Forget expensive detergents and cleaners and use lemons instead to keep your home shiny and fresh. We share some of the most common tried and tested household cleaning techniques making use of the humble, yellow citric fruit.
Being a natural, organic substance, lemon is an environmentally friendly cleaning agent which acts as an antioxidant. Lemon juice contains citric acid and there are all sorts of things around the home which lemon juice can help to clean.
Amongst many other things, lemon can be used to:
- dissolve soap scum and hard water deposits;
- clean and shine metals such as brass and copper;
- polish furniture and hardwood floors;
- disinfect kitchen work surfaces;
- clean the dishes.
People like using lemons as a cleaning resource because the smell of lemons is refreshing and invigorating. For many people, a lemon smell symbolises cleanliness. For this reason, most over-the-counter cleaners have a lemon scent in their cleaning products for consumers to get pleasure. The beauty of using fresh lemon juice is that you don't need to rinse afterwards, unless you want to. This means you save water as well as reduce the number of chemical cleaners in your home!
As a dish cleaner
Lemon juice can be mixed with vinegar and / or baking soda to make cleaning pastes. Cut a lemon in half and sprinkle baking soda on the cut section. Use the lemon to scrub dishes, surfaces, and stains.
As a disinfectant
Lemons can be used for their protective, germ-busting properties. Not only do lemons have a natural fresh fragrance (many conventional products add an artificial lemon smell to impart a ‘clean’ scent), but spray on sinks, chopping boards, tables and work surfaces to kill germs the natural way. Use this method instead of chemical cleaners to avoid the residue these often leave behind.
As a stain remover
- For surfaces:
With its mildly bleaching effect, neat lemon juice can be used to gently fade stains in sinks, on work surfaces, on tables or on tiles – a quick and simple way to de-grease your surfaces. Don't use this method on marble and granite surfaces as lemon is too corrosive.
Also, use lemon to bleach your wooden chopping board – rub with half a lemon, leave overnight, then rinse!
- For fabric:
Remove fabric stains - including curry, blood, grass marks and rust – by dabbing salt and lemon juice on to the mark. Leave for a while, then rinse well and wash as normal.
To clean hardwood furniture and floors
Make your own furniture polish by mixing one cup olive oil with half a cup of lemon juice. Dab a little on a cloth and use in just the same way as your regular polish. This solution can also be uses to make wooden floors shine.
As a freshener
Regularly place lemon (or other citrus fruit such as orange) peel through the garbage disposal. It freshens the drain and the kitchen. Keeping half a lemon left in the fridge will also help remove unpleasant odours. For a natural air freshener in your kitchen, cut a lemon in half, immerse completely in a pan of water and bring to the boil.
As a grease and grime buster in the kitchen
Get rid of surface grease from everyday appliances such as kettles, stoves, taps and handles with a simple solution of lemon juice and water. Pour a quarter of a cup of lemon juice in a spray bottle and fill it up with tap water. Ensure the solution is mixed sufficiently and use it to remove stubborn grease around the home. Remove limescale from taps by rubbing with lemon juice, then rinse after a few minutes (not suitable for plated taps as lemon is a natural corrosive).
As a bathroom cleaner
Make soap scum and limescale disappear on baths, showers, tiles and grout by mixing a paste of two parts bicarbonate of soda to one part lemon juice. Apply the thick paste with a damp cloth, leave for ten minutes and then rub off with a sponge or soft toothbrush.
As a metal polisher
Lemon juice is great for polishing metals such as brass and copper. Two methods you could try:
- Take one lemon half, sprinkle some salt on to the open surface and use like a scouring pad on copper saucepans to leave a brilliant shine.
- Mix together one quarter cup of table salt and just enough lemon juice to make a paste. Then, apply a coating of this onto any tarnished copper or brass pots, pans and other items you may have. Leave the paste to set for five to ten minutes. Next, wash the item(s) in warm tap water and rinse it well. If any tarnish remains, repeat the process again.
- Use carefully, as lemon can lighten the shade of metal if it's left on for a long time or if it's not rinsed off properly.
As a shoe shiner
Lemon juice makes an excellent polish for black and tan leather shoes. Apply it neat and then buff with a soft cloth.
As a glass/mirror polisher
Mix together one litre of water, a quarter cup of white vinegar and 2 table spoons of lemon juice in a spray bottle. Shake well and use as you would normally.
As a mould remover
Banish black spots from mildew and mould with one part lemon juice to one part baking powder. Apply the paste, leave for two hours and then rinse off.
As a fabric bleacher
Lemon juice acts as a natural bleaching agent. Add half a cup of lemon juice to your laundry rinse cycle when washing whites. Alternatively, put lemon juice directly onto white linens and clothing and allow them to dry in the sun. Stains will be bleached away.
As a microwave cleaner
Put half a lemon in a three-quarters-full bowl of cold water and cook on high for three minutes. The fresh citrus smell banishes cooking odours and the condensation from the steam loosens dirt and makes cleaning your microwave so much easier. Simply wipe it with a damp cloth afterwards.