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My mother was a whizz with the vinegar and the lemon. I keep meaning to write them up on the blog, and have forgotten over and over again to actually do it. These are not my tips, but simply the ones I saw her use over the years. I can’t say I copied them all, but if you have lemons going spare, these are some great uses to put them to.
Lemons smell absolutely amazing. It’s no accident they are in so many cleaning products, toilet cleaners and air fresheners. Lemon scented diffusers also kick the pants off any of its closest competitors for fresh and clean smelling scents around the house. My mum had an old lemon juicer, and while I tend not to use it often, there are now some much more effective lemon squeezers and citrus juicers out there.
Fresh or Bottled Lemon Juice
This can be an individual preference. Some forms of cleaning will benefit from direct rubbing of the lemon to help break down the dirt by using direct enzyme action, and others will be fine with the juice of fresh lemons, or even bottled lemon juice that you might use for preserves and cooking.
I know that I’ve bought lemons in the past, made some lemonade or curd, and decided they are too sour for me to do anything much with. These are perfect for squeezing and making our own products from. When I make juice for cleaning, I keep it in the fridge, and although I’ve heard of people keeping theirs in the freezer, I’ve never gone that far. My mum would have, however.
Where is Lemon Juice Unsuitable for Use?
Lemon acid is antibacterial, and makes a great natural alternative to cleaning chemicals. Remember that lemon is not a disinfectant and will not totally replace your cleaning routine.
Always test the areas where you plan to clean with lemon, as some fabrics and surfaces will not be compatible. Rinse after cleaning and dry thoroughly.
Lemon is not suitable for cleaning anything that contains brass, hard wood or natural stone, such as granite worktops, sandstone surfaces or tiles and wooden floors.
Here are just a few places in your kitchen you can clean with lemons—and how to do it.
1. Laminated Worktops and Surfaces
Lemon juice is perfect for cleaning laminated surface. Use juice directly or put it into a spray bottle to spray directly on the surface. Spray or rub on, then leave for a few minutes before wiping off with a clean damp sponge or cloth, then drying. The emzymes from the lemon juice will help remove stubborn stains.
2. Chopping Boards
Clean these the exact same way that you clean your laminated surfaces, being sure to leave the juice for a few minutes on stubborn stains. Where your chopping board has been used for products such as poultry, the chopping board will need additional cleaning prior to using your lemon juice, as it is not a disinfectant.
The main use on chopping boards, apart from removing stubborn stains, is the ability to help remove stubborn smells from the boards, especially wooden ones, which can suffer from lingering onion breath.
3. Window Cleaning
Like vinegar, lemon juice excels at window cleaning, but leaves a much nicer scent in the room. I remember trailing after my mother and the dreaded scent of vinegar, and I remember how pleased I was when she swapped that to lemons.
Use the lemon juice in a spray bottle again, using two to three tablespoons of the lemon juice and diluting it with some warm water.
Lemon is a perfect degreaser. I’ve had some success with it on my hob burners that I sometimes take off and pop into a bowl of hot water. I do struggle to keep those clean, and steeping them in a mix of lemon juice with a teaspoon of salt and scrubbing them with a pad helps. I let the mixture seep into the burners and leave them for half an hour before rinsing and popping them back onto the gas hob.
I haven’t used lemons for pans, but I imagine they would be good for degreasing frying pans and burnt on grease.
5. Blitz the Microwave
This one is as easy as pie. I really detest the grease and build up that settles on the inside of my microwave. To use it properly, just mix some lemon juice to a micro safe bowl, with 500ml water and blitz for up to 5 minutes. Leave to let the steam from the water/lemon juice do it’s work for another five minutes, then simply open the microwave and wipe down the surfaces.
6. Fridge Deodoriser
This is even easier than cleaning the microwave. Simply slice a lemon and pop it into a small dish, adding it to the door, or the back of the fridge. Simply swap out weekly for a fresh and clean smelling fridge.
*Note, please test an area before using lemon juice on your surfaces. Some surfaces are totally unsuitable and may be damaged with incorrect use.