Monday, June 1, 2009

Brighten Up: 10 Unexpected Uses for Lemons

In my apartment, I almost always have a teeming bowl of bright yellow lemons. I'll admit it's partially just because I love the way they look- they bring a little "zest" into a space (pardon the pun) and make for an inexpensive and attractive alternative to a floral arrangement. But these suckers aren't just for show- lemons serve a million purposes around the house from cooking to cleaning. Here are just some of the myriad things you can do with them.

Ten Surprising Uses for Lemons
1. Sanitize: Lemons are acidic enough to kill most types of bacteria. Rub a half a lemon over a cutting board, countertop, or butcher block to sanitize and disinfect without putting nasty chemicals near your food.
2. Whiten: Add a 1:1 mixture of water and lemon juice to fade tough stains (like those yellow underarm ones), or add 1/2 cup of lemon juice to the washer to whiten a whole load.
3. Shine: Sprinkle half a lemon with salt and scrub to shine up the insides of copper and stainless steel cookware or sinks.
4. Soothe Your Throat: Mix a 1:1 ratio of lemon juice and hot water for a tea that will soothe a sore throat. Follow with a teaspoon of honey.
5. Freshen Your Breath: for an impromptu mouthwash when you feel like you've been sucking on dirty gym socks, rinse your mouth with lemon juice- the acid will kill the stinky bacteria. Afterward, be sure to rinse with water to protect your teeth from the acid. Or, chew on a bit of the rind.
6. Clear the Air: When you follow your nose to find last month's Chinese leftovers in the back of the fridge, or the garbage can starts getting rank, soak a cotton ball in lemon juice and put it in the fridge or can. After a few minutes the bad smells will have disappeared.
7. Highlight Your Hair: Mix a 1:3 ratio of lemon juice to water and wet your hair with it. Sit in the sun until your hair dries completely. Results will be subtle. (Not recommended for brunettes).
8. Drive Away Pests: Wash your floors with a 1:10 ratio of lemon juice and water to drive off ants and roaches (no, it won't make the floor sticky).
9. Heal Bug Bites and Cuts: Rub lemon juice on bug bites to kill the sting or itch, or into cuts (if you can stand the pain) to disinfect and heal.
10. Fix Up Your Hands: Rub a lemon wedge on your hands to remove the odor from cutting onions or garlic, or stains from beets or berries. This also works to whiten fingernails that are yellowed from polish.

In other words, when life gives you lemons, clean your house, beautify, and heal yourself. Or, you could just make lemonade, I guess.

Photo credit: Country Living

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Another great use for lemons, after you are done making lemonade of course, is to cut the lemon into quarters and put it down your garbage disposal. Run the disposal with cold water and be whisked away with the wonderful citrus smell. So much better than the nasty garbage smell that seems to always come from them. Lemons are also a lot cheaper than the garbage disposal cleaners you can find at the store.