20 Clever Household Uses for Lemons

Nature’s supreme source of sour is capable of far more than adding a delightful tartness to your favorite foods. Slice up a few lemons and give these practical household solutions a go.

  1. Derust Brass

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    Lemon for Brass

    It's a fact of life: Brass is going to tarnish, as sure as the sun is sure to shine. To address tarnished brass, you don't need to employ a toxic polish. 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

    istockphoto.com

  2. Polish Chrome

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    Lemon for Chrome

    Even if you don't have hard water, limescale can build up on faucets and sinks over time. But you can use the sour power of lemon to bring cloudy chrome back to its gleaming self. Your kitchen will always look showroom-new.

    istockphoto.com

  3. Make Outdoor Paint Insect Resistant

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    Lemon Bug Repellant

    No need to wear a beekeeper's suit when you're painting outside. Create a citrus forcefield by squeezing a few drops of lemon juice directly into your can of paint. Bugs simply hate the zesty scent of lemon, so they'll steer clear of your painting project.


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

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  4. Revitalize Paintbrushes

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    Lemon for Paint Brushes

    If your brush’s bristles are stiffer than unstretched muscles after a marathon, a hot soak can bring them back into shape. Boil a few cups of lemon juice and set the brushes in the simmering solution for 15 minutes. Your brushes will be ready for many painting projects.

    istockphoto.com

  5. Despeckle Glass

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    Lemon For Cleaning

    There’s an art to painting around glass. But if you accidentally spill a few specks, you don’t have to live with the mistake. Just coat the glass with hot lemon juice, let it sit for a few minutes, then carefully scrape the window for a good-as-new look.

    Related: 9 Potent Cleaners You Didn't Know You Had

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  6. Polish Wood Furniture

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    Lemon for Wood

    Old cabinets and tables need not look their age. Give tired 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.

    istockphoto.com

  7. Clean Out Your Drain

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    Lemon for Clogs

    Zest away gunk stuck in the drain with a bit of citrus. A mixture of two cups lemon juice and one-half cup of baking soda, followed by hot water, will get your pipes flowing again.

    istockphoto.com

  8. Remove Blood From Clothing

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    Lemon for Stains

    On-the-job cuts and scrapes can turn your favorite clothes into an unsightly mess. Before you toss that clothing in the bin, grab a few lemons and scrub away the red to reinvigorate your wardrobe.

    istockphoto.com

  9. Get Rid of Stains on Plastic Containers

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    Lemon for Tupperware

    The colors of leftover sauces and fruits can give plastic containers an unappetizing appearance. 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 restore those after-dinner helpers to their original glory.

    istockphoto.com

  10. Zest Away Glue

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    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. Dab a bit of lemon juice on skin that's dotted with super glue to release yourself from its grip. 

    istockphoto.com

  11. Clean Your Burners

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    Lemon for Cleaning Burners

    When baked-on food makes a mess of your burners, lemon juice can come to the rescue. Cut a lemon in half, then rub one of the lemon halves over the surface of the stove. Sprinkle a little baking soda on top and scrub away. The greasy spots will vanish with ease.

    istockphoto.com

  12. Freshen the Kitchen Sink

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    Lemon for Cleaning Garbage Disposal

    If your garbage disposal is stinking up the kitchen, you can freshen it up with a couple lemon peels. Place lemon wedges or fresh peels into the garbage disposal, turn on the tap and switch on the disposal until the lemon washes down the drain. The result is a lemony scent that will leave your kitchen smelling fresher.

    istockphoto.com

  13. Whiten Your Whites

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    Lemon for bleaching clothes

    Whiten your white cotton clothes or linens with a little lemon juice. Combine 1/2 cup of lemon juice and a gallon of hot water in a bucket, then add your linens to the mix. Let it set for several hours to overnight, then place the clothes and the lemony mix into the clothes washer, add your detergent and turn on the washer to your preferred settings. The result will be whiter clothes without ever opening a bottle of noxious bleach.

    istockphoto.com

  14. Clean a Microwave

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    Lemon for cleaning microwave

    Need an easier way to bust through stubborn gunk in the microwave? Simply slice a couple lemon wedges and place in a microwave-safe bowl filled with water. Nuke on high for three minutes, then let the hot mixture stand for 10 minutes. The steam and grease-fighting lemon juice will loosen the caked-on bits of food inside the microwave, so all you need to do is wipe with a clean cloth.

    istockphoto.com

  15. Clean a Cutting Board

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    Lemon for disinfecting cutting board

    A similar trick can be used to disinfect plastic cutting boards that have been used to prepare meat or fish. Wash the board well, then rub it with the cut side of a lemon, and heat on high for one minute to kill the bacteria.

    istockphoto.com

  16. Start Seeds

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    Lemon for starting seeds

    Acid-loving plants can benefit from the acidic properties of lemons. Fill half of a juiced lemon with soil, and add the seed. Once it germinates, you can plant the natural seed starter into a pot or the ground.

    istockphoto.com

  17. Make an All-Purpose Cleaner

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    Lemon vinegar diy cleaner

    If you're already using vinegar as a cheap, natural cleanser on surfaces around the house, you know that it's an effective solution. But when you add lemon to your vinegar, it only increases the effectiveness (and freshness) of the vinegar. Make your own all-purpose cleanser by soaking citrus peels in white vinegar for two weeks. Once you strain out the peels, this cleanser makes a great grease-fighting solution almost any surface.

    Related: How To: Make Your Own All-Purpose Cleaner

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  18. Freshen a Trash Can

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    Lemon for freshening trash can

    Can't fight the funk in your kitchen trash can? Clean your trash can with soap and water, and let it dry. Then sprinkle a bit of baking soda and a few lemon peels into the bottom of the bin and place your trash liner in as normal.

    istockphoto.com

  19. Make Pomanders

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    Lemon diy pomander

    Pomanders are a beautiful way to bring a fresh scent to your home. Although orange pomanders may be the most popular, lemons are just as effective. Use a whole lemon or slice in half and sink whole cloves into the fruit. As the fruit dries, the pleasing scent will fill your home.

    Related: 11 Super Simple Ways to Make Your House Smell Fresh

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  20. Clean an Oven

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    Lemon for cleaning an oven

    A little spill in the oven, or an exploded baked potato can stay with you for a long time, if you let it. Say goodbye to baked-on gunk by sprinkling a bit of course salt on the mess, then scrubbing with the cut part of a lemon. The salt will act as an abrasive to break up gunk and will help soak up the grease, while the lemon will cut through it. Finish by scrubbing with a cleaning cloth to restore cleanliness.

    istockphoto.com

  21. When Life Gives You Lemons...

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    When Life Gives You Lemons...

    So, lemons can actually do some pretty sweet things for you around the house.

    bobvila.com

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