When life gives you lemons, there’s a whole lot more you can do than make lemonade. These powerful citrus fruits are surprisingly versatile, and they can help a savvy mom like you tackle your toughest chores. Lemons might even help you accomplish things you didn’t think were possible. It’s amazing what a little lemon juice or peel can do for your home. The list of ways to use lemons in your home could go on and on, but we’ve compiled what we consider to be the most useful lemon hacks.
Here are 11 ways lemons can make your home cleaner, fresher, and even more budget friendly.
1. Make Produce Last Longer
The life expectancy of fresh fruits and vegetables varies depending on where you live, the weather, and what you’re trying to preserve. Either way, wouldn’t it be nice if the produce we spend so much money on could last even a few days longer? Apples might grow on trees, but that doesn’t make them cheap!
Lemon juice is perfect for preserving fruits and vegetables. A lot of fruits and veggies, like apples, pears, peaches, potatoes, parsnips, and artichokes, turn brown minutes after they’re cut. If you’re not up for eating the entire thing in one sitting, you’ll have to throw the brown and ruined fruit/veggie away. But if you have a lemon, you can make them last longer. Dip the exposed end of your cut fruit/veggie in lemon juice, and you’re free to enjoy it for a little longer.
2. Clean Produce of Pesticides
Even if your household is all organic, there’s still the chance of having sneaky, invisible toxins on your produce. A quick rinse can get the job done sometimes, but you and your family will be a lot safer if you take the time to wash your produce before eating.
Thanks to the acidic nature of lemon juice, you can use a few lemons to make an effective and all-natural produce cleaner. Add lemon juice, a dash of distilled vinegar, and cold water into a spray bottle. Then all you have to do is spritz your produce and rinse it off.
3. Fight Fruit Stains
Aren’t fruit stains the worst? Fresh berries are notorious for staining both fingers and clothes. They’re too delicious to give up, and thankfully, there’s an easy trick for getting out those bright blue and red stains.
If your usual method of stain fighting isn’t quite doing the trick, try dripping lemon juice directly on the offending spot. Sprinkle a little salt and rub it all together. Rinse the garment, and hopefully, the stain is noticeably lighter. Repeat the process until the stain is either gone completely or light enough to be tackled with other stain removing methods.
4. Make Your Home Smell Amazing
The smell of lemons is always associated with cleanliness. You can make your whole house smell clean and fresh without resorting to lemon-scented air fresheners.
Homemade potpourri is made with lemon peels, lemon juice, and a few other choice ingredients depending on the season and what you want your house to smell like. Check out One Good Thing for a few great recipes.
5. Clean Stainless Steel Appliances
Stainless steel appliances look sharp in your kitchen, but they’re like magnets for every jam-smeared finger and wet dog nose in the house. Those smudges always stand out and make your kitchen look messy even when it’s not. Cleaning up is harder than it looks, because even wet rags and paper towels can leave behind nasty streaks.
To solve your stainless steel struggle, cut a lemon in half and rub the juicy side on your smudged surfaces. The juice will cut through grease and make it easier to wipe away the mess. If you want an even stronger solution, add a little baking soda.
6. De-Stink Your Garbage Disposal
After pouring week-old leftovers down your garbage disposal, it’s no wonder it tends to stink. Your garbage disposal puts up with a lot of abuse, and every now and then, it’s a good idea to treat it to a nice lemon bath. Lemon juice will eliminate odors to make your kitchen fresh instead of funky.
For this kitchen hack, you have options. You can choose to dump a few lemon peels down the disposal and run the motor, or you can make vinegar ice cubes with lemon wedges frozen on the inside. The vinegar adds more cleaning power, and the ice keeps the disposal blades sharp and clean.
7. Clean Your Coffee Maker
When was the last time you cleaned your coffee maker? I’m not talking about rinsing out the pot or changing the filter. I mean when did you actually clean the inner workings of the machine? If you have to think about it, it’s been too long. Mineral buildup can block the mechanisms and even affect the taste of your coffee—gasp! Plus those stains make everything look dingy.
To clean your coffee maker the easy, cheap, and all natural way, pour a solution of half lemon juice and half water into the reservoir. Let the cycle run, and then run it again with nothing but cold water. Doing this every now and then will keep your coffee maker clean and in good condition.
8. Freshen Up Your Fridge
Old food, spilled messes, and mold can send waves of rancid smells into your face every time you open your fridge. Even if you recently cleaned it out, age can make some appliances take on what seems like a permanent stench. Before you admit defeat, try this lemon trick.
Soak a new sponge in lemon juice and put it in your fridge. The juice-soaked sponge will absorb odors and leave a fresh citrus smell in their place.
9. Clean Stained Cutting Boards
Once a plastic cutting board is stained, no amount of dish soap or scrubbing will get it back to normal. And thanks to the nature of cutting boards, you probably have a whole pile of stained plastic cutting boards taking up space in your cabinets. You can choose to toss them or deal with their less-than-clean look, but there’s a third option.
Lemon juice is great for lightening stains, and it works wonders on plastic. Cut up a lemon and drop the juice on your stained cutting board. Use the lemon peel to rub the juice on the stain, and make sure to get in all the little nooks and cut marks. Next, put your lemon-soaked board in the sun. Let it sit in the sunshine for as long as possible before bringing it in and washing it off. Your stains should be gone!
10. Stop Garbage Can Stink
It’s garbage…it’s supposed to smell, right? That may be true, but it doesn’t mean we want our kitchens smelling like trash because of an old garbage can. Even after you wash them out and change the bag, they can still stink. There’s a reason trash bag manufacturers now sell scented bags, but you can get the same (better) effect with only a few lemons.
Next time you change the bag, drop a few lemon peels to the bottom of the can. Put your new bag in over top, and the peels will help fight off both the stench from the can itself and whatever else you toss away.