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Why this pantry staple is also a spring cleaning all-star


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Whether you’re squeezing them into your daily detox water or using them to amp up your sun-kissed highlights, I think we can all agree that lemons are the source of some straight-up sorcery. One thing you might not have tried this magical fruit for (but definitely should)? Cleaning your home.

“Lemons are sort of a natural powerhouse cleaning agent,” says food educator and sustainability strategist Lauren Nixon. “They have citric acid, which is really great for water spots. D-Limonene, which is really great for degreasing. And also, lemon oil, which is a really powerful natural fragrance and antibacterial.”  All that and they happen to cost less than $1 and have zero packaging, which makes them full-on heroes as far as sustainability and affordability go.

Keep scrolling for ways to use them to clean your home.

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Lemons to clean
Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Lyn

Make your own DIY all-purpose cleaner and then watch it go

To create a lemon-based all purpose cleaner, all you have to do is pop a lemon peel into a jar of vinegar and let it infuse for a couple of weeks. Then, add that mixture into a spray bottle and get to work on every surface of your home.

“I often combine the lemon-infused vinegar with a bit of baking soda,” says Nixon. “It has this really nice bubbling action, and it’s such a beautiful and efficient way to clean your bathroom without using chemicals.”

You can even use the citrus-infused potion on your hardwoods, without having to worry about what you’re inhaling. “Use some warm water, and then add some lemon vinegar and some other essential oils to mop your floors,” says Nixon.

This isn’t a Showcase Showdown, but to borrow a phrase, the goodness doesn’t stop there: She also likes to cut a lemon in half, cover it in sea salt, and rub it on her wood cutting boards to disinfect them. And she swears that should you toss a lemon in your laundry in place of bleach, you’ll wind up with bright whites.  The moral of the story? When life hands you lemons, toss ‘em in vinegar and just add elbow grease.

Spring cleaning season is in full swing, so try one of these other all-natural cleaning products. And while you’re at it, it may be time to toss the zucchini spiraler that’s been hiding in the back of your kitchen cabinet for the last eight years. 

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