Lemons are a natural cleaner
The acid in lemon juice helps cut through grease and removes dirt and rust stains. It’s especially effective when mixed with salt, which makes “an excellent scouring paste,” says Karyn Siegel-Maier, author of The Naturally Clean Home.
The many uses of lemons include:
Combine 1/2 quart hot water with equal parts baking soda and lemon juice (about a teaspoon each)
- Countertops: Dip the cut side of a lemon half in baking soda to tackle countertops; wipe with a wet sponge and dry. Don’t use on delicate stone, like marble, or stainless steel (it may discolor).
- Cutting boards: To remove tough food stains from light wood and plastic cutting boards, slice a lemon in half, squeeze onto the soiled surface, rub, and let sit for 20 minutes before rinsing.
- Dishes: To increase the grease-cutting power of your dishwashing detergent, add a teaspoon of lemon juice, but don’t use with silver.
- Faucets: Combat lime scale by rubbing lemon juice onto the taps and letting it sit overnight. Wipe with a damp cloth.
- Garbage disposal: Cut a lemon in half, then run both pieces through the disposal. “The lemon cleans it and makes it smell great,” says Linda Mason Hunter, a coauthor of Green Clean (Melcher Media, $17, amazon.com).
- Grout: Spilled morning coffee on your tile countertop or backsplash? Here’s how to tackle grout stains: Add lemon juice to 1 or 2 teaspoons cream of tartar (an acidic salt that acts as a natural bleaching agent) to make a paste. Apply with a toothbrush, then rinse.
- Hands: When you touch raw fish, the smell can linger on your fingers. Rub your hands with lemon juice, which will neutralize the odor.
- Laundry: To brighten whites, add 1/2 cup lemon juice to the rinse cycle for a normal-size load.
- Plastic food-storage containers: To bleach stains from tomato soup and other acidic foods on dishwasher-safe items, rub lemon juice on the spots, let dry in a sunny place, then wash as usual.