Today I continue my crusade to spread the word about home made natural green cleaning and beauty ideas made with food, in an effort to help reduce the environmental pollutants that are washed down our drains and into our waterways every year from commercial cleaning and beauty products.
Last week I shared my Top 50 Ways To Use Baking Soda. Today, lemons come to the rescue!
I am a proud lemon lover! I would cut up at least five lemons a day for different things. If I didn’t have access to a lemon tree, I would have to marry somebody who did! I love the gorgeous aromatic citrus scent of lemons and I love the taste. If any dish needs a lift, I always grab for the lemon juice or lemon zest. But I also grab lemons to rescue everything else as well!
Lemons are about 5% citric acid, and lemon juice has a PH level of about 2-3, making lemons wonderful for breaking down rust and mineral stains. Lemons are also rich in fruit acids, which naturally exfoliate and bleach discoloured areas on the skin. Lemons smell more inviting than vinegar but have similar anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties, making them a wonderful antidote for germs, mould and mildew. Lemon juice is also a powerful way to cleanse and detoxify the body. Lemon oil also has wonderful aromatherapy benefits such as boosting moods and mental clarity. A few drops of lemon oil in an oil burner can do wonders for lifting the spirits of those suffering from the blues.
Apart from baking soda, lemons would be my top green living tip. The best thing about lemons? The are widely available all year round and are relatively inexpensive.
So befriend somebody with a lemon tree and take advantage of nature’s most versatile fruit!
30 WAYS TO GO GREEN WITH LEMONS
1. Drink lemon water to cleanse, alkalize and boost immunity:
Lemons are acidic out of the body, but when digested they have a fabulous alkalizing effect on the body that helps boost your immunity and combat disease, infection, and toxicity. Squeeze ½ lemon in an 8 ounce glass of water and drink one glass of lemon water in the morning and one glass at night. Lemon water in the morning balances out the PH of your body after a night’s sleep when the body is acidic and stimulates the peristaltic movement of the colon preparing the body for digestion. Lemon water is also a natural lymphatic decongestant, which can help combat heart disease, obesity and cellulite. It also tastes delicious, and can encourage those not fond of drinking water to hydrate more! Lemon water also acts as a natural laxative helping to regulate the digestive system.
2. Drink lemon water, ginger and honey to combat colds and sooth throats:
My favourite natural cold or sore throat elixir is to mix the juice of a lemon with two tablespoons of honey, a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger or a couple of pieces of cut ginger and some boiling water. Not only does it taste fantastic, it lubricates your throat and comforts the soul. Lemon and honey water can help to regulate metabolism and purify the body.
3. Rub lemon peels as a natural tonic and exfoliant for your skin:
Cut a lemon and dip in some sugar. Rub this “lemon sponge” over your skin for a few minutes and then rinse and pat dry. This will gently exfoliate the skin. For a stronger “peel-like” exfoliant, mix carrot or pumpkin puree with lemon juice and leave on your skin for about 10 minutes before washing off. The natural alpha-hydroxy acids in lemons works wonders, and beats an expensive salon treatment any day! Lemons can also help with acne and scars. For a natural body exfoliant try mixing lemon juice with sugar or salt and olive oil.
4. Use lemon peels to lighten pigmentation and age spots on your skin:
Either rub a cut lemon over the affected areas or apply sliced lemon to your skin spots and leave for about fifteen minutes. Do this once a week until spots diminish.
5. Use lemons to soften dry skin:
Cut lemons in half and dip in baking soda and rub on dry areas of your skin to soften. This method is particularly effective for softening dry elbows and removing dark patches of skin.
6. Use lemons for home manicures and to soften cuticles:
Mix together 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of honey and ½ cup warm water and soak hands in a shallow dish for about 5 minutes. This will soften cuticles and fingertips making them easier to manicure and clean up.
7. Use lemon as a natural hair conditioner:
Combine 4 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice (about 1 average sized lemon) with 1 cup of warm water. After shampooing, cover your wet hair with this solution and comb through. Leave for a few minutes and then rinse thoroughly. This will help clean built up toxic residue on your hair and will add extra body and shine.
8. Use lemons as a natural anti-dandruff treatment:
Before washing hair, mix 3-4 tablespoons of lemon juice with equal quantities of cold pressed olive oil and rub into the scalp. Leave for about 15 minutes and then wash and rinse as normal.
9. Use lemons to naturally lighten your hair:
Lemon juice mixed with sunshine is a wonderful natural way to lighten your hair. Simply coat your hair with about ½ cup fresh lemon juice and then sit out in the sunshine for a few hours. Then rinse and wash as normal.
10. Use lemons to soften and deodorize feet:
In a foot bath combine 1 cup of lemon juice, ¼ cup almond milk, 2 tablespoons of cold pressed olive oil and a couple of drops of lemon essential oil. Soak feet for about 20 minutes and then pat dry to moisturize and soften feet.
11. Use lemons as a natural deodorant:
Lemon juice kills bacteria, so it makes a fantastic natural deodorant. Cut open lemons and rub them into your arm pits. Lemons are unbelievable at stopping your pits from smelling. I swear!! It is the best natural deodorant on the planet!
12. Use lemons to relive sunburn:
To relive mild sunburn simply apply fresh lemon juice to the affected areas for a bit of relief.
13. Use lemons to relieve insect bites, stings and small cuts:
Lemons have natural anti-bacterial and antiseptic qualities and are fantastic for cleaning and relieving insect bites, stings and small cuts. Apply fresh lemon juice to the affected area with a cotton pad. It will sting a lot at first (an indication that it is working) but then it will soothe.
14. Use lemons to remove odours from hands:
To gently remove odours from hands after handling fish or greasy meats simply cut open a lemon and massage it between your hands. Not only will the lemon juice freshen and remove smells, it will soften your hands too!
15. Use lemons as a natural deodorizer:
Filling a bowl or vase full of lemons not only looks gorgeous, it also infuses the house with a lovely citrus scent. You can also boil cut up lemons and water for a stronger natural deodorizer.
16. Use lemon juice as a natural disinfectant:
Use a solution of lemon juice and hot or boiling water to naturally steralize kitchen implements, toys, and other household items. Lemon juice and water is not a hospital-grade disinfectant, but it will kill a lot of household germs.
17. Use lemons to whiten clothes and linens:
Lemon juice and sunshine combine to naturally brighten linens and white clothes. Put ½ cup of fresh lemon juice to the rinse cycle and then hang outside in the sunshine to dry. You can also soak baby diapers or whites in a solution of 1 parts lemon juice and 4 parts water overnight before hanging out in the sunshine. Not only will your whites be brighter, they will also smell amazing!
18. Use a cut lemon to clean counter tops:
One of the quickest ways to clean dirty and greasy kitchen counter tops is to cut open a lemon and dip it in salt. Use this “lemon sponge” to clean the surface and remove stains and greasy patches. Lemon juice is also a natural anti viral and anti bacterial agent. Be careful to test a surface before going nuts with the lemon attack! Marble and some other surfaces do not respond well to acids and should not be treated with lemon juice.
19. Use lemon juice to neutralize soap scum and hard water deposits:
Soap is alkaline, and when it combines with the minerals in hard water it creates unsightly soap scum in showers, baths and sinks. The acidity in lemon juice can neutralize this, making it a very effective bathroom cleaner. Dip your cleaning sponge in some undiluted fresh lemon juice and apply to the affected areas. Leave this solution to sit for a few hours before rinsing. Repeat this process for long term build up.
20. Use lemons as a natural toilet cleaner:
Simply make a solution of 1 cup fresh lemon juice and ½ cup borax to clean dirty toilets.
21. Use lemons to polish stainless steel, copper and chrome:
You can polish stainless steel sinks, flatware, copper and chrome hardware like taps and knobs in two ways: mix equal quantities of lemon juice and salt (or baking soda) and rub into the copper surface with a soft rag. Leave for 5 minutes and then rinse the surface well and wipe with a soft damp cloth. Or you can just cut open a lemon and dip in salt or baking soda to make a natural lemon sponge. Wipe over the surface, leave for 5 minutes and then rinse.
22. Use lemon peels to repel insects and bugs:
A lot of common pests are repelled by the acidity of lemons. Simply cut lemon peels into small pieces and place on windowsills and entry points to keep those pests out of your household.
23. Use lemons to clean stains and deodorize cutting boards:
Cut a lemon in half and dip it in salt to rub cutting boards and clean stains like beetroot and other strong foods. Lemons also have anti-bacterial properties making them perfect for cleaning boards after cutting meats and other animal products to prevent cross-contamination.
24. Use lemons to clean glass and china:
Make a solution of equal parts lemon juice and water to soak glass and china. The acid in the lemon juice effectively breaks down the alkaline minerals in hard water, helping to remove residue and restoring dulled glass and china. Soak items in the solution for a few hours and then wash and dry.
25. Use lemons to remove rust and mineral deposits in coffee pots and kettles:
The acidic quality of lemons makes them useful for breaking down mineral and rust deposits.
For kettles: squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon and then slice the lemon with the rind on and cover with water. Bring the kettle to the boil and allow to cool for about an hour. Empty and rinse well.
For coffee and tea pots: squeeze the juice of 1 lemon and cut up the rind and flesh. Cover with water and a pinch of salt. Swirl this mixture until pot becomes clear. Rinse well and dry.
26. Use lemon peels to clean and deodorize your microwave:
Cut up 2 lemons and cover with 2 cups of water in a microwave-safe ceramic or class bowl. Heat on high for about 5 – 10 minutes until the lemon rind water steam condenses on the walls and door of the microwave. This loosens baked on grease and food particles from the surfaces of the microwave. Wipe with a clean damp cloth and then dry. The aromatic citrus essence removes any food odours and freshens the appliance naturally.
27. Use lemon peels to remove odours from your oven:
Bake lemon peels for 5 minutes at 180 C / 350 F to clear up food odours.
28. Use lemons to remove odours from your garbage disposal:
Throw some cut lemons or lemon peels down the disposal and run with some water. This will fill your kitchen with a lovely aromatic citrus scent.
29. Use a lemon juice solution as a natural furniture polish for hard wood furniture:
Mix ½ cup lemon juice with 1 cup of cold pressed olive oil to naturally clean and polish hard wood furniture.
30. Use lemon peels to improve the acidity in soil:
If your soil requires more acidity simply mix some lemon shells in with the soil mixture.
This is by no means an exhaustive list.
Please feel free to email me with any other great lemon tips you have!
Check out my favourite healthy gluten free recipes using lemons and lemon zest at Healthy Blender Recipes.
Join the healthy food conversation on my Facebook Page.
Category: Go Green Kitchen
About the Author (Author Profile)
Tess Masters, a.k.a The Blender Girl is an actor, presenter, voice over artist, cook and writer. She writes a quirky food blog, Healthy Blender Recipes, sharing quick easy allergy free gluten free vegetarian recipes with whole foods. Tess writes the eco food blog for Go Green America TV and is a regular contributor to The Balanced Platter. She and her recipes have been featured on Chow.com, Epicurious.com, Glamour.com, and the LA Times, as well as countless websites and blogs around the world. Tess resides in Los Angeles, California with her partner and their dog, Cookie.