We take pride in identifying problems around the house and solving them with thoughtful, smart solutions. But there are a few problems that don’t need a brand new, top-of-the-line product. Some problems have solutions that are already clean—like lemons. The little citrus wonders have long been hailed as fixtures in homecare for the way they disinfect, deodorize, and refresh so many spaces because they contain a high level of acid that creates an unfriendly environment for bacteria. Unlike the lemons you leave in your fruit bowl on the kitchen counter, store ones that you’ll use to clean in the refrigerator to keep them in tip-top shape.
Deodorize Your Garbage Disposal
You already know not to toss your lemon rinds into the garbage. But in addition to deodorizing, lemon in your garbage disposal can also get rid of the bacteria buildup that lives in the crook of the pipes. While you can drop the juice from 2-3 lemons with boiling water down the disposal while it runs, know that the oils from lemon skin cut through any built-up grease while leaving a fresh, clean scent, too.
Polish Your Pots, Pans, Silverware
This is particularly great if you’re polishing a bacteria-laden dog bowl or silverware from a particularly messy meal (after you’ve cleaned them, of course). But you can also use it to polish metal door knobs and handles, as well as other high-touch areas.
Clean & Remove Odors From Your Microwave
Microwaves are notorious for being big black holes for splatter stains and gross odors, but it’s possible to clean and deodorize them quickly with an all-natural lemon mix. Just add one-fourth cup of lemon juice to two cups of water in a microwaveable glass container, then place it in the microwave on high heat until it starts to boil and the microwave is filled with steam. Keep the door closed for about five minutes and then remove the container and wipe away the mess with a soft cloth. While you’re at it, get rid of unwanted insects by squirting lemon juice on windowsills, door thresholds, and along baseboards to deter spiders and fruit flies from coming inside.
Remove Stains From Countertops
The acid of lemon juice can cut through grease on stove tops and countertops, too. Marble is particularly difficult to clean—especially with set-in stains—and lemon is usually too acidic to leave on a marble countertop lest you want to stain it. Still, if you cut a lemon in half and dip in salt, then rub the stains briskly and rinse thoroughly, you’ll find the stain will lift quicker than if you used ten pounds of elbow grease.(Just be sure to never leave the lemon juice on the stain, as the acid can damage the surface.)
Remove Stains From Dishes and Storage Containers
While you’re at it, lemons can get rid of stains from Tupperware that sat out for too long, or the plate that held a piece of pizza a few days longer than it should have. To remove the stains, fill a large container with boiling water, then squeeze in the juice of three lemons. (You can toss in the rinds for good measure, too.). Add the dishes and soak for three to four hours. Finish by washing them as usual.
Kill Bacteria on Cutting Boards and Wooden Utensils
Before you polish your cutting boards with our oil-based Leather Cleaner, disinfect them with lemon! Cut open a lemon and coat the surface of your cutting boards with lemon juice, then allow to sit for at least ten minutes. When you’re finished, rinse with hot water, dry thoroughly, then condition with Leather Cleaner as usual.
Brighten Whites & Get Rid of 16 Get Rid of Yellow Underarm Stains
Lemon juice is a natural bleaching agent that is much less harsh—but just as effective—as bleach. To get your whites even brighter, add one cup of lemon juice to the wash water, and even pre-treat underarm stains by mixing one part baking soda, one part lemon juice, and one part water in a solution, then use a soft-bristled brush to rub it onto the stains. Allow the mixture to sit for at least 30 minutes, then wash as usual.
I also love to leave out a bowl of freshly cut lemon that’s been simmering in boiling water and let it freshen the air over time. It’s helped me get dank smells out of my stairwell, as well as freshen up my bathroom after a mildew scare. (To eradicate any kitchen smells, just leave the pot boiling for 30 minutes and the scent will disperse throughout nearby rooms, too!)