At the beginning of a new year, I always love re-organizing everything and doing a good, deep cleaning in the house. Even though I’m not a believer in resolutions, I do like how January can seem like the perfect time to kick off new projects, organization and cleaning routines.
While I was pregnant (which I have been four times in January) I couldn’t stand the smell of strong household cleaners. I literally felt like I was suffocating under the scent, and bleach was the worst. Since then, I’ve started using lemon and vinegar in a lot of my cleaning because I like the natural combination of the two. As I’ve looked for new uses I’ve been shocked at how much you can really do with lemons and I wanted to share some lemon hacks with you.
Cleaning Wooden Cutting Boards
You all know that I love to cook, but I don’t often like to use my wooden cutting board. It can easily feel dirty to me since its surface is more porous than some other’s on the market, but it is the most study and does hold up the longest when compared to other materials. I’ve found out that you can clean it with a lemon mixture, which will remove the dinginess and some of the smells and stains. Here’s what you need:
- Half a lemon (reserve the other half for something else)
- Salt, preferably sea salt but I often use table salt.
- A scraper, a bench scraper is preferable.
- Olive oil or mineral oil
- Sprinkle the salt onto the cutting board
- Squeeze lemon juice onto the board and using the cut side down, scrub the surface of the board.
- Let it sit on the board for about five minutes and then use the scraper to scrape off the dirtiness and impurities.
- Rise the board thoroughly with warm water and a sponge.
- Rub the board with olive oil or mineral oil to keep it from splitting.
Clean Your Microwave
Does your microwave get those food particles on it that you just can’t seem to get off? Give lemon a try.
- Squeeze about half a lemon into a bowl of warm water
- Microwave for 5 minutes (increase time if needed) to allow for the steam from the water to condense on the ceiling and walls of the microwave.
- When enough water has condensed, use a sponge to wipe down the insides.
Freshen Up The Garbage Disposal
I feel like everyone knows this one, but I wanted to add it anyways. Since it is citrus season, I know you have plenty of lemons or even orange peels that you’ll be tossing out. Toss them down the garbage disposal instead!
- Toss in the citrus peels. I’ve actually used more than the peels before too. If you have a wedge that you have thoroughly squeezed, you can use that too.
- Turn on the warm water.
- Let the garbage disposal run until all the peels are ground.
Easy peasy! You can do this once a week to keep the smells from building up.
Natural Counter Cleaner
If you love natural cleaners then you can easily make your own with lemons and some vinegar. It’s safer than some of the chemicals out there in other off-the-shelf products and you can use the peels from your citrus.
- A cup of lemon peels
- White vinegar
- ½ cup water
- Add your peels to a spray bottle or jar to begin the solution.
- Add enough vinegar to cover the peels.
- Add your water
- For best results, let the mixture sit for a week before using it. However, you can also start using it the next day. The vinegar is the main cleaning ingredient here.
I don’t have silverware, but if I did, I would use this natural cleaner versus the smelly silver polish cleaner that’s available.
All you have to do is pour a little lemon juice onto the tarnished pieces of silver and then polish that piece with a cloth. The acid in the lemon juice will begin to clean the tarnish.
Clean Sterling Silver Jewelry
Like the idea above, a little lemon juice mixed with water can also be used to bring the shine back to your jewelry pieces. Use two tablespoons of lemon juice to about 1 cup of water and lightly rub the jewelry with a cloth.
Clean Your Cheese Garter
This one is my favorite! Cheese and other pieces of vegetables are always getting stuck in the vegetable garter and can be a pain to get out. If you cut a lemon in half and run it over the grater a few times it will help to loosen the food that doesn’t want to let go.
Keep Apple Slices Fresh
I love this trick! It’s especially useful for the fall when you might have apples decorating a dessert. You don’t want the apples to brown and to keep them from doing so, squeeze a little lemon juice over the cut apple slices. The Vitamin C in the lemon juice keeps them from turning brown. In fact, most companies that sell packaged, sliced apples use a Vitamin C spray to achieve the same effect.
You might want to dilute it a bit with water otherwise your apples might soak up some of the lemon tanginess. You can also use lemon-lime soda for this.
Clean Blender Blades
Another one of my favorites! I hate having to clean the blender blades. I’ve actually stabbed my finger with them before. It is not enjoyable so I learned this trick instead.
Squeeze about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice on the blades with a ¼ cup of water. Blend as you normally would. The acid in the lemon will loosen the food stuck on the blades.
I’ve not tried this one but I’ve heard that lemons can help to bleach out clothing stains. You can find instructions here.
Clean Plastic Containers
Do you ever use plastic containers to store leftovers and then get stains and smells that you can’t get out? Spaghetti is the worst! Lemon juice can help with that too.
There isn’t an exact recipe here because that will depend on the size of your container. You want a mixture of water and lemon juice to cover any stained area so you might have to play with the formula. Once you fill it, leave it for about 24 hours and let it soak.
Clean The Grout
This one is perfect for bathrooms or the backsplash grout. You can even use it on the grout around the kitchen sink.
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- ¼ cup of vinegar
- ¼ cup of water
Combine everything and make sure it is mixed well. Dip an old tooth brush into the mixture and scrub those tiny lines clean.
This one is for you, mamas! Forget cleaning for a minute. Instead, let’s exfoliate that skin naturally and take a break. I have a great body scrub here that combines lemon juice, coconut oil, honey, olive oil and sugar.
Clean The Grill
That one ^^^ was for you, this one is for the griller in your house. In my case, it’s my husband.
Combine one cup of salt with 3- 4 tablespoons of lemon juice and use it as a scrub on the grill.
Whomever loves to grill in your house, make them do this one. It’s dirty. If you can actually remove the grill grate then I would recommend doing that to clean it. It makes it easier and clean-up is easier too.
Remove Build Up From The Coffee Pot
If you still brew coffee in a pot, or tea, you know that there is sometimes a mineral build up you can get around the pot where the liquid sits. You can remove it with these simple steps:
- Add water to the pot higher than the line of the buildup.
- Add lemon slices to the pot. About one lemon sliced will work. Depending on the size of your pot you can use more or less.
- Boil the water.
- Let this sit for an hour or two.
- Rinse and dry as normal
So tell me mamas, how do you use lemons around your house?
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