There’s more to lemons than just making lemonade. It’s true that lemons make a refreshingly sweet drink and are a great addition to many recipes, but their usefulness doesn’t end there. Lemons have many surprising applications around the home. From cleaning out your microwave to brightening your whites, here are 10 ways to use lemons around the house.
1. Cleaning the Microwave
Lemons can remove hardened bits of food without using chemical-based cleaners or scratching your microwave's surface. Simply mix 1 1/2 cups of water with 3 tablespoons of lemon juice in a bowl. Place the mixture in the microwave and cook on high for around 10 minutes. The steam will condense on the walls and help soften stubborn stains. When the time is up, use a rag to wipe away the food and reveal your freshly cleaned appliance.
2. Stain Removal
If you have a stain on a piece of clothing that won’t come out in the wash, try applying some lemon to the area. Soak the stain in lemon juice for an hour and reapply if the stain doesn’t go away. (You can also use a solution of baking soda and water to scrub out the stain if the soak doesn’t remove it.)
3. Natural Air Freshener
For a more natural approach to freshening up the home, lemons are a great way to eliminate odors. Cut half a dozen lemons into slices and combine with a handful of cloves. Place the mixture in a simmering pot on your stove and allow the aroma to fill your home.
4. Insect Repellant
Lemons are a natural way to keep bugs out of the kitchen. Just spray some lemon juice around the perimeter of your kitchen, including windows, thresholds, and any holes around the baseboards. Ants and roaches can’t stand the smell of lemons and will stay far away once they get a whiff of it.
5. Freshen Garbage Disposal
Use leftover lemon peels to deodorize even the smelliest garbage disposal. Simply toss the lemon scraps down the drain at least once a month to keep the disposal smelling its best. You can also throw in some orange peels for a nice blend.
6. Clean Knives
Lemons are a great way to clean sharp edges without worrying about cutting yourself. Start by pouring some lemon juice over the blade. Sprinkle the blade with some salt and rub thoroughly with a cork. The lemon and salt will remove any stubborn stains—just be sure to rinse the metal with water to stop rust accumulation.
7. Laundry Whites
Lemons are a great bleach alternative to get those whites looking brighter than ever. Fill a pan with water and lemon slices and allow it to boil. Then, turn off the stove and add your white linens. Allow the laundry to soak in the water for an hour before removing them and washing as usual.
8. Oxidation Prevention
It doesn’t take long for some fruits, like apples and avocados, to turn brown when left in the open air. To prevent this oxidation, squeeze a few drops of lemon juice over the fruit. The juice will help seal the fruit from the air and leave it looking freshly cut. (It will also add a hint of lemon flavor to your favorite fruit.)
9. Clean Cutting Boards
Cutting boards take a lot of abuse over the years. From crushing garlic to chopping onions and preparing meat, cutting boards take on some pretty messy tasks. To rid yourself of a smelly cutting board and help sanitize it for future use, cut a lemon in half and scrub away. You can also use lemon juice and scrub with a wash rag.
10. Weed Killer
The acidity in lemons makes them a natural weed killer. Cover the area where weeds typically grow with a spray bottle of lemon juice. However, be careful not to apply the juice on any other plants as the acid levels are enough to kill bushes and flowers.