When Life Gives You Lemons

As we wrap up the summer season, we've teamed up with Busy Bee Cleaning Service to share 14 wonderful ways to use lemons for a natural, powerful clean! Keep reading to see how they recommend incorporating lemons into your daily rhythms.


I have to admit that I love the proverb, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” because, in the cleaning business, you’d be surprised how useful this amazing citrus fruit really is. One of the things I take pride in with my business is how we use natural and environmentally friendly cleaning techniques to ensure that our service is safe and effective. Lemons give you the power to clean and sanitize as if you were using bleach or other harsh chemicals without the nasty smell and side effects, especially for those who suffer from respiratory issues. What’s even better? You can use the entire lemon, so nothing is left to waste. Has life given you some lemons? Read on to learn how you can use them in 14 amazing ways.

  1. Move Over, Baking Soda: Lemons work wonders in deodorizing your refrigerator and are more economical than that box of baking soda. Remove any spoiled food from your fridge, soak a sponge in lemon juice, and place it in the unit for three to four hours. You’ll be surprised how nice everything smells once you’re done. And guess what? Your sponge is now deodorized and sanitized, too.

  2. Toss the Air Fresheners: Lemons also freshen your rooms better than those expensive and irritating air fresheners. Trust me, this even works if you have pets. For tough odors, cut a few lemons in half, place them in a bowl cut side up, and set them in the offensive room for several hours. For a more permanent freshener, leave the lemons whole; they still freshen the air, and you can grab one when you need it for something else.

  3. Keep the Fire Burnin’: I’m on a roll, so let’s keep talking odors. Everyone loves a warm and cozy fireplace in the wintertime, but one of the questions I am asked most frequently is how to eliminate fireplace odors. After a time, your fireplace emits an unpleasant odor no matter how clean you keep it. Cut some lemons in half, scoop out the meat, and toss the peels into the flames. Voila! A deodorized fireplace.

  4. Keep Your Marbles: If you have marble surrounding your fireplace, or anywhere else in your house, you know how easily this porous material stains. If your tried-and-true marble cleaner has failed to remove the unsightly marks, try lemons – carefully! Cut a lemon and dip one half of it in salt; scrub your stain with the “lemon sponge” and then rinse very, very well, as the lemon’s acid can damage marble if there is any residue.
  5. Brass Knuckles: Lemons also work wonders on your brass, chrome, copper, and stainless steel… anything! Again, you’re going to be using lemons and salt (or baking soda if you prefer), but this time, squeeze the lemon juice out of the fruit and mix it with the salt to make a paste. Apply the paste to what you’re cleaning, allow it to sit for a few minutes, rinse with warm water, and polish dry.
  6. Don’t Scratch the Glass: If your coffee pot is showing its age and your wine decanter has an unhealthy purple hue, you probably need to do some cleaning. You could clean your glassware with detergent and a scrubber sponge, but you’ll scratch it. Rather, cut a lemon in half and rub the juice along the stained surface. Allow the juice to sit for several hours and then rinse to a sparkling clean shine.
  7. Microwave Explosion: We’ve all left something in the microwave too long only to have it explode and leave a smelly, crusty mess. Again, harsh cleaners are not a good idea, particularly since you cook food in the appliance. Grab a microwave-safe bowl and squeeze 3 tbsp. of fresh lemon juice into 1 1/2 cups of water. Nuke it on high for five to 10 minutes and wipe away the condensation, along with the mess.
  8. La Cucaracha: There’s nothing more horrifying than walking into your kitchen and seeing ants or roaches scurrying about. Take a fresh lemon and squeeze the juice directly on your windowsills and door thresholds. Cut up the rinds when done and toss them just outside the door. Identify any holes or cracks where the creepy crawlers are entering and squeeze lemon juice there, too. Mop your floors with lemon water.
  9. We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Bleach: Bleach can literally be deadly, especially to those with weakened lungs; never mind what it does to the environment. Sure, you want your whites white, but you don’t need to use harsh bleach in your laundry. Add 1 cup of lemon juice to your washing cycle and watch it clean and deodorize your clothing. It also works well on those kitchen and bathroom linens that mildew.

  10. Put Forth a Good Face: I’ve been talking a lot about how lemons work wonders when you’re cleaning, but they’re good for you, too. If you have acne or blackheads that are distressing you, lemons have antibacterial properties perfect for your skin. Slice a lemon and rub the juice on your face; it might itch a little but be patient. Allow it to rest on your skin for a few minutes, and then rinse clean.
  11. … And Body: Yes, lemon juice works wonders on the rest of your skin, as well. My wife makes a homemade body wash with lemon juice, and her skin is beautiful. She mixes lemon juice, yogurt, and lavender oil, and the concoction works wonders in cleaning and moisturizing her skin. Plus, when using this as a body wash you aren’t putting harsh and dangerous chemicals on your skin that might burn and irritate it.
  12. Finally, the Hair: If you suffer from dandruff or other scalp irritations, lemon might just be the ticket to soothe your stressed scalp. Just as it does for your face and body, lemon mixed with certain ingredients can provide antibacterial properties and cleanse and moisturize your scalp. Try mixing coconut oil, honey, and lemon juice for your irritated scalp, and see the difference!
  13. Lose the Burn: I cannot swish alcohol-laden mouthwash in my mouth for 60 seconds every morning; no thank you. Fortunately, lemons freshen your breath and balance your mouth’s pH level. Take fresh-squeezed lemon juice and swish it around for a minute. Spit it out (or swallow it for even greater benefits), and then rinse your mouth with clean water after five minutes to remove the acid from your teeth.
  14. Down the Drain: So, what do you do with all the leftover lemon rinds from using lemons for the 13 reasons above? Slice them and run them through your garbage disposal to clean and deodorize it. Contrary to popular belief, you can also compost lemon and other citrus peels, so if you have a compost pile, check to make sure they’ll work well with your mix and add them to it.

As you can see, lemons are unbelievably useful for cleaning, sanitizing, deodorizing, and even taking care of your body. I am a firm believer in cleaning and sanitizing in ways that are good for the environment, humans, and pets, and lemons are a key ingredient in many of our cleaning products. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, and then use the remaining juice and rind in some amazing ways.


About the Author: 
Gregory Wiszniewski founded Busy Bee Cleaning Service in 2004 with a passion for green cleaning using biodegradable, low toxicity products in his business.