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Lovely Lemons: 14 Uses in the Home

Lovely Lemons: 14 Uses in the Home

Lemons. What a bright, fresh scent that just sings “wake up, feel refreshed!” This attribute must be why I often think of lemon’s scent on hot sticky days. I expect it goes along with the appeal of a cold glass of lemonade. Besides adding lemons to drinks there are a number of ways to use lemons in the home.

Like vinegar, much of lemon’s gift is that it is an acid. It smells much fresher than vinegar, which is fermented. (You’d be surprised how many people write to me saying that they truly don’t like the smell of vinegar.) As an acid, lemon juice provides the benefits of vinegar, such as being a very good antiseptic killer of mold, germs, and bacteria.

What better time to learn some of these household hints during the heat of the summer when you and your family can receive a bright aromatherapy boost from the scent? Here are tips for using lemons for hair spray, cleaning metal, freshening the air, cleansing your skin, lightening your hair, and more.


Lemon oil is renowned as being very lubricating, which is why it is so often used on furniture.

Known to calm fears and lift depression, adding a few drops of pure lemon oil to a diffuser is considered to be a good tip for when someone is experiencing these symptoms.

Lemon juice is a great choice for deodorizing counters, cutting boards, and more. The acid in lemon juice kills mold, bacteria, and germs. While not a 100 percent kill rate, you can’t sterilize your house anyway, so if you look at lemon juice as a solidly good deodorizer you will turn to it when you aren’t needing a hospital-level disinfectant job.

Using leftover lemon and lime rinds in the garbage disposal is a great way to deodorize this apparatus, which so often can give off an odor.

Glass and China Cleaner
The acid in lemon juice will break down the alkaline minerals found in hard water. It will also work on stains. Make a solution of water and lemon juice and place in the glass, letting the solution set there for a few hours before washing as usual.

Air Freshener
Simmer sliced lemons in water. I like to use 2-3 lemons to about 4 cups of water. Simmer for a few hours, replacing water as needed.

Microwave Cleaner
Just put a slice or two of lemon in a cup of water and put in the microwave for 30 seconds on high. Use a cloth to clean dry. You can substitute a tablespoon or so of lemon juice with water.

Metal Cleaner
An acid like lemon juice works wonders for cleaning metals such as chrome, copper, and brass. There are myriad ways to get the lemon juice onto the metal, from simply rubbing the metal with a cut lemon (use the majority of the juice for a salad dressing), to mixing lemon juice with salt for a bit of an abrasive.

Lemon juice and the sun combined proves to whiten clothes, hair, and more. I like to soak grey clothes in some water and lemon juice (add a cup of lemon juice to a small load of laundry and let it soak, agitating occasionally, before rinsing and hanging on the line on sunny days).

Soap Scum/Shower Stalls
Soap is very alkaline and when it combines with hard water minerals it tends to form soap scum that can then coat shower stalls, bathtubs, and sinks. Acids cut through this soap scum. I’d suggest using lemon juice straight on a sponge and wash it onto the soap scum, let set for a few hours, and then rinse.

Mineral Buildup/Scale
Minerals are very alkaline and the acid of lemon juice cuts through and dissolves the minerals. Known as scale, mineral buildup frequently gets hard and in particular resides around faucets. Pour straight lemon juice on a washcloth or clean cloth. Lay the cloth over the scale and let set for a few hours before rinsing and cleaning the area.

Alpha Hydroxy Acid
Freshly squeezed lemon juice on my face is one of the best facials I have ever given myself. Lemon is a natural alpha hydroxyl acid and works like a charm to remove dead skin cells. Add some carrot juice for some vitamin A and you have something as good as found in any spa!

The solvents in most commercial hairspray could light your hair on fire if you were ever near an open flame, so I recommend you make this lemon-based natural hair spray at home, instead!

Hair Lightener
How many Saturdays I spent on the front lawn in the summer, my hair rinsed full of lemon juice, lying in the sun for a few hours, hoping to lighten my brown tresses. Squeeze cup of lemon juice into a container with a spout, pour on your hair, work it through, and set in the sun until it is fully dry and then wash as usual. Make sure not to get the lemon juice in your eyes!

Skin Lightener
Dab freshly squeezed, straight lemon juice on dark spots like “liver spots” that you want to remove. Let it fully dry and then rinse.

Read more: Home, Household Hints, Non-Toxic Cleaning, , , , ,

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.


+ add your own
6:34AM PDT on May 5, 2015

For all these uses, there is a cheaper product that works as well or better, usually white vinegar. By all means, use the peels, but save those expensive lemons for food.

6:08PM PDT on Apr 26, 2015


7:36AM PDT on Apr 3, 2015

Thank you for sharing.

9:28AM PST on Feb 27, 2015


9:27AM PST on Feb 27, 2015


1:44PM PST on Feb 26, 2015

The cleaning uses of lemon were very interesting, thank you. I've been using lemon juice as a facial astringent for many years, as it kills bacteria, removes dead skin cells, brightens and firms the skin. But please test it first -- those with very sensitive skin may be allergic and it can cause burns. And rinse thoroughly and away from eyes.

4:51AM PST on Feb 18, 2015

good advice, thank you

5:20AM PST on Jan 30, 2015

interesting idea, Micha :-)

2:31AM PDT on Oct 14, 2014

Live long & prosper

4:46AM PDT on Oct 13, 2014

Sourness is never really bad, and so as sadness

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