When it comes to cleaning, fresh, zingy lemons are not ‘lemons’, so to speak.

The cleaning experts at MOLLY MAID explain that lemons are amazingly effective as a cleaning tool because they have antibacterial and antiseptic properties, and their mild bleaching power can help to remove stains. (And they’re not talking about conventional cleaning products that are scented with lemon – some of those products contain toxic ingredients!)

All you have to do is buy a small bag of lemons – and get to work.  Here are 10 ways lemons can help you clean.

1. KITCHEN WORK SURFACES

If your kitchen work surfaces have marks on them, put a few drops of fresh lemon juice on, leave for a few minutes, and then rinse and dry.

2. DISHWASHER

To get rid of musty smells in your dishwasher, fill the soap dispenser with ¼ cup fresh lemon juice and run the machine empty of dishes. The lemon will freshen up the machine, help to kill bacteria and remove musty odours.

3. DISINFECT CHOPPING BOARDS

The antibacterial properties of lemons make them perfect for disinfecting chopping boards. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the board and spread it around, allow it to soak overnight and rinse off in the morning. This will remove bacteria along with any odours from chopping garlic, onions, etc.

4. CLEAN SINKS

To clean and remove stains from bathroom and kitchen sinks, make a paste from fresh lemon juice and salt. Dip a sponge into the paste and rub around the sink, then rinse. Porcelain sinks, in particular, will love this treatment and sparkle beautifully! Otherwise, be sure to check that your sink will react favourably to lemon juice (test a small area) or that it won’t potentially scratch when using the salt.

5. REMOVE LIMESCALE

Lemons can help dissolve hard water deposits and soap scum. Rub a cut lemon around your taps or around your sink, leave to work for a few minutes, and then rinse. Do not leave to soak too long as this will discolour your taps.

To prevent limescale in your kettle, put some fresh lemon peel in the bottom, top up with water, bring to a boil and then leave overnight. Rinse well in the morning and your kettle will be limescale-free.

6. SHINE BRASS

Make a paste from fresh lemon juice and baking soda. Apply this paste to any brass fixtures or fittings in your home, such as door handles or taps. Rub gently with a soft cloth and buff until it shines.

7. SHINE COPPER

Give your copper pans a brilliant shine with lemon. Cut a fresh lemon in half, dip it in some salt and use it like a scouring pad. If you have copper pipes in your bathroom or other copper materials in your home, these will benefit from the same treatment.

8. AIR FRESHENER

Lemon leaves a fresh, uplifting scent in your home. Either cut up some fresh lemons and boil them in a saucepan of water with the lid off for half an hour, or put half a fresh lemon in the oven after you have finished using it. The residual heat from the oven will release the aroma into your kitchen and get rid of stale cooking smells.

9. REMOVE CLOTHING STAINS

There was a time we ‘streaked’ our hair by putting lemon juice on it and sitting in the sun! Well, you can use the same principal on stained white clothing. Here’s how:

  • Dab a little lemon juice on stains;
  • Leave to work for a few moments;
  • Wash as usual;

Hang the clothes outdoors to dry on a sunny day to allow the sun to add its bleaching effect too. Be cautious with the types of materials that you use lemon with as some may react with the lemon as it is a natural bleaching agent.

10. BRIGHTEN WHITES

To brighten white clothing that has become dull, pre-soak it in lemon juice. Here’s how: slice up a lemon and place in a large container. Pour boiling water over the lemon, cover and leave to reach the desired temperature. When cool enough, add your clothes and soak them for an hour before washing as usual.

Alternatively, put 1/2 cup lemon juice in the rinse cycle of your washing machine and hang your white clothes in the sunshine to dry.