If you’re habitually germ-conscious, always striving to keep your surroundings sanitary, then picking out the best cleaning products for the job can seem like a bit of an all-out nightmare. Do you get a general cleaner for surfaces? Do you get specific kitchen and bathroom cleaners? Do you get the one that kills 99% of bacteria and smells really nice or do you get the one without the enumerated efficiency but that promises a fresh, sparkling finish? It’s tough to keep track. And it might be even tougher to believe, but you can reduce costs, up your eco-friendliness, and keep your surroundings fresh and clean by investing in a few lemons. Don’t believe us? Here’s how you can use lemons as a cleaning agent in a variety of ways:
Lemon juice can be used to clean nearly everything in your kitchen – plus it makes things smell nice, which is why so many cleaning products are lemon-scented. Dip an old toothbrush in lemon juice to scrub grout. To clean and remove stains from cutting boards, slice a lemon in half and rub the juice full strength onto stains, leave them overnight, then rinse them. You can remove stains and smells from plastic food storage containers too, by soaking them in lemon juice, then adding some baking soda into the mix and scrubbing them. Clean your microwave by putting a ¾ cup of water and lemon juice inside, letting it boil, then wiping it dry. Keep your fridge fresh too by placing a half-lemon on a saucer in there – though don’t forget to change it once a week.
Whether at home or at the office, this is one room in which you definitely don’t want to encounter unpleasant smells. You can easily keep a toilet bowl fresh by pouring a half cup of lemon juice into the bowl and swishing it with a toilet brush. And if you’ve got pesky limescale or other forms of bathroom scum to contend with, make a paste with two parts bicarbonate soda to one part lemon juice, and apply it to the offending area with a damp cloth. Leave it for ten minutes and rub it off with a sponge or a soft toothbrush.
Be a little more careful with this one – despite its beneficial antibacterial properties, neat lemon juice can corrode marble and granite countertops. But putting some diluted lemon juice in a spray bottle is a great way of cleaning laminated counter tops – as long as you remember to wipe them down with water and dry them afterward. You can use a half lemon and salt to clean tarnished brass items (but not brass-plated items), copper items, and chrome taps. Be careful and always test a small spot before diving right in, especially when cleaning anything valuable.
For windows and shower doors, put four tablespoons of lemon juice in a half-gallon of water and the resulting mix will dissolve dirt, grime, and water stains.
One cup of olive oil and half a cup of lemon juice makes a great polish for wooden furniture and hardwood floors alike – just dab some on a cloth and use it like your usual furniture polish.
If you’re struggling to remove odours from clothes, add a teaspoon of lemon juice to the laundry along with your usual detergent – and you’ll get extra fresh-smelling clothes as a result. And put away those heavy-duty stain removers – lemon juice can act as a natural bleaching agent; include some when you wash your next round of white clothes and sheets and any pesky stains will be bleached away. Whether you’re at home or at work, keeping a few lemons around is a great way to make sure you’ve always got some DIY cleaning agents around. And when you’re free, you can marvel at their usefulness. Freshness all round!