DIY Network

Quick Cleaning Tips

Cleaning With Lemon Juice

Find 10 household uses for lemons. They are a natural disinfectant, stain remover and are wonderful for polishing metal. Also, lemons are inexpensive and eco-friendly.

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Cleaning laminate countertops: Cut a whole lemon in half, squeeze the juice onto the counter. Using the lemon as a scrubber, work the juice over the stains. Leave the juice on until the stains disappear then rinse with water and dry. The citric acid will quickly remove the stains.  Bottled lemon juice can be substituted for a fresh lemon.

Cutting boards: The same procedure works on cutting boards. Rub the lemon onto the stains and let it sit until the stains are gone. The lemon will also disinfect the board at the same time.

Cleaning copper: Cut a lemon in half and sprinkle salt (any kind -- even sea salt) onto the lemon. Massage the lemon wedge onto the brass, squeezing the juice out until the tarnish is buffed off. As it stops working, add more salt to the lemon. Rinse well with water and let dry. It is important to keep copper bottom pans clean because they redistribute the heat according to how clean they are on the bottom.

Cleaning brass: If a piece is brass plated, it will be brass on one side and solid black on the other side. Never use lemon on anything that is brass plated -- only solid brass. Brass plated items need to be cleaned very gently with an oil soap -- never use anything acidic on it. Use the same method for cleaning solid brass as for copper -- one half of a lemon with salt sprinkled on it and rub until it is clean. Rinse well with water.

Removing rust from clothes: Put lemon juice on the rust stain and then sprinkle cream of tartar onto the top of the juice. Rub in the solution and let it sit on the stain until the rust is gone. The citric acid will take the rust off. Some stains are tougher than others, but 15 to 30 minutes should work just fine. Launder as usual.

Bleaching white clothes with lemon juice: Mix 1/2 cup lemon juice (or sliced lemons) with one gallon of very hot water. Soak the clothes in the solution. Do not use for silk, it is best for cotton and polyester. Let the clothes soak from an hour to overnight, depending on how badly the clothing needs bleaching. Rremove the clothing from the mix and pour the mix into the washing machine and wash as usual. It's impossible to over-bleach using lemon juice.

Getting stains out of Tupperware: Squeeze lemon juice in the container and then add baking soda. Use the lemon as a cleaning tool and work it in. If the stains are bad, let it sit overnight before scrubbing the stains.

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