Whether we put them in our water and soft drinks as taste enhancers or use them as a skincare remedy, there are infinitely more uses of lemons than you might think.
If you are not in the habit of keeping these handy citrus fruits around, consider keeping a ready supply: you never know when you might need to call upon this miracle fruit.
You might already have some ideas about uses for lemon oil and other parts of the fruit, but your list is about to get longer. Here are some of the best-kept secret uses of lemons. You’ll never be caught without one again.
1. Say goodbye to ink spots. There is almost no limit to lemon juice uses: this acidic substance can even be used to get rid of stubborn ink spots. It is best to apply the lemon juice before the ink dries, so make sure you have a lemon on hand at all times. After liberally treating the ink stain, wash clothing in cold water and watch the lemon work its magic.
2. Whiten your fingernails. Bleaching has long been one of the most common lemon uses. To brighten nails, soak nails in lemon juice for 10 minutes or, for a quick fix, simply rub the lemon wedge directly on your nails. For better results, follow-up the lemon juice treatment with a solution of equal parts white vinegar and warm water, then rinse thoroughly. Your nails will be transformed from dull to sparkling in no time.
3. Get rid of blackheads. If fancy facial scrubs and masks won’t get rid of those pesky blackheads, treat them with lemon juice each night before going to bed. In the morning, rinse your face with cool water. After a few days, your pores will begin to shrink and your blackheads will be less noticeable. If the blackhead has already turned into a pimple, dab lemon juice on the irritated skin twice a day to help the pimple dry up and heal quickly.
4. Lighten hair the natural way. If you crave blonde highlights for the summer, save your hair from the harmful chemicals found in most hair dyes and use lemon juice instead. Mix ¼ cup lemon juice with ¾ cup water and apply to your hair. For more dramatic and instant results, dry your hair in the sun. Your highlights will give you the natural, sun-kissed look you’re after.
5. Keep cutting boards clean and odor-Free. Lemons can also help get rid of those tough stains on your cutting boards. Squeeze the juice from half a lemon onto the board, scrub and then leave it to soak for 20 minutes. Rinse with water and repeat as necessary. In addition to cleaning and disinfecting your board, the lemon juice will also remove strong odors from garlic, onions or other strong-smelling foods.
6. Revive laundry whites. Are your laundry whites lacking that certain brightness they once had? If so, here’s another one of many lemon juice uses that can bring the whiteness back to your laundry. Add ½ cup of lemon juice to your next normal-sized laundry load and you’ll never reach for the bleach bottle again.
7. Heal your sore throat. Lemons have long been touted for therapeutic qualities. To relieve your sore throat without the side-effects of other medicinal syrups, hold a skewered half of a lemon over a gas stove until the peel is golden brown. Mix the lemon juice with 1 teaspoon of honey and drink. Another variation of this concoction calls for four tablespoons of lemon juice, one cup of honey, and ½ cup of olive oil. After heating for five minutes, stir and take one teaspoon every 2 hours.
8. Stop dandruff. One of the lesser known uses of lemon is to help with dandruff. This remedy calls for 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, which you should work into wet hair. Follow this treatment with a shampoo, and then apply a mixture of 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 2 cups of water. Do this every other day until there is no more dandruff.
9. Shine stainless steel, brass and copper pots. Keep those pots and teakettles looking like new with lemon juice and salt. Take a lemon wedge, sprinkle it with salt, and rub away those stains. Add a little water, and they’ll look as good as new! You can try this method on stainless-steel sinks as well.
10. Keep food looking fresh. What can you do when you prepare a tasty treat and find that, an hour later, it looks less than fresh? The answer, of course, is to add lemon juice! Lemons can prevent the natural browning that occurs on certain foods and will keep apples, pears and even your guacamole looking scrumptious for hours.
11. Clean the food grater. Graters can be impossible to clean, especially with all the little particles that get stuck in the holes and crevices. The next time you face the dreaded task of cleaning the grater, rub both sides with half of a lemon and the residue will come off with minimal effort. Soon it will be ready for your next use.
12. Decorate on a budget. If you’re looking for a quick summer update for your house, lemons are the perfect solution. Place a few in a bowl for a cheerful centerpiece or line them along a window sill or counter for a simple, yet attractive, display. The sight of those bright yellow fruits will put you in the mood for sun-filled days.
13. Clean the microwave. If you had a quarter for every minute you have spent scrubbing your microwave clean, you’d be a wealthier woman. Did you know that 4 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 cup of water will do the scrubbing for you? Simply boil the mixture for 5 minutes in the microwave and then effortlessly wipe the walls clean.
14. Sanitize the Garbage Disposal. That’s right, simply drop a half-lemon into your disposal with a tablespoon of baking soda, and it will stay clean and odor-free. Replenish as needed.
15. Remove tough stains from your hands. Immediately after handling food, rinse your hands thoroughly with lemon juice. Your guests may never believe you actually made the blueberry pie, but your hands will appreciate the help.
The benefits and uses of lemons are too numerous to count. After reading more about this versatile fruit, you may never look at a lemon the same way again. You may be tempted to go to the nearest supermarket and buy the entire lemon supply, but before you go, make sure your lemons are in top condition to reap the full benefits. Contrary to popular opinion, the biggest lemons aren’t always the best.