33 Unexpected Things to Do With Lemons

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Lemons aren’t just for cooking, they are also a great help around the house. If you’re wondering what to do with lemons, look no further than these 33 ideas!

Not only do I love to cook with lemons (like my Lemon Roasted Potatoes, Blueberry Lemonade Cocktail, or Cayenne Lemonade) I always keep a bag of lemons in the house for other household uses.  (Click here to learn how to keep lemons fresh longer!)

Here are 33 of my favorite things you might not know you can use lemons for!

cleaning with lemon and salt

What to Do With Lemons – 33 Ideas

  1. Clean and Deodorize Your Sink-I use lemons to help scrub and deodorize my kitchen sink-get the full step by step tutorial here.
  2. Use Lemons to Clean Your Microwave-Cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice into a microwaveable bowl half-filled with water.  Add rinds to bowl and microwave for 4 minutes.  Wipe down the interior of the microwave with a cloth or sponge! (More Microwave cleaning tips here.)
  3. Freshen Stinky Breath-Gargle with fresh lemon juice to combat bad breath!
  4. Clean Graters-The easiest way to clean cheese graters is by simply running a cut lemon over the surface-the lemon juice cleans the fat from the grater with ease.
  5. Freshen Up Stinky Trashcans-Throw a few lemon rinds into the trashcan every so often to keep it smelling fresh.
  6. Whiten Nails-My nails get stained from time to time by my nail polish-slicing a lemon and rubbing it on the nails helps brighten and whiten them!
  7. Make a Citrus Scrub-Lemon is wonderful for refreshing the skin-use the juice to create a citrus salt scrub as I describe in this tutorial.
  8. Lemon Vinegar Cleaner-Soak lemon rinds in white vinegar for two weeks to help improve the smell and cleaning power of regular vinegar. (See my Orange Basil Vinegar Cleaner for a similar idea!)
  9. Get Perfect Rice-Add 1 tsp of lemon juice when cooking rice helps it to be nice and fluffy without stickiness every time!
  10. Repel Insects-Many insects, including ants, hate lemon smells! Just spray your threshold with lemon juice to help keep them at bay.
  11. Start Your Day with a Detox-Starting the day with a tall glass of water and lemon juice helps detox your liver and is great for digestion!
  12. Deodorize Your Fridge-We’ve all been told to keep a box of baking soda in the fridge but lemon peels do the trick just as well!
  13. Make Your Own Limoncello-We fell in love with limoncello while living in Italy, make a DIY version with these instructions-it makes a great gift!
  14. Perk Up Droopy Lettuce-Soak wilting lettuce in cold water with lemon juice in the fridge for an hour to help it regain its crispness!
  15. Treat Acne-Lemon is a drying agent and applying lemon juice to acne can help it go away faster! (Don’t apply on open wounds-ouch!)
  16. Deodorize Cutting Boards-After cleaning, rub half a cut lemon over the surface of your cutting board to help further sanitize and reduce smells. (How to Clean a Plastic Cutting Board)
  17. Save Those Avocados!-I hate how quickly avocados brown-or guacamole as well.  Sprinkle liberally with lemon juice to stop the oxidation that causes browning!
  18. Freshen Humidifiers-We run humidifiers most of the winter and after a while they can smell musty-adding a few tablespoons of lemon juice to the water helps cut the odor and sanitize the machine.
  19. Make invisible ink-go back to your childhood days with this tutorial for homemade invisible ink!
  20. Lighten Age Spots-I’ve come to the age where I can see the bad judgment of extended beach days as a teen starting to show up in the form of age spots.  Dabbing on some lemon juice and leaving it for 15 minutes before washing off may help lighten dark spots!
  21. Soften Dry Skin-Make a paste of lemon juice and baking soda and massage into dry areas of skin to soften and exfoliate.
  22. Remove Permanent Marker-Mix lemon juice with cream of tartar to remove permanent marker on fabric (test for colorfastness in a hidden spot first!)
  23. Whiten Clothes-for a bleach alternative mix 12 cups of water, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and 1 cup hydrogen peroxide.
  24. Wash Your Veggies-mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice with 8 ounces of water in a spray bottle and use it to wash your vegetables.
  25. Soften Cracked Heels-cut a lemon in half and scoop out the inside, placeon your heel (secure in place with a sock) and leave for 30 minutes. The acid in the lemon will soften your heels. (Do not use if your heels have open wounds.)
  26. Make a Simmer Pot-simmer water on the stovetop (or your crockpot) with cut lemon and herbs to naturally scent your home.
  27. Clean Your Cutting Board-use a lemon to help remove stains from cutting boards and keep them good as new!
  28. Treat Dandruff-massage lemon juice into your dry, flaky scalp daily until it improves
  29. Make Buttermilk-add one tablespoon of lemon juice to one cup of milk to substitute for buttermilk in recipes
  30. Lighten Hair-flash back to the 80s and mix up water and lemon juice to spray in your hair and allow it to lighten in the sun (tutorial here)
  31. Make Essential Oil-use lemon and coconut oil to make your own lemon essential oil with this tutorial then use the oil. to make your own homemade lemon scented candle
  32. Make Potpourri-use this tutorial to dry lemon slices for homemade potpourri
  33. Make your own lemon curdthis recipe is egg-free

What are your favorite uses for lemons-I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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  1. I use lemon juice to remove rust stains from fabric. I have a white sofa cover with washing the buckles left stains on the fabric. I just saturate the area with fresh lemon juice, let sit for about 15 mins then I set it outside in the sun until dry. Believe it or not it removes all the stains.

  2. II love these. I have tried most of them but, I’m going to try the one for bad breath. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Lemons are a great way to deodorize and sanitize stinky garbage disposals. Just put them in, preferably sliced, and run the disposal with water until it’s clear!

  4. If I have a surplus of lemons I juice some and freeze the juice in inexpensive dollar store ice cube trays . I keep the cubes in a freezer bag to use in recipes and my hot water detox drink.

  5. Did you know they can be frozen? I use lemons a lot and buy them by the bag at the 99 Cent Store. I toss the whole bag in the freezer and take them out as needed. To thaw, just run under cold water if needed right away or just set it out to thaw for later use. The flavor is not changed but the skin is softer.

  6. Thank you for sharing these helpful uses of lemon! I am a big fan of lemon juice! It is very surprising that I can use lemon juice for stop avocado from becoming brown! Great job!

  7. Love this list.
    I use lemons as a stain remover on white clothes. I cut the lemon, squeeze the juice on the stain(s) and rub the lemon on it as well. Set the stained clothes outside and let it sit in the sun for a few hours, then wash it in the washer. For stubborn stains, add a little baking soda with the lemon juice and scrub with a soft toothbrush. Depending on how bad the stain is, you may need to repeat until satisfied.
    Thank you for sharing.

  8. i like to add 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon rind to my fairy cakes. It makes them taste great and the tops go all sticky when they are done!

  9. This is an awesome list! I didn’t know so many of these things. I have used lemons for green cleaning applications, but in rice, or for my skin would be a new thing. Cool!

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