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 degree in product design from Parsons School of Design in NYC. Since then I've done work for Mar…

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!