid), jaggery (dense solid) and water (liquid). Is weighing an option?
    Ps- unbelievably detailed post. Super :)

    1. Two ways to do it:
      1. Volume measure - here, you use the same cup to measure parts of all components. But when it comes to peels, you need to really pack it in to the cup; with jaggery, powder them and with water, its easy. One doesnt have to perfect to the last dot here like a drug preparion or anything :)

      2. You can of course use a weighing machine and get the exact ratio of the three ingredients in weight.

      Having said all this, after doing for last 2-3 years, I just eye ball it - but it maynot work for everyone.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.


    3. Hey thanks for the quick reply. So it's a 3P method - Pack, powder, pour ;)

      In case the peels haven't really piled up to fill a bottle, can we start the process and keep topping it up?

    4. Ha, thats a nice way to put, I like it :) Pack, powder, pour! You are super talented, looks like :) be blessed.

      Yes, you can keep adding peels (and jaggery and water as per ratio) until container becomes 80% full. Then close and label with the date when you last added the peel/calculate the harvest date 90 (or 20-25) days from then

    5. Thanks for recognising my brilliance ;)
      One last Question, can we use an opaque plastic container?

    6. Thanks to your blazing fast responses we're off to a chemical free home; fingers crossed :)

  43. Hii..How to make soapnut bioenzyme for toilet cleaning? And what will be shelflife of it??

    1. Hi! Please do refer to my blog posts on Soapnuts -

  44. Hi. This post is very awesome. You've mentioned about adding leftover pulp to the new batch to make the bio enzyme much quicker. May I know how the leftover pulp fasten the process of the bio enzyme?

    1. Leftover pulp is equivalent to Yeast.Leftover pulp will have Yeast which will fasten the process.

  45. Can we use the ratio in weights? Or it has to be measured in cups.

  46. Am currently using few 1Litre water bottles to do Bio Enzyme. Can I replace the cap with ballon with holes on it so that CO2 will exit through ballon holes and oxygen won't get in the tiny holes. This will help to avoid regular open and close of bottle to release gas

  47. Why gas release is high during initial days of bio enzyme preparation and why after few days gas production is reduced.
    Does that mean that the micro organisms activities are high only during first few days and after that their activity is reduced?

  48. Hi,
    I made a batch in a 15 litre plastic jar. But I see no gas buildup drom the beginning. I still open it once 2 days. Is that a problem


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