10 Unexpected Uses for Lemons: Kiss the Chemicals Goodbye!
Nature supplies us with some great stuff, no? Like lemons. In a lemon you can find a tangy compliment for any beverage, a flavor-enhancing ingredient for food, a deodorizer, a stain remover and plenty of other uses. Lemons are inexpensive, safe for human consumption and environmentally friendly. Grab a few on your next supermarket trip for these 10 common uses.
1. Laundry brightener. Add a half cup of lemon juice to your whites for extra brightening. That’s it!
2. Air freshener I recently found an excellent tip that’s especially good for dry winter days: Fill a pot with water and place it on the stove top. Add lemon juice and peels along with cinnamon sticks, cloves and apple skins (all optional). Simmer for as long as you’d like. It really freshens the room while also adding a little moisturizing.
3. Hair lightener. Spritzing or squeezing a mixture of two-parts lemon juice and one-part water into your hair as you sit in the sun will gently lighten your locks. Enjoy a good book or just bask in the sunshine making vitamin D while your hair dries.
4. Cleaner. Squeeze lemon juice onto counter tops and in gritty places, like fridge drawers, followed by wiping down with a wet cloth. Add vinegar for an extra cleaning.
5. Stain remover. It may take some extra elbow grease, but it beats using heavy chemicals to get rid of stains. Plus, it doubles as an arm workout. Use a lemon, vinegar and water mixture to remove stains on your counter top, tub and more.
6. Guacamole savior. You know what makes me sad? Making fresh guacolomle only to have it brown. But there’s an easy fix! Squeeze some lemon juice on top (without blending) before popping it in the fridge to prevent browning. Lemon works as a natural preservative for plenty of other foods, too.
7. Grease remover. No need for harsh chemicals to remove the greasy film on your pots and pans — use a lemon! Squeeze juice onto the surface and let sit for five minutes. Then add some baking soda to easily scrub away the grime.
8. Scar and age spot lightener. Be very careful not to go out in the sun while lemon juice is on your skin. It will actually cause your scars to darken. But while I’m indoors, I like to dab a drop or two on any dark spots after showering. But just be aware: it will bleach your sheets.
9. Salad dressing. Forget salad dressings full of sodium, sugar and artificial flavors, encased in wasteful packaging. How beautiful is it that we can flavor our greens with one simple squeeze of a zingy lemon and a little olive oil? I love to squeeze half a lemon over my baby spinach instead of heavy dressings.
10. Water enhancer. While I love water in its natural state, a little lemon juice makes it a tad more exciting, while adding to it valuable nutrients. Lemons are an excellent source of calcium and also provide small amounts small amounts of iron, copper, potassium, and B vitamins. And don’t waste the skin! Grate the peel for a zest to bake into muffins, breads and other foods.
There’s really no need for harsh chemicals. Before you buy chemical-laden air freshener, toilet-bowl cleaner or bleach, consider tapping into the power nature with lemons. Most of nature’s ingredients are safe to humans, inexpensive and good for our world.
What are some other natural ingredients that you use daily? Now that I’ve “naturalized” my cleaning products, I’m about to move onto the beauty cabinet. Good thing I recently received some excellent tips from this article!
Amanda Schoonover lives in New Jersey where she blogs, takes photographs and advocates for low-impact living. She loves to write about frugal, eco-friendly lifestyle choices and sustainability at her blog, a thrifty hippie. You can also follow along with her on Twitter at @athriftyhippie.
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Article updated on: February 1st, 2013