We’re not sure why clunker cars or disappointing appliances are called “lemons.” From where we’re sitting, these cheery citrus fruits are one of your home’s hardest working, most flexible cleaning tools. Just look at what they can do:
1. Freshen your microwave.
Make the interior easier to wipe down by heating a cup of water and a chopped-up lemon on high until the microwave’s window is steamy. Let the bowl sit for 15 minutes before you open the door, and clean away any grime and grease with ease.
2. De-stink the garbage disposal.
Run a few lemon rinds through the disposal and follow with cold water to dispel any sour odors.
3. Remove stains from linens.
This tip is safe for even delicate or vintage fabrics: Treat a set-in stain with lemon juice and salt. Let the mixture sit for a half hour, then rinse with vinegar and warm water.
4. Get stains out of a cutting board or butcher block.
Run the cut side of a lemon over the board to remove food stains and smells. For extra cleaning power, sprinkle it with salt or baking soda first. If your stains are particularly stubborn, let everything sit overnight before you rinse with water. Wipe wooden boards with mineral oil to seal.
5. Get rid of tarnish on brass.
Sprinkle tarnished spots with salt, and then lightly rub with a sponge dampened with lemon juice. Rinse with water and dry well.
6. Remove a rust stain from fabric.
Try the trusty lemon juice-and-salt combo to fight these tricky stains. Let the item sit in the sun as it dries, and reapply the mixture as needed until the spot disappears.
7. Shine chrome bathroom fixtures.
Run the cut side of a lemon over faucets, drains, and more to remove mineral deposits and make ’em sparkle. Rinse and dry thoroughly when you’re done.
8. Remove T-shirt sweat stains.
Fight those troublesome set-in stains by rubbing them with lemon juice (vinegar works well, too) before you toss the clothing in the wash.
9. Kill weeds.
Spray any garden offenders with a little lemon juice to banish them from your yard. But keep the juice away from the plants you want to keep — the acidity could damage or kill flowers and bushes, too.
10. Create a makeshift scented humidifier.
Simmer a saucepan of water and some lemon slices (and other aromatics, if you like) to combat dry indoor air, and make your home smell nice in one punch.
11. Clean a cheese grater.
Can’t free the last bits of cheddar from your grater’s holes? Run the flesh side of cut lemon over the tool to help cut through and free the residue.