10 Clever Household Uses for Lemons

Nature’s supreme source of sour is capable of far more than making tea tangy and pies tart. Slice up a few lemons and give these practical household solutions a go.

  1. Derust Brass

    Lemon for Brass

    Let’s get down to brass tacks on cleaning rust off brass. Simply wipe your brass item with a little lemon juice, and it’ll shine like a freshly minted penny. If your item is brass-plated, not solid brass, don't try this method—stick with soap and water or you could damage the plating.

    Related:  How To: Restore Brass Hardware


  2. Polish Chrome

    Lemon for Chrome

    The most sour thing about limescale is how it tarnishes the appearance of faucets and sinks. You can use the sour power of lemon to scour cloudy chrome back to its sweet, gleaming self. Your kitchen will always look showroom-new.

    Related:  Bob Vila's Guide to Appliance Care


  3. Make Outdoor Paint Insect Resistant

    Lemon Bug Repellant

    No need to wear a beekeeper's suit when you're painting outside. Enclose yourself in a citrus forcefield by squeezing a few drops of lemon juice directly into your can of paint. Bugs will bug off when the attractive smell of Sherwin-Williams is replaced by a zesty scent they detest.

    Related:  10 Natural Ways to Make Your Home Critter-Free


  4. Revitalize Paintbrushes

    Lemon for Paint Brushes

    Your brush’s bristles are stiffer than unstretched muscles after a marathon. They could sure use a hot soak. Boil up a few cups of lemon juice and set the brushes in the simmering sour solution for 15 minutes. Your brushes will be primed for many more miles of painting.

    Related:  How To: Clean Paintbrushes


  5. Despeckle Glass

    Lemon For Cleaning

    There’s an art to painting around glass. But if you accidentally spill a few specks, don’t have a Jackson Pollock-style fit. Just coat the glass with hot lemon juice, let it sit for a few minutes, then scrape the window back to crystal clarity.

    Related:  Helpful Hints on Cleaning Windows


  6. Polish Wood Furniture

    Lemon for Wood

    Cabinets and tables made from aged oak need not look it. Give antique wooden furniture the anti-aging treatment by polishing with a simple 2:1 solution of olive oil and lemon juice. In the world of wood, you'll make 100 the new 20.

    Related:  How To: Refinish a Wood Table


  7. Clean Out Your Drain

    Lemon for Clogs

    Zest away gunk stuck in the drain with just a couple of lemon wedges. A mixture of two cups lemon juice and one-half cup of baking soda, followed by hot water, will get your pipes flowing like lemonade from a pitcher on a sweltering summer day.

    Related:  Garbage Disposal Care


  8. Remove Blood From Clothing

    Lemon for Stains

    On-the-job cuts and scrapes can turn your favorite clothes into zombie attire. Before you start scaring away the neighbors, grab a few lemons and scrub away the red to reinvigorate your wardrobe.


  9. Get Rid of Stains on Plastic Containers

    Lemon for Tupperware

    The colors of leftover sauces and fruits can turn plastic containers opaque. But if you fill them them to the brim with lemon juice, let them sit for a bit, and then follow up with a good scrub, you’ll never again accidentally pack the wrong lunch.


  10. Zest Away Glue

    Lemon for Glue

    If you’ve suddenly found yourself in a sticky situation, a slice of lemon or a dab of juice will quickly get you out of it. Still, before you start, test to make sure that lemon juice doesn't harm the surface you’re cleaning. 

    Related:  Working With Wood Glues


  11. For More...

  12. See the House of the Week


    Discover and admire beautiful and innovative home architecture, from grand Victorians to quaint cabins and all the styles in between. Take a look at the latest images and inspiration!