green living lemons

When Life gives you Lemons…

Behold the lemon; the much maligned fruit that definitely doesn’t deserve its status as the least liked of nature’s bounty. I refer of course to phrases like; “The second hand car you bought is a real lemon.” It’s a travesty when you think of all the wee lemon has to offer…

Think of all the different cleaning products you use; surface cleaners, window cleaners, carpet cleaners, air and fabric fresheners… the list is endless. Cleaning products are not just bad for the environment; they are bad for you and your family too. Noxious chemical offgassing  is responsible for making your indoor air quality 3 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air quality (even if you live in the city!) Today we bring you the wonders of lemon and the million and one things it can do for you.

Household uses for lemons:

Furniture polish: Mix one part lemon juice and two parts olive oil. Apply with a soft cloth. This also reduces surface scratches.

Mouth Wash: Lemon juice and water will help bust bad breath.

Shiny hair: Squeeze the juice of a lemon into a glass of warm water. Wash your hair and then rinse with the lemon water for clean, shiny hair.

Hair dye: Squeezing lemon juice onto your hair and sitting in the sun until it dries will give your hair lighter sun streaks.

Insecticide: Rid your home of ants, roaches and fleas. Drip lemon juice into cracks where creatures live. Place the juice of 4 lemons and the skins into your floor washing water for optimal results. Bugs hate the smell of lemons and are sure to find more comfortable accommodations. This is so much healthier than using poisons in your home.

Sore throats: Mix one teaspoon of honey, one tablespoon of lemon juice in warm water and gargle.

Cleaning: A paste of salt and lemon juice will clean marble counter tops, china, piano keys and other surfaces beautifully.

Remove water spots from stainless steel, chrome, copper and brass: Rub lemon peel on your cutlery and faucets to remove water marks. Rinse with warm water and dry with a soft cloth.

Air freshener: Simmer sliced lemons in warm water for a couple of minutes to humidify your home and leave it smelling great. This will also leave your pots cleaner! If it’s already hot and humid, just place slices of lemon in a bowl and fill it with water. Leave the bowl in the middle of your room.

Deodorizer: Rub a lemon into cutting boards, rolling pins and counter tops which have a bad odor. Leave the juice to dry before wiping with a soft, damp cloth. Lemon juice also kills mould, bacteria and germs.

Stop potatoes from turning brown: Just squeeze some lemon juice into the cooking water. This also works for avocadoes and bananas.

Rust remover: A paste of salt and lemon juice rubbed onto the affected area and then rinsed with warm water should do the trick.

Bleach: Get your whites whiter by placing them in a large pot of hot water on the stove. Throw in a couple of slices of lemon and simmer gently until spotless. You can also place lemon juice on stains and leave outside in the sun for miraculous results.

Eliminate fridge odors: Put a teaspoon of lemon juice onto a cotton ball and leave it in the fridge (after taking out the offending items of course!)

Perk up soggy lettuce: If your lettuce is looking a little grim, just add the juice from ½ a lemon to a bowl of cold water. Place the lettuce in the bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Exfoliate your feet: Make a paste of brown sugar and lemon juice and rub it on your heels.

Cat Pee Preventer: Is your cat peeing where it shouldn’t? Mix 4 tablespoons of lemon juice with ½ cup of water in a spray bottle. Spray the afflicted area and your cat will stop peeing there.

Toilet cleaner: Mix equal parts lemon juice and borax to make a paste. Apply this to your toilet and leave overnight. Even the most stubborn rings and marks will be gone.

All-purpose cleaner: Combine equal parts lemon juice, vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray on any surface and wipe with a damp cloth.

Disinfectant: Use lemon juice on toilet bowls, sinks and garbage bins to cut odors and kill germs.

Ink remover: Apply lemon juice to the ink stain and then wash on a regular cycle.

Nail whitener: Are your nails discoloured from wearing nail polish? Soak your fingertips in lemon juice for a minute or two for perfectly clear nails.

Deodorant: Cut a lemon in two and rub the cut side into your armpits for all day freshness. The acidity kills odor-causing bacteria.

Soothing itches: Apply lemon juice to itchy rashes caused by things like poison ivy to bring relief and prevent spreading.


Nikki is an author and writer specializing in green living ideas and tips, adventure travel, upcycling, and all things eco-friendly. She's traveled the globe, swum with sharks and been bitten by a lion (fact). She lives in a tiny town with a fat cat and a very bad dog.

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One thought on “When Life gives you Lemons…

  1. David

    I like to add lemon to my water, I use the rind in my bread crumbs to coat chicken, squeeze it on my salads, and a great recipe for Sangria

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