A kitchen staple for many of us, lemons bring us more than just a pop of colour to our favourite dishes: the lemon is a natural little housekeeper. At BLANC we're fond of lemons as a precious nutritional ally, as well as a useful tool to keep your home in good health.
So, what makes lemons a great cleaner?
Have you ever been able to not make a scrunched up face when biting a lemon? We haven't! Its sour properties are, chemically speaking, known as citric acid. The citric acid in lemons is antibacterial and antiseptic, which means that lemons can kill bacteria, remove mould and mildew and even, if done properly, remove rust.
The oils in the peel (or rinds) of the lemon can also help to cut through grease and staining, leaving household items clean and shining. The acidity of lemons is, simply put, what gives it such good cleaning power.
Using lemons around the home can also have some great health benefits for the whole family. Often harsh, traditional household cleaning products can aggravate skin allergies and eczema - whereas lemons are a natural, less aggressive alternative.
Inexpensive, very easy to come by and safer than traditional home cleaning agents, lemons are so much more than just ingredients for cooking and baking - they are a great way to naturally clean the home. If you're still wondering about how to pick a safe cleaning product, we have also compiled a helpful list on our blog to ensure you choose the best option.
Let's take a closer look at 10 of the best lemon cleaning hacks...
1. The Perfect Rinse Aid
Lemon juice is one of the best, most natural and cheapest rinse aids there is! Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the dishwasher before running it and your tableware will come out whiter, cleaner and stain-free. Be careful to filter out the seeds though - they can get stuck everywhere! In short - they're your dishwasher's worst enemy.
2. Get Rid of Unwanted Smells on The Kitchen Chopping Board
Having a hard time getting rid of strong smells of food, like garlic or onion on your wooden cutting board? Simply, rub half a lemon over it, and it will get rid of smells and bacteria.
Whilst we are on the subject of unwanted food smells, we should let you know how lemons can clean your hands and rid smells after a fish dinner. Pour a bowl of lukewarm water and press half a lemon in it, rinse off the lemon and your hands are naturally fresh-smelling again.
Fridge: You can remove lingering food refrigerator smells. Dab lemon juice on a cotton ball or sponge and leave it in the fridge for several hours to help freshen up the fridge and rid the bad smells. You can do the same for your Tupperware too!
Microwaves: Grease in microwaves also builds up very quickly, as does bad smells. So for a bonus point here - you can also clean and get rid of any nasty smells in your microwave by using lemon too!
Measure out 1 cup of water into a bowl, slice your lemon in half, squeeze out the juice and place the 2 halves in the water. Put the bowl into the microwave and set the time for 3 minutes or until the water is boiling. Remove the bowl and wipe down with a cloth! The steam combined with the oil from the lemon rind helps to loosen any grease, dirt and grime on the inside of the microwave and rids any food smells and odours.
3. Add Sparkle to Your Taps, Pots & Furniture
Rub kitchen and bathroom taps with the peel or the cut side of half a lemon. Wash and dry with a soft cloth to shine and remove spots - this also works to brighten any dull pots, pans and cutlery too, by the way.
For natural, cheap and chemical-free furniture polish you won't be able to live without: combine one part lemon juice, two parts olive oil and mix well. It usually works well to remove scratches and stains, for instance - this also works on hardwood floors.
4. Limescale Remover Taps
If limescale has formed on your taps, simply just cut a lemon in half and run it all over where the limescale is. Wait a few minutes before you rinse the residue off.
Kettle: For limescale in your kettle, simply pop a few used lemon halves into the kettle along with some water and boil it - leave them in the kettle overnight and then boil it once again in the morning before emptying it. For a particularly stubborn limescale, use the same method but mix with a couple of tablespoons of white wine vinegar. Just make sure to rinse out and boil the kettle a few times after removing the limescale to fully eradicate any lingering scent or taste - we're unsure that your morning tea would be very tasty after cleaning if you didn't rinse thoroughly!
5. Keep Insects Out of the Kitchen
No need to use chemical-laden insecticides or ant traps to discourage insects from entering your kitchen - the lemon treatment is just as effective.
You can squeeze some lemon juice on door thresholds and windowsills, as well as into any holes or cracks where ants or other bugs seem to be getting in. If you are having trouble getting rid of more persistent species, such as roaches and fleas: just mix the juice of 4 lemons (along with the rinds) with 2 litres of water and mop your floors with it - most insects hate the zesty smell (we'll never understand why...)
6. Remove Rust
Lemon juice even has the magic to remove rust from items. Sprinkle some rock salt onto the rust, then add lemon juice - let it sit for a while to help break down the rust. Wipe off the solution and rinse. Try mixing lemon juice with a little vinegar to make the solution a little stronger if needed. Not only will you be rust-free, but whatever you are cleaning will have a fresh citrus scent!
7. Clean Mirrors & Glass
Simply mix 4 tablespoons of lemon juice with one cup of water in a spray bottle. Shake together, spray the area which you would like to clean, then wipe your mirror or glass down with a microfiber cloth to get rid of any stains and markings, then voila! You’re left with a streak-free shine.
Similarly, you can mix the lemon water in your spray bottle with vinegar again, for extra cleaning power, but note that the scent of vinegar does linger a little longer!
8. Make a Natural Potpourri
Many household products add an artificial lemon scent to impart a ‘clean' fragrance - so why not DIY, naturally? Cut thin slices of fresh lemon and orange into a bowl. Take some fresh rosemary, mint and rose petals and place in the oven on low heat for two to four hours. When the herbs have dried, add a drop or two of your favourite essential oil then put the mix in potpourri bowls and place around your house - you could also add some cinnamon sticks to your dried oranges and lemons for the festive season.
You can also create little pouches of this and hang them up in your wardrobe for a lovely, fresh scent. If you're looking for more tips on How To Take Care of Your Wardrobe you can also take a look at our blog. Your house will smell fresher than ever before!
9. Brighten Up Your Whites!
Add half a cup of lemon juice to your next wash cycle of white laundry (along with your natural detergent), run your washing machine on a hot setting and soon traditional bleach will be a distant memory - lemon is a great whitening agent, thanks to the citric acid it contains.
It also works wonders on bloodstains. For better results on more delicate garments which cannot bear the warmer wash cycles - you can try soaking your white clothes in a large basin filled with water and lemon juice overnight. Do not use with coloured items though - it will likely leave bleach marks! If you're still struggling with particularly tricky stains you can try our Stain Removal Bar to pre-treat garments and the Bio D Laundry Bleach for an extra kick on your whites!
10. DIY Toilet Cleaner
For a great, eco-friendly alternative to conventional toilet cleaning products: squeeze a half - to a whole lemon on your toilet bowl and sprinkle some rock salt for slight abrasion on any marks or staining, baking soda also works well here for an added kick. You can then use your toilet brush to gently exfoliate and scrub - leave for a minute, then flush. The lemon helps to lift any dirt and stains, you will have a sparkling toilet and a lovely fresh lemon scent in your bathroom!
Want to read more? Take a look at the 5 Benefits of Lavender!