Not many people know that lemons have been grown in the US, at first in Florida, since 16th century after Christopher Columbus brought them to the New World. Lemons as well as limes have long been appreciated for their high content of vitamin C, which protects against the development of scurvy.
Lemons were extremely expensive in the 1800s as during the California Gold Rush lemons were in such high demand that people often paid as much as $1 per lemon, which would still be considered pricey today.
Not only the abundance of vitamin C, but also the additional antioxidants known as flavonoids which are highly beneficial for heart disease, cancer, and inflammation are sufficient reasons to always keep some lemons at hand. The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reports:
“The anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of Citrus flavonoids can play a key role in their activity against several degenerative diseases and particularly brain diseases.”
There are many simple ways to include lemons in your diet – they can be added into your vegetable juice, squeezed over vegetables, used in salad dressings or to make lemon water for starters. Apart from this, it’s amazing just how many uses lemons have outside the kitchen.
When it comes to using lemons around the house, you’ll find them absolutely perfect for cleaning, skin care, health, beauty, laundry, and much more. Over 60 uses of lemon were put together by Business Insider and these are listed below.
61 Ways to Use Lemons Around Your Home
- Garbage disposal: Freeze slices of lemon and vinegar in ice cube trays. Put a few frozen cubes down your disposal so as to clean and freshen it.
- Refrigerator: Leave a sponge soaked in lemon juice in your fridge for a few hours; it is much more effective in removing odors than baking soda.
- Room freshener: Simmer a pot of water in which you add lemon peels, cloves and cinnamon sticks.
- Humidifier: Add lemon juice to the water in your humidifier and let the machine run for deodorizing.
- Breath: Lemon water helps refresh your breath (don’t forget to rinse your mouth with plain water afterward as lemon juice can erode your teeth).
- Trash cans: A couple of lemon peels added to your trash can will fight off odors.
- Fireplace: Adding a pleasant scent, dried citrus peels can be used as kindling in your fireplace. Simply leave the peels sit out for a few days before using them.
- Hands: Adding lemon juice while washing your hands with soap will help remove stubborn odors like garlic.
- Cat box: Place lemon slices in a bowl near your cat box to help refresh the air.
- Furniture polish: A mixture of lemon oil, lemon juice and olive or jojoba oil will make excellent homemade furniture polish. Simply shine your furniture with a cloth.
- Microwave: Although microwave cooking is far from recommended, there are many people who still use it. If there are food leftovers in your microwave, heat a bowl of water, lemon juice, and lemon slices in it for three minutes. The food will clean off immediately.
- Windows: Lemon juice is especially helpful for grease and grime on windows and glass. Make an excellent window cleaner by combining it with cornstarch, vinegar and water.
- Hard water stains: Lemon juice can remove hard water stains and leave your fixtures shiny. Simply rub a cut lemon on your faucets and shower fixtures.
- Cutting boards: Sprinkle coarse salt on your cutting board then rub it in with a cut lemon to remove grease and freshen it. It also works for wooden salad bowls and rolling pins.
- Coffee maker: Run a cycle with plain water, then add a mixture of lemon juice and water to the water tank. Leave it, then repeat the cycle. Repeat this one again, then run another plain water cycle. You may want to wash the coffee pot and filter afterward to remove any lemon taste.
- Rust stains on marble: Sprinkle some baking soda on the stains then add some lemon juice. Scrub and repeat if necessary, then wipe clean with a wet rag.
- Brass and copper polish: Mix equal parts of lemon juice and vinegar then apply it with a paper towel to brass or copper. Polish with a soft cloth until dry. Lemon juice can also be used with baking soda to make a paste that will remove tarnish.
- Silverware polish: Soak your silverware in a mixture one tablespoon of lemon juice, 1.5 cups of water and 0.5 cut instant dry milk. Leave it overnight, then rinse and dry it. You can also apply a small amount of lemon juice to your silverware and polish it with a clean cloth.
- Dish soap booster: A teaspoon of lemon juice added to dish soap increases its effectiveness and helps take off grease.
- Plastic containers: Although glass food containers are far more recommended than plastic ones, if you have plastic containers with food stains, wipe them with lemon juice and let them air dry.
- Toilet: Half a cup of lemon juice added to your toilet a few minutes before scrubbing will help remove stains. For stubborn stains add half a cup of borax.
- Drains: If you have a clogged drain, pour a pot of boiling water down the drain followed by half a box of baking soda and 8-12 ounces of lemon juice. The lemon juice and baking soda will react, creating foam. Pour another pot of boiling water to flush away the clog.
- Shower doors: Cut a lemon in two, then dip one half of it in baking soda rubbing the shower doors to remove water stains. Rinse and towel dry.
- All-purpose cleaner: Mix water, baking soda, vinegar, lemon, and lemon essential oil to make a wonderful kitchen or bathroom cleaner.
- Cheese graters: Don’t ruin your sponge cleaning cheese graters. Instead, rub half a lemon over them to remove grease.
- Hardwood floors: Make a non-toxic floor cleaner that will effectively fight grime by combining lemon and vinegar.
- Gentle bleach: Add some lemon juice to hot water and soak white linens, then rinse and wash as normal. You can also add one-half cup of lemon juice to your washing cycle instead of bleach.
- Spot treatment: Lemon juice on fabric stains sprinkled with some salt on top gives excellent results. Rub the stain and rinse. This works well for underarm stains as well. Dry in the sun if you can for even greater stain-fighting effect.
- Mildew stains: A paste of lemon juice and salt applied on the stain and left to dry in the sun will give you the desired effect. Repeat as needed.
- Grease stains: For grease stains mix some lemon juice with vinegar and apply this on the stain. Leave it for a while and then rinse it off.
- Whiten tennis shoes: To whiten and freshenyour white tennis shoes spray some lemon juice onto them then let them dry in the sun.
- Prevent browning on fruits and veggies: You can prevent browning of cut-up apples, cauliflower, bananas, pears, potatoes, and avocados if you soak them in a bowl of cold lemon water.
- Revive limp lettuce: Soak soggy lettuce leaves in a mixture of some lemon juice and a bowl of cold water. Leave this in your fridge for one hour then dry the now-crisp leaves.
- Clumpy rice: Add a spoonful of lemon juice to the water while the rice is cooking to keep it from sticking.
- Ice cubes: If you want to add some flavor to your beverages, add lemon slices to your ice cube trays.
- Marinade: Mix lemon juice with your favorite oils and herbs to marinate meats. The acidic lemon juice helps break down the meat so it can absorb the flavor of the marinade.
- Buttermilk substitute: You can easily substitute buttermilk in recipes if you add two tablespoons of lemon juice to a cup of milk, and leave it for 15 minutes.
- Sour cream substitute: If you are looking for a sour cream alternative, add some lemon juice to whipped cream and leave it for 30 minutes.
- Hair lightener: Lemon juice with almond or coconut oil is a powerful combination for hair treatment. Apply this to your hair before getting out in the sun. The lemon will lighten your hair while the oil will keep it from drying out.
- Age spots and freckles: For age spots and freckles apply some lemon juice with a cotton swab.
- Brightening moisturizer: To hydrate and brighten your skin apply a few drops of lemon juice mixed with coconut oil as moisturizer.
- Whiten nails: Steep your nails in a blend of lemon juice and olive oil. Lemon juice will brighten your nails whereas olive oil will help strengthen them.
- Dandruff: If you have dandruff issues, massage two tablespoons of lemon juice into your scalp then rinse it off with lemon water. Repeat this as many times as necessary until your dandruff resolves.
- Acne: A natural astringent, lemon juice is beneficial for acne when applied twice a day. Leave it for 10 minutes each time then rinse it off with cool water.
- Exfoliator: You can make yourself a nourishing exfoliating face and body scrub by mixing lemon juice, sugar, olive oil and honey.
- Lemon water: Lemon water is abundant in vitamin C and potassium which will stimulate your digestion and immune system.
- Sore throat: As lemon is both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, gargling with lemon water may soothe a sore throat while consuming lemon water provides vitamin C for your immune system.
- Canker sores: Lemon juice has antifungal and antibacterial properties, so gargling with a cup of hot lemon water will accelerate the healing of canker sores.
- Skin rashes: To ease a rash, soak a cotton ball in lemon juice and apply it to rashes, like poison ivy.
- Insect bites: Lemon juice also lessens the swelling and itching of insect bites.
- Coughs: Sip hot lemon water with honey to reduce mucous buildup and relieve coughs.
- Warts: Warts can break down more easily if you coat them with lemon juice. This will also speed their recovery.
- Leather shoe polish: Mix one part of lemon juice with two parts of olive oil, then apply it to leather shoes. Leave it for 10-15 minutes. Afterwards polish your shoes with a cloth.
- Invisible ink: Dip a cotton swab into lemon juice and note something down on a piece of white paper. After it dries, hold it up to a lamp or light bulb to see your hidden message.
- Jewelry sanitizer: Use a solution of one tablespoon of lemon juice and 1.5 cups of water to sanitize earrings and other jewelry. Be careful not to use it on pearls or gold.
- Insect repellant: Spray concentrated lemon juice on areas where ants are getting in. You can also put lemon peels near entryways to repel insects. Mopping floors with lemon juice and water will repel roaches and flees.
- Stains on your pet’s fur: Make a paste of baking soda and lemon juice and rub into your pet’s fur to remove pink or red-colored stains from around your pet’s eyes or mouth. Leave it for about 10 minutes before you rinse it off. Be careful not to get the mixture into your pet’s eyes.
- Berry stains on hands: To remove berry stains rub a paste of cornmeal and lemon juice onto your hands. Leave it for a while then rinse it off.
- Kill weeds: Use lemon juice as a non-toxic weed killer by spraying it on the weed.
- Dog and cat repellant: In case you want to keep neighborhood dogs and cats off your yard, sprinkle the perimeter with coffee grounds and lemon peels. Most dogs and cats dislike these scents and will go away.
- Hardened paintbrushes: Boil some lemon juice and water then dip any hardened paintbrushes in it. Leave them for 15 minutes then wash them with soap and water. The bristles will become soft again once they dry.
Lemon Aromatherapy May Ease Stress and Anxiety
Moreover, the healing powers of lemons can be witnessed when using lemon essential oil for aromatherapy. Essential oils contain highly concentrated, organically active compounds of flowers and plants, which are, in many ways, the essence of the plant and can be extremely beneficial in very small quantities. Various health benefits can be enjoyed by inhaling the particles in essential oils, which come from flowers, twigs, leaves or bark. Lemon essential oil, for example, has proved highly efficient in anti-stress and anti-anxiety treatments.
In addition, systolic blood pressure and sympathetic nerve system activity showed significant decrease in a recent study where participants inhaled a blend of oils of lemon, lavender and ylang-ylang. Also, an aromatherapy massage using oils of lemon, peppermint and rosemary proved effective in relieving constipation in the elderly.
Lemons have demonstrated beneficial effects in pregnancy as well because lemon scent proved quite effective in reducing nausea and vomiting. No matter what your reason for using lemons is, be it for its flavor and vitamin C, for its antioxidant and cleaning powers, as a part of your aromatherapy collection or all of the above, you really can’t slip up. Be aware that the pre-squeezed varieties you can obtain at grocery stores lose vitamin C content quite quickly unlike fresh lemon juice.