Who would’ve thought that lemons — the one fruit that you’ve probably never eaten whole like you would an orange or apple — would have so many uses around the home? Sure, you may find that may cleaning products have a lemon scent to them, but did you know that lemons themselves can be great for cleaning and freshening your home all on their own?
For those who embrace green cleaning — that is, cleaning without the use of harsh chemicals on surfaces and floors — lemons provide many of the same cleaning benefits as vinegar. The acid that comes from lemons is antibacterial and antiseptic, and the oil from the rinds polishes and shines. That lemony fresh smell leaves your home smelling clean, and you’ll feel safe cleaning with a natural ingredient around your home.
There is one thing to note about lemons: They do not disinfect, which means that won’t kill harmful microbes around your home. In some places, that’s not a big deal, but especially on cooking surfaces where you need a strong disinfectant, lemons will not be strong enough. Keep at least one good disinfectant (there are many, and some that are even green) for cooking surfaces and let the lemons do the rest.
Not only are lemons great for cleaning, they are also good for your health, although we certainly don’t expect you to take a big bite out of one any time soon. According to Healthline, lemons provide an excellent source of vitamin C, which can help you reduce your risks of developing heart disease or having a stroke. Eating the plant compounds found in lemons may also help you lower your cholesterol, and though more research is needed to confirm, lemons may help with weight loss and reduce the risk of kidney stones.
So how can you get the most out of lemons when you clean your home? Do you know how to clean a microwave with lemons? For the answer to these questions and many more, here’s our complete guide to the multiple uses for lemon in your home.
How to make a lemon all-purpose cleaner
For most homes in Houston, the most popular cleaner in the home is the all-purpose cleaner. Whether your cleaning kitchen countertops or your bathrooms sink, there’s nothing a good all-purpose cleaner can’t do. But all-purpose cleaners don’t have to be bought at the grocery store. In fact, you can make your own at home for a fraction of the coast without sacrificing any of the cleaning power.
To make a lemon all-purpose cleaner at home, take a spray bottle and squeeze a lemon so the juice falls inside the bottle. Then add water and vinegar in equal parts. Twist the spray bottle top back on, and you’re set to clean.
Lemon all-purpose cleaners fight stains and can lift even some of the toughest ones around your home. In bathrooms where calcium and lime can build up, lemon can cut through both of them and leave your bathrooms smelling fresh and clean. In the kitchen, a lemon all-purpose cleaners can help clean up the table after dinner and help cut through some of those lingering trash smells.
How to clean a microwave with lemons
You know when your microwave needs a good cleaning. When you open it, the smell of lunches and dinners past seem to whaf over you, and that smell is enough to gross anyone out. Microwaves can get dirty easily. Splatter from tomato sauce and spilled soups can build up overtime, creating plenty of stains inside your microwave and a terrible smell.
But never fear: lemons can help. Here’s how to clean a microwave with lemons:
- Pour a half a cup of water into a bowl.
- Cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the bowl, dropping in the lemon halves once they’ve been juiced.
- Microwave the bowl of water and lemon juice for 3 minutes.
- Let the bowl stand in the microwave for 5 minutes. Do not open the door.
- Open the door and take out the bowl of water and lemon. Use a rag to wipe down the inside of the microwave. Take out the turntable and wipe it down as well. Don’t neglect the door or the ceiling.
- To wipe away stubborn spots, dip a corner of the rag into the bowl of water and lemons and scrub away any build up.
- Close the door and enjoy your clean, fresh-smelling microwave.
This homemade remedy works much better than trying to spray down your microwave with a store-bought all-purpose cleaner. The acid in the lemon loosens up food particles on the sides of the microwave.
Kill cutting board orders
Your cutting board sees a lot of action day in and day out. From chopping onions to mincing garlic, there are a ton of odors that tend to stick to cutting boards, and when they combine, they can make quite the smell. Now some cutting boards can be thrown in the dishwater without issue, but wooden cutting boards especially should never be washed in the dishwasher — or even under hot water. The hot water can warp the board and ruin it, so you have to be careful when cleaning it.
So how do you clean your wooden cutting boards without damaging them in the process? Use a little lemon juice. Rub the lemon juice onto your cutting board’s worst stains and let it sit overnight. The lemon juice will help lift the stain, and in the morning, you should be able to simply rinse it and let it dry. You’ll find that your cutting boards will look almost new again, and you won’t have to deal with all those unfortunate smells.
Polish stainless steel sinks
You do a lot to keep your stainless steel sink looks bright and polished, but during the week when you and your family are cooking and filling sink with dishes, it can take a beating. With a little lemon though, you can make your sink look almost brand new and smell delightful — especially after those dirty dishes have been sitting in it for a while.
To do this, slice a lemon in half and dip it in salt. The salt will act as an exfoliant and help loosen the grime from the bottom of your sink. Scrub the bottom and sides of your sink and watch the grime just disappear. Your sink will practically sparkle.
You can also use this same combination of salt and lemon to clean copper pots and pans as well as coffee makers. Your coffee maker especially could benefit from a good lemon/salt cleaning. All the build-up over time can damage your coffee maker’s ability to work properly. Rather than replace your coffee pot, just give it a good scrub, and you should be good to go.
This combination of lemons and salt can also work on the outdoors, mainly your favorite grill. You can use your lemon and salt to scrub the grills and break up that burned build-up. Your grill will look almost new again.
Make your refrigerator smell fresh
All those foods and all those smells — your refrigerator can take quite a beating after some time, and if you have something inside that is rotting, it can be difficult to get rid of those smells.
Lemons, however, can make your fridge smell fresh no matter what you’re making for dinner. Simply slice a lemon in half and place it on a saucer in your fridge. The smell of the lemon will work to neutralize other smells, and you’ll find that your fridge smells fresh every time you open it.
Cleaning plastic food storage containers
Isn’t it frustrating when you make spaghetti or lasagna for dinner and then find that your plastic food storage containers are permanently stained red? They look grimy, and you may not want to store other foods in them, even after you run them through the dishwasher a few times. Those stains on food storage containers can be difficult to deal with, but with a little lemon, you can get rid of those stains for good.
Soak your plastic food storage contains in dilute lemon juice. Then add baking soda and give them a good scrub. Together the baking soda and lemon juice will help lift stains on food containers and get rid of gross odors. Now your food storage containers will look almost new again, and you can feel good about using them.
Your windows take a beating around your home. They stand up to rain, sometimes snow and some pretty humid temperatures, and overtime, grime can build up, making it difficult to enjoy the view from your windows.
Luckily, lemon juice can cut through that grime and leave your windows looking clean and fresh. Get out a jar and squeeze lemon juice into your jar. The dirtier your windows are, the more lemon juice you will need, so don’t hold back when it comes to squeezing lemons. You can always keep the jar of lemon juice in your refrigerator and use it as needed. Lemon juice lasts a long time, so there’s no fear that it will suddenly go bad.
Now take a cup of water and add a few tablespoons of lemon juice to it. Combine them in a spray bottle and spray the solution onto your windows. For a truly streak-free window, use newspaper to wipe off the lemon solution. This will leave your windows looking shiny and new.
Preventing pests with lemon
Do you find that ants, spiders and other insects always seem to find a way into your home? No matter how well you pack food away or clean up crumbs, insects always seem to find and exploit that one tiny crack in your baseboards or near your windows, but did you know that ants, spiders and other insects don’t like the smell of lemon?
Cockaroachs, spiders and ants are highly sensitive to the smell of lemons, so when they smell it, they’ll turn right around and go bother someone else.
In a spray bottle, add lemon juice and cut it with white vinegar. The combination will be too overwhelming for pests. Now spray your baseboards, window sills and cupboards with your mixture. The smell will keep pests at bay, but it won’t overwhelm your kitchen or damage your surfaces in any way.
Bleaching white clothes with lemon
There’s nothing more clean and comforting than a plain white t-shirt. It’s a wardrobe staple that goes with everything and can go from casual to chic with the right accessories. But unfortunately, white t-shirts don’t often last long. The sweat that builds up from your armpits (don’t feel bad, everyone has it) discolors your white t-shirts and turns them yellow. The last thing you want to do is worry about everyone seeing your yellow armpit stains when you lift your arms, but now you don’t have to worry about that.
While lemon can’t disinfect cooking surfaces as well bleaches, it can bleach white t-shirts and get rid of those yellow stains. Simply pour lemon juice onto your favorite white t-shirt and let it dry out completely in a sunny spot. You should see your yellow stains disappear once the lemon juice dries and voila! Your favorite white t-shirt will look like new again.
You can also apply this strategy to white linens such as pillowcases and sheets. You’ll find that your sheets, pillowcases and t-shirts need to be replaced less often with this lemon juice approach.
In the long run, cleaning with lemons can save you a lot of money. They’re inexpensive to buy at the grocery store, and they’re available all year round. Vinegar is inexpensive as well, and if you buy a large bottle, you’ll know it will last you for a long time. Since you’ll be combining water with vinegar, you won’t be using so much vinegar so fast.
Cleaning with lemons can make your home smell fresh, reduce your impact on the environment and save you money overtime. Share with us: What are your favorite lemon remedies? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.