Lemons are nothing if not versatile. Equally at home flavoring cakes and floating by the slice in cups of tea, lemons have been a cooking staple for centuries. What many people don't know is lemons have many uses outside the culinary world. Here are 10 surprising household uses for lemons guaranteed to bring zesty freshness to your cleaning routine.
1. Make your own eco-friendly lemon-based cleaning spray. You can save the planet, save money, and save your appliances from grimy build-up all at the same time by making your own lemon-based cleaning sprays. They're effective, ridiculously inexpensive, non-toxic, and leave a wave of zesty freshness in their wake. All you need to do is combine the juice of one lemon and 1/4 of a cup of white vinegar in a reuseable spray bottle, fill the rest with water and shake well. This formula works well to safely clean most household surfaces. When you run out, all you need to do is buy another lemon and make more (and possibly more vinegar, if you've been on a wild vinegar-using spree).
2. Lemons are natural air fresheners. By simply combining a bit of lemon juice and water in a re-usable spray bottle, you can make a wonderfully effective chemical-free air freshening spray. Use more juice in especially unfresh rooms. You can also simply slice a lemon in half, place it in a dish, and set it in a room for a freshening effect. And don't throw lemons away once they've been squeezed - boil them on the stovetop. This will infuse your entire living area with a fresh, zesty, clean scent.
3. Use lemon to polish just about anything. If your copper's gone green, just give it a good going-over with a lemon juice-soaked cloth, then buff it dry with a clean cloth to restore the original gleam. You can polish aluminum by scrubbing with a paste made of cream of tartar and lemon juice and then buffing back the brilliance with a clean, dry cloth. Polishing brass and stainless steel with lemon is even easier - all you have to do is cut the lemon in half, sprinkle it with a bit of salt, and then rub the cut side on the item to be polished before buffing. When it's time to do the furniture, simply combine one part lemon juice with two parts olive oil to make your own natural furniture polish.
4. Let lemons help you do the laundry. You can make a safe, mild and effective bleach by combining the juice of a lemon with a few teaspoons of baking soda and a little water. You can soak delicates in this mixture without fear of damaging them. Adding a bit of lemon juice to your laundry during a wash cycle gives clothes an extra clean scent, and helps to brighten whites and get out tough rust and mineral stains. And speaking of stains, lemons can be used as nature's Stain Sticks: for mildew stains, rub with a paste of lemon juice and salt, and let the clothing article dry in the sun. If sweat stains are the issue, simply scrub them away with a mixture of equal parts lemon juice and water. And when dreaded ink stains strike, soak the effected area in pure lemon juice as soon as possible, then machine wash the item in cold water.
5. Use lemons to clean glass and dishware. Make dishes come out of the dishwasher sparkling clean, spot-free, and smelling fresher than ever by putting half a lemon in with the load. You can also clean glass and windows by rubbing with pure lemon juice and then using newspaper to buff dry. For really tough glass and dishware messes, cut a lemon in half and sprinkle baking soda on the cut section before rubbing it on the item in question.