This fruit's natural cleaning abilities will make your whole home sparkle. 

By Katie Holdefehr
March 28, 2018
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

If you're looking for natural, chemical-free ways to clean your home, look no further than the fruit bowl on your kitchen counter. Lemons have a surprising amount of cleaning power—citric acid makes the juice a natural cleaning agent that's effective at cutting through soap scum and tackling some types of stains. So the next time you need to clean your shower door or a cutting board, grab a lemon before you reach for the harsh, chemical-filled cleaning sprays. Want more cleaning hacks using things you likely already have lying around your home? Order Real Simple Spring Cleaning ($14; amazon.com), which has all of the cleaning tips and tricks Real Simple editors have collected over the years. Who knew lemons, lint rollers, and old newspapers had so much cleaning power? 

Clean Your Cutting Boards

Because it's the place where you prep your family's dinner, who don't want to wash a cutting board with anything other than the most natural ingredients. Luckily, that lemon you used in the recipe can double as a board cleaner. To remove stains from wood or plastic cutting boards, cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice onto the board. Rub the juice in with the lemon half, then let sit for 20 minutes. The acid will work on the stains, revealing a fresh, clean cutting board. 

Get White Clothes Brighter

We all know bleach is the most effective way to freshen up the appearance of white clothes and towels, but lemon juice can also do the trick. Add stained clothing to a pot of water with a few lemon slices, then boil for a few minutes. 

Use It as a Lemon-Scented Degreaser 

To make a natural degreasing spray you can use on almost any hard surface besides wood, combine 2 cups water, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon Dr. Bronner's Castile soap, and 1 tablespoon baking soda in a spray bottle and shake well. The lemon fights stains and disinfects, while the baking soda acts as a gentle abrasive. 

Clean Stained Food Containers

If you have a closet full of discolored Tupperware containers, let a lemon work its stain-fighting magic. Squeeze lemon juice onto the stained plastic and rub with the cut side of the lemon. Then, let the containers dry in the sun and wash normally. Stubborn sauce stains will disappear. 

Get Your Bathtub Sparkling Clean

Mix equal parts baking soda and cream of tartar, then add a little lemon juice. Rub in this stain-fighting paste, then let sit for 30 minutes before rinsing to reveal a cleaner bathtub. 

Clear Off Your Cheese Grater 

Cleaning a cheese grater can be tough on your kitchen sponge. After grating soft cheese or sticky foods, cut a lemon in half and rub the cut side along the grater. It will clear away residue, while leaving a fresh lemon scent. 

Make Brass and Copper Shine

Cut a lemon in half, then sprinkle salt on the cut side. Rub it on brass or copper candlesticks, bowls, or pots and pans to get them gleaming.