#HouseholdHacks: 10 Amazing Ways to Use Lemons

Bob Vila

— Daniel Mintz

Remove Rust From Brass

Let’s get down to brass tacks on cleaning rust off brass. Simply wipe your brass item with a little lemon juice, and it’ll shine like a freshly minted penny. If your item is brass-plated, not solid brass, don’t try this method—stick with soap and water or you could damage the plating.

Related: How to Restore Brass Hardware

Polish Chrome

The most sour thing about limescale is how it tarnishes the appearance of faucets and sinks. You can use the sour power of lemon to scour cloudy chrome back to its sweet, gleaming self. Your kitchen will always look showroom-new.

Related: Bob Vila’s Guide to Appliance Care

Despeckle Glass


There’s an art to painting around glass. But if you accidentally spill a few specks, don’t have a Jackson Pollock-style fit. Just coat the glass with hot lemon juice, let it sit for a few minutes, then scrape the window back to crystal clarity.

Related: Helpful Hints on Cleaning Windows

Revitalize Paintbrushes


Your brush’s bristles are stiffer than unstretched muscles after a marathon. They could sure use a hot soak. Boil up a few cups of lemon juice and set the brushes in the simmering sour solution for 15 minutes. Your brushes will be primed for many more miles of painting.

Related: How to Clean Paintbrushes

Polish Wood Furniture


Cabinets and tables made from aged oak need not look it. Give antique wooden furniture the anti-aging treatment by polishing with a simple 2:1 solution of olive oil and lemon juice. In the world of wood, you’ll make 100 the new 20.

Related: How to Refinish a Wood Table

Clean Out Your Drain


Zest away gunk stuck in the drain with just a couple of lemon wedges. A mixture of two cups lemon juice and one-half cup of baking soda, followed by hot water, will get your pipes flowing like lemonade from a pitcher on a sweltering summer day.

Related: How to Clean Stainless Steel

Remove Blood From Clothing

On-the-job cuts and scrapes can turn your favorite clothes into zombie attire. Before you start scaring away the neighbors, grab a few lemons and scrub away the red to reinvigorate your wardrobe.

Related: How to Remove Water Stains from Wood

Get Rid Stains on Plastic Containers

The colors of leftover sauces and fruits can turn plastic containers opaque. But if you fill them them to the brim with lemon juice, let them sit for a bit, and then follow up with a good scrub, you’ll never again accidentally pack the wrong lunch.

Related: How to Clean Kitchen Cabinets

Zest Away Glue


If you’ve suddenly found yourself in a sticky situation, a slice of lemon or a dab of juice will quickly get you out of it. Still, before you start, test to make sure that lemon juice doesn’t harm the surface you’re cleaning.

Related: Quick Tip: Working with Wood Glues