lemon aid – 12 ways to use lemons around the house
Jamie Oliver would be pleased. We always have lemons handy in the house and they come in use all the time. While unfortunately we don’t grow our own, I do have a cheap source of good lemons.
For many of the tips below, vinegar can be easily exchanged, but lemon gives a fresh and pleasant smell that vinegar, well, doesn’t. Use lemon juice to clean bench tops and toilets and sinks just as you would vinegar, and your house will be smelling fresh.
If you have a glut of lemons, squeeze the juice and freeze it in ice cube trays. Once frozen, store in bags or containers. For lemon drinks, it’s as simple as popping a cube into a cup.
Here are some more uses for lemon juice.
1. Drink lemon juice as a health tonic. You have probably heard the advice to drink a glass of water with lemon in it first thing in the morning. The lemon in the water can help stimulate the liver (helping the liver detoxify the body), assists digestion and can help prevent constipation and bloating. It can help control the harmful bacteria in the body, can assist in weight loss, can assist in lowering blood pressure, and of course, lemon juice is a good source of Vitamin C.
During cold and flus, a hot drink of lemon and honey can ease congestion and assist in a speedy recovery (all that Vitamin C). I add a good squeeze of lemon juice and 1/2 a teaspoon of honey (or to taste, but quite frankly, I generally can’t taste anything when I’m sick) to a cup of boiling water and sip. Ok, I often also add a good slosh of whiskey – I figure if the lemon and honey don’t work, the whiskey should make me sleep better!
2. Remove lime scale. Lime scale can be removed from taps and draining boards by rubbing them with half a lemon, leaving it for a minute, then rinsing the lemon off and giving everything a shine with a cloth. To remove lime scale and stains from your electric kettle, put a few slices of lemon in your kettle and boil. Leave to cool, then rinse well. I find this is an effective remedy, but if the lime scale build up is significant, you may need to boil the kettle several times. I have also found limes (you know, the old shrivelled half that has been forgotten in the back of the fridge) work just as well.
3. Polish copper, brass, aluminium and stainless steel. Either straight lemon juice or a paste made with lemon juice and cream of tartar or salt will see these metals shine like new again.
3. Lemon juice in laundry. Freshen a load of laundry by adding some lemon juice to the the wash cycle. This will also brighten whites and help remove rust and mineral stains. You can also soak clothes in a mixture of lemon juice and bicarb (diluted in plenty of water) prior to washing (always do a patch test first!). For underarm stains, rub with a mixture of lemon juice and water prior to washing.
4. Freshen your dishwasher and make your glasses sparkle by placing half a lemon in your next dishwasher load.
5. Freshen your chopping board by rubbing it with half a lemon. This will help remove stains and smells. You can also add a little salt when you do this.
6. Lemon juice will remove fish and onion odours from hands. Simply wash in plain lemon juice or rub your skin with half a lemon.
7. Prevent fruit from oxidising. Prevent fruit like apples and pears from going brown by rubbing them with a little lemon or placing them in water that has some lemon juice squeezed in. A little lemon or lime squeezed into mashed avocado will also prevent it going brown.
8. Deter fleas and insects. Spray carpet with a mixture of lemon juice and water (1 –2 tbsp. of lemon juice to a spray bottle of water) to deter fleas. Be aware that lemon juice + sunlight = bleaching affect, so always patch test first. Lemon juice (or lemon essential oil) around doors and windows will help keep insects out. Dried lemon rind in your cupboards and drawers can help ward off moths.
9. Lemon and cats. You can deter cats from digging in the garden by placing lemon peel where you don’t want them to dig. If your cat has a favourite cushion to wee on (why oh why cats decide to wee on the lounge I don’t know, but ours has in the past), some lemon juice or lemon oil on the cushion can help deter the cat (put it on the actual foam or insert rather than directly onto the fabric to prevent staining). To neutralise cat litter odour, place cut lemons in the same room as the litter.
9. Polish your furniture. 1 part lemon juice to 2 parts olive oil makes an effective furniture polish (as always, patch test first).
10. Deodorise your garbage bin by placing half a lemon in the bin.
11. Tackle soap scum with undiluted lemon juice and leave your shower smelling fresh.
12. Lemon juice as a beauty product. You can lighten your hair by rinsing it in lemon juice and then letting your hair dry in direct sunlight. Lemon juice will also make your hair soft and rinse out any soap build up. I used to do this all the time as a teenager and it works quite well.
Lemon juice also has natural alpha hydroxyl acid in it, which can gently exfoliate the dead cells from your skin, leaving it soft and looking healthy. It can also help lighten ‘age spots’. Lemon juice also acts as an astringent for your skin. Be aware though, lemon juice reacts with sunlight and increases photosensitivity, making your skin more susceptible to sunburn, so avoid the sun after applying lemon to your skin.
If lemons don’t feature frequently in your fruit basket, take another look at the humble lemon and enjoy the cheap and chemical free benefits of using this natural product around the home.
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