Lemons are the New Vinegar
Use them to clean just about everything in your life
Dear vinegar: We love you and your many home-cleaning hacks, but it’s time to put our relationship on hold. You see, we recently discovered that lemons can also be used to clean a bazillion things around our house. Plus, they smell way better. Here, ten creative ways to use those tart little suckers.
As an Air Freshener
Since many store-bought air fresheners contain toxic chemicals, you might want to think twice before you spritz from rugs to rafters. Instead, simmer a half dozen lemon slices with a handful of whole cloves in a small pot of water to give your house that fresh, clean smell. Before vacuuming, add a few drops of lemon juice to the dust bag for the same effect.
Or a Bleach Alternative
Love crisp linens but want to go more natural in your cleaning methods? You can get your sheets just as blindingly white by filling a large pot with water and adding a few lemon slices. Bring the whole thing to a boil, turn off the heat and soak your linens in the mixture for about an hour. Then throw them in the wash as usual.
To Preserve Produce
You’ve seen it before: When apples and avocados are exposed to air, they start to brown almost instantly. Slow the harmless but unsightly oxidation by sprinkling some lemon juice over the fruit.
To Sanitize Cutting Boards
Onions and garlic can leave stubborn smells on your plastic cutting boards. Simply cut a lemon in half, rub it on the surface and allow to soak for 20 minutes before rinsing. Got wood cutting boards? Instead of rinsing, just let the lemon scrub sit indefinitely; the wood will absorb the juice, which acts as an antibacterial agent.
What’s that wafting up from your garbage disposal? If you’re hit with an unsavory odor when you set foot in the kitchen, drop half a lemon, plus a tablespoon of baking soda, down the drain and voilà--buh-bye, nasty stench.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever accidentally splattered tomato sauce all over your microwave? (Yeah, we thought so.) Make cleaning the mess easier by boiling four tablespoons of lemon juice with a cup of water and wiping clean. The mixture helps loosen dried food particles so you don’t have to.
To Detox the Dishwasher
You’ve probably heard that you can run a wash cycle using vinegar instead of dishwasher detergent to purify this much-used appliance. As an alternative, try putting a lemon wedge in the top rack of your dishwasher. Then run it along with the dishes to freshen everything up.
To Scrub the Tub
We’ve told you how to use a grapefruit to clean the bathroom. Now we’re here to tell you that you can use lemons in the same way. Make a paste by mixing half a cup of baking soda with liquid dish soap. Spread this concoction on a lemon half, and use it to scrub bathtubs and stainless-steel sinks.
As Insect Deterrent
Say goodbye to sticky ant traps. Instead, squirt some lemon juice on door thresholds, windowsills and into any holes or cracks where the ants might be getting in. For extra persistent ants, scatter small slices of lemon peel around outdoor entrances, and they’ll finally get the message that they aren’t welcome. You can also use lemons against roaches and fleas--they hate the smell. Just mix the rinds and juice of four lemons with a half gallon of water and wash your floors with it.
To Revive Veggies
Give soggy lettuce a second life with the help of everyone’s favorite citrus. Add the juice of half a lemon to a bowl of cold water. Toss the wilted greens in it, refrigerate for one hour and, presto, you’ve got crisp iceberg once again.