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15 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Clean with Lemon

From tough stains to clogged drains, lemons are the cleaners you didn’t know you needed. Take advantage of the surprising benefits of cleaning with lemon.

Kitchen brass utensils, chef accessories. Hanging copper kitchen with white tiles wallunited photo studio/Shutterstock

Clean brass and copper

Sprinkle salt (any kind) on half of a lemon and start scrubbing. Antiques can be tricky though—test this method on a small portion first to make sure you’re not causing any damage. Check out more genius housecleaning tips from professional cleaners.

MicrowaveZynatis/Shutterstock

Steam clean a microwave

Put ¾ cup of water and two tablespoons of lemon juice in your microwave. Heat for about three minutes, or until it boils, and let it sit for ten minutes. Then wipe down the inside and you’re done. No scrubbing necessary.

Slow motion of A cook grater Parmesan cheese, typical Italian cheese, on the plate just freshly brewed. Concept: Italian cuisine, cheese, restaurant and food.HQuality/Shutterstock

Remove gunk from a cheese grater

Cleaning graters can be a daunting—not to mention dangerous—task. Run half a lemon down the side of the grater to remove food particles, then rinse with warm, soapy water. The utensil gets cleaned and your fingers stay uncut. You can use a lemon to clean grills the same way. Find out more simple secrets of people who always have clean homes.

laundryAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Use lemons in lieu of bleach to brighten clothes

Soak cotton and polyester clothes in a lemon juice/water mixture (½ cup of juice per gallon of water) to bleach whites and brighten colors. Keep the clothes in for an hour or longer, depending on how much they need to be brightened, then dry them in the sun. You can also substitute a half cup of lemon juice for bleach when using a washing machine.

Open fridge full of vegetables and fruits5 second Studio/Shutterstock

Keep your fridge smelling fresh

Leave a half lemon on a saucer in your fridge to keep foul odors at bay. Here are some more simple home items that make great deodorizers.

Golden earrings and necklaceAlex Andrei/Shutterstock

Sanitize earrings

Sanitize earrings and other jewelry in 1½ cups of water and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Just don’t use this method with gold or pearls.

The shower drain with tile floorsDmitry Bodyaev/Shutterstock

Deal with a clogged drain

If you pour half a box of baking soda and 8-12 ounces of lemon juice down a drain, a chemical reaction will turn the ingredients into foam. Add boiling water to rinse out the foam, and your clog disappears. Find out the most common cleaning myths you need to stop believing.

Young woman washing face in bathroomAlliance/Shutterstock

Exfoliate your face for glowing skin

Make a homemade exfoliant with juice from half a lemon, one tablespoon of olive oil, a ½ cup of granulated sugar, and a tablespoon of honey. Lemon juice can also fight acne. After washing and drying your face, dip a cotton ball in lemon juice and apply it to the affected area. Rinse with cool water after ten minutes. Do this in the morning and before bedtime.

Fried rice with the tupperware box.with steamed rice.N192/Shutterstock

Freshen up plastic food containers

If your food containers smell, rub a lemon in them or rinse with lemon juice. For bad stains, add lemon juice and baking soda and let it sit overnight. Also, try these 43 extraordinary uses for household staples you already own.

Set of kitchen knives on a board, top viewFortyforks/Shutterstock

Make spotty knives shine like new

Lemon juice and a sponge are all you need to erase rust spots on knives.

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De-grime your shower door

Scrub down glass shower doors with just half of a lemon. For a deeper cleanse, dip it in baking soda first. Here are some ways you've probably been cleaning your bathroom wrong.

Open dishwasher with clean utensils in itCicero Castro/Shutterstock

Deodorize your dishwasher

Put a cup of lemon juice in a dishwasher-safe container on the bottom rack (with no other dirty dishes). Run the rinse cycle for a clean, deodorized finish. Tackle dried-on food or detergent by rubbing it with a piece of lemon.

Food waste left in a sink. CloseupTolikoff Photography/Shutterstock

Freshen up the garbage disposal

Clean and deodorize your garbage disposal by grinding up ice cubes, a handful of kosher salt, and lemon peels. You can also fill ice cube slots with lemon pieces and vinegar. Once they’re frozen, put a couple down the disposal and let it run. Find out some more simple ways to clean hard-to-clean household items.

Heap of dirty utensil on the kitchenSerg Salivon/Shutterstock

Quell kitchen odors

Boil a small pot of water with pieces of lemon rind and a teaspoon each of whole cloves and rosemary leaves. The aroma will get rid of odors and perfume your whole house. You can also try adding lemon peels, cloves, and cinnamon sticks for a sweeter scent.

Empty bamboo cutting board and knife on a old wooden table for product display.Top viewVictor Lauer/Shutterstock

Remove stains and germs from cutting boards

Squeeze lemon juice onto cutting board stains, then rub them with the lemon. Let the juice sit until the stains disappear and rinse. The citric acid removes stains and may help disinfect the board. Next, check out more simple, totally chemical-free ways to clean your home.

[Sources: networx.com, thekitchn.com; diynetwork.com; businessinsider.com; quickanddirtytips.com; today.com; geeksonhome.com; beautybanter.com; livestrong.com; realsimple.com; bhg.com; howstuffworks.com; tipgarden.com; thefrugalgirl.com]

Originally Published in Reader's Digest