The humble lemon is a truly powerful fruit. Packed with nutrition, it combines the abrasive utility of acidity before it’s consumed, while having an alkalizing effect once your belly has metabolized it. Naturally strong-tasting, nicely scented, and exotic, there are any number of dishes and drinks it can liven up, make more fruity, or even save from culinary disaster. But beyond cooking, there are still a huge number of things you can do around the house with a lemon, providing a natural solution to any number of household issues. Indeed, all good homes should stay well-stocked for emergencies!
For starters, lemon makes for a great cleaning agent. It can be used in the bathroom to remove hard water stains from chrome surfaces, leaving them nice and shiny with a fresh citrus smell. Try squeezing some into an old spray bottle and adding water and vinegar to make an organic and environmentally-friendly cleaner for this job and many other cleaning purposes around the house.
In the kitchen, lemon and salt can be used to clean your chopping board, making sure that you leave no artificial chemical traces to get into your food. It actually works as a disinfectant. If your kitchen has ants, try spraying lemon juice where they usually march. The smell disrupts their trail, separating the group and hopefully reducing the problem – again, without contaminating your cooking area with chemicals. Lemon can also be used to clean copper, to remove rust stains from clothing, and to brighten the whites in your laundry. For this latter one, just add a quarter-cup of lemon juice to your usual laundry detergent.
And here’s a great one if you hate to clean your microwave: squeeze a whole lemon into half a cup of water and microwave it for three minutes. The solution will evaporate and condensate on the inner surfaces of the microwave, which should be easy to wipe clean in this state.
Lemon is full of ascorbic acid, which makes it great for preserving foods. Rub lemon juice on cut avocados or apples, and oxygen will react with this acid before it reacts with the avocado or apple, preventing them from turning brown if you’re not ready to eat the whole thing yet. Lemon also has an interesting counter-relationship to salt. For example, it can be added to an over-salted dish to balance the flavor, or used instead of salt altogether, since it is such a flavor-booster.
It’s not just your home and your dinner table that can benefit from lemons. Your body also has a fascinating relationship with the little yellow fruit. Rinsing your mouth with lemon juice will freshen your breath, although you probably shouldn’t brush your teeth straight after as the acid can remove the enamel from your teeth. Unsightly warts on your skin? Try applying a drop of lemon juice each day. After a couple of weeks, you should start to see the wart dissolving.
You can relieve a nasty cough by making a home brew of hot lemon water and honey. This potion will break down the mucus in your throat, making you less likely to feel the need to cough it all up. And of course, all that vitamin C will help to rejuvenate your immune system and fight back against whatever it is that caused the cough in the first place.
From household tool to natural medicine to kitchen essential, the things you can do with a lemon are almost countless. This amazing new infographic from OnStride Financial gathers the 31 most useful lemon tips into one handy place, so you have a good idea how to start your new lemon regime today.