If you are looking for a natural cleaning and disinfecting solution, lemons are the answer. Lemons can be used for all types of cleaning. Why are they so effective? Chemically speaking, what you and your tongue detect to be sour in lemons is citric acid. Lemons are quite acidic, more so than even orange juice or black coffee.
All of that citric acid in lemon juice does an incredible job at tackling all sorts of stains and grimy buildup, and it breaks them down to make them easier to wipe or scrub away. The natural acidity of lemons also serves as a potent antibacterial agent to cut down on those nasty smells, mold and mildew, and also helps to keep things staying cleaner longer. Their acidity creates a hostile environment for many different types of bacteria, including those that cause salmonella and E.coli. Plus, as some types of smells such as decaying vegetables in the garbage or cooking fish, are alkaline, the acidity combined with the strong citrus aroma, helps to neutralize odors.
Lemons are truly the ideal cleaner that can be used for almost anything, as you can see by this long list of cleaning hacks for each and every room in your house.
1. An all-purpose lemon spray cleaner
This is great for cleaning all sorts of things, from laminate surfaces to granite, marble, stone, porcelain and ceramic. Be careful about using it on wood, however, as it could cause discoloration – test it first by spraying a little in an inconspicuous spot.
To make it, you’ll need lemon peels, enough to fit in a glass jar of any size you happen to have. Place your lemon peels into the jar and then pour white vinegar over them. Allow the solution to sit for a couple of weeks, and then remove and throw out the peels. Dilute the mixture with a 1:1 ratio of water and then pour it into a spray bottle. You can vary the scent by adding almond extract, whole cloves or cinnamon sticks to the lemon peels in the glass jar.
If you don’t want to wait two weeks, you can also pour an equal amount of white vinegar and water with about a quarter cup of fresh lemon juice in a spray bottle for instant cleaning.
2. Stubborn microwave cleaning
If you’ve got food that’s hardened in your microwave oven, it can be tough to scrub off, but lemon juice makes that infinitely easier. Just mix up three tablespoons of lemon juice with 12 ounces of water into microwave safe bowl and heat it up for 5 minutes. The steam will loosen grease and dried-on bits of food. Now, use a cloth or sponge to easily wipe them up.
3. Cleaner dishes & other kitchen items
If you want fresher, cleaner smelling dishes, place a half of a lemon into your dishwasher before running it. You can also add a teaspoon of lemon juice to your liquid dish soap for extra de-greasing power when hand washing dishes. When you have copper pots you need polished, rub a cloth soaked in lemon juice on them and then simply buff with a dry cloth to polish.
For wooden bowls and utensils that have started to smell despite being cleaned, simply rub them with a piece of lemon. Don’t rinse. The lemon will take away that odor as it dries. Cutting boards can get really stinky as you probably use one to cut things like onions, crush garlic, prepare fish and cut up raw and cooked meat. To sanitize it and get rid of smells, you can wash it in undiluted lemon juice.
You can make dull pots and pans sparkle, inside and out, by rubbing the cut side of half a lemon across them and then buff them with a soft cloth.
Cheese graters can get really yucky fast. When you want to remove that old residue from a grater, just grate a half of a lemon over that buildup. If cheese had dried onto it, wet your grater first, and the grate a lemon that’s been dipped in salt. Rinse it off and it’ll be just as good as new. You can also get those difficult-to-remove watermarks off flatware with lemons. Just rub those water spots with lemon juice using a cloth. Rinse and dry, and they’ll be spot free.
4. Freshen up the refrigerator
To remove odors from the refrigerator easily, all you need to do is dab a bit of lemon juice on a cotton ball or sponge and leave it inside for several hours. The bad smell should then be eliminated.
5. Deodorize the garbage disposal
If your garbage disposal is starting to smell bad, there’s an easy way to deodorize it. Cut a lemon up into eighths, and then toss it into the disposal while running the water. You can also save your leftover lemon peels, and then when that odor starts to arise, just toss them down the drain. If you do this once a month, you can keep it smelling clean too.
6. Eliminating stains on butcher blocks
Stains and coffee rings on butcher blocks are all too common and really hard to remove, but not when you take advantage of the power of a lemon. You’ll just need a couple other items that you probably already have right on hand in the kitchen, including salt (sea salt works best), a tablespoon of 3% solution hydrogen peroxide and a half of a lemon. Liberally sprinkle salt across the entire stain, making sure that it’s totally covered. Now take your cut lemon and squeeze juice over the salt to make a paste. Scrub the stain using the pulp side of the lemon like a scrubber. Rub the salt and lemon juice into the stain. Allow the paste to sit overnight, and then rinse with warm water to remove the salt.
7. Garbage container freshener
You can get rid of both stains and bad smells from a plastic garbage container by rubbing lemon juice on them. Afterwards just rinse with warm water.
8. Make chrome faucets shine
You can remove the tarnish on chrome faucets and make them shine again by rubbing them with lemon juice and then drying them afterwards with a soft cloth.
9. Polish wooden floors and furnishing
Make your own natural polish for wooden floors and furniture by mixing a half cup of lemon juice and a cup of olive oil.
10. Make your carpets smell fresher
To make your carpets or rugs smell fresher, mix up a couple tablespoons of lemon juice into a cup of baking soda. Sprinkle the mixture over your carpet or rug, allow it to sit for a few minutes, and then vacuum it up.
11. Refresh a humidifier
Even if you frequently change the water in a humidifier, because of its damp environment it becomes a veritable petri dish for gunk that can start to really smell. To prevent that sour smell that inevitably comes after repeat use, add a few tablespoons of lemon juice into the water. If you use it every day, repeat the process once a week.
12. Eliminate underarm stains
Underarm stains can be really tricky to get out, and who wants to pay a pricey laundry bill by taking clothing to the cleaners if you don’t have to? Not to mention all of those harsh chemicals that are bad for the environment and your health. Instead, use equal parts of water and lemon juice to scrub those stained areas on dresses, shirts or blouses. They’ll be just as good as new again, plus they’ll smell nice too.
13. Get your clothes cleaner
If your laundry detergent isn’t cleaning your clothes as thoroughly as you’d like, you can use lemon to give it a boost by pouring a cup of lemon juice into the washer during the wash cycle. The juice offers natural bleaching action that will help remove mineral discolorations from cotton t-shirts and briefs and will also help get rid of stains while leaving your clothes smelling fresher. It works best on fabrics that can be washed in hot water.
14. Removing mildew from clothes
Whether you left your clothes down in a moist basement, or tossed a damp shirt into a laundry basket and forgot about it, mildew can quickly set in. The good news is you don’t have to throw anything away, you can remove it by rubbing the mildewed area with a paste of salt and lemon juice. Ideally, you should dry it in the sun rather than your dryer. You may need to repeat this once or twice until it’s completely gone.
15. DIY air freshener spray
You can make your own air freshener spray by mixing the juice of a lemon along with a few drops of lemon essential oil and water in a 16-ounce spray bottle.
16. Clean your toilet
Chemical toilet cleaners are some of the worst household cleaning products as they can contain dangerous fumes, and they’re extremely harsh. In fact, the cocktail of toxic chemicals in them are even more disgusting than some of the dirtiest toilet bowls. Instead, let the citric acid of lemon juice bind to minerals in the toilet bowl to make them easier to eliminate. It can also help diminish tough toilet stains left by hard water.
This formula designed just for toilet bowls, will take care of those rings and other tough areas of the toilet bowl to leave it sparkling clean while eliminate odors. Combine ¾ cup of borax with a ½ cup of white vinegar and a ½ cup of lemon juice right in your toilet bowl. Wish the water around inside of the bowl with a toilet brush to ensure the entire bowl is coated, and then allow it to sit for a few hours. Afterward, scrub the bowl and then flush the toilet to rinse.
17. Eliminate soap scum
That layer of white or gray film that often covers your shower curtain, bath tile, toilet, bathroom fixtures and floors are caused by minerals in the water that combine with soap and dirt residue in the bathtub, shower or sink, forming a film on the top of tiled surfaces. To remove it from your bathtub and tiles, rub those surfaces with a lemon that’s been cut in half. The citric acid will help to break down the dirt and bacteria in the soap scum. You can also help keep those areas free of soap scum by rinsing them thoroughly after using them every time, that way bacteria doesn’t have a place to grow.
18. Make your mirrors & glass surfaces shine again
When it comes to glass surfaces, it seems like all you have to do is look at them the wrong way and they’ll get dirty – and, in most homes is a whole lot of glass and mirrors. You can make your own natural glass cleaner by mixing up a ¼ teaspoon of natural dishwashing liquid, a ½ cup of rubbing alcohol and three tablespoons of lemon juice. Add the mixture to a spray bottle, and fill up the rest of the bottle with water. Shake well to mix thoroughly and then use as you would any other store-bought glass cleaner.
19. Neutralize cat box odors
While you might think that foul smelling odor from a cat box is way to strong for a natural air freshener to tackle, you’re wrong. You can neutralize it by cutting two lemons in half and then placing them, cut side up, into a dish or bowl in the room the box is located in. It won’t take long before the air is smelling clean and lemony fresh.
20. Get rid of fireplace odors
There’s nothing better on a cold winter’s day, or night, than cozying up to a roaring fire in your fireplace – unless, it smells really bad, which totally defeats the purpose. If your fireplace is smelly, add some lemon peels in with your firewood to help prevent it from sending a stench into the room.