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Cleaning With a Lemon Actually Works for These 15 Things

From tough stains to clogged drains, lemons are the cleaners you didn’t know you had. Take advantage of the surprising benefits of cleaning with lemon.

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Cleaning lemons with vegetable brust in sink, elevated viewWestend61/Getty Images

Cleaning With Lemon

The most versatile cleaning product in your day-to-day arsenal may not be a colored liquid in a spray bottle after all. And it’s probably right in your refrigerator. Lemons are an incredible natural cleaning agent that can help keep your home sparkling clean. Lemons, along with these chemical-free ways to clean your home, should be in every cleaner’s arsenal.

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Clean Brass and Copper

Sprinkle salt (any kind) on half of a lemon and start scrubbing. Antiques can be tricky, though — test this method on a small portion first to make sure you’re not causing any damage.

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Steam Clean a Microwave

Put 3/4 cup of water and two tablespoons of lemon juice in your microwave. Heat for about three minutes or until it boils, then let it sit for ten minutes. Wipe down the inside of your microwave and you’re done. No scrubbing necessary.

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Remove Gunk From a Cheese Grater

Cleaning graters can be a daunting — not to mention dangerous — task. Run half a lemon down the side of the grater to remove food particles, then rinse with warm, soapy water. The utensil gets cleaned and your fingers stay uncut. You can use a lemon to clean grills the same way.

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Use Lemons in Lieu of Bleach To Brighten Clothes

Soak cotton and polyester clothes in a lemon juice/water mixture (1/2 cup of juice per gallon of water) to bleach whites and brighten colors. Keep the clothes in for an hour or longer, depending on how much they need to be brightened, then dry them in the sun. You can also substitute a half cup of lemon juice for bleach when using a washing machine.

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Keep Your Fridge Smelling Fresh

Leave a half lemon on a saucer in your fridge to keep foul odors at bay. These simple home items make great deodorizers, too.

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Sanitize Earrings

Sanitize earrings and other jewelry in 1-1/2 cups of water and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Just don’t use this method with gold or pearls.

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Deal With a Clogged Drain

If you pour half a box of baking soda and eight to 12 ounces of lemon juice down a drain, a chemical reaction will turn the ingredients into foam. Add boiling water to rinse out the foam and your clog disappears.

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Exfoliate Your Face for Glowing Skin

Make a homemade exfoliant with juice from half a lemon, one tablespoon of olive oil, a 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and a tablespoon of honey. Lemon juice can also fight acne. After washing and drying your face, dip a cotton ball in lemon juice and apply it to the affected area. Rinse with cool water after ten minutes. Do this in the morning and before bedtime.

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Freshen up Plastic Food Containers

If your food containers smell, rub a lemon in them or rinse with lemon juice. For bad stains, add lemon juice and baking soda and let it sit overnight.

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knives lemon cleaning uses

Make Spotty Knives Shine Like New

Lemon juice and a sponge are all you need to erase rust spots on knives. Find out more simple secrets of people who always have clean homes.

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grime clean shower door lemon uses

De-Grime Your Shower Door

Scrub down glass shower doors with just half of a lemon. For a deeper cleanse, dip it in baking soda first.

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dishwasher clean lemon uses

Deodorize Your Dishwasher

Put a cup of lemon juice in a dishwasher-safe container on the bottom rack with no other dirty dishes. Run the rinse cycle for a clean, deodorized finish. Tackle dried-on food or detergent by rubbing it with a piece of lemon.

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garbage disposal sink lemon uses

Freshen up the Garbage Disposal

Clean and deodorize your garbage disposal by grinding up ice cubes, a handful of kosher salt and lemon peels. You can also fill ice cube slots with lemon pieces and vinegar. Once they’re frozen, put a couple down the disposal and let it run.

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messy kitchen odor lemon uses

Quell Kitchen Odors

Boil a small pot of water with pieces of lemon rind and a teaspoon each of whole cloves and rosemary leaves. The aroma will get rid of odors and perfume your whole house. You can also try adding lemon peels, cloves and cinnamon sticks for a sweeter scent. Here, learn how to clean a copper sink.

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cutting board clean lemon uses

Remove Stains and Germs From Cutting Boards

Squeeze lemon juice onto cutting board stains, then rub them with the lemon. Let the juice sit until the stains disappear and rinse. The citric acid removes stains and may help disinfect the board.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest