Lemons aren’t just cute patterns for hipster t-shirts; they also smell lovely and taste great. Oh, and more importantly, they’re multi-purpose. Lemons, or as I like to call them, the jack of all trades fruit, can do wonders for cleaning, cooking, beauty and skincare, and more.
Lemons can get rid of the most annoying stains, remove the smelliest odors, and even keep you looking your Sunday best. Let’s see what lemons have to offer us. And you know what they say – when life gives you lemons, hack them up.
Keep Apples and Avocado from Browning
When life gives you lemons: Use them to keep fruit from going brown
What you need to do: place your avocado or apple slices into a plastic bag with small slices of lemon
Remember when mom would put apple slices in your lunch bag in the morning only for you to open it up at lunch to find brown slices? It’s not appetizing, to say the least. The lemon juice keeps them from browning because it’s full of ascorbic acid (vitamin C). To all the parents that want their kids to eat fresh and healthy food at lunch, you’re welcome.
Clean Your Cutting Boards With Lemon
When life gives you lemons: Use them to clean your overused cutting board
What you need to do: Squeeze a lemon onto the stained surface of the board and rub for a few seconds. Keep it on for about 20 minutes before rinsing it with clean water
Those stubborn food stains are hard to remove from light wood and especially from plastic cutting boards. But lemons do the job. You can also sprinkle sea salt before adding the lemon juice give it a harder scrub.
Clean Your Microwave
When life gives you lemons: Use them to clean your microwave
What you need to do: Microwave one cup of water with 1/4 of lemon juice for five minutes
Once that heats up, the stubborn stuck-on grease inside your microwave will come right off. It loosens grease or any other grime stuck inside on the walls. Now you have no excuse for those leftover tomato sauce splatters.
Whiten Your Clothes
When life gives you lemons: Use them to whiten your white clothes and linens
What you need to do: Mix half a cup of lemon juice with a gallon of hot water and let the fabric soak for a few hours
Have your whites stopped looking so white? It can be those pesky armpit stains on t-shirts or your kids’ food stains on their clothes. Lemons are safer and better for the environment than bleach. You can also add three teaspoons of lemon juice to your next load of whites.
Kitchen Sink Cleaner
When life gives you lemons: Make your kitchen sink nice and shiny
What you need to do: Blend baking soda and lemon juice and then pour it in and around the sink. Rub the mixture on the surface and rinse it with hot water after a few seconds
Kitchen sinks are a cesspool of bacteria. All that food that sits in their can add up and make your sink lose its shine and craves a good cleaning. So it’s imperative to sanitize it. Use the above method at least once a week.
Clean Your Kettle
When life gives you lemons: Clean your electric kettle
What you need to do: Pour some lemon juice into your kettle, boil it, dump out the water, and give it a quick rinse
You know those crusty, white scales that forming at the bottom of your kettle? That can be fixed with some lemon juice. They’re actually calcium deposits, which are easy to get rid of with the acid from lemons.
Tenderize Your Meat
When life gives you lemons: Use them to make your meats even tastier
What you need to do: When marinating meat, you can add some lemon juice and put it aside for a few hours to let the meat soak it up
The acid from lemons helps tenderize meat by gently breaking down its fibers, leaving it softer and more succulent than it would have been without adding lemon. Your next chicken dinner just got a whole lot tastier.
Clean Your Garbage Disposal
When life gives you lemons: Use them to finally clean your garbage disposal
What you need to do: Throw a few ice cubes, a bit of salt, and a few lemon peels into your disposal and turn it on
Anyone who has garbage disposal knows that after time and a few certain meals, it can get a bit stinky. So if you’re dealing with a smelly garbage disposal, a few lemon peels could help with that. once you do this trick, your disposal will smell much fresher.
Keep Bugs Away
When life gives you lemons: Use them to keep those pesky bugs away
What you need to do: Take some lemon scraps and wrap them in a paper towel to form a bundle. Leave them by doors, windows, or anywhere bugs come in
Here’s a fun fact: bugs like ants and flies actually hate the smell of citrus, especially lemons. Due to the acidic nature of lemons, it wards off all those annoying insects. This is also a lot better than spraying your house down with bug pesticides!
Create Body Scrubs
When life gives you lemons: Scrub your body with them!
What you need to do: Sprinkle some salt on a lemon half and use it to remove dead or discolored skin
If you’re tired of wasting money on body scrubs, making your own with lemons and some salt. If you want to get a little fancier and make a little bottle of some homemade lemon scrub, mix some lemon juice, coconut oil, honey, olive oil, and sugar together and enjoy your next shower.
Help With Dandruff
When life gives you lemons: Get rid of dandruff
What you need to do: Massage 2 tablespoons of lemon juice into your scalp and then rinse with water. Then you can rinse your hair with 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 1 cup water
Repeat this daily until your dandruff goes away. What lemons do is help balance the pH of your scalp, which in turn keeps dandruff at bay. So don’t be afraid to wear black anymore. This hack will save you!
Lighten Your Hair
When life gives you lemons: Give your hair some highlights
What you need to do: Squeeze a few drops of lemon juice onto a comb and run it through your hair before you go out to sit in the sun
You can also add the lemon juice to your favorite leave-in conditioner. This will make your day of tanning by the pool just a little more fun and exciting when you check yourself out later on. Your skin will get darker and your hair lighter!
Put Lemons in Your Fridge
When life gives you lemons: Keep your fridge smelling fresh
What you need to do: After you’ve already squeezed a lemon (on your salad or in a cup of water), place the remaining half in a bowl with the cut side up
This will freshen up your fridge in a matter of hours. While many people use the old trick of baking soda to keep the fridge fresh, others use cotton balls soaked in lemon juice (which is an alternative way to use lemons in your fridge). Just make sure to switch the swabs every week.
Eliminate Odors in the House
When life gives you lemons: Give a wonderful smell to your house
What you need to do: Leave the lemon and/or the rinds hidden in plain sight throughout the house or throw them on top of the trash
Other than odors that can pop up in your home, odors can also stick to your skin. Like when you’re done cooking, but your hands still smell of onion, garlic, or fish. It’s almost impossible to get rid of the smell by just washing your hands with soap. However, rubbing lemon juice on your hands will neutralize odors from food. Ever been to a Chinese restaurant that gave you warm lemon water at the end of your meal? That’s why.
Some Safe Dog Cleaner
When life gives you lemons: Help clean your dog’s tear spots
What you need to do: Mix equal parts baking soda, water, and lemon juice, and lightly rub in the areas around your dog’s eyes but not in them. Leave on for ten minutes and then rinse with water.
Dog expert Cesar Millan aka The Dog Whisperer gave some safe options for cleaning your pets. This hack will help brighten those brownish pink spots on your dog’s fur.
Kitchen and Bathroom Tile Cleaner
When life gives you lemons: Clean your bathroom and kitchen backsplash grout
What you need to do: Combine 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, a ¼ cup of vinegar, and a ¼ cup of water, then dip an old toothbrush into the mixture and scrub
You can even use this on the grout around the kitchen sink. You can also add salt to the mixture to make it coarser. But don’t use lemon on marble surfaces because it’s too acidic.
Clean the Grill
When life gives you lemons: Use them after a BBQ to scrub down the grill
What you need to do: Combine one cup of salt with 3- 4 tablespoons of lemon juice and scrub the grill
This one is for the griller of the house. And if it’s your husband, maybe this hack will make him a bit more excited to do it next time. If you can actually remove the grill grate, by the way, it will be easier.
Makeshift Wood Cleaner
When life gives you lemons: Make your very own wood polish
What you need to do: Mix 1 cup of olive oil with a ½ cup of lemon juice. Simply rub it onto furniture with a soft cloth.
You don’t have to spend money on furniture polish or cleaner when you want to shine your gorgeous wooden floors. This method is safer than those products, a heck of a lot cheaper, and smells better!
Infuse Your Water
When life gives you lemons: Add them to your much-needed glass of water
What you need to do: Cut some lemon pieces up and add them to your water pitcher or glass
Don’t think that fancy and pretty looking water is only something you can drink at restaurants. It’s the easiest thing to do at home, and your body will thank you. Cut up some lemon as well as other fruits with antioxidants and add them to your water.
Whiten Your Nails
When life gives you lemons: Make your nails whiter
What you need to do: Cut half a lemon and squeeze it into a small bowl. Soak your fingers for ten minutes. Rinse with vinegar.
Are you going to have a girl’s night anytime soon? This is the perfect homemade manicure for a night in. Turn your home into a salon and get those nails whiter. Nails naturally get a yellow tint to them with time and age (and even worse if you smoke). But lemons are here to save the day.
Get Rid of Acne
When life gives you lemons: Use them to get rid of pimples
What you need to do: Cut half a lemon and rub the juice on your face, especially in the problem areas. Let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes and rinse off.
This is a quick and easy home remedy that can help those with mild acne. Your diet also has a lot to do with the quality of your skin, so be sure to eat healthy foods if you want to avoid breakouts.
Kill Weeds in Your Yard
When life gives you lemons: Make a natural weed killer
What you need to do: Squeeze lemon directly onto the weeds or squeeze some juice into a spray bottle. Coat the leaves in the juice, then let it sit for a couple of days.
After a few days, you’ll notice the weeds will start to disappear. You can also mix some vinegar into the spray bottle if you want to give it an extra boost. Vinegar smells a bit funky, though, so it’s not going to smell as fresh.
Clean Your Pots
When life gives you lemons: Make your pots squeaky clean
What you need to do: Mix together lemon, distilled white vinegar, and baking soda to scrub down those pots and pans
Pots and pans can be expensive. But once they’ve tarnished, it doesn’t mean you have to buy new ones. You can use this method to scrub them down and get them looking almost new again.
Fluff and Separate Rice
When life gives you lemons: Make your rice fluffier
What you need to do: Add a little bit of lemon juice while the rice is boiling
If you make rice, you’ll know that it can get clumpy and stick together. And no one wants clumps of rice. This hack will make your next pot of rice a lot fluffier and have a slight lemony taste. Yum!
Clean Your Silver
When life gives you lemons: Keep your silverware and jewelry shinier
What you need to do: Use two tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 cup of water and lightly rub the silver with a cloth
Whether your silverware or silver jewelry is tarnished and dull, use this mixture of lemon and warm water to bring them back to life. The acid in the lemon juice will clean the tarnish. Voila! You silver just got a lot shinier.
Clean Plastic Containers
When life gives you lemons: Use them to keep your Tupper wear clean
What you need to do: Use water and lemon juice to cover any stained area. Once you fill it, let it soak for about 24 hours.
If you’re anything like me, you use plastic containers on a daily basis. Lunches, leftovers, etc. But they can get stained (hello, spaghetti!) So you can just take a day and soak them all in the lemon water for a full 24 hours, and you’ll be good to go.
Freshen a Humidifier
When life gives you lemons: Use them to freshen up your home humidifier
What you need to do: Add a few tablespoons of lemon juice to the humidifier
Is your humidifier getting a little bit musty? You don’t want to be breathing in musty humid air, do you? Especially if it’s in your kids’ rooms. The lemon juice will not only freshen it up, but it’ll disinfect it, too.
Make Your Own Lemon Oil
When life gives you lemons: Turn them into oil!
What you need to do: Simmer it in an oil of your choice and then strain out the lemon remains when it’s cooled down and ready to use
Another way to make your own lemon-infused oil if you’d rather not get your stove involved is to let lemon rinds soak with cold oil for a few weeks until it becomes fragrant. The lemon oil really tastes great on salads or in pasta.
Make Decorations and Garnishes
When life gives you lemons: Make them look pretty in your home and in your cocktails
What you need to do: First, you need to dry a bunch up and then use them as nice additions
Make some homemade household decorations and cocktail garnished with lemons. Turn lemon rinds into garlands, hang them on the rim of cocktail glasses, or even them to warm drinks like tea for a hit of concentrated lemon flavor.
Use Dried Lemon Peels in Your Fireplace
When life gives you lemons: Turn them into fire starters
What you need to do: Take dried lemon peels and throw them into your fireplace to get the fire started
Dried lemon peels make for perfect fire starters. Along with a few logs, dried peels in your fireplace will get the fire lit in no time. And the best part is that your fire will smell amazing! I wish I had a fireplace to try this out.
When life gives you lemons: Make your own homemade potpourri
What you need to do: Take 2 sliced lemons, 2 sprigs of rosemary, and 1 tablespoon vanilla. Place them into a pot and fill with water to about 1 inch below brim and simmer.
Ever been to a home that smells absolutely delicious and it wasn’t from cooking anything? They probably had some homemade potpourri lying around. Become one of those families by making this amazing potpourri. It should last a few days. But since it’s so easy, do it every week!
Make Fancy Finishing Salts
When life gives you lemons: Make some infused sea salt
Zest from one lemon
1/2 cup coarsely ground sea salt
2 tsp fresh thyme
Combine ingredients in a small bowl and place the salt mixture on a cookie sheet and spread out thinly. Bake in a 225-degree oven for two hours, mixing gently after one hour. Remove from oven and let cool. Use the flat part of a spoon to gently press out any lumps that formed. Store in a tightly sealed glass jar and sprinkle onto seafood or other dishes before or after cooking.
When life gives you lemons: Use them to make your own salad dressing
What you need to do: Add lemon juice to olive oil, salt, pepper, and any other flavoring agents honey and Dijon mustard, for example.
With the help of lemon juice, a super easy salad dressing is within reach. Make your own vinaigrette with the ingredients above and store in the fridge. You’ll have a go-to salad dressing for every salad you make.
Don’t Be Wasteful
When life gives you lemons: Use them in their entirety
What you need to do: When baking your favorite cakes and other baked goods, use the entire lemon
Double down on all the lemony flavor in when making baked goods by using both the juice and the zest. And just so you know, using the zest will make you look fancy AF. And it’ll impress your friends or better yet, your mother in law.
Add Lemons to All Your Recipes
When life gives you lemons: Make life taste better
What you need to do: Add a squirt of lemon juice to your food
I personally have a bowl of lemons out in the kitchen all the time. Why? Because they’re perfect for pretty much anything, you’re going to make for dinner! Lemons are great additions to pasta, soups, salads, and roasts alike. The juice brings a much-needed freshness and contrast.
Write Secret Messages
When life gives you lemons: Make some magic with invisible ink
What you need to do: Use the lemon juice as a sort of pen and use heat to reveal the message
This is perfect for your little ones! Show them how to make magic by having them write secret messages to people with lemon juice. After applying heat from a blow dryer, they’ll see the message come to life. Cool, huh?
When life gives you lemons: Use them to revive your wilting lettuce
What you need to do: Adding juice to a bowl of cold water and put in the limp lettuce leaves to soak for an hour
Make your wilting lettuce a little bit crispier by adding a little lemon juice. Once dry, the leaves will be crispy again. You can also use this tip for apples, avocado, potato, cauliflower, and pears to keep them from browning.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
When life gives you lemons: Clean your toilet!
What you need to do: Cut a lemon in half and sprinkle the bowl with coarse sea salt. Wearing rubber gloves, scrub the bowl until any stains start to lift
Not all toilet bowls are alike. Some are more stubborn than others and need a hack like this to do the trick. So if your toilet is one of those, you’ll be happy to see that this tip really does the trick.
Soothe a Sore Throat
When life gives you lemons: Put them in your tea
What you need to do: Gargle lemon juice with salt and water and drink lemon, honey, and ginger tea
If you have a sore throat, you’re more than likely on the brink of a cold or flu. Don’t bother buying sugar-filled lozenges, though. A good old gargle and some hot tea (all with lemon, of course) will do the trick.
When life gives you lemons: Make lemonade!
What you need to do: Cut a lemon in half and squeeze both parts into a cup, then put one of the halves into the cup as well. Boil sugar and water to make a simple syrup. Fill a fourth of the mixture into the cup with the lemon. Add ice and water to the brim of the cup and enjoy!
If you got to this page, good job! You clearly love your lemons and want to use them for good. But let’s not forget what lemons are best for – lemonade! It’s the perfect drink on a summer day. Enjoy!