17 Uses for Lemons

Thanks to its citric acid and natural antibacterial and bleaching properties, lemons have a lot of uses around the house, from cleaning up tough messes in the kitchen to improving personal appearances. When life gives you lemons, don’t just make lemonade–check out these 17 uses for lemons! 

Cleaning with Lemons

1. Cut grease. An enzyme in the citric acid of lemon juice cuts through grease as good as any commercial cleaner. Combine the juice from two lemons with ½ cup of vinegar to create a powerful grease-fighting cleaner.

2. Banish odors. Nothing says “I’m clean!” like the fresh scent of lemon. Not only will cleaning with lemons leave your home smelling fresh, but the lemons can actually remove the offending odor–not just cover it up.

3. Dissolve soap scum and hard water deposits. Just pour undiluted lemon juice on the deposits, or rub a cut lemon over the troublesome spot.

4. Clean cutting boards. Disinfect and freshen wooden cutting boards by rubbing a cut lemon over the surface. Let the lemon juice sit for a while before wiping clean.

5. Clean your garbage disposal. Strong odors and bacteria can buildup in your garbage disposal over time. To clean this hard-to-reach area, cut a lemon up into chunks, place in the garbage disposal and turn it on.

6. Remove stubborn stains from countertops. Just rub half a cut lemon over the surface, let the juices sit, then wipe clean.

7. Clear copper of tarnish. Make a paste from quarter cup of table salt and lemon juice. Apply the paste to copper or brass pots and pans, let sit for five to 10 minutes, then rinse with warm water. Buff dry with a soft cloth.

8. Naturally brighten whites. Want whiter whites? Skip the bleach and add ½ cup of lemon juice, which has natural bleaching properties, to the rinse cycle. (The lingering scent of fresh citrus isn’t a bad side effect either.)

Photo By Povy Kendal Atchison

Beauty Uses for Lemons

9. Lighten hair color. Thanks to its natural bleaching properties, lemon juice can help lighten hair color naturally. Work enough lemon juice into your hair so that it is saturated. Then, expose your hair to sunshine for 30 minutes to an hour before rinsing. Because of its high acidity, using a lemon juice treatment will dry your hair out, so be sure to follow with a moisturizing conditioner.

10. Whiten fingernails. Dirty jobs left your fingernails yellow and grimy? Rub a lemon wedge over the surface of your nails to restore whiteness.

11. Lighten age spots or freckles. The citric acid in lemons, which acts as a natural bleach, can help diminish the appearance of age spots or freckles if applied twice daily. 

Health Benefits of Lemons

12. Soothe sore throats and coughs. The acidity in lemon juice helps kill bacteria in the throat. Squeeze half a cut lemon (or more, depending on taste) into a cup of hot tea. For extra soothing and healing powers, add a spoonful of honey.

13. Ease a hangover. Adding a squeeze of lemon juice to a cup of water the morning after will restore pH levels, replace needed vitamin C and rehydrate you–all important when nursing a hangover.

14. Freshen breath. Lemon juice can help kill bacteria in the mouth that causes bad breath.

Food and Household Uses of Lemons

15. Preserve food. The acidity in lemon juice will keep cut fruits and vegetables from turning brown. Lemons can also revive wilted lettuces; just place the lettuce in a bowl of cold water with the juice from one lemon.

16. Prevent pests. Strong odors are a deterrent to many household pests, such as ants, spiders and fleas, so try rubbing lemon juice on or leaving lemon peels in areas such as along baseboards, in the cracks of windowsills and other areas where pest might enter the home.

17. Decorate! A glass bowl full of lemons is a quick, easy and inexpensive way to bring a punch of color to your dining room table.

Published on Jan 26, 2012

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