Need to add a shine to your pots and pan, polish your dining room table, or remove a rust stain? Just grab some lemons! The acidic quality and fresh scent can work wonders around the house.
To get the most from every lemon, place the uncut lemon on a countertop and roll under your palm to soften slightly. This will help you get every drop of juice.
In the Kitchen
- Polish Aluminum, Chrome, Stainless Steel, and Copper: to brighten dull aluminum pans, cut a lemon in half and rub the cut side over the inside and outside of the pan. Do not rinse, buff with a soft cloth. Save the rind to polish chrome faucets and cabinet hardware. Rub the rind over the metal, rinse with cool water and dry with a soft cloth. To shine stainless steel and copper pots, slice a lemon in half and dip it in salt. Rub over the metal surfaces to remove tarnish and grime. Rinse well and dry with a soft cloth.
- Remove Stains from Marble Countertops: marble is beautiful, but because the stone is porous, it can stain easily with coffee, tea, or tomato-based foods. Cut a lemon in half and dip in salt. Rub the stains briskly and then rinse thoroughly. Never leave the lemon juice on the stain for too long or the acid may damage the marble surface.
- Descale Coffee Makers and Tea Kettles: mineral deposits from water can clog coffee makers and tea kettles and even make your beverages taste funky. Clean away the minerals monthly by adding one-half cup of lemon juice to the appliance along with some boiling water. Run a complete heating cycle and then another with plain water.
- Remove Stains from Dishes and Storage Containers: some foods can leave stains on plasticware, melamine dishes, and even ceramic plates. To remove the stains, fill a large container or the sink with boiling water. Squeeze in the juice of two or three lemons and toss in the rinds. Add the dishes and soak for three to four hours. Wash as usual.
- Kill Bacteria and Freshen Cutting Boards and Wooden Utensils: lemon juice has antibacterial qualities that will help kill bacteria that may linger in little nicks on plastic and wooden cutting boards and utensils. After washing, coat the surface with lemon juice and allow to sit for five to ten minutes. Rinse with hot water and dry well.
- Clean and Remove Odors from Microwave: microwaves can get disgusting from splatters and spills. Make cleaning much easier by adding one-fourth cup lemon juice to two cups of water in a microwaveable glass container. Place in microwave and heat until boiling and the microwave is filled with steam. Allow the steam to sit for about five minutes and then remove the container and wipe away the mess with paper towels or a soft cloth.
- Deodorize the Garbage Disposal: never toss lemon peels into the trash. Add them to the garbage disposal with plenty of water. The lemon oils will help cut through any built-up grease so it can be flushed away and leave a fresh, clean scent.
In the Laundry Room
- Get Rid of Yellow Underarm Stains: some antiperspirants react with body salts to create yellow stains on white clothes and discoloration on colored shirts. To remove the stains, mix one part baking soda, one part lemon juice, and one part water. Use a soft-bristled brush to rub the solution onto the stains and allow the mixture to sit for at least 30 minutes. Wash as usual.
- Remove Rust or Mildew Stains: rust and mildew stains are unsightly, but lemon juice and salt will often remove the stains from white or ecru fabrics. Sprinkle the stained area with salt and squeeze on some fresh lemon juice. Spread the fabric in the sun to dry where the ultraviolet ways will help finish the job.
- Brighten Whites: lemon juice is a natural bleaching agent that is much less harsh than chlorine bleach. Add one cup of lemon juice to the wash water when washing white clothes to help keep them bright. For dingy white cotton socks, add lemon slices to a large pot of boiling water. Add the socks and allow them to soak overnight before washing.
Around the House
- Natural Air Freshener: cooking fish or broccoli, fireplace ashes, and litter boxes can leave a home smelling not so fresh. Create a natural air freshener by adding several slices of lemon or lemon peels to a saucepan of water. Simmer for about an hour and your home will soon smell fresh.
- Shoo Away Insects: spiders, ants, and fleas are highly sensitive to smell, and they don't like the fragrant lemon. Squirt lemon juice or leave strips of lemon peel on windowsills, door thresholds, and along baseboards to deter these insects from entering.
- Make Glass Sparkle: create your own glass and window cleaner by mixing three tablespoons of lemon juice per cup of water. Place in a spray bottle for easy cleaning. For tough water stains or marks on glass, use a sponge dipped in straight lemon juice.
- Remove Tough Toilet Bowl Stains: to remove water lines and rust stains from toilet bowls by making a paste of laundry borax and lemon juice. Apply the paste to the stains and allow it to work for at least two hours before scrubbing it away.
- Make Your Own Furniture Polish: mix one part of lemon juice and two parts olive oil to create furniture polish. Shake well before each use and apply with a soft cloth and then buff to a high shine.
Salvage Hardened Paint Brushes
To soften hardened paint brushes, heat lemon juice to boiling in a microwavable bowl. Remove from microwave and submerge the bristles of the brush. Leave to soak for at least 15 minutes and then wash in soapy water.