15 Home Cleaning Hacks with Lemons

Diagonal row of lemons

Stop letting those perfectly good lemons sit while you are struggling to clean. Check out some of these great home cleaning hacks with lemons. Your cleaning will have a fresh-smelling, non-toxic boost.

Why Lemons Are Great for Cleaning

Lemons are one of the best cleaning agents we often forget about. While the bright scent is a great takeaway, there are also a few more reasons to keep lemons on hand for cleaning.

The high levels of acid in lemons makes them perfect for getting rid of bacteria and fungus like molds. They add a great antibacterial cleaning boost to standard cleaners or just by themselves. Lemon juice is also great for cutting down on grease.

Diagonal row of lemons

The best part about lemons is that they are non toxic. You don’t have to worry about harsh fumes, unpleasant smells, or concern if your pets/children accidentally get some in their mouth. The worst outcome is a sour lemon pucker.

Cleaning Wood Surfaces with Lemon

Using lemons is a great way to clean, de-grease, and sanitize your wooden surfaces and items. Take a look at a few of our favorite home cleaning hacks with lemons for wood.

Cutting Boards

This is an easy three step way to clean your cutting boards and make them shine. You will need a half a lemon, some salt, an extra clean cloth, and some olive oil.

  • 1
    ​Sprinkle salt all over the cutting board surface and then use half a lemon to do circular scrubbing. Let the finished scrub sit for 5 minutes.
  • 2
    ​Use the damp clean cloth to wipe it all off. You may need to rinse and repeat the wiping to ensure all the salt is removed.
  • 3
    ​Wipe olive oil (with a little lemon squeezed into it) onto your clean wood cutting board and buff it around with another dry cloth or a paper towel. This will season your wood and keep it looking healthy.

We suggest pouring a tablespoon or two of olive oil into a travel spritzer and using that to spray the olive oil (with lemon) onto the cutting board. This way you don’t overly saturate it.

Wooden Bowls and Utensils

For your wooden serving bowls and cooking utensils, you should always skip the dishwasher. This is because too much high pressured water on these items can waterlog them and cause warping. Instead, opt to hand clean them with dish detergent and a good scrubbie.

After hand washing and drying, cut up a lemon into wedges. Use the wedges to wipe down each utensil and the entire surface of your wooden bowls. The lemon will provide an extra shine to these items while also giving you a secondary antibacterial cleaning. No rinsing required, just let them dry before you put them away.

Cleaning Metal Surfaces with Lemon

Metal surfaces can sometimes be difficult to clean. This is mostly due to the little droplets that settle on the surface and leave white spots on the finish.

Knives

For your utensils that you don’t want to toss into the dishwasher, you can use this lemon scrub to clean them. Knives, especially your set with nice handles should be washed by hand. The dishwasher can potentially discolor or damage the handles.

  • 1
    ​Cut a lemon wedge and then dip one side of it into a dish of salt.
  • 2
    ​With the salt side down, begin scrubbing the blade of the knife.
  • 3
    ​You can use a mild dishwashing soap on the handle. Avoid using the abrasive salt scrub on this part.
  • 4
    Rinse the knife and dry.

Using lemon on a knife blade is one of our top hacks, due to the antibacterial cleaning that lemons alone give. No matter what type of raw meat you have been cutting, you can feel confident you won’t be holding onto any bacteria after cleaning with this method.

A knife on a chopping board and some herbs

Brass

Similar to how you clean your kitchen knives, you will also use the same lemon wedge and salt method above to clean your brass items. Make sure you are squeezing and pressing on the lemon as you are cleaning, since this will push out the juices to help with cleaning.

Once finished, toss the lemon and rinse the brass pieces under clean, cool water. Make sure you are rinsing for a minute to make sure the salt is completely cleaned off of the surfaces.

​Cheese Graters

Your sponges are going to thank us after this one! All you need is a lemon cut into quarters or in half. Begin to grate the lemon (flesh side down) into the cheese grater on all of the sides.

The lemon has excellent properties inside the juices to help break down and clean off the stuck on cheese.You don’t need to follow with any dish detergent since the lemon cleans it. Instead, you can just rinse it with some cool water to wash off any seeds that are grated out of the lemon.    

Faucets

Similar to how you clean brass pieces, you will want to use a cut up lemon to scrub down your faucets. You can use salt as an abrasive scrubber or use baking soda to help your metal faucets shine again.

Lemons are especially great for cleaning kitchen sink faucets since these tend to get touched and splashed while you are cooking. The lemons will also sanitize your faucets and remove any lingering food-based bacteria that could have come into contact with them.

If you want to learn how to clean a drain trap, check out our article here.

Cleaning Appliances with Lemon

Keeping your kitchen appliances clean doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. A simple lemon, a dash of salt and some water go a long ways when it comes to cleaning and deodorizing these appliances.

Microwaves

Let’s be honest, not many people enjoy cleaning or even remember to clean the microwave until it is too late and there is a gross mass of stuff inside that won’t come loose with easy wiping. Instead of scrubbing, all you need is a bowl of water and a lemon.

  • 1
    ​Fill a microwave safe bowl about halfway full with water.
  • 2
    ​Slice a lemon into halves or quarters.
  • 3
    ​Squeeze the juice into the bowl of water and drop the peels in as well.
  • 4
    Set the microwave for 7 minutes. After it finishes leave the door shut for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  • 5
    ​Open the microwave and remove the bowl (carefully because it is hot!).
  • 6
    ​Use a paper towel or cleaning cloth to wipe down the inside. Everything should be loose and easy to wipe clean with minimal scrubbing needed.

The lemon enhanced water vapor that comes out of the bowl once heated thoroughly is enough to rehydrate dried messes while the lemon helps degrease the entire microwave surface.

Grill Grates

A great and non-harsh way to clean your grill grates is to cut a lemon in half and run it across the grill as it warms up. Since the grill will be on (heat is needed to get the lemon juice working) you may need to use tongs to finish cleaning the entire surface.

A smokey grill ith a bowl on top

For extra strength scrubbing power, you can sprinkle salt on the grates or onto the fleshy part of the lemons. The salt will give you an abrasive scrubbing power to help loosen up any residue on the metal grates.

Dishwashers

Just because a dishwasher gets your dishes clean, doesn’t mean that this appliance is always clean inside. Sometimes dishwashers can get food buildup in the bottom. Hard water stains can be an issue as well as grease buildup on the walls.

About once a month toss a cup of lemon juice in the dishwasher. You can simply add in a cup full to the top rack or pour it into the liquid cleaner tray. Let the dishwasher run empty for a full cycle. Opt to open the dishwasher after and let it air dry.

​Removing Odors with Lemon

Lemons are a great way to not only eliminate odors, but they also leave a bright and clean citrus scent that makes the home cleaner and smell naturally cleaner. Using a lemon won’t cover the scent. Instead, the acidic antibacterial properties in lemons work to get rid of the bacterial source of the odor and leave a fresh scent in its place.

Humidifiers

Adding a few tablespoons of lemon juice (fresh or bottled) is a great way to freshen up your humidifier. The mixture of lemon juice with a full tank of water will help clean out any lurking bacteria as well as it will get rid of any funky smells.

You don’t need to do any special cycles before or after. Just make it a habit to add in lemon juice once every 4-5 cycles to keep your humidifier smelling and looking fresh.

Refrigerators

You can create a lemon-based cleaning spray to spritz and wipe down all of the inside of your fridge. If you are running low on time and have an odor inside that needs getting rid of, you can slice a lemon into wedges and set the wedges on the shelves.

A refridgerator with one door open

You can also dip a cotton ball into some lemon juice and let that sit on a shelf or in an empty dish. The odor should be eliminated within 48 hours.

Carpets

Baking soda is one of the most effective ways to get rid of odors in carpet. If you really want to boost this cleaner, mix up your own lemon baking soda for carpet cleaning. This recipe for a lemon baking soda cleaner will have your carpets smelling better than ever while also helping get rid of embedded dirt.

Cleaning Bathrooms with Lemon

Ditch the harsh chemicals that makes your bathroom smell chokingly like bleach. Instead, you can simply try out our favorite hacks for cleaning the bathroom with a lemon and little else.

Grout

Using a lemon on your tile and grout is a great way to clean any grime that is on them. It will also brighten the grout and get rid of any stains that have occured. You can just cut a lemon open and rub it on the grout. To really make the best of this hack, we suggest you pour lemon juice onto the grout and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes.

Next, you will want to take an unused toothbrush and scrub back and forth on the lemon juice covered grout. After you finish scrubbing, you should rinse the area with clean water and use a cloth to wipe up the liquids so the floor can dry. You can also try to do the same for cleaning your top quality handheld shower head.

Toilets

Whether you're using a regular built=in toilet or the composting type, you can definitely follow these tips for cleaning them.

For a quick and easy clean, you can put on a pair of gloves and rub a halved lemon around your toilet. If you prefer to be a little more hands off then pouring a little lemon juice into the toilet before cleaning is also acceptable. Let it sit for about 10 minutes before you start scrubbing with the brush.  

Mirrors and Windows

When you mix lemon juice, white distilled vinegar and water, you will make a great all natural window and glass cleaner that will get rid of dirt, grime, and dust while also being non toxic. You can use this on mirrors, windows, and your glass shower doors.

A bonus hack for shiny glass and mirror surfaces is to use newspaper to wipe instead of paper towels.

Woman fixing her hair infront of a mirror

When Not to Squeeze

These lemon hacks are sure to make your next daily cleaning job so much easier and bright smelling. However, as great as they are, lemons are not made to be used on everything. Make sure you remember these tips below.

  • ​Avoid cleaning your granite with lemons. They are too acidic and can strip away the protective top coating.
  • ​Don’t mix with bleach. Similar to vinegar, lemons are highly acidic and when mixed with bleach they will form a toxic chemical gas that is very harmful if inhaled.
  • ​Don’t use it on Marble. Due to the high acidity, lemons are not good for natural stone surfaces such as marble. The acid from lemons can eat away at the natural stone surfaces and cause damage to them.

About the Author Lauren Moldvay

Lauren Moldvay is a freelance writer from Virginia and the mother of one (not always) sweet little girl. She specializes in trying to help others find easier ways to clean, manage the home and save money with DIY projects.