10 Unusual Uses for Lemons

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Introduction: 10 Unusual Uses for Lemons

About: 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 from Parsons School of Design in NYC. Since then I've done work for Mart...

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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

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

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

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

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!

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72 Comments

user

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).

Strange.

1 reply

They mean to drop the lemons down the disposal opening, turn on the power for a couple of seconds, turn back off. Leave the lemon in disposal overnight and in the morning, turn the power back on and finish disposing of the lemon that was left inside.

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.

1 reply

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 :)

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

1 reply

Be careful though - cooking in olive oil can be toxic

Do what? Explain please

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

Lemon Juice doesn't stain clothing carpets etc.

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.

1 reply

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."

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.

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 :)

5 replies

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

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.

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.

The toddy is a winter staple for me. I did an instructable on a ginger version: https://www.instructables.com/id/Hot-Toddy-Recipe/

thanks gary96! Absolutely!