High in citric acid, lemon juice is one of the best natural cleaners due to its low pH and antibacterial properties. Lemons also smell great and aren’t likely to cause damage to materials around what you are cleaning such as fabric or wood.
CAUTION: When cleaning with lemons, test a small spot first. Always rinse with warm soapy water and dry with a clean cloth afterwards. Two things you can’t clean with lemon juice are: 1) natural stone (countertops, flooring, etc.) and 2) anything that is brass plated, as the juice will damage them. Aside from that, go ahead and use lemon juice for cleaning all these items:
- Use a half lemon and salt to clean even the most heavily discolored brass (real brass, not brass plated). Be careful with antiques. Always test a small spot before scrubbing away.
- Use the same method for copper items, such as copper bottoms of pots.
- Shine up your chrome faucets or the chrome on older model cars with lemon and salt.
- Clean stains from cutting boards, and help kill germs as well. Rub the juice full strength onto the stain and let sit until the stain fades. Can be left overnight, then rinsed well and dried.
- Use lemon juice and an old toothbrush to scrub grout.
- Easy clean your microwave and remove odors. Place a cup ¾ full of water with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in the microwave. Heat to boiling. Don’t open the door for 10 minutes. Then just wipe away food particles with a clean cloth and dry. SAFETY TIP: To prevent superheating, insert a toothpick or wooden skewer in water before microwaving it.
- Put a dilute solution of lemon juice in a spray bottle to clean laminate counter tops. Rinse with water and dry afterward.
- Scrub BBQ grills and grates with lemon juice and salt.
- Soak plastic food storage containers in dilute lemon juice to remove stains and odors. Add baking soda and scrub, rinse and dry.
- Remove rust stains from cotton and polyester. Make a paste of lemon juice and cream of tarter and rub into the stain. Let the item sit for about a half hour, and then wash as usual.
- Sanitize your garbage disposal. Pour a gallon of hot water mixed with a ½ cup of lemon juice down the drain.
- Brighten your clothes by soaking in a hot water and lemon mix (½ cup juice per gallon of water) and then wash as normal. Works best if laundry is then dried in the sun. Do not use lemon juice on silks or other delicate fabrics. If you are uncertain, test a tiny area first.
- Add a few drops of lemon juice to your dish soap to boost degreasing ability.
- Remove odors from your refrigerator with a half lemon on a saucer. Change once a week.
- Clean food preparation smells from your hands with a dilute solution of water and lemon juice.
- Remove grease stains from clothing. Rub lemon juice into the spot, let sit overnight, and then wash as normal.
- Clean windows and mirrors. Put a few tablespoons of lemon juice and water into a spray bottle. Works as well as a vinegar solution and smells better.
- Keep your toilet bowl fresh. Place a ½ cup of lemon juice in the bowl and swish with a toilet bowl brush.
- Sanitize earrings by placing them in a saucer of lemon juice.
- Unclog your drain with a mixture of baking soda followed by lemon juice. The foaming action will clear minor blockages. (For major clogs, call a licensed plumber.)
- Clean hard water stains on glass shower doors with a half cut lemon.
- Clean mineral build-up on tea kettle and coffee pots by boiling lemon slices in the pots. Allow the mixture to sit for an hour or two, and then rinse and dry.
- Rinse your hair with dilute lemon juice rinse to cut soap residue and leave hair softer and shinier.
- Last, make a facial scrub of sugar and lemon juice (about 2 tablespoons sugar to 1/2 lemon) for cleaner, softer skin.
Updated December 6, 2017.