This story is part of Tips for at homeCNET’s collection of practical advice for getting the most out of your home, both inside and out.
Nothing beats a tall, cold glass of lemonade in the heat of summer, but the citrus fruits come in very handy during spring cleaning, too. The citric acid in lemons can kill germs and remove mold, while the oil in a lemon peel removes grease and other stains.
Their combination of antibacterial properties and fresh scent makes lemons suitable for multiple tasks around the home and garden.
Whether you want a more eco-friendly alternative to your usual household cleaners — or just have too many lemons — try these household hacks.
For more home tipslearn an effective trick to clean your washing machine and see some surprising uses for peanut butter.
1. Clean windows
To get streaks from windows and other glass surfaces, squeeze about two tablespoons of lemon juice into an empty spray bottle. Add about a tablespoon of white vinegar and a cup of hot (but not boiling) water.
Shake the mixture well and apply to everything that needs to be cleaned.
2. Freshen up the garbage disposal
If there’s a strange smell coming from your sink, toss a few lemon wedges or peels in the trash and chase them down with some cold water.
For particularly strong scents, add some baking soda to the mix.
3. Remove stains from sheets and pillowcases
Has a set-in stain ruined your linens? Treat them with a mixture of lemon juice and salt and leave for 30 minutes.
Rinse with warm water and vinegar and let it dry in the sun. Repeat if necessary. (This technique is also good for sweat stains on shirts.)
If your white sheets have become dingy, you can also use lemons to restore their shine.
Fill a large pot with water and add some lemon slices and bring to the boil. After turning off the heat, add the sheets and let them soak for a good hour.
Then wash your linens as you normally would.
4. Clean chrome faucets and fixtures
Even when not dirty, chrome fixtures can lose their shine due to hard water stains, limescale and soap scum.
To bring back their brightness, cut a lemon in half and run it over the faucet, handles, drain and other metal surfaces.
When you’re done, rinse and dry thoroughly.
5. Polish brass and copper
Coat half a lemon with coarse salt, then rub it on dull pans, cabinet handles, and other metal objects. (Just make sure they aren’t varnished.)
When you’re done, wipe it with a damp cloth and then blot it with a soft, dry cloth.
You can also give new life to wooden furniture with a two-to-one solution of olive oil and lemon juice.
6. Kill weeds
If you’re not thrilled with the idea of keeping harsh chemicals within the reach of children or pets, a little lemon juice can serve as a functional weed killer.
Be careful about how much you use and where you apply it, as the acidity in the lemons you want to keep can damage plants and even change the pH of the soil.
7. Remove stains from your plastic containers
If you’ve ever put spaghetti in a plastic container, you know how easily tomato sauce can leave an unappealing tint.
Instead of throwing it away, fill the container to the brim with lemon juice and let it sit for a few hours. Pour out the juice and scrub the item thoroughly to remove the stain.
Read more: Prevent your food from exploding in the microwave
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