Lemons are a miracle fruit! Everyone knows about this powerhouse in the kitchen, but many people are still unaware of all of the amazing things lemons can do outside of flavoring and garnishment. We’re here to tell you, though, that this wonderful fruit can do so, SO, much more.
In addition to making your meals drool-worthy, they actually pack some pretty powerful health benefits. Not only are they loaded with vitamin C, but they can neutralize the pH of your body, help you fight infection, and help you stay heart-healthy. Recent studies even show the potential for fighting certain cancers due to the limonene found in the peel.
These are just some of the health benefits of lemons, to say nothing of their myriad household uses. And no, we aren’t just talking about disinfecting your cutting boards. Here are 35 of the most genius uses for lemons that will have you rushing to the grocery store to stock up.
1. Relieve Your Heartburn
Lemons contain high amounts of ascorbic acid. Although it may seem counterintuitive to ingest an acid to relieve your heartburn, there’s actually some truth to this old wives tale. According to Healthline, consuming healthy amounts of ascorbic acid can prevent certain ulcers and cancers of the stomach. They recommend combining 1 Tblsp. of lemon juice to 8 oz. of water and sipping through a straw (to prevent the acid from eroding tooth enamel) at least 20 minutes before your next meal.
2. DIY Expectorant
With cold and flu season on the horizon, it’s a good idea to know how to reduce the phlegm build-up that accompanies it. As it turns out, lemons do a fantastic job in aiding the body to expectorate, or cough up, stubborn phlegm. According to Healthy Holistic Living, the acid in lemon juice has remarkable antibacterial properties, and the wealth of vitamin C they contain helps your body to fight infection on a cellular level. Simply add a couple of teaspoons of lemon juice and 1 Tblsp. of honey to a glass of warm water and drink 3 times per day until your phlegm lets up.
3. Say Goodbye To Kidney Stones
If you’ve ever had to pass a kidney stone, you’ll treasure this bit of knowledge. According to Prevent Disease, new research suggests that adding roughly 4 oz. of lemon juice to your water throughout the day will help prevent, and in some instances treat, kidney stones. Consumption of lemon juice increases a person’s levels of urinary citrate, which breaks down the crystallized minerals that comprise kidney stones. Alternatively, you can drink roughly 2 liters of prepared lemonade per day, but you’ll want to make sure it contains minimal amounts of sugar and is made from real lemons.
4. Treat Joint Pain From Arthritis And Rheumatism
When your body develops arthritis, it produces high levels of uric acid, causing severe inflammation in your joints. However, when you add lemons to your diet it increases your body’s production of calcium carbonate, which has a neutralizing effect on the uric acid and can help soothe or stop the inflammatory pain. You can simply slice 2 organic lemons and put them in a pitcher of water to drink throughout the course of your day. Alternatively, you can make a lemon poultice and apply it topically to the problem area.
5. DIY Sanitizing Lemon Sugar Scrub
When we’re working in the kitchen, our hands are touching all sorts of germy, funky things. Hopefully, everyone washes their hands frequently when cooking, but using commercial soaps can quickly dry out and irritate skin. You can solve both problems at once by whipping up a lemon sugar hand scrub to keep near your kitchen sink. The lemon evens out skin tone and disinfects your hands, while the sugar is a natural exfoliant.
6. Revive You Wilted Lettuce
Everyone knows the disheartening feeling of looking forward to a salad, only to find all of your lettuce has wilted already. Fortunately, there’s a simple tip to help keep your lettuce on your plate instead of in your compost; lemons. Well, lemons and cold water, of course. Lettuce wilts due to loss of moisture, so by putting your lettuce in a bowl full of cold water with the juice of half a lemon, you’ll perk the lettuce right up by adding moisture back in.
7. Purify Your Blood
With the landslide of autoimmune disorders plaguing people across the country, it’s a good time to regularly purify your blood. Lemon water works great for this for a combination of reasons. The biggest factor in promoting healthy blood is constant hydration. Adding lemons to the water also supplies the additional benefits of antioxidants, vitamin C, and a plethora of other minerals and phytonutrients that help to remove toxins from your blood. Just add the juice of half a lemon to your morning water.
8. Diminish Appearance Of Liver Spots
Liver spots, also called age spots, used to be a sign that you’ve enjoyed a long life. These days, though, with the ozone layer diminishing and our sun exposure increasing, liver spots are popping up in people from their 20’s onward. The good news is that the remedy to these unsightly blemishes is probably sitting right in your kitchen. Lemons contain large amounts of citric acid, which is both a natural bleach and exfoliant. Simply rub pure lemon juice into the spot in question and let it soak in for about 15 minutes before rinsing.
9. Lighten Up Those Fingernails
Much like with lightening liver spots, the citric acid in lemons is a good lightener in general. So, if you’re a smoker or up there in age and your nails are starting to yellow, you can brighten them back up with some lemon. Simply soak your fingertips in a solution of 1 cup of warm water mixed with the juice of half a lemon to soften up and lighten your skin and nails. After they have soaked and you’ve got your cuticles pushed back, you can lighten the nails further and give them a shine by rubbing the lemon peel back and forth over the nails.
10. Remove Dandruff
Dealing with an itchy, dry scalp caused by dandruff can be a bummer (and a real turnoff). Thankfully, the answer is most likely on your kitchen counter. The acid in lemon helps break down and exfoliate the dead, dry skin on your scalp, while also softening the skin. Just rub 2 Tblsp. of lemon juice into your scalp thoroughly and rinse with water, then do the same with one teaspoon of lemon juice and one cup of water in your hair. Repeat this every day until your dandruff is no longer a problem.
11. Get Rid Of Tough Stains In Your Marble
Although marble countertops are all the craze now in home-remodels, many people don’t know that marble isn’t actually stone. Marble is really made up of petrified calcium from ancient seashells and is, therefore, a porous material. This means that if you spill wine or some other brilliantly colored substance on your counter, it can easily become a stubborn stain. Fortunately, if all other attempts at lifting the stain fail, you can use a half a lemon sprinkled with coarse sea salt to scrub and lift the stain.
12. Cure Your Ashy Elbows
If you are suffering from dry skin, you may notice that your elbows and knees can get particularly ashy. Not only is it irritating, but it’s also hard on the self-esteem. Lemons can cure that with citric acid and antioxidants. Just make a thick paste with lemon juice and baking soda to rub on the affected areas, rinse with 1 part lemon juice to 1 part water, then rub olive or coconut oil in to moisturize.
13. Relieve A Headache
Have a pounding headache that just won’t go away? There’s a kitchen cure for that! Mixing lemon juice in hot water, or drinking lemon tea, will help open up your blood vessels and allow your headache to diminish. Alternatively, you can make a paste with grated lemon zest, salt, and water to apply directly to the forehead.
14. Vaginal Hygiene
Though an acid itself, lemon juice is known to have an alkalizing effect on the body. This, in addition to its ability to kill off harmful bacteria and act as an antiseptic, make lemon juice a perfect candidate for a homeopathic approach to vaginal hygiene. Not only will it clean the vagina, but it will diminish any undesirable odors from the area as well. Just make sure to dilute the lemon juice with plenty of water first, because too much can be overkill.
15. Ditch The Mothballs
Sure, mothballs are effective, but they stink to high heaven. Do
you really want your clothes smelling like that? Take a page from France’s book of old tips and tricks, and try using lemon instead. Just take a whole lemon, and stick it with clove buds all over, then stick in your closet. The moths won’t bother you anymore, and neither will the smell.
16. Treat Diphtheria
According to Healthline, diphtheria is a severely contagious bacterial infection affecting your mucous membranes in your nose and throat. The disease can form a “false membrane” that can disrupt airflow and your ability to swallow. Fortunately, lemons are one of nature’s strongest antiseptics with powerful digestive health benefits. You can replace the vaccine for this disease by swallowing the juice of a whole lemon every couple of hours to help loosen the false membrane and cough it up.
17. Watch Warts Disappear
If you’ve got a wart and you’ve tried everything from duct tape to over-the-counter remedies and nothing’s working, you might have one more tool in your belt. The acids in lemon juice are incredibly effective at wart removal. Simply dab pure lemon juice onto the wart with sterile gauze or a q-tip. Do this for several days and watch as the lemon juice makes your wart slowly disappear.
18. Alleviate Asthma Symptoms
Believe it or not, the properties found in lemon juice can help combat asthma symptoms on several fronts. High in vitamin C, lemon juice boosts immunity and helps the body withstand certain asthma “triggers”. In addition, the high concentrations of antioxidants and antiseptic properties found in lemon juice helps the body fight infection, reduce phlegm build-up, and stop allergens from entering the lungs. To top it all off, the citric acid can help your lungs function better as the acid cleans and tones lung tissue.
19. DIY Dry Cleaning
If you have a closet full of beautiful clothes and you can’t afford to take them to the dry cleaner, use lemons instead. As we’ve mentioned, lemon juice acts as a natural bleach and lightener, and it works on fabrics as well. Not to mention that the juice doesn’t contain any toxins like those found in dry cleaning solutions. Just rub 1 part lemon juice mixed with 1 part water into the stain and air dry.
20. Treat Poison Ivy Rashes
If you’ve had a brush-up with some poison ivy lately, you know how wretched the rash can be. Let’s face it; sometimes it’s just not that convenient to cover yourself in milky pink Calamine lotion. Try using lemons instead. Simply rub undiluted lemon juice all over the rash to stop itching, soothe the rash, and promote faster healing.
21. Bleach Alternative
Don’t get us wrong, bleach is very effective for whitening clothes. Unfortunately, sometimes it can be too effective and damage your clothes, especially your delicates, beyond repair. Lemon juice makes a fantastic alternative, as it works just as well at cleaning and disinfecting as bleach. Just soak your clothes in a solution of lemon juice with baking soda for 30 minutes before throwing them into the wash.
22. Ease A Toothache
If you’re suffering from a toothache or bleeding gums and don’t have any cloves to hand, try using a lemon instead. While the science is unclear on exactly why this home-remedy works, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest it’s worthwhile. For one, lemon juice is antiseptic and helps to fight infection and inflammation. Just rub pure lemon juice onto the hurting tooth.
23. Clean Your Cheese Grater
Grating cheese is easy enough, but cleaningthe grater is a different story. You’re always worried you’re gonna grate your finger while you scrub, and you never feel like you got all the smeared bits out. Fortunately, there’s a lemon for that. Simply dip a half of a cut lemon in salt and use it to scrub the grater, then wash and rinse as normal.
24. Give Yourself Highlights
If you’re looking to brighten up parts of your hair a bit, you can skip the costly trip to the salon. Instead, you can take advantage of the lightening capabilities of lemons! All you need to do is mix 1 part lemon juice to 3 parts water, apply liberally to your hair, and then let it air dry under the sun. Do this every day for a week for maximum results.
25. Remove Burnt On Food From Pots And Pans
Dealing with scorched pots and pans can be a real pain in the ass, especially after a long day of cooking. Make things easy on yourself with this nifty lemon trick. Cover the bottom of the pan with water and toss in half of a lemon and bring to a boil. Then let the water cool and everything should easily scrub away.
26. Disinfect Cuts And Scrapes
If you’ve got kiddos running around the house, then you’re familiar with frequent cuts and scrapes. When they’re happening on the regular, it can be easy to forget to restock your medicine cabinet. If you find yourself needing a disinfectant, reach for the lemons. The antiseptic properties of lemon will clean those cuts right up, and save you money on the antibiotic ointments.
27. Remove Berry Stains
If you’ve spent the late summer picking delicious berries, then you’ve probably got some interesting stains on your hands. Unfortunately, these stains are pretty stubborn, and soap and water doesn’t always do the trick. Lemons, on the other hand, work great for this purpose. Just wash your hands in undiluted lemon juice and let sit for a few minutes before washing with soap and water. You may have to do this a couple of times for particularly stubborn stains.
28. DIY Invisible Ink
If you’re hanging out with the kids on a rainy day and you need some activity inspirations, look no further than your kitchen. The acid in lemon weakens the paper. So, while it dries clear, when you hold it next to a heat source or apply a hot iron, the paper will discolor where the juice was applied. Now your kids can play spy games!
29. Fruit And Vegetable Rinse
You know how perfect looking all the produce is at the grocery store? Yeah…that’s not reality. The truth is that they are still covered in pesticides and preservatives. The good news is that you’ve probably already purchased the answer along with your produce. Just squeeze 1 Tblsp. of fresh lemon juice into a spray bottle, mix with vinegar and water and spray your produce down. The acids in the juice and vinegar will neutralize any pesticides and rinse away easily.
30. Unstick Your Rice
Unless you’re making sushi, sticky rice tends to be undesirable in most other dishes. The wonderful ladies over at 1MillionWomen have an answer for that. Simply add 1 Tblsp. of lemon juice into the rice water before bringing to a boil. Voila! No more sticky rice.
31. Deodorize Your Trash Can
Garbage stinks, it’s just a fact. This is most true of the kitchen trash, especially if you aren’t composting your fruit and veggie waste. Fortunately, there is an alternative use for your lemons that could be the answer you’re looking for. All of the aromatic oils of lemon are contained within the peel and can overpower most other scents, so when you’re done with your lemon, just toss the peels into the bottom of your trash can and problem solved!
32. Slow Down Aging Skin
Getting wrinkles as we get older is a natural part of life, but we can definitely take a few steps to slow it down. Aside from a top-notch skin care regimen, the antioxidants found in lemons can also significantly reduce the appearance of aging. Just add lemons or lemon juice to your water every morning before drinking to soak up those awesome benefits.
33. Improve Your Mental Health
Of all the amazing things that lemons can do, boosting your mental health is definitely one of the most notable. People suffering from nervousness, anxiety, and depression often have very low levels of potassium in their blood. As mentioned before, lemons contain many vitamins and minerals, and potassium happens to be one of them, in high quantities, too. Drinking a glass of warm water mixed with lemon juice in the morning will not only increase your circulation and energize your body, but it will have you beating the morning blues, too.
34. Treat And Prevent High Blood Pressure
If you have high blood pressure, there is something you can do about it without a prescription. Lemons contain loads of vitamin C. Once ingested, vitamin C works to condition your blood vessels and makes them more pliable, leading to a decrease in blood pressure. All you need is the juice of half a lemon added to your water, but if you are on medications, consult your doctor before trying this regimen.
35. Polish Leather And Furniture
Not only can wooden furniture and shoe polishes be expensive, but they are often loaded with unnecessary toxins too. If you’re looking for an affordable and healthy alternative, cut open a lemon. To make an effective polish, mix 2 teaspoons of lemon juice with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Use a cloth to gently rub the polish on, let sit a few minutes, and then use a dry cloth to wipe the polish away.