Introduction: 10 Unusual Uses for Lemons

Picture of 10 Unusual Uses for Lemons

Lemons are one of Nature's coolest gifts. Not only do they hold court in the kitchen, they also have many other uses that just add to their awesomeness. Here are 10 unusual uses for lemons that are simple and fun!

Step 1: Bug Repellent

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Citrus oil is an age old weapon against insects of all kinds - and the oil lives in the peel! So it stands to reason that saving the often cast off peels and putting them to work fighting the good 'pest-free house' fight is a no brainer solution.

Keep your lemon peels and place them outside your house along window sills and cracks to keep out spiders, ants, and other creepy crawlers.

Step 2: Shoe & Furniture Polish

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Mix 2 tsp of lemon juice with 3 tbsp olive oil to make an all natural, inexpensive polish for leather shoes and wooden furniture.

Apply with a clean dry cloth, let sit for a few minutes, and wipe off with a second cloth. Repeat as often as necessary.

Step 3: Energize Your Day

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The smell of lemon is known as one of the most uplifting scents, appearing in most 'energizing' aromatherapy mixes. I like to go right to the source and keep a half of a lemon at my desk to smell periodically through the day, especially if I'm feeling that afternoon nap slump.

And then when the lemon half is at the end of it's fresh life, I use if for Step 10!

Step 4: Prevents Rice From Sticking

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Add 1 tbsp to rice water while it's cooking to prevent rice-on-rice sticking. So simple!

Step 5: Remove Fish Odor From Hands

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To remove the smell of fish from your hands that comes with preparing fresh fish meals, rub a slice of lemon over the affected skin and then wash as normal. The fish smell should be gone! And then you can cut another slice to squeeze over the fish once it's cooked for added deliciousness! Lemons, why you so amazing?!

Step 6: Invisible Ink!

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This is a fun project for kids. Have them write 'secret' notes to each other in lemon juice using a brush or cotton swab. Let them dry and then iron on the highest temperature to reveal the message. Spy games!

Step 7: Pot Cleaner

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To remove burnt on food from stainless steel pots, fill the pot with enough water to cover the charred area, add a half of a lemon (including the peel), and boil! The burnt bits should come off in easy chunks with a wooden utensil or a nonabrasive scrubby.

Step 8: Hair Highlighter

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Fill a small spray bottle with straight, fresh lemon juice and spray on the areas of your hair you'd like to add highlights to. Head outside and expose your hair to 30 minutes of sun (remember to wear sunblock!) and then wash the juice out of your hair. You should see a subtle lightening of your hair. For more dramatic results, repeat one to two more times.

Step 9: Fruit & Veggie Wash

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For a natural (and less expensive than store bought brands) way to remove sprays from fruits and veggies, add 1 tbsp of lemon juice and 2 tbsp of white vinegar to one cup of water to a reusable spray bottle.

Step 10: Deodorize Your Garbage Disposal

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If you have a garbage disposal, you know the funky smells that can sometimes emit from the depth of that side of your sink. A cheap and chemical-free way to deodorize your disposal is to (safely) push a half lemon down into it just before you go to bed, turn on some warm water, and pulse it for only a few seconds. Let the partially ground lemon sit in there overnight and then run the disposal for longer with hot water in the morning. And voila! A fresh smelling sink.

Pro tip: I use my half lemon from Step 3 once it's lost it's freshness. Two birds, one lemon half.

If you have any other great uses for lemons, please leave them in the comments section below!

Happy lemoning!


jlms (author)2017-09-13

Waste disposal the way you explain it is clearly an US thing only, I have never seen a waste disposal system as described anywhere else (not even in the US itself).


miller92586 (author)2017-08-14

I also use Lemons to "brighten' my nails, after you use the lemon to squeeze water, etc, run your nails into the used lemon half. when you rinse you will see the "whites of your nails" whiter than ever. Not to mention bacteria fighting.

cirano (author)miller925862017-08-19

Indian restaurants usually provide a "finger bowl" at the end of a meal to wash your hands with, takes off most of the (delicious) oily residue off your fingers :)

ChristineL95 (author)2017-08-15

Lemon juice + garlic + olive oil is a great way to cook just about anything quickly in a pan; chicken, shrimp, vegetables. Fresh and simple.

DeonD2 (author)ChristineL952017-08-18

Be careful though - cooking in olive oil can be toxic

beanbeandood (author)2017-08-13

Charging your phone

ngarrett4 (author)beanbeandood2017-08-14

Do what? Explain please

wingnutzster (author)ngarrett42017-08-17

A stick of copper and one of zinc pressed into opposite ends of a lemon will produce current enough to charge a USB device

BobP121 (author)2017-08-16

Lemon Juice doesn't stain clothing carpets etc.

always curious (author)2016-04-06

Pimple remover! - If you have a pimple coming up, simply wet a cotton bud in lemon juice and dab it on the pimple. Do this every couple of hours and it is supposed to disappear/decrease in the next day or so. My daughter says it worked for her.

I do this to, using a Q-Tip dipped in hot salt water (just put a small amount of water + salt in a dixie cup) then soak the Q-Tip with lemon juice. Press against the blemish while still warm, & like above, do this every few hours. It works for me. The salt is probably optional - I like it because it adds "scrubbiness."

miller92586 (author)2017-08-14

I also use Lemons to "brighten' my nails, after you use the lemon to squeeze water, etc, run your nails into the used lemon half. when you rinse you will see the "whites of your nails" whiter than ever. Not to mention bacteria fighting.

Kevanf1 (author)2015-11-12

I like these wonderful uses for lemons (besides eating them of course). I am surprised nobody has mentioned it's benefits when you have a sore throat. So, here you go. It's an old fashioned throat soother but it does work. Juice a lemon and add it to about a cup full of quite warm water. Make sure the water is not too hot or you'll scald yourself and make your throat worse otherwise :( Now, to the mix of hot water and lemon juice add honey. This is down to personal taste so add anything from a spoonful to maybe three spoonfuls (or more if you have a mega sweet tooth like me) of good honey. You can use runny honey or set it doesn't matter. If you can afford it Manuka honey is supposed to be the best as it has very high levels of antibacterial properties but don't worry if it's too expensive (it is for me) as normal stuff will work. Sit back and sip this mix and hopefully your sore throat will be gradually eased. Of course, I had better say right now that if it persists please seek proper medical advice just in case it is anything nasty :)

GrinningCheetah (author)Kevanf12015-11-13


Rae1929 (author)GrinningCheetah2017-08-14

no, it's better when it's warm! Lol

jetpower (author)Kevanf12015-11-12

And a touch of bourbon or other whiskey and you've got a hot toddy, with its extra calming power!

Really nice editing, by the way.

Kevanf1 (author)jetpower2015-11-16

Yes, many people here in the UK also add whiskey to it. Personally I'd add dark rum and keep the whiskey (my preference is single malt Scotch) in a separate tumbler :) Each to their own though.

Paige Russell (author)jetpower2015-11-13

The toddy is a winter staple for me. I did an instructable on a ginger version:

Rae1929 (author)2017-08-14

thanks gary96! Absolutely!

garyr96 (author)2017-08-14

The best use for lemons is a thick lemon meringue pie.

DanC66 (author)2017-08-14

If you get dry scaly skin on your elbows, take a used lemon half and rub it on (don't try this if the skin is broken though, ouchy!) the oils and all that lemony goodness goes straight into the area and Bingo! beautiful elbows once more.

I guess if you have dry scaly skin elsewhere you could use strips of peel and do the same job.

MuthukrishnanV (author)2017-08-14

You can also put a fully or partly squeezed half in the cooker water every time and close the lid. Even old dried piece can also be used. the cooker inside will look as good as new for years.

scribbley (author)2015-11-12

Very cool intractable

Here is a list of healthy things to do with lemons its a pretty long list so I'm posting the first 5 if you want the other 7 I will post them

1. Cleanses Your System and is a Diuretic

Being an antiseptic acid, lemon juice has the ability to cleanse your entire system, flushing out all harmful chemicals andtoxins. As it increases urination to flush all toxins, it helps in normal bowel movement. In addition, lemon water helps in increasing the production of enzymes that stimulate liver detoxification function.

2. Clears Skin

According to many studies, lemon contains antioxidants that help in compensating dead skin cells. It also heals blemishes, and fights any free radical that could potentially harm the skin. Finally, it helps in the fight against bacteria that cause acne, it revitalizes the damaged ski, it delays the process of aging and it leads to youthful and more glowing skin.

3. Boosts Your Immune System

It is a well-known fact that lemon is one of the best sources of vitamin C. As a result, it increases immune system resistance to diseases and it helps in fighting common colds. It is rich in potassium as well, a mineral that helps in controlling blood pressure levels.
Thanks to its high vitamin C or ascorbic acid content, it provides anti-inflammatory properties. This is really important because it helps in the treatment of various respiratory issues and it lessens asthma attacks.
In addition to all this, lemon contains saponin, a phytochemical which acts as powerful antimicrobial agent and it helps in preventing cold and flu.

4. Boost Brain Power

above, lemon is rich in magnesium and potassium, making it a great ingredient for the brain and the entire nervous system.
Moreover, it can boost energy level and improve your mood because it fights stress and depression.
It helps you concentrate and focus better, which is the reason why students and people with stressful work are recommended to consume lemon water.

5. Balances pH levels

We already know that citric and ascorbic acid helps to alkalize the blood. Lemons contain both of them, and as a result they have the ability to balance the acidity in the body. According to many studies, when the body`s pH is acidic is the time when disease occur. Regular consumption of lemon water can regulate the acidity in the body and thus, prevent diseases such as uric acid.

Celarmia (author)scribbley2017-08-13

Thanks for this info! I would like the other 7 please.

Exocetid (author)scribbley2017-08-13

I squeeze a lemon (and occasionally a lime too), add a bit of cold water and drink it every morning. Just a magical elixir for all the reasons you listed and more. Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling was a fanatic about Vitamin C. Lemons are extremely cheap, totally natural and their thick skins protect you somewhat <g> if you don't buy organic. After the squeeze the rinds go into the composter where they add fiber and acid...or you can use them in any of the ways described above. Just a magical fruit!

Lastly, after you have weaned yourself off sugar (as I have) things that were not sweet before suddenly are--like unsweetened lemon juice!

Michelle Irish (author)scribbley2015-11-12

I'd like to see the other two uses for lemon - this is very interesting.

scribbley (author)Michelle Irish2015-11-12

here you go

All you need to do is to squeeze ½ fresh lemon in a glass of lukewarm water.
It is recommended to use fresh lemon, not bottled one.
Drink the water right away.
This should be the first thing you do in the morning, before you eat and workout.

6. Promotes Better Digestion

Lemon juice produces citric acids which are good for the entire digestive system and help in cramps and stomach pain.
According to many studies, lemon water improves the absorption of aluminum hydroxide, an antacids active ingredient which then helps in controlling the acid level in the stomach.
Finally, lemon water cleanses the liver and by doing so, it promotes more bile production. The bile is an acid which is essential for good digestion. Being an antiseptic acid, the lemon helps cleanse and flush out toxins in the digestive tract. Finally, it relieves indigestion issues, such as belching, bloating and heartburn.

7. Hydrates Your Lymph System

The lymph system has a huge role in our body’s immune system.
It the body is dehydrated, you will notice the symptoms of sluggishness, tiredness and a drop in the immune system, leading to low/high blood pressure, constipation, stress, low energy level, unfocused mind, and bad sleep.
Drinking lemon water compensates, hydrates, and replaces the lost fluids in the body, leading to prevention of the aforementioned conditions.

8. Anti-Cancer Agent

First of all, lemons are rich in antioxidant that delay the process of aging, thus reduce the risk of cancer cells. Moreover, it s a good neutralizer acid which prevents acidic environment, the one in which cancer cells grow and multiply.

9. Promotes Healing

As mentioned above, lemon water has the ability to heal scars and blemishes. Besides that, it helps in healing and maintaining healthy tissues, cartilages and bones.
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties it promotes good health and fast recovery from injuries and stress. When combined with other vitamins and minerals, its activity is even more potent.

10. Helps in Weight Loss

Lemon is a great ingredient when it comes to dieting and weight loss process because it contains pectin, a set of polysaccharides with gel-properties, a fiber helping fight cravings for food. According to a research, people who follow an alkaline diet tend to lose weight much faster

11. Freshens Breath The lemon is a citrus fruit that is very refreshing and it gives a freshly scent. It relieves the symptoms of gingivitis and toothaches.
It is recommended to rinse the mouth with clean, purified water after consuming lemon water.

12. Energizes and Enhances Your Mood It is a well-known fact that vitamin C is great mood enhancer. As lemon is rich in vitamin C and important micronutrients, it has the ability to reduce fatigue, depression, stress, anxiety and it helps our mood to be more positive.

Piper29 (author)scribbley2017-01-08

Most of yours were helpful, I must admit but consuming too much lemon water regularly weakens the enamel on your teeth which protects your teeth from cavities. So basically it will increase your chance of cavities even if you do brush your teeth.

HopeF11 (author)Piper292017-08-13

It is better to drink the lemon water with a straw... so that your teeth are not in contact with it......

SteveB418 (author)scribbley2017-08-13

This is great info, Thanks!

catbill (author)scribbley2017-08-13

The body tightly regulates pH levels in the blood. Lemons may alkalize urine, but not blood.The idea that they do so a myth. People need to stop spreading this false information about acids and bases and their roles in disease. See

Thejesterqueen (author)scribbley2016-01-17

please post the other 7!

skylane (author)2017-08-13

One day I was playing with my nieces. I was wearing white pants (I should never do that). I got grass stains on my knees. I grabbed a lemon off a nearby tree, scraped it on the sidewalk then rubbed it onto the grass stains. POOF...GONE

I want to say it was "magic", but it wasn't. It just works like that.

ochetski (author)2015-11-12

Perfect photos! Just love it.
Lime (at least in Brazil) is betterfor invisible ink than lemon.

Alaskan Bev (author)ochetski2017-08-13

We always used vinegar for invisible writing. Less expensive and most homes have it around all the time. Use white vinegar, obviously.

Paige Russell (author)ochetski2015-11-13

Ooh, I'll have to try that!

mjgradow (author)2017-08-13

My mother used to make Limoncello liquor. I'm sure there are recipies online. It was delicious!

kai.h (author)mjgradow2017-08-13

What timing. I just put up a recipe yesterday!

jim.katz.3 (author)mjgradow2017-08-13

Look online under "Mom was a moonshiner!"

VaMalone (author)2017-08-13

add a whole lemon to your shrimp boiling. Brings out a sweet taste, but not too sweet. Got this form Lousianna

Kalle Klæp (author)2017-08-13

I can say for sure it adds to the flavor of Gin, whether you distill it on your own or just sprinkle a little into your drink.

Some fresh lemon peel is also excellent to rub on the edge of a glass after one has made a drink. Try it with a Coke and rum.

trentmime (author)2017-08-13

Great article, thanks!

SteveB418 (author)2017-08-13

I love natural alternatives to daily issues!

SoliC (author)2017-08-13

My best use for a lemon was sprinkling it on almost all the food I used to eat (unfortunately radiotherapy has destroyed my swallowing mechanism). My wife used to carry one with her when we wen to dinner parties, as I really could not eat without it. Using it with Indian food is a must.

KonradR7 (author)2017-08-13
The best remedy against colds. Juice with 1 kg of lemons, 1 liter of olive oil, 1 liter of honey. Every day you drink one spoon. Guarantee you will not get sick in the winter.
blorgggg made it! (author)2017-07-18

Ha! i did one of these instructables too! Madagascar themed yay lemons!

Fathomlis (author)2015-12-26

Check out my new way of using lemon peels!


IanM68 (author)2015-11-14

I removed paint from old doorknobs by putting them in a large can with water and a couple of cut lemons. I let them sit over night and the next day much of the paint had peeled off and the rest came of with a bit of scrubbing - no nasty, toxic paint remover required.

nehadoshi (author)2015-11-12

Lemons are great as deodorant. Cut a lemon in half and rub it on the arm pits after a shower. The lemons kill the bacteria that causes body odour. So although you do sweat, the armpits don't smell. It's a great natural alternative and cheap!

tomas75a (author)nehadoshi2015-11-13

Seems kind of wasteful to waste an entire lemon though.

About This Instructable




Bio: Made in Canada, I grew up crafting, making, and baking. Out of this love for designing and creating, I pursued a BFA in product design ... More »
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