12 Things You Can Clean With A Lemon

July 21, 2016
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Lemons can freshen more than just your food. A powerful antibacterial and grease fighter, lemons can be used all over the house. From the kitchen to the backyard, make your whole house shine with this non-toxic cleaning powerhouse.

(Whether you're starting your first garden or switching to organic, Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening has all the answers and advice you need—get your copy today!)

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Hard Water

Lemon juice can remove the mineral deposits from your showerhead. With a similar acidity as vinegar, lemon can safely break down hard water deposits. It will also help remove soap and other buildup that dulls shine. Sprinkle baking soda or salt onto the cut side of a lemon and rub directly on the water spots.

Related: The Only 10 Things You Need To Buy To Make All Your Own Natural Cleaning Products

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Fruits + Vegetables

Produce is often full of bacteria, dirt, and pesticide residue. Rinsing hard-skinned fruits and vegetables with warm water and lemon juice can safely clean them according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. You can also make your own lemon juice produce wash with this recipe from Hello Glow.

Related: The 9 Dirtiest Fruits And Vegetables In Your Supermarket

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Furniture Polish

Conventional furniture polish is full of mineral oil and poisonous hydrocarbons that can irritate lungs and skin. The propellant in many sprays is made from petroleum gases that have been linked to cancer and genetic defects. Protect your family and your wood furniture with a simple lemon olive oil polish from Everyday Roots

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Dishes

Between their antibacterial properties and their concentration of citric acid, lemons are a powerful dish cleaner. A recent study found that lemons are effective at killing bacteria found in our mouths and sanitizing glasses and dishes. Remove water spots, clean your dishes, and avoid potentially toxic chemicals with Bren Did’s homemade dishwasher detergent. The only ingredients are diced lemons, water, salt, and vinegar. 

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Laundry

You don’t need bleach to have bright whites. Remove stains and whiten your clothes with lemons. To fix dingy whites, add thinly sliced lemons to a pot of water. Once the water comes a boil, turn off the heat, add your linens or clothes, and let them sit for an hour before washing like normal. You can also make your own powerful bleach alternative with lemon juice like Going Zero Waste does.

Related: Homemade Laundry Detergents

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Copper + Brass

To remove tarnish from brass or copper, combine lemon juice and baking soda into a paste. You can also sprinkle a sliced lemon with salt or baking soda and rub it directly on the metal to shine. The acid in the lemon helps to remove oxidation and restore the metal to its original luster. 

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Cutting Boards

Fresh lemon juice can kill salmonella and E. coli, which makes it a great choice for the kitchen. Sanitize your cutting boards and remove odors with lemon juice and salt. Once you scrub your board with a freshly cut lemon or lemon juice and salt, let it sit for 5 minutes before rinsing.

Related: How To Clean And Restore An Old Cutting Board

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Barbecue Grill

In addition to helping remove stuck on food, lemon will help remove rust and sanitize the grill. The easiest way to use lemon on the grill is to rub a cut lemon straight on the grate before you light it.

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Hardwood Floor

Cut the grime and make your whole house smell fresh with this easy homemade floor cleaner by Debbie Doo’s. The lemon juice sanitizes the floor and helps remove ground-in dirt, while the olive oil hydrates and protects the wood. Just be careful not to get the floor too wet or let the cleaner sit.

Related: 8 Amazing Things Lemon Oil Can Do

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Dust

Skip the spray and the single-use dusters—make your own dust cloths instead. This recipe from Hello Glow uses orphaned socks and leftover lemon peels to make great antimicrobial dusters. You can make them in bulk and store in an airtight jar until you're ready to use.

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Grout Stains

Remove mold and mildew with lemon. The citric acid will help remove the stain and prevent mildew growth. For really tough stains or mildew, add a bit of salt or baking soda before scrubbing with cut side of a lemon. You can also use a brush or rag with lemon juice if you don’t have a full lemon. 

Related: What's The Best Mold Cleaner: Lemon Or Bleach?

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Air Freshener

Your house may smell like a meadow, but conventional air fresheners are full of harmful chemicals like hormone-disrupting phthalates and VOCs. These sprays and fresheners make air quality worse and add to indoor air pollution. Instead, make your own customized natural air freshener out of lemons and herbs with this recipe from Thistle Wood Farms.