Did you know you already have a secret grime-fighting weapon in your kitchen?—that’s right, lemon! Lemons are natural, they combat germs and smell fantastic; they’re low-cost, easy to use, and safe for your family and pets too. Not to mention that lemons are already a kitchen staple, which makes them a convenient choice (and who doesn’t love convenience?) So if life gives you lemons…clean with them!
The Concentration Game
- Pure Lemon Juice: Lemon juice is fairly acidic—more so than vinegar, which is another natural cleaning agent of choice. (You can even use a ½ cup of lemon juice as a laundry bleach substitute; now that’s strong stuff!) For most purposes, lemon juice is most effective in a 100% concentration, and it can be paired with salt to make a more powerful cleaning scrub.
- Diluted Lemon: But you may be wondering, “What about used or diluted lemon?” Lemon and water solutions make great all-purpose cleaners, and you can put clean, used lemons to work too! For instance, are you near the bottom of that pitcher of healthy, lemon-infused water you made this weekend? Instead of throwing the lemons away, scoop out a few slices to clean your garbage disposal. Run the slices through the disposal with a light stream of hot water, and the lemon rinds will help clean the disposal blades and freshen the system.
When is Lemon Too Acidic?
Pure lemon juice is safe and effective for most cleaning chores, but should not be used on brass-plated items. (Good News: real brass is safe!) Although, as with most cleaners, it’s wise to choose a small trial spot to test the juice on first. Cleaning with lemon is pretty fool-proof, but your home and possessions are valuable in more ways than one—especially specialty items, like antiques. So take your lemon cleaner for test drive whenever you use it on new surfaces.
Cleaning in the Kitchen
These are only a few of the many kitchen-cleaning uses of lemon:
- Windows or Glass Surfaces: Combine a solution of equal parts lemon juice and water, and put the solution into a spray bottle for ease of use. This solution is a multi-purpose, multi-surface cleaner: just spray and wipe clean.
- Cutting Boards & Chopping Blocks: Combine pure lemon juice and coarse salt to make a potent cleaning paste. Using circular motions, rub the paste on the wood with a sponge, kitchen towel, or even a halved lemon. Allow the paste to sit for a few minutes (you could sit for a few minutes too…you’ve earned it!) Then, wipe off the cleaning paste and give the board a final sweep with a clean, damp cloth.
- Microwave: Forget to cover your spaghetti before reheating again? Well, those dreaded microwave spills and splatters are no match for your secret weapon! Using a microwave-safe glass container, heat ¾ cup of water with ¼ cup of lemon juice until it boils. Stop the microwave, but keep the door closed, allowing the microwave to steam-clean for at least 10 minutes. Then, carefully remove the container and wipe down the interior with a damp cloth. Voila!–the steam did most of the work for you!
The cleaning uses for lemon are unlimited—so leave us a comment with your favorite lemon-cleaning tip and we’ll try it too.