When life gives you lemons, you cut them open and use them to scrub down a benchtop. Commercial cleaning agents might promise to make the cleaning job easier, but they can also be hazardous or unpleasant. Fortunately, our kitchens come stocked with a variety of organic cleaning tools that you can use in a variety of ways. You’re probably already familiar with vinegar — now add lemons to that list!
Lemons are fantastic cleaning aids. The acid they contain acts as an antibacterial and antiseptic agent. They’re a natural disinfectant and cut through grease. The oils in the rind can give surfaces a nice shine. The scent is refreshing.
Bear in mind, though — they’re no substitute for bleach or related products in thoroughly disinfecting surfaces, so use lemons in conjunction with the appropriate cleaning agent. (And save any extra halves for lemonade after!)
Need to get some cleaning done? Grab a lemon or three and check out these eight tips on how to use lemons for cleaning around the house.
1. Scrub down pots and pans
Do you have copper or aluminium pots and pans in your kitchen? Lemon juice cleans them right up. Cut a lemon in half or into slices, then sprinkle salt on the surface. Next, grab a pot and start scrubbing! It’ll take away any stains or blackened spots at the bottom. Just make sure to rinse thoroughly before you cook — especially if your next recipe doesn’t require lemon flavour.
2. Refresh cutting boards
Got a spare half of a lemon? You can clean your cutting boards now too! Lemon juice also clears hard water stains and mineral deposits off of glass, metal, and plastic surfaces.
Rub the juice on the cutting board and let it soak in for at least half a day. Rinse off, then you can scrub the stains away more easily.
If your cutting boards are made of wood, lemon can still help refresh them. Sprinkle salt on the lemon half, then scrub over the surface. Let sit, rinse, and repeat if necessary. The lemon will also help fight against bacteria and germ buildup.
3. Clean food containers, utensils, and dishes
So there’s a stubborn stain in the container you kept last week’s leftovers in. Yes, we’re going to use food to remove stains from food. Soak them in lemon juice and a little water for fifteen minutes or longer. Rinse off, then clean as usual. For more stubborn stains, add a pinch of bicarb soda to the mix. The same trick will work on any utensils or dishes used in serving food. And the lemon will remove any food smell, too!
4. Polish the dishwasher
It feels like cleaning appliances should already be clean, but the dishwasher does get dirty. And when the time comes for its monthly clean-up — here’s a full guide on that, to help you out! — lemons are again here to help out.
Scrubbing with half a lemon and salt is a great way to remove stains on the exterior, or any residue build-up inside. Wipe off with a damp rag afterwards, or let soak if any stains are difficult. (FYI — this works on faucets and sinks too!)
You can also boost your dishwasher performance by adding a cup of lemon juice (or a few lemon wedges) into a dishwasher-safe container and setting it on the top rack. Alternatively, try adding some lemon juice to the detergent. The acidity of the juice will help cut through the grease and get your dishes squeaky clean!
(Pro tip: you can use the lemon juice hack on other appliances. Toss in some hot water and lemon juice into your blender to freshen it up before you make your next shake.)
5. Fix up fabric
You can remove rust stains from clothing with a paste of salt and lemon juice. Mix about a teaspoon of lemon juice with six teaspoons of salt (add salt to thicken if desired). Dab it into the rust stain, then let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour. Rinse the mixture off, then wash the fabric like you normally would. (Just make sure you test it out on the fabric first — just in case!)
Lemon juice is also a natural bleaching agent. Use it to refresh your light or white linens by soaking them in hot water and lemon juice before washing them. You’ll achieve the best results if you let the fabric dry out in the sun after. Be careful with fragile fabrics like silk, though!
6. Get squeaky-clean windows
Who needs commercial cleaners when lemons will do? Mix equal parts lemon juice and hot water in a spray bottle. Spray on windows, mirrors, door glass, then wipe clean — it works just as well, and smells even better! You can even use newspapers to wipe the mixture off instead of paper towels if you’re feeling particularly thrifty. Say hello to a streak-free shine!
7. Scour cooking appliances
Stovetops, ovens, toasters, and microwaves are notorious for building up residue from cooking. Grease and food stains collect on surfaces and crevices over time. Mix up a batch of warm water, bicarb soda, and lemon to make a paste, then dab it onto any stains. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes, then wipe off and rinse clean. You can use it on the grill, too!
To refresh your oven or microwave, lemon juice works too! Mix lemon juice and water into a microwave-safe container and microwave on low for ten minutes; or into an oven-safe container and bake for 30 minutes at 250 degrees. Wait for the container to cool, then remove the dish and sponge-clean any remaining dirt inside. It’ll smell great, too.
8. Fight odours
Lemon is a popular scent, and with good reason. It’s refreshing and invigorating, smells easy-breezy. So use a lemon to get rid of any bad odours or refresh the scent of appliances — or even yourself, too! Here are a few ways to use lemons for fighting odours around your home:
Stick a couple of wedges inside your fridge to combat the smell of food (fresh or used is fine). Rub some lemon over your hands and rinse after preparing food (just make sure you don’t have papercuts!). Or fill a pot with water, lemon rinds, and some herbs, spices, or essential oils. Set it on the stove, bring it to a boil, and breathe deep as the scent infuses your house. (Great hack for making your house smell great before guests come!)
Need a more thorough clean? Get professional help!
Lemons are a quick and easy way to clean around your house or refresh surfaces, but they’re no substitute for a full and thorough cleaning session. Maid2Match offers regular and deep house cleaning services to help you with that. We’re NDIS accredited too! So schedule your house for cleaning today — and save the lemons for some lemonade after.