Lemons aren't just for lemonade

Morris F. White III, County Extension Director, Vance County
Oct. 19, 2013 @ 10:26 PM


Lemons are high in vitamin C, have an anti-bacterial effect and are thought to possess antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic properties. The juice consists of about 5% acid, which also makes them useful for a variety of household purposes. Lemons and lemon juice are a popular addition in environmentally friendly cleaning applications.

Following are a few ways to use lemons around the house:

Ant deterrent — Pouring lemon juice around areas that ants frequent is said to repel them.

Microwave — Heat a bowl of water and lemon slices in your microwave for 30 seconds to a minute. Then wipe out the oven. Stains will be easier to remove and old food odors will be neutralized.

Laundry — For bleaching purposes, add 1/2 cup of lemon juice to your washing machine's rinse cycle and hang clothes outside to dry. A teaspoon of lemon juice thrown into your wash can also help your clothes to smell fresher.

Chopping boards — Rub lemon juice into your wooden chopping board, leave overnight and then rinse

Cuts — A small amount of lemon juice dripped onto minor wounds can help stop bleeding and disinfect the injury (it will sting a bit).

Bust dust particles — Mix 10 drops lemon oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and a few drops of olive oil in a spray bottle. Spray onto surfaces; wipe with a cotton flannel cloth.

Countertop Stains — Stains in countertops can easily be removed by letting lemon juice sit on the countertop stains for a few minutes. The minutes can range from 15-30, depending on the size of the stain and on how stubborn it is. After waiting, you can scrub the affected area with baking soda. The cleaning combination of baking soda and lemon can easily erase these stains, leaving your countertops looking brand new and spotless clean.

Neutralize the smell of vinegar — Vinegar is another well known natural cleaning product. But some people don't like using vinegar because of its smell. This is when lemon juice comes in. You can add a few drops of lemon juice into your vinegar solution to neutralize the strong smell of vinegar. Lemon juice helps to replace the vinegar odor with a citrusy smell.

Nails — If your nails look dull and yellowed after a long period covered in dark polish, just squeeze a lemon into a small dish, clean your nails and soak them in the lemon juice for a minute or two. Some women claim that this treatment will also make nails stronger, particularly when adding a tablespoon or so of olive oil to the dish.

Fruits and Vegetables — Keep cut fruit and vegetables like apples, pears, avocados and potatoes from turning brown by squeezing on a little bit of lemon juice. You can also perk up droopy lettuce by soaking it for an hour in a bowl of cold water and the juice of one lemon.

Sore Throat — Gargle with a teaspoon of lemon juice in 1/8 cup of warm water to help shrink swollen throat tissue and kill bacteria. Frequent cups of hot tea made with a tablespoon of honey and a tablespoon of lemon juice will also do the trick.

Rice — A few drops of lemon juice added to simmering rice will keep it from sticking to the pot, making clean-up a lot easier.

For more information on the uses of lemons, contact the Vance County Cooperative Extension office at 252-438-8188.