10 Surprising Uses for Lemons

This powerhouse citrus is handy for much more than just cooking dinner (like, ahem, cleaning up after dinner). 
Related To:

Photo By: Stephen Johnson ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Stephen Johnson ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Stephen Johnson ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Stephen Johnson ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Stephen Johnson ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Stephen Johnson ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Stephen Johnson ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Stephen Johnson ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Stephen Johnson ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Stephen Johnson ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Oxford / Getty Images ©(c) -Oxford-

Super Citrus

From the juice to the peel, lemons are fantastically versatile. Tackle tough household chores, preserve produce, keep bugs away and more with the help of this sunny fruit.

Degunk a Box Grater

The nooks and crannies of a grater can hold on to pieces of food even after it has been thoroughly washed with soap and water. To rid your grater of those leftovers, shred half a lemon on it, making sure the juice and pulp reach every hole. Run under water and dry with a clean towel for a spotless shine.

Clean Fruits and Vegetables

Most produce comes in contact with pesticides and debris before it enters our kitchens — and even organic foods can carry bacteria. Help wash it all away with a homemade cleansing spray. Add the juice of a lemon, some distilled vinegar and cold water to a spray bottle and spritz onto fresh fruits and vegetables. Run the produce under cold water and dry completely before storing.

Remove Fruit Stains

Fresh berries can easily leave behind stains on your hands, clothes and linens. When soap and water is just not enough, rub a small amount of lemon juice on the affected area to lighten the stain and leave a refreshing scent. 

Preserve Produce

Some fruits and vegetables turn brown when cut, but lemon juice can help stop that. Rub a wedge on the exposed side of an apple, sprinkle the juice on pear and peach slices, and dunk trimmed artichokes in a solution of water and lemon juice.

Serve Sorbet

When you're done juicing halved lemons, use the hollowed skins as little bowls for frozen treats. Trim the bottom of each lemon half so the cups stand up, and fill them with scoops of sorbet. You can even scoop many bowls ahead and freeze them on a baking sheet until ready to serve. 

Polish Stainless Steel

To remove greasy grime, streaks and fingerprints from stainless appliances, cut a lemon in half, rub it onto the surface, and wipe with a clean towel (you can also use this trick on chrome fixtures or utensils). Mix lemon juice with a little baking soda for even more grease-fighting power.

Freshen a Microwave

Squeeze some lemon juice into a microwave-safe bowl. Add the rinds and some hot water, and microwave until the water starts to boil. Let it sit with the microwave door closed for a minute (so the steam can build up), and then remove. The stuck-on food particles on the machine's interior will have softened, so it will take less time and elbow grease to wipe them away with a clean towel. 

Keep Pests Away

Fill a spray bottle with lemon juice and mist around door frames and along windowsills to keep ants and other bugs at bay.

Clean a Coffeemaker

Drip coffeemakers tend to hang on to stains and smells when used on a regular basis, and mineral buildup can clog the mechanisms. To freshen and decalcify your machine, pour a mixture of half water and half lemon juice into the reservoir and let a cycle run. Once it's complete, run the machine again with plain water to thoroughly flush out the inner workings.

Freshen a Garbage Disposal

Rid your machine of lingering food debris and odors by tossing in some lemon wedges and giving the disposal a whirl (with plenty of running cold water, of course). Repeat once a month to keep your disposal fresh and clean.