By now, you probably already know some of the best cleaning hacks come from using natural products like baking soda and vinegar. I even wrote about the importance of using natural cleaning products in my DIY cleaning spray post. But did you know you can tackle tough stuck-on messes with only a lemon?
A single lemon is powerful enough to accomplish nearly any household cleaning task you set before it. Because lemon juice is full of citric acid, the antibacterial properties and low pH balance make it one of the best natural cleaners available. It also has an energizing, clean scent perfect for your home.
Perhaps the best part about using lemons to clean is that they’re so cheap and widely available. I’ve heard some countries or stores have difficulty getting white vinegar, but issues like these don’t pop up with lemons. You can buy fresh fruits at your local farmer’s market or grow a lemon tree at home.
There are so many benefits to cleaning with lemons. Among the top-cited reasons people love to clean with the fruit is that they smell fantastic, are a non-toxic alternative to chemical cleaners, and won’t likely damage anything they touch, including wood and fabric.
Here’s a complete list of 33 things you can clean with only a lemon.
Safety Precautions When Using Lemons
Citric acid and lemons are safe. You can even safely apply lemons to a baby’s skin. However, there are a few safety precautions you should know.
First, always test a small section before cleaning anything with lemons! After cleaning, you should also rinse thoroughly with warm, soapy water for the best results. Then, dry using a clean cloth.
Remember, never use lemons to clean:
Natural stone (countertops, flooring, etc.)
Anything brass plated
In the sunlight
Citric acid can cause some materials to corrode. When using lemons to clean metals or tile, always rinse and dry the object after cleaning.
Finally, some people are allergic to lemons. You’re less likely to suffer from adverse side effects if the fruit you use is in similar quantities found in foods.
The most common side effect for people, however, involves applying lemon to the skin before going in the sun. Citrus increases your chances of sunburn because it causes sensitivity, especially in light-skinned people.
Uses Around the Home
Photo by Nicepear Jakarta on Unsplash
Lemons and their juice combine in exciting ways to clean and improve tons of household items. You can complete regular cleaning maintenance, rejuvenate tired kitchen appliances and dishware, or get rid of pesky issues.
To get the most for your money, try buying lemons in bulk. You can freeze, squeeze, or store fresh lemons for a wide range of chores around your home. They’re perfect for keeping on-hand. Maximize how much juice you get from each lemon by heating the fruit before use. Microwave the lemon in a bowl of hot water for 15 minutes or a minute on the low setting. Careful removing the hot lemon.
Here are all the many ways you can use lemon around your home.
After a greasy meal, try adding a few drops of fresh lemon juice directly into your regular dish soap. The citrus helps break down grease. It also smells amazing!
A few drops of concentrated juice on a cloth can also help you remove water spots from china dishware or silverware. Rinse plastic dishes with lemon juice for the same result.
In the first post on DIYH, I talk extensively about cleaning countertops with my natural DIY cleaning spray. But did you know that the lemon juice is in the recipe because it kills germs and bacteria in seconds? You don’t even need the full-on spray!
If you’re low on household cleaners or the ingredients you usually use to make your own products, you can use diluted lemon juice in a spray bottle to clean laminate countertops. Natural and non-toxic, the DIY counter cleaner only requires you to rinse the area with water and dry afterward.
I also like to add in a few lemon peels or slices for a fresh smell. The lemon helps balance out the strong smell of vinegar, which my husband hates.
Beware using a lemon cleaner on granite or marble countertops, though. The juice can etch the stone, eating right through the material over time.
Lemon is excellent for killing germs and removing stains from cutting boards. It has antibacterial properties that kill bacteria. The fruit also removes stains and strong odors from wood cutting boards nicely, like from chopping onions or garlic.
Squeeze the juice from the lemon and use it to rub the stain directly. Scrub using the cut side of the lemon. Allow the lemon juice to sit on the cutting board for a while. You can leave it out overnight or let it sit for a few hours until the stain fades from view. Whichever you choose, rinse the cutting board thoroughly to remove the juice afterward and repeat as needed.
For an added boost, try adding coarse salt with half a lemon to clean wooden cutting boards. You can use it for more scrubbing power to give your arms a rest or when you have a hard-to-remove stain on your hands.
Likewise, a butcher’s block is easy to clean with lemon. It could be a countertop, cutting board, or block you only break out for wine and cheese night. Whatever your use, remove stains or clean butcher block with salt, half of a lemon, warm water, and a cloth.
Sprinkle salt onto the stain you want to remove liberally. Cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice directly on top of the salt, forming a paste. Scrub the area using the lemon pulp and allow the paste to dry in place overnight. The next morning, rinse the butcher block with warm water on a wet cloth. Light stains should wipe right away.
Cutlery like silver spoons, forks, and knives may rust over time or otherwise show their age. When you have unappealing spots on your silverware, turn to lemon juice.
Soak your cutlery in a bowl of lemon juice, dishwashing liquid, and lukewarm water. Rub each piece using a cleaning tool or sponge that’s soaked in lemon juice to remove water spots too. You can even remove rust from old knives or silverware with this method.
Cups and Mugs
Get rid of stains from your cups and mugs. Coffee and dark tea are well-known culprits that can make your drinkware appear tainted. A little lemon juice goes a long way here.
All you have to do is squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice directly onto the affected area. Allow the liquid to sit for a few minutes, then rub the stain using a towel soaked in lemon juice. Rinse the drinkware or place it in the dishwasher before use.
Coffee Pots and Tea Kettles
Regularly cleaning coffee pots and tea kettles are ideal for obvious reasons. The process of cleaning them with lemon, however, removes mineral buildup in the pots and helps them feel like new.
You can clean glass coffee pots and most tea kettles regularly by merely boiling a few lemon slices inside. After you reach a boil, allow the mixture to sit for a couple of hours. Then, rinse the coffee pot or tea kettle well before use.
Plastic Storage Containers
Lemon juice has bleaching properties, making it a powerful stain remover. Use it to clean stains from plastic storage containers, whether you use them for food or arts and craft supplies.
Place the containers in the sink and soak your plastic storage containers in diluted lemon juice. After a few hours (no less than 15 minutes), stains and odors should disappear. You can also add in a bit of baking soda to scrub super dirty containers. Rinse and dry the plastic before reusing them.
Copper Pots and Pans
Quickly gaining recognition and fame, copper pots and pans are the new modern cookware. Studies show cooking with copper provides a better shot at fighting off COVID-19. Copper cookware is also widely considered less toxic than metal cookware.
Half of the lemon is perfect for cleaning copper pots and pans. Add in a little salt if you’re scrubbing the bottom of an older pot or cleaning up after a greasy meal.
A mixture of half a lemon and salt is even a safe way to help tarnished copperware become shiny again, as the juice doesn’t scratch the polished surface. If your goal is to remove stubborn stains, try making a paste with the juice and salt. Allow the solution to sit for a half-hour before you scrub. Rinse before use.
Cheese graters are usually a huge pain to clean. They’re dangerous too. But using lemon juice and possibly a little coarse salt can remove tiny food pieces from the hardest to reach places, without cutting your fingers.
Cut a lemon in half and run the pulp side along the grater, cleaning and removing food particles. Rinse the cheese grater using warm, soapy water. Then, rinse a final time and allow the grater to air dry.
Lemon can clean faucets in nearly any room of your house. This technique is perfect when you have tough-to-clean faucets. Regular cleaning with lemon can keep issues at bay, or you can use the method to deep clean stuck-on messes, hard water buildup, or mineral deposits.
You can clean chrome, brass, or copper faucets with lemon by directly rubbing the cut fruit onto the material. Add in a bit of salt if you want added scrubbing power. Leave the fruit juice on your faucet for 10 to 15 minutes, then wipe clean.
Cleaning a microwave is much faster with lemon. This method will create steam inside your microwave that softens the gunk stuck on the sides. All you have to do is wipe the mess away.
To clean the microwave fast with little effort, try squeezing fresh lemon juice from half a lemon into a 3/4 cup of water. Drop the lemon half directly into the bowl, too. Place the container in the microwave. Heat the cup until it boils, but don’t open the door immediately.
Allow the cup to sit for 5 to 10 minutes. The steam works into the walls during this time. Then, open the microwave door and wipe away the mess with a clean cloth or use the warm lemon half from earlier to wipe off the microwave walls. No scrubbing required.
Safety tip: You may also want to place a toothpick in the water before microwaving the concoction to prevent superheating.
Clean and sanitize your garbage disposal regularly with lemon. It even helps eliminate the stink coming from your kitchen drain.
Mix half of a cup of fresh lemon juice and a gallon of hot water, string to combine them in a container. Then, pour the solution down the drain. Or, you can try running a couple of lemon rinds in your garbage disposal for a deep clean that removes the worst smells.
You can clean your refrigerator inside and out with lemon or use half a lemon to remove stinky odors from inside. Cutting a lemon in half and placing it on the fridge rack for only 30 minutes can even remove odors and help keep your home stink-free.
For odors, try cutting a lemon in half and placing part of the fruit on a saucer or bowl. Put the dish in the back of your fridge, changing it out once per week. To clean the refrigerator with a lemon, rub-down the doors, walls, and shelves directly with lemon or make a DIY cleaning spray to use.
When using lemon in the dishwasher, you have two choices: You can use it to clean the dishwasher itself or toss a few lemon wedges into the machine when running dishware through for clean, shiny results.
Add a cup of lemon juice to your dishwasher by placing it in a dishwasher-safe container on the bottom rack of the machine. Run the rinse cycle and presto! Your dishwasher (and anything inside it) comes out clean and smelling great! You can also place the bowl on the top rack and run the machine on the normal wash cycle to get rid of hard water marks or iron build up on dishware.
Using lemon helps cut your clean time in half when it comes to multiple kitchen appliances, and blenders are no different. The citrus removes hard water stains and leaves the mixer sparkling clean.
For a comfortable and fast clean, fill your blender with warm water halfway. Place a drop of your favorite dishwashing liquid inside and a coarsely chopped lemon. Allow the mixer to run for a few seconds.
You can also try freezing lemon peels to add to the blender when you need to clean and sharpen the blades. Just turn on the mixer and let the blades whirl until you have a liquid. Then, rinse the blender or wash it as usual.
Learning how to clean oven with lemon is one of my best cleaning hacks. Ovens are usually no fun to clean. The buildup is tough to remove, and it’s hard to reach without putting most of your body inside the appliance and scrubbing ferociously. No more!
Fill a baking dish that’s safe for the oven with lemon juice and water. Place it on the top rack and bake the mixture for 30 minutes on 250 degrees F. When the timer goes off, allow the oven to cook. Then, remove the baking dish from the govern and use a cloth or scrubbing tool to wipe off any remaining grime from the interior. Give the outside of the oven a quick wipe down as well.
Windows and Mirrors
You don’t need toxic Windex to clean windows and mirrors around your home (or anywhere else). Many people enjoy using a vinegar and lemon mixture as an alternative to clean windows and mirrors, but you can use diluted lemon juice for a much better smelling cleaner.
Grab an empty spray bottle. Mix warm water with 3 tablespoons of lemon juice directly in the bottle, shaking the mixture well to combine. Some recipes like to add in a cup of rubbing alcohol. Likewise, you could create a paste by adding a little baking powder for filthy windows and mirrors. Apply the paste, allowing it to sit for a few minutes before wiping the mirror clean.
The toilet is one of the dirtiest and yet most cleaned items in the home. But when you clean a bathroom with lemon instead of harsh chemicals, the aroma is much better. You still get antibacterial and bleaching properties from the lemon to kill germs and remove stains, without the severe side effects of some store-bought cleaners.
For a fresh toilet bowl, add 1/2 cup of lemon juice into the bowl. Clean the toilet with a bowl brush, as usual, scrubbing well. Tackle harsh stains by adding borax into the toilet bowl before the lemon juice.
Clean the grout in your bathroom, kitchen, floor, or anywhere else. All you need is the juice from a single lemon and an old toothbrush. The acidity naturally found in lemons removes dirt and discoloration from grout fast.
Place the lemon juice on an old toothbrush. You can place the liquid in a mixing bowl to carry with you to re-dunk your toothbrush or add it in a spray bottle to target the grout. Then, scrub well.
Lemon juice can also bleach stained grout, but keep in mind that the acid may damage stone and tile surfaces if you don’t wipe the area clean and rinse. Use your best judgment. Add baking soda or borax and mix to create a paste for stains. Allow the mixture to sit for a while before wiping it off.
Unclog drains around your home with lemon juice, from the bathroom to the kitchen. After cleaning a faucet or sink, pour the rest of the lemon juice directly down the drain to keep drains smelling perfect and free of buildup.
You can pour lemon juice directly down your drain to fight clogs or stinky smells, or add in a little baking soda and stir to create a paste. The solution foams, which clears minor blockages well. Rinse the foam using boiling water, and the clog disintegrates.
Hard water stains and dirt build on the shower walls, glass shower doors, curtains, and of course, the bottom of the shower. Sometimes the mineral builds up around your shower head as well. The citric acid in lemons helps remove soap residue and hard water stains in the shower.
Cut a lemon in half and rub each piece directly along your shower. It can clean everything from a glass shower door or curtain to the metal shower door frame and chrome faucet. Lemon even helps remove water spots or mineral buildups from showerheads.
Glass Shower Doors
Remove stubborn hard water stains on your glass shower door in a snap.
Rub half of a lemon directly over the glass. If the stain is especially challenging to remove, try mixing a small amount of borax with the lemon juice in a mixing bowl first. Then, apply the paste to your shower door. Allow it to sit for a few minutes or scrub the glass with your cleaning tool. Rinse to wash away the stains.
Rub half a lemon (cut-side down) directly onto the chrome fixtures around your home, such as sink faucets, light fixtures, and lamps. The lemon provides a clean sparkle, removes stains, and tackles bacteria.
Skip the harsh floor cleaning chemicals, especially if you have children and pets at home. Scrub your floor with a lemon juice mixture instead. The aroma disinfects and naturally repels pests simultaneously.
Mix 1 part lemon juice, 2 parts water, and 1 part white vinegar. If the vinegar aroma is strong, rest assured that it will face in a few minutes. Mop the floor using the mixture. Or, if you use a similar DIY cleaning spray, you can spray the solution directly on the floor as you mop.
However, avoid using lemons on natural stone flooring.
A half lemon cleans highly discolored brass, from antiques and figurines to fixtures and knobs. Just make sure it’s real brass and not brass plated, though.
If your brass object appears tarnished, you may want to add in a little salt. The friction provides added scrubbing power, saving your arms from some of the grunt work. For safety, you should always test a small section before scrubbing an entire brass antique.
Use lemon as a natural, homemade furniture polish. Regular polishing can help the surface of your wood furniture appear scratch and blemish-free.
Combine I part lemon juice with 2 parts olive oil. Start by testing the finish on a small area before applying it to all your furniture for the best results. Make sure there’s no staining before moving on. If all looks well, rub the mixture onto wooden chairs and tables using a cloth. Buff the furniture as usual.
BBQ Grills and Grates
Lemon juice cleans grills and grates perfectly. Similar to how you’d clean a cheese grater, lemons clean a grill in the same manner. It’s much safer than some traditional alternatives.
Start by turning the grill on high. Rub the outside of the grill using the cut side of a lemon, working quickly as the grill heats up. Grab some heat-safe tongs to scrub the grill inner parts and grates. Add a bit of salt for more scrubbing power. You can dip the lemon directly in salt and use the abrasive side to scrub.
Run the lemon half across the grill with the pulp side down. For safety, try cutting the lemon into a spear shape and use a long fork or tongs to rub the lemon on a hot grill surface. The grill grate should automatically de-gunk.
You can use lemons to clean or brighten up old clothing, which is why many people use lemon juice instead of toxic bleach to spruce up white clothes. It’s also perfect for removing ink or grease stains from your whites. Unlike bleach, using lemon will never cause your fabric to turn yellow over time.
Brighten clothing by soaking them in a gallon of hot water and 1/2 cup of lemon juice. Allow the clothes to sit in the mixture for a few hours, then wash them in the laundry as usual. For grease stains, rub juice from a single lemon (or more depending on the size of your clothing) directly onto the spot. Allow the liquid to sit overnight. Then, wash your garments as usual.
If you’re in a pinch, try also tossing a splash of fresh lemon juice into the machine during the rinse cycle for a similar result. Doing so can remove stains or musty smells too.
The best results with using lemon juice on clothing come from drying them in the sun. Never use lemon juice on delicate fabric, such as silk. Test a small portion of the garment before a full application if you’re not sure.
Personal Bodycare Uses
Many people know all about cleaning with lemon around the home, but did you know there are many ways you can use the citric fruit to clean yourself? Here’s how you can use a lemon to wash your face, hands, hair, and jewelry.
Lemon juice is excellent for people with acne-prone and oily skin. It brightens the skin without being overly harsh. The fruit also comes with tons of skin-loving benefits. However, citrus can cause the skin to become sensitive to sunlight and burning. It’s best to use lemon cleaners on your skin in the evening or on a day you don’t plan to spend time outside.
Clean your face with lemon before bed or use it to make a facial scrub by mixing it with ingredients like yogurt, honey, or sugar. You can find tons of recipes for DIY facial cleansing oil or lemon and sugar scrub online, or just massage your face with the fruit.
A sugar facial scrub with lemon juice is perfect for weekly self-care. It exfoliates the skin, prevents acne, cleans, and produces soft skin. My new lavender and lemon sugar scrub is a god-send when it comes to nourishing and exfoliating my face and body. Soon, I’ll have it available for sale on the site. In the meantime, check out my favorite DIY facial scrub recipes below.
Some people also prefer to use a cotton ball dipped in lemon juice to spot-treat acne. It’s a great additive to your morning or bedtime skincare routine. Start by washing and drying your face. Dip the cotton ball in fresh lemon juice, applying it directly to your troubled areas. Ten minutes later, rinse well using cool water.
Lemon, Honey, and Yogurt Cleanser
1 tsp of lemon juice
1 tbsp of plain yogurt
1 tsp of honey
DIY Lemon Sugar Scrub
1/2 lemon, squeezed
2 tablespoons of sugar
Lavender and Lemon Sugar Scrub (My Recipe, Large Yield)
2 cups of sugar
1/4 cups of olive oil (or fractionated coconut oil)
10 drops of lavender essential oil
10 drops of lemon essential oil
1/2 lemon, squeezed
Lavender buds and springs (optional)
Lemon can clean, disinfect, and even remove strong odors from your hands. Citric acid is known to kill bacteria and infections on the skin’s surface, fix dark spots, and help fine lines disappear.
When you’re done gardening for preparing a particularly stinky food in the kitchen, rub lemon juice diluted with warm water on your hands.
Lemon juice helps remove leftover soap residue from your hair and produces soft, shiny locks. Rinsing your hair with lemon after shampooing can also help control oily production and fight dandruff. Or, it can work as a chemical-free way to highlight your hair.
Dilute lemon juice with water (a mixture of 3/4 cup water and 1/4 cup lemon juice is ideal). Wash your hair as usual, then work the mixture into your scalp. Allow it to sit for between 3 and 5 minutes or longer if you want to create natural highlights in brown or blonde hair.
Lemon juice can also sanitize jewelry like earrings. Never use lemon juice to clean gold or pearls, though.
All you need is a saucer filled with a tablespoon of lemon juice or about a half-squeezed lemon and 11/2 cups of water. Place your earrings directly in the solution to soak overnight, rinse them in the morning, and you’re all set!
Other Lemon Uses
You can even use fresh lemon juice alone to keep insects out of your house or as a non-toxic air freshener. Oranges and lemons cleaning purposes are excellent thanks to the citric acid in the fruits as well.
Perhaps one of my all-time top favorite ways to use lemons, however, is to remove dried paint. I enjoy painting — sometimes as a hobby, sometimes for DIY projects, sometimes for home improvement purposes. A pot of boiling lemon water can renew hard paintbrushes coated with dried paint. Hot lemon juice can even remove dried paint from glass, perfect for those lone drips when you repaint the windows.
Otherwise, I think this extensive list covers everything else you can clean using a lemon. What do you think? Do you use lemon to clean your home or yourself? Will you now? Share your experiences in the comments below, and if you like my post, share the list on Pinterest and Facebook.