Lemons. They go great in a gin and tonic and add a real zing to freshly grilled fish, but did you know they have a lot more to offer than their powerful zesty flavour alone?
Today we're sharing some new ways to use lemons for everything from cleaning to curing illnesses.
Ready to harness the power of lemons? Then let's get started!
Editor's Note: This post was originally posted in September 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in December 2018.
Cleaning with lemons
Say goodbye to expensive cleaning products and hello to the cheap, all-natural alternative.
1. Stainless steel sink cleaner
If your once sparkly, stainless steel sink is turned brown and stained, it's time to act! Grab some salt and sprinkle it over a damp sink, then rub half a lemon over the top, being sure to get into all the corners and crevices.
It will remove discolouration and the juices will also help the drain stay smelling fresh.
2. Clean the microwave
Forget scrubbing - follow these 5 step instructions to remove stuck-on food and grease from the inside of your microwave:
- Pour half a cup of water into a small microwaveable bowl.
- Cut a lemon in half and juice into the bowl.
- Drop the lemon halves into the bowl too.
- Microwave for 3 minutes or until the water boils.
- Leave the bowl to stand for 5 minutes without opening the door.
The steam and juices from the hot lemon water will help loosen any gunk from the inside of the microwave so you can take a sponge to it and give it a quick wipe down. If you come across any stubborn bits, just use the lemon water and sponge to buff them away. Your microwave will be clean and lemon fresh in no time!
3. Deodorise food storage containers
Tupperware and other plastic containers get easily discoloured and smelly after a while. Make sure you give them a good clean every now and then by rubbing half a lemon in and around the box. This should deodorise any bad smells and also remove grease stains.
4. DIY bathroom scrub
Mix together the juice of one lemon with 1/4 cup of baking powder and use a sponge or a toothbrush to apply it onto your bathroom fittings and tiles. Scrubbing in circular motions will get rid of any mould or mildew in your bathroom.
5. Make chrome fittings sparkle
Forget about expensive bathroom cleaners. A simple lemon will remove shower stains and soap scum, leaving any chrome fittings (like your shower or bath taps) sparkling. Rub half a lemon over them as if you were using a sponge then finish with a rinse of cold water.
6. Refresh a smelly kitchen sink
Squeeze some lemons - the juice from three should be fine - down your kitchen plughole and leave it for an hour without running any water through. Then boil the kettle and pour it carefully down the plughole. This should flush out any built up food and grime, and banish any bad odour too.
7. Homemade multi-purpose cleaning solution
If you buy a different cleaning product for every room and purpose, stop right now.
Vinegar can clean most surfaces in your home and works out more cost-efficient. The only problem can be the strong stench of vinegar in your home, but you can give your household cleaner a life using lemon.
Food, Fashion and Fun have a great post on how to make a quick and easy natural multi-purpose spray for your cleaning kit.
Using lemons around the home
8. Lavender lemon candles
There's something so refreshing about the smell and appearance of lemons. If you love their citrusy scent too, give these lemon and lavender candles a go.
They're easier than they look - all you need is container candle wax which is available online, dried lavender, lemons, candle wicks and food colouring. Visit Brit +Co for all the details on how to make these beauties.
9. Natural air freshener
Make your home smell lovely and fresh with a natural fragrance jar. With just a few slices of lemon, sprigs of rosemary and drops of vanilla, you can make your own air freshener to keep household odour at bay! Visit The Yummy Life for exact measurements.
Looking for another natural air freshener? Give shower onions a try!
10. DIY lemon dust cloths
Take your dust clothes to a new level with the addition of fresh lemon.
These damp dust cloths pick up dust, make surfaces shine and leave a lovely, lingering lemon scent. You can keep them in an airtight container until you need them.
You will need:
- 2 cups of water
- 2 cups of white distilled vinegar
- Olive Oil
- 2 Old rags cut in half or quarters - cleaned and dried
- Rinds of three lemons, cut into large pieces
- Airtight container or jar
- Rosemary sprigs - optional
- Mix equal parts water and vinegar then add a few drops of olive oil.
- Soak the old rags in the vinegar solution until saturated.
- Lay the rags out and place the rinds on top.
- Roll the rags up with the rinds inside and place in the container.
You can use the rags when you need them and when they're dirty, simply pop them in the wash and start again.
11. Place-card holders at a wedding
If you're looking for cheap and cheerful place-card holders for your special day, then why not try lemons?
A lemon half can easily be transformed into a little boat complete with cute sails. This is lovely if you're serving a starter or main which requires a drizzle of lemon too!
12. Lemon & sunflower centrepiece
For a spectacular centrepiece, pop a vase within a vase and fill the area in between with slices of lemon. This looks stunning with sunflower but you can use any type of flower you like.
This would make a wonderful, low-cost addition to a Summer wedding, or even a birthday BBQ!
13. Lemon & lavender bouquet
Speaking of centrepieces, check out this amazing bouquet. It's so wonderfully unique and is surprisingly easy to recreate with a hot gun and some styrofoam and glue.
Unusual cooking uses
Cooking with lemon, but not as you know it...
14. Lemon dessert bowls
For a fun twist on a simple dessert, try serving up your ice cream or sorbets in lemon halves.
This is an amazing way to use up those leftover lemon rinds and save on washing up - hurrah! Carve out your lemons, slice the ends carefully so they have a flat surface then freeze for a few hours. We got this neat trick from The Proper Blog - check it out for more interesting ideas.
15. Keep cauliflower white
Cauliflower turns brown extremely quickly when exposed to heat so to help prevent them for darkening, drizzle some lemon juice over your florets before cooking.
16. Clean a chopping board
All sorts of germs and bacteria from meat and fresh produce can be transferred onto chopping boards, so it's important to disinfect them.
To get your's super clean, rub a cut lemon vigorously over the board, then pop it in the microwave for a minute. This is a handy trick for when you've been chopping up fish and raw meat and can also help remove any stubborn stains.
17. Prevent guacamole from turning brown
Guacamole should be green, not a sludgy brown colour.
To keep yours looking colourful and fresh, add a quick squeeze of lemon. The flavours will blend beautifully and the green colour will stay bright and beautiful.
18. Revive wilted lettuce
It's not too late! Lemon may be able to save your wilting greens.
Add the juice of one lemon to a medium sized bowl of water, then throw in your wilted lettuce leaves and pop the bowl in the fridge for an hour. When you take it out, the leaves should be fresh and crispy again - hurrah!
19. Remove cooking smells from hands
If you've been chopping onions or garlic, the smell may linger on your hands for hours afterwards - yuck!
Banish any smells before they have time to settle by rubbing a slice of lemon over your hands and washing with soapy water. Just be careful not to go over any small cuts as the acid will make them sting.
20. Clean a cheese grater
Washing the cheese grater is a fiddly task and can even be dangerous! To make this task easier and prevent any sponge - or finger - damage, take a leftover lemon half and grate the pulp to help loosen any sticky or greasy bits of food. Then simply rinse through. Your cheese grater will be free from sticky cheese and sparkling clean too.
21. Lemon & mint ice cubes
If you're trying to be a little healthier but getting bored of the taste of plain old water fast, try making flavoured ice cubes.
Freeze slices of lemon and water in ice cube trays - or muffin tins if you like them to bigger - and make pretty and flavoursome ice cubes for punch bowls, cocktails, or just your everyday glasses of water.
You can even add fruit pieces or some mint like Nish Bakes has here - they're made for mojitos!
22. Cook fish on a bed of lemon
Whether you are BBQ-ing, grilling or baking fish, try cooking it on lemons à la The Mother Huddle. Fish has a tendency to stick to surfaces so it can be tricky keeping it all together when it's time to plate up. Laying it down on a bad of lemon slices will not only keep everything intact and provide an easy clean up (everyone hates cleaning grills), but the lemon will infuse into the fish giving it a subtle lemon flavour.
23. Lemon juicing hack
This one is not so much a use but a fantastic little trick nevertheless.
To maximise the amount of juice you can squeeze out of your lemon, roll it on a flat surface whilst applying some firm pressure. This should help burst some of the tiny juice-filled beads and make juicing much easier.
If this sounds like too much work, pop it in the microwave for a minute or two instead.
24. Lemon rind cupcakes
Brit+Co believe that when life hands you lemons, you should make cupcakes. These cute lemon cupcakes can be baked inside hollowed out lemons, making them super easy to prepare and make.
Lemons for skin & health
25. Lemon & green tea face mask
Fancy a facial?
Lemon, yoghurt and matcha green tea powder blend beautifully to create a paste that will do wonders for your skin. Apply this to your skin once a week and it'll help soothe any blemishes and redness, smooth out an uneven skin tone and make your skin feel fresh as a daisy.
26. Clear up a troublesome complexion
Lemons are full of nutrients and vitamins and are well known for their cleansing properties.
The juice from a lemon can cleanse, hydrate, fight infection and even remove blackheads. To see what it can do for your complexion, simply take a cut lemon and gently massage it over your face for a few minutes, then rinse thoroughly with cold water.
This works well as a cooling toner too. No fuss - natural skincare at it's best!
27. Homemade lemon & peppermint foot scrub
Looking for something to do with your leftover lemon rind? Just follow this easy-to-prepare foot scrub recipe from FreutCake. It combines sea salt, lemon peel and cooling peppermint oil to help refresh and revive your feet.
28. DIY lemon sugar body scrub
The four natural ingredients in this scrub are all well known for their skin-soothing properties and together they make one hell of a beauty scrub. Mix together the following and use on your body for super silky, soft, supple skin:
- Olive Oil - for intensive moisturising
- Honey - for soothing irritated skin
- Sugar - for exfoliating
- Lemon - to tighten and tone skin
For instructions on how to make this DIY natural scrub visit Cocorrina.
29. Lemon water
Have you heard of the lemon water phenomenon yet?
Every morning before you have any other food or drink, mix together warm water (half boiling water and half cold will be perfect) and two slices of lemon. This will help cleanse your body, flush out toxins, boost your immune system and balance your pH levels.
It's a great way to start the day!
Who knew a citrus fruit could do all of that! What's your favourite use for lemon? Let us know in the comments below.
Make your own chopped peel for baking. Just take lemon rind and chop up into small cubes, then place in a saucepan with enough water to cover, bring to the boil and then discard the water. This removes the bitterness. Then put back in the saucepan, with two thirds water to one third sugar, bring to the boil then simmer for an hour. Drain off the syrup and keep, useful for favouring drinks, cakes etc. Leave the peel to air dry and use for baking.
Thanks for sharing this awesome tip Lucy. I will definitely be trying this over the weekend!
Thanks for all the lovely lemon links; such a super fruit!
You're welcome, Shirley!
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