Modern*Simplicity

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12 Household Uses for Lemons

Photo by xomiele/Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/xomiele/

Photo by xomiele/Flickr 

Lemons…lovely, tart lemons. A fruit with a wonderful fragrance, great in food and beverages, but also very handy around the home. Lemons are high in vitamin C, have an antibacterial effect, and possess antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic properties. The juice consists of about 5% acid, which also makes them useful for a variety of household purposes.

The best lemons have smooth, oily skins and are heavy for their size. They should be bright yellow with no green tinges. Lemons will keep for up to a week at room temperature, two to three weeks refrigerated. Lemon zest (peel) can be frozen for months.

To get the most juice from a lemon, bring it to room temperature or microwave for a few seconds prior to juicing. Using your palm to roll the lemon on a hard surface can also help improve juice yields. If you only need a little juice, some people pierce the end with a fork, squeeze the amount needed, cover the holes with tape and then store in the fridge.

There’s so much more to lemons than just using them in cooking and making lemonade! Here are 12 ways to use lemons. Remember to test in inconspicuous areas first, as lemons can have a bleaching effect.

  1. Air freshener: An equal amount of lemon juice and water added to an atomizer will create a wonderful chemical-free air freshener for your home.
  2. Microwave: Heat a bowl of water and lemon slices in your microwave for 30 seconds to a minute; then wipe out the microwave. Stains will be easier to remove and old food odors neutralized.
  3. Chrome/copper/brass: Rub a lemon juice and baking soda paste onto chrome or copper, rinse and then wipe/buff with a soft cloth or paper towel.
  4. Toilet: Mix 1/2 cup borax and a cup of lemon juice for a powerful toilet cleaner that will leave it smelling extra clean.
  5. Limescale: Use a half lemon to clean the lime scale off a sink or taps/faucets; rinse well.
  6. Laundry: For bleaching purposes, add 1/2 cup of lemon juice to the rinse cycle and hang clothes outside to dry in the sun. A teaspoon of lemon juice thrown into your wash can also help your clothes to smell fresher.
  7. Dishes: A teaspoon of lemon juice added to your dishwashing detergent can help boost grease cutting power.
  8. Drains: Hot lemon juice and baking soda is a good drain cleaner that is safe to use in septic systems. If you have a garbage disposal, throw in some lemon peels from time to time and grind them up to keep the disposal smelling fresh.
  9. Chopping boards: Rub lemon juice into your wooden chopping board, leave overnight and then rinse. Wood chopping boards appear to have anti-bacterial properties anyway, but the lemon will help kill off any remaining nasties and neutralize odors.
  10. Degreaser: Straight lemon juice can be used as a general degreaser.
  11. Furniture: 2 parts olive oil or cooking oil mixed with 1 part lemon juice makes for an excellent furniture polish.
  12. Food Preservative: Keep cut fruit and veggies, like apples, pears, avocados, and potatoes, from turning brown by squeezing on some lemon juice. You can also perk up droopy lettuce by soaking it for an hour in a bowl of cold water and the juice of one lemon.

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10 Replies

  1. Claudine

    I love lemon!!
    My newest DIY is to squeeze fresh lemons (save the juice for later) and cut the peels into quarters, then plot them into a mason jar and fill with white vinegar. You can clean with it – and I use it for a natural fabric softener.

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