When Life Gives You Lemons…

The Mighty Lemon

The Mighty Lemon

Not too long ago, I started to get nervous about the amount of chemicals that I use to clean my home. Maybe it was the idea that using the bleach with the ammonia accidentally could asphyxiate me in my own overzealous germ-fighting glory, or maybe it was the thought that the empty plastic bottles of glass cleaner just got thrown away in the trash without even a hint of being reused. I decided that it was time the green revolution came to my housecleaning. The result: simple, good-smelling, inexpensive cleaners that leave my house fresh, non-toxic, and sparkling clean (and leave more money in my pocket for other goodies).

One thing I used to be intimidated by in green cleaning is all the reference to specialized-sounding ingredients (Borax flakes? Vegetable glycerin? Lye soap?). But never fear! For us wary folks, there is an entry-level cleaning ingredient that is readily available all winter long: lemons.

This time of year, here in Arizona where I live we are flooded with citrus. Neighbors surreptitiously drop their yard bounty off in plastic bags, hoping to get rid of them the way a New England gardener pawns off zucchini in August. If you find yourself in a similar position, now is the time to roll up your sleeves and use it to your advantage.

Too many lemons or grapefruits to eat? Or you’ve waited too long to use them and they’ve started to get a bit funky-looking? Repurpose them as cleaners. Cut them in half and squeeze the juice into your toilets and porcelain sinks. Sprinkle all over with baking soda, and if you have kids, let them observe this foaming science experiment (see kids? Cleaning can be fun!). Let it sit for another ten minutes or so and rinse away with a rag or other reusable item. Voila! Your toilet is sparkling clean, you didn’t get lightheaded from dizzying chemical smells, you got to have a little fun, and you can finally tell your neighbors you used up those lemons!

8 Responses to “When Life Gives You Lemons…”

  1. Wow, thanks for the tip! Now my house can smell like real lemons, and not fake lemon additives.

  2. That sounds so easy (and cheap!), even *I* will have to give it a try! Plus, lemon-scented is always better than ammonia-scented cleaner… unless you like that sort of thing.

  3. I’ll have to try some lemons - although in Illinois, I’ll have to pick them up at the store. I’m transitioning from harsh cleaners to mostly vinegar, baking soda and castille soap. It’s amazing how much cleaner it seems. And, my burning eyes and nose appreciate the switch.

  4. Great idea!

  5. That’s the first time a green idea has ever made since.

  6. I loved this article. Fun fresh and well written. I am definitely going to try this. Maybe it will stop the lovely reaction I keep getting under my wedding rings whenever I do any kind of cleaning!

  7. Lemon juice and pure sunlight are terrific spot removers
    on your whites as well. Just squeeze a lemon onto the
    spot, launder and hang in the sunlight for a few hours.

  8. Great technique. I use baking soda and vinegar as a drain cleaner (instead of Drano) but had not tried the lemon and baking soda as a cleaning agent. Thanks for the tip.

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