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Top 10 Tested Cleaning Tricks with Lemons
Amanda H. • April 29, 2015

Next time you need to do some clean up around the house, try turning to one ingredient you probably already have on hand – lemons! Lemons are one of nature’s best natural cleaners due to their acidity. In fact, they work just as well on stains, grime, dust and more than most cleaning products you’d find on shelves in the store. Best of all, with lemons, you aren’t exposing yourself or your family to any dangerous ingredients!

There are tons of ways you can clean with lemons, and a quick Google or Pinterest search could make your list massive.

I decided to pick out several tips and try them out for myself to find the best that actually work.

Here’s my report.

Trick #1: Clean Your Microwave with Lemons

Microwave some water (or vinegar) with lemon juice for 3 minutes, then let it sit undisturbed for 5 minutes. This will loosen any sticky mess inside the microwave, which you can then wipe off with a damp sponge.

using lemons in the microwave

My results: This worked incredibly well. I was astounded. The residue just wiped right off! How have I not been doing this all along?


Trick #2: Scrub Your Sink

Sprinkle coarse salt (optional: as well as baking soda) into a sink and “scrub it” with half a lemon.

lemons to clean a sink

My results: This worked surprisingly well! I did one half of my sink with just salt and the other half with baking soda too. The baking soda side developed more “gunk” as I scrubbed, but in the end, both worked about the same. I could see the lemon juice turn dark as it mopped up the grime that was caked in there. I saw a noticeable difference with this.


Trick #3: Refresh Wooden Cutting Boards

Clean wooden cutting boards with lemon and salt: Squeeze some lemon juice onto your board and use the lemon to spread it around. Sprinkle coarse salt over your board and squeeze more juice on top of that, then use a lemon half to rub in. Using damp paper towels, wipe off your board and stand up to dry.

lemon to clean a cutting board

My results: Our wooden cutting board was in awful shape to begin with from putting it in the dishwasher (oops!), but this was a quick, easy and safe way to clean it. I could tell it looked just a little more “refreshed.” Nothing dramatic, but enough to make me feel pretty good about it.

Bonus tip: This same method also works with copper pots!


Trick #4: DIY Lemon Dust Cloths

Make your own dust wipes: Mix 1 cup of water, 1 cup of vinegar and 2-3 drops of olive oil or lemon essential oil in a bowl. Saturate a cloth or two and squeeze all excess liquid out so that they are just damp. Peel the rind from a lemon and place a few pieces on each cloth, roll it up and tuck into an airtight glass jar for storing.

lemon wood wipes

My results: I like that this tip made a chemical free alternative to Pledge, and it seemed to work just as well. My end table looked lovely after being wiped down with these cloths. I used a microfiber cloth for it, and once it was used, simply rinsed and wrung it out then popped it back in the jar with lemon peels for future use. Note: The lemon rinds will start to mold after storing too long, so these are best reused within a week.


Trick #5: Brighten Whites

Boil your socks or other white linens (no delicate fabrics though) in a pan of water with sliced lemon to make them white and bright again.

boiling socks with lemons

My results: I was skeptical about this, and felt really silly boiling a sock, but it worked! I took one of my husband’s (washed but dingy) socks and boiled it in a saucepan with about four slices of lemon for 20 minutes or so, then rinsed and wrung it out. Though the photos don’t really show it, I could tell a slight difference.

Bonus tip: Other sites recommended using a squirt of lemon directly on stains on white fabrics, then laundering as usual, as a stain remover remedy. I didn’t try it, but I bet it would work considering my sock results!


Trick #6: Remove Water Marks

A dose of lemon on shower knobs is effective at removing stains and water marks. Just rub, rinse and wipe.

lemon shower cleaner

My results: This wasn’t a miracle solution, but it definitely helped. I could see the lemon removing the worst of the water marks and general grime around my faucet and left it shinier than before.


Trick #7: Clean Shower Grime

Spray soap scum with lemon juice for a quick and easy natural remedy.

My results: I used the leftover lemon from my faucet to go over some areas of my actual tub and tile, and while it didn’t do anything for the darkened spots of caulk, it did do really well at removing those pink stains that I assume are soap scum or general grime.


Trick #8: Clean Grout

Clean grout with a few cups of water, few tablespoons of baking soda, several squirts of lemon juice and vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray solution onto tile and grout, let sit for 5 minutes then scrub away using sponge or scrubber. Rinse with water.

lemons to clean grout

My results: I forgot my high school science class lessons here and dealt with a volcano of foam, so definitely be careful mixing this concoction and do it over a sink to catch any overflow. Once I got the situation under control, I used a special grout brush to clean it and a damp cloth to wipe it up. My grout stains were so ground in that only some of them were actually cleaned up, but I could tell that upon quick glance, it looked a little better. This wasn’t anything miraculous, but was better than nothing. I could tell that it made my tile shinier at least!


Trick #9: Refresh Food Containers

Soak plastic food containers in diluted lemon juice to remove stains and odors. Add baking soda and scrub, rinse and dry.

lemons to clean food containers

My results: I’m not convinced this did anything, but maybe I didn’t use enough lemon juice or let it sit long enough. I did pick out my worst containers with leftover stains from storing spaghetti sauce, so that didn’t help either, but I’m afraid this was a flop.


Trick #10: DIY Window Spray

Clean the windows and mirrors with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1/2 cup of vinegar and some water mixed in a spray bottle. Spray on and wipe off.

DIY lemon window spray

My results: Unfortunately, this one was a disappointment. I went over my glass patio doors with this three times and I just could not get them to not be streaky. Granted, it got all the dirt and specks off just fine, so in that sense it worked as well as Windex, but several sites said this was streak-free, which I found to be untrue. However, considering the solution is so much better than what they put in Windex, I’ll continue to use it. Perhaps the trick could be using a different cloth to wipe it down.

Bonus tip: This same solution works great as an all-purpose cleaner.


How do you like to clean with lemons?