The 11 Best Household Uses for a Lemon

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There’s an old saying, “When life gives you lemons, use them to do just about anything around the house.” Ok, maybe that’s not exactly how it goes, but perhaps it should. Consider this — lemons, packed with vitamins, are just as effective in interacting with your immune system as they are in, well, almost all other realms of life. Here are our top 11 household uses for a lemon.
11. Frustrated by the lingering smell on your cutting board? If you cook often with garlic, fish, or onions, then the answer is most likely ‘yes.’ To help add a few years to your board’s life — and to get rid of the staying smell — try rubbing it with a cut half of a lemon. Bottled lemon juice works, too.
10. Lemon juice is a natural disinfectant and has a variety of antibacterial properties. Slice a lemon and squeeze several tablespoons into a spray bottle. Use it to help wash fruits and vegetables. Bonus: Your produce will smell nice after it’s done being washed, too.
9. Soggy lettuce makes for a culinary conundrum — does anyone want to eat it, really? How can you use it in recipes? Fear not. Crisp up the soggy lettuce by adding the juice of half a lemon to a bowl of cold water. After putting the soggy lettuce in the water, refrigerate for one hour and dry the leaves completely.
8. Try freshening your breath with this impromptu mouthwash: rinse with lemon juice — either straight from the bottle or from freshly squeezed lemons. Make sure to either swallow the lemon juice (helps extend fresh breath) or spit out after a few minutes, as long-term exposure to the acidity in lemons can damage tooth enamel.
7. Similar to the winter tradition of sticking cloves in oranges and hanging them, this tip recommends sticking cloves into lemons, covering the skin. The lemons eventually dry out, and the scent floats easily through stuffy closets.
6. Frustrated by dull aluminum in your kitchen? Brighten up your pots and pans by rubbing half a lemon over the interior and exteriors to add some shine.
5. This one’s not for the faint of heart: Try pouring one cup of lemon juice into the washer during a wash cycle to help get rid of stains and remove discolorations. Your clothes might smell even fresher, too. For bigger stains, try soaking the clothes in a 50/50 mixture of lemon juice and baking soda before washing.
4. In addition to its disinfecting properties, lemon also works wonders in helping clean rough surfaces. After shredding cheese — or even other sticky foods — turn to a lemon to help you get rid of residue that insists on clinging to a grater.
3. For those willing to put in the extra scrub work, lemon can be an excellent combatant for those bathroom stains. Mix lemon, water, and vinegar together and use it to attack water stains, limescale, and accumulated soap scum.
2. Since lemon juice helps to kill bacteria, it can be incredibly effective when used in skin treatments. This can be as simple as squeezing lemon juice onto a cotton ball and then applying it to the pimple, or it can be a bit more time-consuming for those interested in an exfoliant. Regardless, make sure to keep lemon juice away from open cuts or wounds.
1. Scientifically, a variety of insects have proven to be highly sensitive to smell — think spiders, ants, fleas, and even cockroaches. Squirting lemon juice into cracks and along windowsills won’t draw insects, but will actually repel them. For those who wish to avoid a sticky situation, try adding some lemon juice to your floor wash.