When life hands you lemons, make lemonade! Or… use them in 19 surprising different ways! Here’s how you can use lemons around the house to clean, as natural beauty products or in the garden:
1. Whiten socks and linens.
To whiten socks and linens, boil some water and throw in a slice of lemon. Then, drop in your socks. They’ll be white in no time. Here’s a step by step guide to whitening socks and linens with lemons.
2. Remove smell from hands.
If you’ve been cutting onions or handling fish and the smell won’t go away, try dipping your hands in a bowl of lemon juice.
Not only will it remove the yuk smell, it’ll add a yum smell! Here’s how to rid smells from your hands with lemons.
3. Lemon rind food containers.
Don’t let those rinds go to waste! If you have a used lemon half, simply fill it with Jell-O and refrigerate. Slice into wedges for a fun treat! Check out the full lemon rind Jell-O instructions at Somewhat Simple.
But don’t stop at Jell-O. You could fill lemon rinds with all sorts of things, from pudding to yogurt.
4. Lemon rind seedling planters.
Instead of chucking those lemon rinds, why not reuse them? They can easily be reused as seedling planters! Simply clean out a lemon half, add a small hole at the bottom for drainage and fill with dirt and add a seed! It will be a cute addition to your kitchen window. Check out how to start seedlings in lemon rinds from Apartment Therapy.
Once it’s ready to transplant to your outside garden, there’s no need to do anything with the rind. Since it’s biodegradable, you can just stick the entire thing in the dirt. So easy!
5. Garbage disposal freshener.
It’s not easy to clean down in the nooks and crannies of the garbage disposal. Just chop up a lemon rind and run it through to freshen it up and keep it smelling great!
6. Clean discolored or spotty cutlery.
With so much use, it doesn’t take long for forks, spoons and knives to look a little grungy or even rusty. Making them look new again is easy!
Simply grab a sponge, dab it in lemon juice, and wipe over each cutlery piece. Thanks for the tip, The Kitchn. Read more here: cleaning spotty knives with lemon juice.
7. Soften and clean old paintbrushes.
Bob Vila has used a paintbrush or two. If you have one that is hardened and not easy to clean, he suggests the power of lemon.
Boil some water, add lemon juice, and then place your stiff paintbrushes. Let them simmer for about 15 minutes and they will be ready for more painting!
8. Keep critters out of the garden.
Save lemon rinds by freezing them all winter, then bury them just under the surface of your garden soil regularly in the summer. It’ll keep squirrels and cats from digging around. Read more here in the Old Farmer’s Almanac: How to Get Rid of Squirrels in the Garden.
Plus they are biodegradable so you don’t have to worry about them later, and they are safe for when your kids get in the dirt.
9. Ease chest congestion.
Make some tea with lemon. Drink it warm and get better! The lemon really clears things up nicely.
10. Clean stained cooking pots.
Whether made of copper or stainless steel, lemon is a great way to spruce up the pots in your kitchen. If you’ve got scorching inside the pot, simply boil some water with lemon juice and baking soda, then wipe off the affected area.
For discoloration or spots on the outside, rub lemon juice right on it and let dry. Read more at the Blue Apron: How To Clean the Absolute Toughest Pots & Pans.
11. Preserve sliced apples or avocados.
To keep them from browning, just spritz on some lemon juice! You can also soak apple slices in a lemon water. Read more here from The World’s Healthiest Foods: Slicing Apples with Lemon Water.
12. Lighten dark skin spots.
Packed with Vitamin C, lemon is great for your skin. Rub it on dark spots everyday and watch them fade.
Just be sure not to go out in the sun with lemon juice on your skin, as it increases your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. Read more about how to apply lemon juice to dark spots.
13. Healthy nails.
Soak your nails for 10-15 minutes in a bowl of lemon juice to brighten up dark nail beds. You can also add a bit of olive oil and warm up the mixture in the microwave. After soaking your nails in lemon juice, brush the nails with a soft brush to remove any stains from discolored nails.
14. Furniture polish.
Why buy furniture polish when you can make your own? Lemon juice is great for making wood shine. It can be as easy as a mixture of lemon, vinegar and olive oil. Be sure to rub on with the grain.
There are many different recipes for natural furniture polish. Check out Mother Earth News’ recipes for natural cleaning without aerosoles.
15. Freshen your fridge.
Once you’ve removed any old food that might be causing the fridge to smell bad, here’s a very easy and effective tip to freshen it up: soak a cotton ball with lemon juice and stick it in the fridge! The scent will carry throughout the fridge air. Read more about cleaning odors in a fridge.
16. Prevent kidney stones.
Kidney stones form when urine in the kidney gets oversaturated with salts. It needs citrate to alleviate it, something naturally occurring in lemon juice.
If you are prone to kidney stones, then starting drinking lemonade! Lemon juice is very effective at helping them from forming. In fact, some doctors swear by it. Read more about treating kidney stones with lemons here: lemonade helps kidney stones at WebMD.
17. Hair lightener.
Lemon juice accelerates the effects of the sun, so spraying some in your hair and being in the sun will help lighten it. The results are very gradual and fairly permanent, so be aware.
Do some tests for short periods before spending longer amounts of time in the sun. For detailed step by steps, check out Instructables: lemon juice highlights.
18. Lighten elbows, knees and heels.
Since these areas of our bodies don’t have oil glands, they dry up and tend to darken. Simply rub some lemon juice on them to lighten! Add some olive oil for added moisture.
19. Reduce asthma symptoms.
It’s not a cure-all, but drinking lemon juice can help.
Try this method: mix one tablespoon of water and two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. Drink every night before bed to lessen asthma symptoms, or during an attack to lessen its severity. See more information here: 12 Home Remedies for Treating Asthma.