Lemon - like salt and baking soda - is one of those miracle items that can do much more in the house than they're likely to be used for! You probably already know that they can keep your apples from browning and your guacamole bright green (and if you didn't, now you do!), but here are a few more awesome tips and tricks you might not have known that this humble yellow citrus can handle.

Eliminating odors in the air

You might already do this with air spray or candles, but good old-fashioned lemons can do the trick too. Whatever smells are bringing you down, be it the cat's litterbox or the inside of your fridge, fresh lemons and lemon juice can take the issue away. If the scent is in a bigger space, cut a few lemons in half and put them cut side up in a dish in a the room. If it's smaller, just soak a cotton ball or cloth with lemon juice and put it in the area for a few hours. The smell should be gone! (Note: It's a good idea to also discard whatever's caused the offending scent, in the case of a fridge or litterbox, too). 

"Homemade Cleaners"


Make your own metal cleaners & polishes:

For many tarnished metals, all you have to do is make a paste out of lemon juice and salt, coat the affected area with it (letting it sit for 4-5 minutes), and wash it with warm water. Repeat as necessary. Plus, you can polish your chrome by rubbing a lemon rind all over it. It should remove all the pesky mineral deposits that develop over time! Just rinse it off and dry it with a cloth.

Insect repellent

While lemons smell lovely and fresh to us, many insects hate it. If ants or other bugs are bothering you inside the house, try squeezing some lemon juice wherever they come in - holes in the ground, cracks in the windows and doors, etc - and scatter a bit of lemon peel too for good measure. If you make a homemade cleaner out of lemons and water (about 4 lemons to every 1/2 a gallon of water) and wash your floors with it, bigger critters like roaches will stay away too! (Note: If you're on a camping trip and and insects are bothering you, boiling some lemon juice and putting the pot in your tent can fend off bugs too!)

Sore throat treatment

It might sound like an old wive's tale, but a lemon can go a long way into making your sore throat feel better. Squeeze fresh lemon juice into a pot, cut the lemon peels into small pieces, and throw those into the pot as well. Put it on the stove over medium heat, and add as much honey as you need to reduce the sourness of the lemon. Drink the entire mixture, and your throat should feel better. Repeat as necessary.

A basic disinfectant

Along with it's awesome general cleaning abilities, the acidity of lemon also makes it a great basic disinfectant for foods, cutting boards, and more. All it takes is a little lemon juice. For example, if you add some fresh lemon juice to your dish-soap, you can clean and disinfect your dishes at the same time. If you rub your cutting boards with half of a cut lemon (and perhaps some salt too), you can clean it, disinfect it, and get rid of odors!  

Photo Credits: Baking Through Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook