Use lemons properly and they can help simplify so many different areas of your life. And in case you’re doubting this mighty fruit’s strength, it has actually been used in Ayurvedic medicine for more than 1000 years to treat a variety of ailments. But lemons and their juice have far more than just health benefits—you can also use them as beauty treatments, for household cleaning, and even for cooking hacks (yes, that’s right). What is it about this fruit that gives it so much power? Well, it’s packed with a ton of vitamins (C, B, and thiamin) and minerals (copper, calcium, and iron) that help with just about everything. So go on and keep reading to see the absolute best uses for lemon. We swear you’ll never want to go another day without this fruit in your house again.
Bug repellant: It’s the citrus oil in the lemon peel that keeps pests away. If you want an all-natural insect remedy, leave some of the citrus peel near holes and cracks in your home where you believe the bugs are entering.
Sore throat remedy: We’ve heard of gargling with warm water and salt, but lemon? Don’t hate on it till you’ve tried it. (It also works for bad breath.)
Aromatherapy: The smell of lemon is actually believed to have mood-boosting abilities. In fact, research shows it can help treat depression.
Stomach soother: Suck on a lemon when you’re having stomach pain—the juice will calm things down. Not only will it help with indigestion, it will also aid in ridding your body of toxins (win-win).
Lower blood pressure: You can help treat high blood pressure by drinking lemon juice mixed with warm water a few times a day.
Keep kidney stones at bay: Drinking water with lemon juice helps create urinary citrate, a chemical in your urine that helps prevent the creation of crystals that can turn into kidney stones.
Soothe mouth pain: Whether you’re suffering from a toothache or sensitive gums, apply lemon juice to the affected area. It works as a natural pain reliever—just make sure to rinse it out immediately if it starts to burn.
Headache relief: Fresh lemon juice mixed with a few spoonfuls of hot tea is a little-known remedy for headaches (and not just those of the hangover variety).
Hair lightener: Before the days of Sun-In, our moms (and grandmas) spritzed lemon juice in their hair before lying in the sun to go blonder. And it’s still a great way to develop some highlights. Leave the lemon juice on for 30 minutes and then rinse off for optimal results.
Nail discoloration treatment: After wearing a ton of nail polish, we all need a mini nail detox. The good news is you can actually fight the yellowing of your nails by using a cotton ball soaked with fresh lemon juice.
Acne wash: Washing your face with lemon juice as a cleanser helps get rid of the dirt other products leave behind. Plus, it doubles as a blackhead remover.
Exfoliator: Mix together lemon juice with baking soda to make a creamy paste. Rub on dry spots like elbows, and exfoliate as normal. After rinsing, finish by applying some olive oil to lock in the moisture.
Natural disinfectant: If you don’t have peroxide handy to clean a cut, some lemon juice will also do the trick. The easiest way to apply is to put some drops of lemon juice on a cotton ball and swab the area.
Alleviate poison ivy itchiness: Instantly soothe your irritated skin by putting some drops of lemon juice right on the affected area (you will be amazed).
Banish warts: Anyone who has had warts knows they are a complete nightmare to get rid of. Instead of relying on products with a ton of chemicals, use a cotton ball soaked with fresh lemon juice; dab the area. Let it dry, repeat for a few days, and the acid should burn off the blemish.
Pot cleaner: If your pots and pans are stainless steel, lemon juice will help you remove burned-on bits from charring. Simply put half a lemon in the pot, fill with water, and boil until the mess starts to peel away. (You can use a sponge to help with removal.)
Polishing old utensils: Get rid of discoloration by wiping utensils with a cloth submerged in lemon juice. Rinse off the “cleanser” with warm water.
Garbage disposal sanitization: Put remnants of lemons down your garbage disposal to keep it smelling fresh and clean.
Bleach: Clean white socks or other small clothing pieces by boiling them with lemon slices.
Furniture-scratch removal: Create your own cleaner from one part lemon juice and two parts olive oil. Use a cloth to rub it on your scratched pieces—we promise you’ll be pleased.
Refrigerator deodorizer: Freshen things up by leaving a lemon-soaked sponge in the fridge for a few hours. Do make sure to clean the fridge of anything expired first!
Odor neutralizer: You know that gross scent that comes from clothes being wet? Or the litter box? Leave some cut-up lemons in the room, and the stench will be absorbed in no time.
Moth balls: Forgot mothballs to keep insects away. Instead, use ripe lemons pierced with cloves. As the lemons dry, the most amazing smell will also permeate your closets.
Making rice: Sticky rice is good when you intend to make it that way, but when you don’t, it’s a bust. Adding a tablespoon of lemon juice to your rice water while it’s cooking will keep the rice kernels from sticking together.
Fruit and vegetable wash: You have to properly clean your fruit and veggies from all the pesticides that may be on them, but store-bought washes can be pricey. As an alternative, mix up your own spray with a tablespoon of lemon juice, two tablespoons of white vinegar, and one cup of water. Put it in a spray bottle, and spritz to clean.
Hand deodorizer: Let’s just be blunt—cooking with fish can make your hands smell. Rub a lemon on top of your palms to get rid of the odor.
Cauliflower brightener: This vegetable tends to brown in a pan while cooking almost immediately. Help it keep its stark-white hue by spritzing your cauliflower with lemon juice prior to cooking.
Guacamole brightener: Another trick to keeping guac green during a party (other than keeping the pits in the bowl) is to sprinkle lemon juice over the top before serving—it also adds to the flavor.
Berry stain removal: Making a fruit salad or pie and now your hands are tinged pink, red, or blue (or all three)? Rub hands with lemon juice, then rinse off with soap and warm water. Repeat until your hands have returned back to their normal shade.
Now that you’ve heard all about the many uses for lemon, get ready to start incorporating this fruit into your everyday life. It’s worth the squeeze.
USDA.gov. Lemon, Raw. April 1, 2020
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Aromatherapy. January 2020
Klimek-szczykutowicz M, Szopa A, Ekiert H. Citrus Limon (Lemon) Phenomenon-A Review of the Chemistry, Pharmacological Properties, Applications in the Modern Pharmaceutical, Food, and Cosmetics Industries, and Biotechnological Studies. Plants (Basel). 2020;9(1). doi:10.3390/plants9010119
Kato Y, Domoto T, Hiramitsu M, et al. Effect on Blood Pressure of Daily Lemon Ingestion and Walking. J Nutr Metab. 2014;2014:912684. doi:10.1155/2014/912684
Cleveland Clinic. 7 Reasons to Start Your Day With Lemon Water. January 17, 2020
Sinha DJ, Sinha AA. Natural Medicaments in Dentistry. AYU. 2014;35:113-8. doi:10.4103/0974-8520.146198
Oikeh EI, Omoregie ES, Oviasogie FE, Oriakhi K. Phytochemical, Antimicrobial, and Antioxidant Activities of Different Citrus Juice Concentrates. Food Sci Nutr. 2016;4(1):103-9. doi:10.1002/fsn3.268
Ringin SA. The Effectiveness of Cutaneous Wart Resolution with Current Treatment Modalities. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 2019;13(1):24-30. doi:10.4103/JCAS.JCAS_62_19