If there is one fruit you definitely need to have in your kitchen, it’s lemons. Lemons are a cheap, easy way to naturalize your beauty routine, house cleaning regimen, culinary adventures, and your health.
While there are probably hundreds of ways to use lemons, here are fifteen of our favorite!
15 Surprising Uses for Lemons
Use them to clean surfaces
Whether you’re freshening up your cutting boards or trying to get rid of smudges and stains stuck on appliances, lemons can get the job done! To clean your cutting boards, rub them down with the cut side of half a lemon or wash with pure lemon juice. Coat tarnished brass, copper, or stainless steel appliances in a paste of lemon juice and salt (or baking soda), leave for 5 minutes, rinse with warm water and towel dry. This also works well on sinks and faucets! (1)
Clean out your coffee maker
Coffee makers often hold on to stains and smells, and mineral build up from frequent use clogs up the machine and prevents it from functioning optimally (it may even affect the taste of your coffee!). To clean and freshen your machine, pour in a mixture of half water half lemon juice and run one cycle. Repeat this with just water (no lemon!) to fully rinse the machine. (4)
Adding a cup of lemon juice to your washer during the wash cycle helps to remove stains from clothes, towels, and sheets. It also helps to brighten your clothes and give them a natural lemon-fresh scent. Washing your hands with a little lemon juice can also help to remove stains from your skin after cooking with berries, beets, turmeric, and other hand-staining foods.
Lemons are fantastic deodorizers! Dab a cotton ball with lemon juice and put it in your fridge to absorb funky smells, put fresh lemon peels at the bottom of your kitchen garbage bin (under the bag), and neutralize litter box odor by placing a cut lemon in a dish in the room to absorb the bad smells and freshen the air.
Squirt some lemon juice on doors, windowsills, holes, and cracks (anywhere where insects can get in). Then scatter pieces of lemon peel around the doors and windows. All of this will deter ants from coming into your kitchen! To get rid of roaches and fleas, wash your floors with a mixture of the juice and rind of four lemons and two liters of water. Bugs, mosquitoes, and other creepy-crawlies also are deterred by lemon halves with dried cloves stuck in them. Place them by doorways and windows, or on tables when enjoying a night on the deck.
While using sugar scrubs on your body is excellent for achieving soft skin, sugar crystals are much to harsh for the delicate skin on your face. To remove dead skin cells, lighten age spots and scars, and treat acne, mix half a teaspoon of baking soda with half a teaspoon of lemon juice, and a half a teaspoon of water. Gently rub this on your face and neck and allow to sit for a minute. Rinse with warm water and apply toner afterwards to completely remove any lingering lemon or baking soda. Moisturize thoroughly and be sure to use sun protection if you are going outside afterwards.
Many dandruff shampoos contain dangerous chemicals that you don’t want to be massaging into your scalp. Instead, treat dandruff naturally by massaging two tablespoons of lemon juice into your scalp. Rinse this with one cup of water mixed with one teaspoon of lemon juice. Repeat daily until your dandruff goes away.
Highlight your hair
Want blonde highlights for the summer but don’t want to use chemical dyes? Rinse your hair with 1/4 cup of lemon juice and 3/4 cup of water and sit in the sun until your hair dries. Repeat daily until you’ve achieved the amount of highlight you want.
Prevent Kidney Stones
Studies show that what’s called Lemonade Therapy (LT) may increase urine output and total urine volume, especially when combined with potassium citrate. This can help reduce stone formation as well as help those with stones pass them more easily.
The white portion of a lemon peel contains pectins and pectin oligosaccharides, which have high prebiotic potential. Prebiotics are important aspects of gut health and may aid in digestion and indigestion-related ailments.
Sore Throat Soother
A mug of warm water containing honey, lemon, and ginger may help to release and clear mucus from your throat and chest when you are sick. Try making this honey lemon water to ease your cough and get rid of mucus the next time you come down with a cold.
Crisp up wilted lettuce
Put soggy lettuce in a bowl of cold water and the juice of half a lemon for 1 hour in the fridge. Dry the leaves completely before using them in salads or restoring them and you will have lettuce that’s almost like new.
Browning occurs when fruits and vegetables cells are exposed to oxygen (the scientific term for browning is “oxidization”). Lucky for us, the citric acid in lemon juice can prevent this from happening! Sprinkle apple slices, avocados or guacamole, or even cauliflower with lemon juice to prevent them from browning when you can’t eat them right away or are bringing them with you in your lunch or to a dinner party.
Use a micro-plane or a fine grater to remove the outer yellow portion of a lemon rind. Store this in the fridge and use to add a bright flavor to soups, smoothies, desserts, dressings, marinades, and drinks. Be sure not to grate into the peel to deeply, to avoid grating the pith (the white part of the peel). This is bitter and will take away from the flavor.
Lemonade has to be one of the most refreshing drinks you can have on a hot summer day. Unfortunately, most store bought or restaurant lemonades are far too high in sugar. If you make your own at home, you can control how it’s made. Try this lavender lemonade recipe or this activated charcoal lemonade recipe for delicious, refreshing lemonade with incredible health benefits without the sugar!
As you can see, lemons rock! For such an unassuming fruit, there are so many ways it can improve your health and your life. If any of these uses for lemons surprised you, share with your friends, and let us know how else you use lemons in your home.