Household cleaners of one variety or another always seem to find their way onto the weekly grocery list. Unfortunately, they are expensive and sometime have unnecessary chemicals.
Not long ago, I came across a shop in Chicago that specialized in natural cleansing products for the home, and after perusing the shelves found an all-purpose citrus blend on special. I loved it, but I did not love the price tag.
Natural cleansers had definitely piqued my interest, but I could not justify stretching a budget already bursting at the seams.
Thus, I started looking at other alternatives and realized that creating my own household cleaners would not only serve to clean the home, but eliminate toxic residue and decrease expenses as well.
With a little research, I decided that a simple citric based solution would suit my needs very well. The natural acidity of lemons makes them perfect for everything from removing hard water deposits to refreshing the garbage disposal. Best of all, they smell heavenly and are environmentally friendly.
Let’s face it, none of us loves to clean……. but I think we would all agree that bathrooms are our least favorite cleaning project of all. Soap scum, hard water spots, grout that never seems to come clean, and worst of all, are toilet bowls. For years, I had no fewer than five different products containing chemicals tucked under the bathroom sink.
Today, all that has changed, and my bathroom is not only cleaner and fresher, but I have far more room in the cabinet as well. To remove soap scum, simply rub a cut lemon over tile, faucets, and the shower head; rinse thoroughly when finished and voilà.
They will be sparkling like new.
This process will also help to remove rust stains. Remember to remove seeds from the halves before scrubbing.
When it comes to the tub, you can boost lemon’s cleaning power by sprinkling baking soda in the bathtub before cleaning (also an excellent paste for removing stubborn grout stains).
Lastly, the juice will freshen and clean even the dirtiest of toilet bowls. For this, I mix one-part concentrated juice and one-part white vinegar (the only cleaner you will find under my sink), saturate and swish with a toilet brush.
Note, the jury is out for using the juice on brass hardware, some say it leads to discoloration, and I am admittedly not adventurous enough to check it out for myself.
In the kitchen, lemons can be used as a food source (try our recipe for vegan lemon bars!), food wash, and as a cleanser. Their natural acidity supplies antibacterial properties which make them the perfect purifier for sinks, fixtures, counters, refrigerators, dishwashers and oven spills.
Best of all, when you are finished cleaning, simply throw the peels in the garbage disposal to eliminate those lurking kitchen odors as well.
A paste made of lemon juice and salt can be used to clean stainless-steel sinks and fixtures. Be sure to rinse well after scrubbing. Paste will also help to remove rust stains. A combination of hot juice and baking soda helps to clean drains.
Bonus: The mixture is entirely safe for septic systems.
Greasy kitchen windows (or any windows for that matter) will gleam after an intensive cleaning with a concoction made from 2 T. lemon juice, one-half cup of white vinegar, and hot water (I use concentrate).
Dishwashers are great for saving time, but like everything else, they get dirty. To clean and freshen, rub a lemon over the interior and run the dishwasher through its hottest cycle. A paste made from lemon juice, baking soda and water will make stove-top clean up a breeze and can also be used to quickly wipe up oven spills.
Laminate counters will greatly benefit from a wash with lemon juice. Do not use (or any other acidic product) on marble or stone. For more tips on natural counter-cleaning, check out our guide on how to keep your countertops sparkling, no matter their make.
Placing half a lemon in the refrigerator is said control odors. Note, I have not tried this tip …… afraid of mold. Baking soda will remain the odor neutralizer in my refrigerator. Find more natural air freshening tips here.
As you can see, the power of lemons is immeasurable when it comes to cleaning the home.
The Laundry Room
In addition to bathroom and kitchen cleaning, the juice also acts as a bleaching agent. Simply adding one-half cup of juice (less for a smaller load) to the wash cycle, in addition to detergent, will whiten whites, remove odors, and dissolve stains, all without harming your fabrics.
Last but not least, now that your surroundings are fresh and clean, let’s talk about aroma. Leftover peels placed in hot, simmering water with one teaspoon of cloves and your favorite herb (I prefer rosemary) will permeate your home with a fresh, natural scent. From cleaning to deodorizing, lemons are “green” and mean…… the perfect cleaner.