If you’ve been around the blog a while, you know I use a homemade citrus vinegar cleaner for a lot of stuff around the house. I have also covered 25 uses for vinegar. Now it’s time we talked about the cleaning power of lemons.
Freshen the Fridge – When you leave food in your refrigerator too long, bad smells are bound to happen. To remove those nasty odors, simply soak a couple of cotton balls or sponge with lemon juice and leave it in the fridge for a few hours (overnight would be best). Make sure to chunk the bad smelling culprit, too.
Refresh Cutting Boards – You cut everything on your cutting board, right? Onions, garlic, fish – a treasure trove of harsh odors. In order to get rid of the smell and help sanitize the cutting board, cut a lemon in half and rub it all over the board. Alternatively, you could wash it in undiluted lemon juice straight from the bottle.
Keep Insects Out of the Kitchen – Ants bugging you in the kitchen? Squirt some lemon juice on door thresholds and windowsills, and squeeze lemon juice into any holes or cracks where the ants are getting in. Also, scatter small slices of lemon peel around the entrances outside. Be sure to treat ants at the source outside, too. Lemons are also effective against cockroaches and fleas. Mix the juice of 4 lemons (along with the rinds) with 1/2 gallon of water and wash your floors with it. Fleas and roaches hate the smell.
Deodorize Your Garbage Disposal – Your garbage disposal will most definitely stink from time to time. An easy way to deodorize it is to toss in some lemon peels with a little baking soda. Turn on the hot water and run the disposal to grind up the peels. Clean your garbage disposal every few weeks to keep it smelling fresh.
Remove Berry Stains – If you like to pick your own berries, it’s likely your fingers get stained with berry juice. That stuff doesn’t want to come off no matter how much you scrub with soap and water. Wash your hands with undiluted lemon juice, then wait a few minutes and wash with warm, soapy water. It may take a couple of times, but this totally works!
Make a Room Scent/Humidifier – A great way to freshen and moisten the air in your home on those dry winter days is to make your own room scent that also doubles as a humidifier. Place an enameled cast-iron pot or bowl on your stove, fill with water, and add lemon (and/or orange) peels, cinnamon sticks, and cloves. Occasionally throughout the day, bring the water to a simmer, and your whole house will smell great!
Deodorize a Humidifier – If you use a humidifier regularly, you know it eventually starts to develop a sour smell. When this starts to happen, pour 1/4 cup of lemon juice in the water. Not only will it remove the foul odor, it will replace it with a fresh, citrus smell. Repeat every couple of weeks.
Forget the Moth Balls – Take ripe lemons and stick cloves in them all over the skin. The studded lemons will slowly dry with your cloves leaving a nice smell throughout your closets and rooms.
An Alternative to Bleach – Although milder lemon juice is no less effective than bleach in the wash. Soak your delicates in a mixture of lemon juice and baking soda for at least half an hour before washing. If you’re worried about a particular item, test the mixture in an inconspicuous spot before soaking the entire garment.
Boost Laundry Detergent – Add a cup of lemon juice to the washing machine during the wash cycle to boost your laundry detergent with even more powerful cleaning action. The natural bleaching action of the juice will kill stains and remove rust and mineral discolorations from cotton T-shirts and undergarments and will leave your clothes smelling lemony-fresh. Your clothes will turn out brighter and also come out smelling lemon-fresh.
Clean Tarnished Brass and Polish Chrome – Make a paste of lemon juice and cream of tartar and coat the affected area. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then wash in warm water, rinse, and polish dry. Use the same mixture to clean metal kitchen sinks, too. Apply the paste, scrub gently, and rinse. To remove mineral deposits and polish chrome faucets and other tarnished chrome, rub lemon rind over the chrome. Rinse well, dry with a soft cloth, and watch it shine!
Neutralize Fireplace Odor – After a long winter by the fire, soot accumulates and begins smell horrible. The next time you have a fire that sends an odor into the room, try throwing a few lemon peels into the flames.