15 Things You Can Clean With a Lemon Instead of Chemicals

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

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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.

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 10 minutes. Then wipe down the inside and you’re done. No scrubbing necessary. Here are surprising items you should never microwave.

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.

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.

Keep your fridge smelling fresh

Leave a half lemon on a saucer in your fridge to keep foul odors at bay. And don't store these foods in the refrigerator (it's not good for them).

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. Here are more tricks for cleaning jewelry at home.

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.

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 10 minutes. Do this in the morning and before bedtime. Here are nine other homemade facial masks for pretty skin that really work!

Freshen up plastic food containers

If your Tupperware smells, rub a lemon in it or rinse with lemon juice. For bad stains, add lemon juice and baking soda and let it sit overnight.

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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