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12 Things You Really Should Be Cleaning with Lemons

Looking for all-natural alternatives to harsh chemical cleaners? Tap the cleaning power of lemons and green-up your spring cleaning routine.

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A slices of fresh juicy yellow lemons. Texture background, pattern.Nikolay Zaiarnyi/Getty Images

Cleaning with Lemons: The Best Way to Green-Up Your Clean-Up!

We use them to flavour our favourite foods and have an entire drink dedicated to them, but lemons can also do wonders when it comes to cutting through household grime. The yellow fruit makes an excellent cleaning agent because of its high acidity, and also because of its natural antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Just be sure to do a patch test first to make sure the lemon doesn’t harm the surface you’re cleaning.

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Deep clean your wood cutting board


Did you know that wood cutting boards should be thoroughly cleaned at least once a month? They’re very porous, which means they tend to harbour juices and particles from whatever’s been cut on top. To clean, sprinkle coarse sea salt over the board, then use half a lemon (flesh side down) and rub it back and forth over the board, advises Taste of Home. This will eliminate surface stains and penetrate into deeper layers of the wood to clean, as well. Find out more cleaning tips from the past that are just as effective today!

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Scrub your grill


The same salt and lemon juice trick works on your barbecue grills and grates. Remove the grate first, sprinkle with coarse sea salt, then use the fleshy side of your lemon to scrub back and forth. The acidity of the lemon will cut through tough grease while the salt breaks up larger chunks of baked-on food particles. Follow with a good rinse, pat dry, and you’re ready to fire up the BBQ.

Overwhelmed by the mess? Our spring cleaning spot checklist can help!

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Countertop stains


You don’t need the strength of Gaston to nix set-in stains on your countertops. Squeeze lemon juice directly on top of the stain and let it sit for about one to two minutes, then sprinkle baking soda on top and use a sponge to lightly scrub the stain away. Since lemons are quite acidic, you shouldn’t let the juice sit for too long—and avoid this cleaning hack entirely if you have marble countertops, as lemon juice can etch the surface. Find out the 10 items you shouldn’t be keeping on your kitchen counter.

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Nix mineral buildup in your coffee pot


You know how coffee pots and tea kettles accumulate a white film? That’s hard water mineral buildup, and it not only looks bad but can affect the taste of your beverage. A great way to remove this buildup is to boil a couple of slices of lemon in the coffee pot or tea kettle, then let it sit for about an hour before rinsing. Here’s how to clean a coffee maker, step by step.

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Brighten white fabrics


Lemon is akin to bleach in its ability to brighten and whiten fabrics, but it’s less harsh and therefore might prove a superior alternative in your home. Simply add a cup of lemon juice to your load of white laundry and you’ll be set. You can also spot-treat yellow underarm stains by combining equal parts baking soda, lemon juice, and water, then scrubbing with a soft-bristled brush. Allow the mixture to set for 30 minutes, then throw in the wash. Because lemon is a bleaching agent, it should only be used on white fabrics. Find out more brilliant laundry hacks that will save you time, money and effort.

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The garbage disposal


It’s one of the most convenient and underrated features in modern homes, but the garbage disposal can get a little stinky if it’s not cleaned periodically. Lemons to the rescue! Slice up half a lemon into wedges or small cubes, pop them into the disposal, dust a little baking soda or even regular dish soap on top, then turn on the disposal with running water for a good minute or two. It’ll clean the blades and nix odour. Find out more brilliant uses for baking soda all around the house.

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Remove stinky fridge smells


Opening up the fridge to a blast of unpleasant air is unappetizing, but you don’t have to live the stinky life. CleanMySpace recommends soaking a cotton ball or two in lemon juice, then placing on a tray or in a bowl and keeping in your fridge. Just make sure to swap them out at least once a week. While you’re at it, check out these clever hacks to make everything in your home smell amazing.

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Cut through greasy pots and pans


Cleaning up greasy cookware and bakeware is arguably one of the worst chores ever, but with a little acidic lemon juice on your side, the job becomes much easier. Squeeze a little juice into the offending dish with a drop of dish soap and then have at it. You can also add a couple of drops of lemon juice straight into your preferred dish soap. Find out the one ingredient you should always add to your dishwasher.

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Polish chrome and brass faucets


Cut your lemon in half and use the fleshy side to polish chrome or brass sink faucets. The lemon will cut through mineral buildup and other grime and make them look brighter. Just don’t let the lemon linger too long since it’s very acidic, and make sure to rinse and dry afterward. Also, only use this lemon cleaning hack on actual chrome and brass as it may damage other materials. Don’t miss these other brilliant bathroom cleaning tips and tricks.

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Shine up copper-bottom pots


Many pots and pans have a coating of copper on the bottom because of how well the metal conducts heat. Though efficient, copper can turn green or blacken after time passes. The acidity of lemon juice works in your favour here, too. Simply cut a lemon in half and rub it across the copper parts, gently scrub, then rinse and dry. Find out the best way to clean everything in your kitchen, according to Charles the Butler of CTV’s The Marilyn Denis Show.

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Remove baked-on debris and odour from your microwave


In a small, microwave-safe bowl or cup, combine two tablespoons of lemon juice with 3/4 cup of water. Heat for about three to four minutes (the water should come to a boil), then keep the door closed for ten minutes. This will create an acidic steam within the microwave, making it easier to remove even the toughest of stuck-on food debris. All you’ll need to do is use a damp rag to wipe down the inside of the microwave. Check out more clever cleaning tips that actually work.

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Clean glass and mirrors


Make your own natural glass and mirror cleaner by combining three tablespoons of lemon juice and a cup of water in a spray bottle. Shake, then spray onto glass and mirrors and wipe dry with a microfibre cloth or paper towel. Make this cleaning solution in small batches since it can go bad quickly. Follow these spring cleaning tips to getting it done faster.

Originally Published on Reader's Digest