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While vinegar seems to get most of the attention in natural cleaning, lemon is a superstar in its own right. Lemons are actually more acidic than vinegar, which means – you guessed it – more cleaning power! Plus, they smell so much better than vinegar, too! What’s not to love?!
When life hands you lemons, you… get cleaning??? I know, so cliché. But lemons really are awesome for safe, all natural DIY cleaning, so let’s get started.
Use fresh lemons or store-bought lemon juice – they both work just as well.
For more ways to clean your home with ingredients you probably already have in your home, check out the following:
Cleaning with Lemons
You may be wondering how well a natural ingredient like lemons can clean, but they are actually surprisingly effective. Lemons are a great green cleaning ingredient because they naturally contain:
- Citric Acid – a mild acid that fights water spots and hard water film.
- D-Limonene – a powerful degreaser and solvent.
- Lemon Oil – a uplifting natural fragrance and antibacterial disinfectant.
All of this adds up to a pretty spectacular way to clean your home – no dangerous chemicals and affordable, since lemons and store-bought juice are both super cheap.
How to Make Your Home Spotless with Lemon
MAKE AN ALL-PURPOSE SPRAY CLEANER
This spray will work anywhere in your home, but is especially useful in the kitchen to cut through tough grease and food odors.
Gather up some lemon peels (other citrus fruit peels work great here, too) – enough to fill at least half of a mason jar – put them in the mason jar, then fill the jar with white vinegar. Cover your jar with a lid, and let it sit in a dark place for two weeks. The longer you let it sit, the more the citrus oils will infuse into the vinegar.
After two weeks, use a fine mesh sieve to strain the liquid over a large bowl. Discard the peels, put the cleaning liquid in a spray bottle, and use it as you would any all-purpose spray cleaner.
REMOVE STAINS + ODORS FROM CUTTING BOARDS
Cut a fresh lemon in half, dip it in coarse salt, and use it to scrub dirt and stains from wood and plastic cutting boards with ease. The acids in lemon juice break down grease and grime while the abrasive action in the salt scrubs the board clean. This method works great for butcher block countertops, too!
CLEAN THE DISHWASHER – AND MAKE YOUR KITCHEN SMELL FRESH
Run a cup of lemon juice through an empty dishwasher cycle at least once a month to remove stuck-on dirt and grime built up over time.
Did you just squeeze a lemon to get the juice out? Don’t toss that rind. Pop it in your dishwasher’s silverware compartment to clean your dishwasher and freshen your kitchen in between deep cleanings.
NIX STAINS IN PORCELAIN
Lemons have light bleaching properties, making them excellent at removing stains from various materials, including porcelain sinks. To clean, deodorize, and remove stains from your porcelain sink, cut lemons in half, and dip each half (cut side down) in coarse salt. Scrub your sink with the lemon and salt, and watch dirt and stains lift away instantly! Rinse well.
For extra stain-fighting power, follow the steps outlined above, then let the lemon and salt sit in your sink for about 20-30 minutes before rinsing.
CLEAN + POLISH COPPER
To clean and polish copper, you’ll want to use the same method outlined above. Dip half a cut lemon in coarse salt, and use it to scrub your dirty, tarnished cookware.
For stubborn stains, make a paste with lemon juice and salt (just squeeze the juice out of the lemon), spread the paste in your cookware, and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes to loosen stuck-on messes. Scrub with a sponge, rinse well, and buff dry with a soft cloth.
SCRUB STUCK-ON FOOD FROM DISHES
The cleaning combination of lemon and salt really can’t be beat, can it? Scrub away stuck-on food from all your dishes with half a cut lemon dipped in salt. This method works great to clean cheese graters, plates, silverware – just about anything you can think of!
RENEW RUSTY KNIVES
When knives aren’t properly cared for (i.e. tossed in the dishwasher or left sitting in a wet sink), they can form rust spots. Use lemon juice and a sponge to scrub away rust spots to make knives look new again!
BLEACH AWAY TOUGH STAINS
Rub lemon juice on stained cutting boards and storage containers to lift even tough stains like beets. Hot foods are more likely to stain. For extra tough stains, let it sit out in the sunshine for an hour up to a whole afternoon. The lemon juice will react with the sunlight for a bleaching effect.
CLEAN + DEODORIZE THE MICROWAVE
Put about 1/2 cup of water in a small, microwave-safe bowl or glass measuring cup. Slice a lemon in half, and add it to the water. Microwave the lemon water for 3 minutes until the liquid comes to a boil, then let it stand for 5 minutes.
Open the door of the microwave, remove the cup (or bowl) – be careful, it may still be hot, and wipe down the sides of the microwave with a cleaning cloth or sponge. All the stuck-on food should lift right up, and your microwave with smell fresh and clean!
FRESHEN THE GARBAGE DISPOSAL
Freeze lemon wedges with white vinegar or lemon juice in ice cube trays. Any time your garbage disposal needs freshening, pop a couple cubes in the drain, and run the disposal. The ice, vinegar, and lemon will remove gunk and leave behind a fresh lemon scent!
CLEAN THE BLENDER
To clean your blender without taking it apart, just add hot water and lemon juice to the canister, and run the blender to remove food particles with almost no effort. You’ll still want to take the canister apart from time to time to give it a deep clean.
DE-SCALE YOUR TEA KETTLE
Toss a few used lemon halves into the kettle, fill with water, and bring to a boil. Let it sit overnight. In the morning, boil it again, and empty the contents. Rinse well to remove calcium buildup without scrubbing!
CLEAN + DEODORIZE PLASTIC CONTAINERS
Rub a lemon over the inside of a plastic container, or rinse with lemon juice to remove stains and odors.
PRO TIP: Prevent staining before it happens by cooling food completely before storing. Staining foods like tomato sauce will stain more when hot.
LOOSEN BURNED-ON FOODS
Chop up a few lemons and place them into the burned pot. Fill the pot with water, and bring it to a boil. Once you start to see the burned spots floating around in the water, turn off the heat, let it sit until the water cools, then dump it out. Scrub away any spots that remain, then rinse and dry.
SANITIZE THE GARBAGE DISPOSAL
Pour a gallon of hot water mixed with 1/2 cup lemon juice down the drain to kill germs and odors.
BOOST CLEANING POWER
Add a few drops of lemon juice to your dish soap to increase cleaning power.
CLEAN + CONDITION HANDS
Mix 1 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup melted coconut oil, and the juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons). Use the mixture to soften skin and scrub dirt and food prep odors like garlic and onions from hands and fingernails.
From Sarah Blooms
Now you can make your kitchen cleaner than ever before – with lemons!
For more awesome kitchen cleaning tips, check out 25 Time-Saving Kitchen Hacks.
For more ways to clean with common household ingredients, check out the following: