More Sweet than Sour: 10 Household Uses for Lemons


Forget about toxic oven cleaners, overpriced produce sprays, headache-inducing bleach and environmentally disastrous pesticides – you can harness the natural cleaning and freshening power of fresh lemons in all sorts of different ways. Here are ten handy uses for lemons around the house.

Wash Produce


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Fill a spray bottle with a cup of water, 1/2 cup of white vinegar and a tablespoon of lemon juice for an all-natural produce wash that’s way less expensive than the ones you can buy pre-made.

Keep Veggies Crisp & Bright


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Keep lettuce, celery and other green veggies crisp and free of oxidation with this simple method: soak them in a bowl of cold water along with the juice of half a lemon and dry them thoroughly before refrigerating. You can also use this trick to revive wilted lettuce and greens.

Deodorize the Fridge, Cutting Board & More


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Your cutting board is absorbing liquids from garlic, onion, fish and whatever else you prepare on it, so it needs to be deodorized once in a while. Sprinkle coarse salt all over it and then use the cut side of half a lemon as a scrubber, working in the salt. Allow it to sit for ten minutes or so before rinsing. To eliminate funky smells from a fridge, soak a few cotton balls in lemon juice and leave them inside for a few hours.

De-Grease Surfaces


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Mix lemon juice with either baking soda or dish detergent to create a thick paste and use it to scrub out grease inside your oven, on your stovetop, or anywhere else that needs a little extra cleaning power.

Polish Chrome and Stainless Steel


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Keep chrome and stainless steel clean and free of water spots by simply rubbing the cut side of a lemon over the surfaces until they shine. Add some salt to eliminate rust.

Brighten Whites


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Skip the bleach, which is not only environmentally unfriendly, but hard on your laundry. You can brighten up those whites instead by adding 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of lemon juice to the washer along with your detergent.

Eliminate Mildew Smell


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If there’s even the tiniest bit of moisture in your blankets, linens or other fabric items when you store them for the season, chances are, they’ll come out months later smelling like mildew. Remove visible mildew from textiles by making a paste from lemon juice and salt, rubbing it in and letting it dry in the sun – repeat until the mildew is gone. To get rid of stubborn odor, soak the items in hot water with 1/2 cup of lemon juice for an hour or so before washing as usual.

Repel Pests


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Repel ants, fleas, mice, cockroaches and other pests with a homemade lemon juice spray. Boil six halved lemons in a quart of water for five minutes, let them steep in the covered pot overnight and transfer to a clean spray bottle. Squirt the mixture anywhere pests might get into your home.

Kill Weeds


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Kill weeds without the use of toxic pesticides. This one’s really easy: just drown the weeds in lemon juice until they shrivel up and die. The acidity combined with sunlight will do the trick.

De-Funk the Microwave


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Microwaves can get gross fast, especially in common spaces like the break room at work. To quickly soften crusted-on food splatters, place half of a cut lemon into a bowl with two cups of water, microwave on high until the water boils, then let it sit for about ten minutes. Remove the bowl and wipe out the gunk. Main image: edmond tsang