Need to add a shine to your pots and pan, polish your dining room table, or remove a rust stain? Just grab some lemons! Lemon works great for cleaning. The acidic quality and fresh scent can work wonders around the house, and it can work similarly to a bleach. You can even use the rinds to add a little shine and make everything look spic and span. From the kitchen to the laundry room, to every other part of your home, discover all the ways to use lemons outside of cooking.
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Polish Pots, Pans, and Hardware
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.
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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.
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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.
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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.Continue to 5 of 16 below.
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Kill Bacteria on Cutting Boards and Wooden Utensils
Lemon juice has antibacterial qualities that will help kill bacteria that may linger in little nicks on pizza stones, plastic and wooden cutting boards, and wooden utensils. After washing, coat the surface with lemon juice and allow to sit for five to 10 minutes. Rinse with hot water and dry well.
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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.
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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. Alternatively, you can boil water with lemon juice and pour it down the drain to help eradicate any smells.
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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.Continue to 9 of 16 below.
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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 rays will help finish the job.
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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.
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Natural Air Freshener
Cooked fish or broccoli, fireplace ashes, paint fumes, 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.
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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.Continue to 13 of 16 below.
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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.
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Remove Tough Toilet Bowl Stains
To remove water lines and rust stains from toilet bowls, make 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.
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Make Your Own Furniture Polish
Mix one part 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.
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Salvage Hardened Paint Brushes
To soften hardened paint brushes before your next painting project, 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.
Tomotake, Hiroyuki et al. Antibacterial activity of citrus fruit juices against Vibrio species. Journal of nutritional science and vitaminology vol. 52,2 (2006): 157-60. doi:10.3177/jnsv.52.157