10 Clever Ways to Clean With a Lemon

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Faith Durand)

When life hands you lemons, open your arms wide and say, “Thank you, Life!” because lemons are awesome — no lemonade required. They’re a firm staple in our refrigerator and a key ingredient in many favorite recipes. We love to juice them, zest them, and preserve them. (And fine — lemonade isn’t so bad either.)

But the wonders of lemons don’t end there. Lemons are also fantastic kitchen helpers — “nature’s little hand scrubbers,” as Dana once wrote — a natural, mild disinfectant that fits in the palm of your hand. Is spring cleaning on your mind? Then grab a lemon, because we’ve got 10 ways you can clean your kitchen with it.

10 Ways to Use a Lemon in the Kitchen

1. Clean the microwave.

The easiest, simplest way to get your microwave spotless, no scrubbing required.

2. Clean your wooden cutting boards.

Our favorite way to clean wooden cutting boards at the end of the night.

3. Remove stains from butcher block countertops.

Begone, berry stains and coffee rings! We banish you from all butcher blocks by the power of a lemon.

4. Make an all-purpose kitchen cleaner.

Don’t throw out those lemon peels — save them and make this awesome-smelling kitchen cleaner.

5. Polish copper.

No matter how tarnished your copper cookware, a lemon can make it all better.

See our tutorial: How To Clean and Polish Copper

6. Freshen the garbage disposal.

As we wrote here, the best way to kick that funky smell coming out of your garbage disposal is to throw in some ice cubes, a handful of kosher salt, and a few lemon peels. Turn it on, grind it up, and voila — freshness.

7. Scrub stubborn stuck-on food off dishes.

Have a little dried cheese you can’t get off the grater? Grab a recently juiced lemon, a little coarse salt, and get to scrubbing.

8. Clean and deodorize smelly plastic containers.

Rub a lemon over the inside of a plastic container, or rinse it with lemon juice to help remove stains and smells.

9. Polish spotty knives.

As we wrote here, lemon juice can help remove rust spots on knives if you left them just a tad too long in a puddle of water.

10. Clean the blender.

If your blender carafe suffers from a little hard water build-up, blend a lemon with a little dishwashing soap and water to get it sparkling again.

Do you have any genius ways you clean with lemon in the kitchen? Tell us!