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7 Unusual Alternative Uses for Lemons


By Louisa Price

If you have a meyer lemon tree growing in your backyard, and you are wondering what to do with all those beautifully bright lemons before summer, here’s a list of unusual and interesting things to do with lemons or lemon juice.

While lemon is widely used in cooking for its delicious tangy flavor and zesty aroma, it also has many other rewarding benefits. For example, when you incorporate lemon into your skincare routine, it works like magic to brighten up dull-looking complexion.

Additionally, the high acidity content of lemon juice makes it an excellent natural household cleaner, perfect for killing germs and bacteria.


Household Uses for Lemons/Lemon Juice

1. Polisher

You don’t need expensive high end polishers to make bathroom faucets or stainless steel kitchen sink shine and looking brand new. A cut-up lemon dipped in salt (for abrasion) is great for removing tarnish and polishing brass cookware, copper tea kettles, chrome fixtures, or stainless steel cutlery.

Simply rub the salted lemon in a circular motion, over the surface of the piece that you want to clean. Then rinse in warm water and lightly buff with a soft cloth or paper towel. You can also substitute salt with baking soda or cream of tar tar. Add enough lemon juice to baking soda or cream of tartar to get a paste that has the same consistency as your toothpaste.

If you want to clean old and worn pennies, just place them in 1 cup lemon juice with a pinch of salt, and let stand overnight. Rinse and rub the penny with paper towel and it should become bright and shiny again!



2. Room Freshener

Rather than buying expensive air fresheners, make a eco-friendly, chemical-free homemade room deodorizer. Combine the juice of 1 lemon with 1 spoonful strong tea (black or green tea). Strain and transfer to a spray bottle. Spray once or twice into the air to neutralize odors, and your rooms will smell fresh and crisp all day.

Alternatively, add lemon peels, cinnamon sticks, cloves and apple skins to a large pot of water. Allow to simmer on stove-top, just make sure you have lots of water in your pot. It will eliminate unpleasant tough odors around the house – smoking, cooking and mold.



3. Drain Cleaner

Do you have a smelly garbage disposal problem? Toss used lemon rind/peel down the garbage disposal once a week to get rid of the stinky odor and keep it smelling fresh.

You can also make a non-corrosive drain cleaner at home with 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 2 cups baking soda, ½ cup cream-of-tartar and 2 cups salt. Mix all ingredients except lemon juice in a glass jar. When you want to clean your pipes, measure out ¼ cup home-made drain cleaner and prepare 1 cup boiling water. Pour everything, including lemon juice, into your drain. Let it set for 10-15 seconds before you flush it with cold water for the next 30 seconds.



4. Laundry Bleach

Conventional laundry bleach is not only toxic to the environment, it can also cause irritations in people with sensitive skin, and can be fatal if swallowed. To avoid harmful residue in clothes, use lemon juice to whiten yellowed laundry instead. Lemon juice acts as a natural whitening agent that provides some antibacterial and antiseptic properties, and adds a lovely lemony fragrance to your clothing too.

Simply add about ½ cup straight lemon juice to the wash or rinse cycle to brighten up white clothes. You can also combine lemon juice with cream of tartar and rub it on stubborn stains before you wash.

After washing, let your clothes dry out in the sun. Natural sunlight will whiten and freshen your laundry for free!



5. All-Purpose Cleaner

From getting cooking oil splatters off your stoves to removing hard water stains and limescales, lemon juice is the cheapest multipurpose cleaner you can get hold of.

Pour about ½ cup lemon juice into a squirt bottle and fill it up with water. Spray mixture to remove grease on kitchen worktops, bleach stains on walls, clean windows/mirrors that are lightly soiled and clean ceramic floor tiles. For extra cleaning power, add a bit of baking soda and borax. However, make sure to test on an inconspicuous area to avoid staining. For example, marble does stain easily.



6. Disinfect Cutting Board

Bacteria like salmonella and E.coli  can easily breed in the deep knife cuts on cutting boards and cause food poisoning. To disinfect and clean your chopping board,  rub a lemon half over the entire surface, and let it sit for a few minutes or leave overnight. In the morning, rinse well and air dry.

The other benefit of rubbing lemon halves on your chopping board is that it helps to get rid of nasty cutting board odors – strong garlic smell, pungent onion smell, fishy smell, etc.

You can also remove food stains and neutralize the odors of the previously cooked food in the microwave using lemons. Place a few lemon slices in a bowl of water, heat on HIGH for 1 minute.



7. Keep Cut Fruits Fresh

Keep freshly cut fruits like apples, bananas, pears, and avocados from turning brown by coating them with lemon juice. Lemon contains citric acid that slows down the oxidation process and prevents fruit slices from darkening.




household uses for lemons

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