Over the past decade, going green has moved from just a clichéd saying to a lifestyle revolution for many Americans. Now that more and more studies are coming out and reconfirming our fears that the cleaning supplies in our homes are basically killing us, it's time to get back to basics. Chemicals and food shouldn't mix.
Our grandparents' generation didn't have a different product to scrub every kitchen surface. They used simple and natural products for a variety of tasks around the kitchen. Keep reading to discover 10 ways to clean the kitchen with lemon juice.
10: Sink Cleaner
We are surrounded by germs everywhere we go. There is no escaping the hundreds of thousands of bacteria lurking behind every corner. While it's not realistic to scrub yourself down and live out the rest of your days as John Travolta in The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, you should scrub your sink, which is one of the dirtiest places in any home.
Combine lemon juice and salt until the mixture reaches the consistency of toothpaste. Apply this to brass, copper, or stainless-steel sinks and fixtures. Scrub gently, then rinse with water. This also removes rust stains.
9: Loosen Mineral Deposits
Lime is used in water and sewage treatment to remove impurities and reduce acidity. While this is a great tool at the water treatment plant, it leaves mineral deposits in the drains of your sinks and tubs which can build up and clog them. Overexposure can cause health risks too.
To avoid hiring a plumber later or pouring harmful chemicals down the drain, fix the problem before it gets worse. Loosen mineral deposits on faucets by sponging on lemon juice, letting it soak in for a while, then scrubbing off.
8: Remove Food Odors
When food sits in the garbage disposal for too long, it begins to release unsettling odors on an unsuspecting kitchen. Who wants to smell last night's onions or tuna? These odors can seep into fabrics and become a pain to clean out.
Covering up the stink with room sprays will only create a combo smell. To remove odors from a garbage disposal, cut up a lemon, toss it in, and grind it up. Orange and lemon peels also work.
7: Scrub the Dishwasher
Dishwashers are one of the most convenient kitchen tools in any home. Instead of spending the hour after dinner scrubbing the plates and utensils, you can toss everything in the dishwasher. But, when the dishwasher gets dirty you have to clean it too.
Remove dried-on food or detergent from the chrome inside your dishwasher by rubbing it with a piece of lemon. Rinse by wiping with a damp cloth, and then rub dry with a clean, dry cloth. Make sure to run the dishwasher using the hottest water setting to remove most food particles.
6: Clean a Stovetop or Oven Spill
Cleaning the oven is a daunting task and can often sit on the to-do list for weeks; who wants to stick their head in an oven, anyway? Yes, ovens can clean themselves, but not when you spill that pan of cake batter or the french fries go flying.
Messes on stovetops and in ovens are no match for this mixture: Make a paste of lemon juice, water, and baking soda. Apply to spills, let sit 15 minutes, then scrub and rinse with water and a sponge.
5: Clean the Windows
Windows are portals to the outside world, a peek at what lies beyond these four walls. But in reality, windows are handprints, dried dog slobber and spiders' final resting places. They can never seem to stay clean, particularly in the kitchen where they're exposed to grease.
So what to do? Climb up on the counter and wash greasy kitchen windows with a solution of 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/2 cup white vinegar, and 1 quart warm water. They'll soon be sparkling.
4: Shrink the Stink
Kitchen odors can linger in window treatments, tablecloths and napkins. Pretty much all cloth attracts odors like a magnet, good and bad. But why do the bad odors seem so much more prevalent and stick around so much longer than the good kind?
Thanks to the freshening power of lemons and a few spices, you can make kitchen odors disappear. Fill a small pot with water. Add several pieces of lemon rind and about 1 teaspoon each of whole cloves and rosemary leaves. Bring to a boil. The aroma will soon reach to nearly every room of your home.
3: Clean the Kitchen Air
Cooking is tough on a kitchen. One minute, the air smells of beef, the next of chocolate chip cookies. It is the busiest room in the house and where most family activity takes place. The kids do homework and we pay the bills at the kitchen table. Freshen the air and give the poor room a break.
Heat the oven to 300 degrees F and place a whole lemon on the center rack. With the door slightly ajar, let the lemon "cook" for about 15 minutes; then turn off oven. Let the lemon cool before removing it.
2: Attack Odors before They Start
Fragrant foods like curry, spaghetti sauce and fish tacos only smell good when you're eating them. Later that night and the following morning? Not so much. Sometimes a trip through the dishwasher just can't salvage a bowl or a cutting board.
Avoid having your apple contaminated with an onion smell because you didn't clean the cutting board properly. After cleaning your wood cutting board, rub a bit of lemon juice on it to help get rid of garlic, onion, or fish smells.
1: Fresh Air should be Clean Air
A humidifier is a household appliance that increases the moisture in a room and releases a cool mist of air. Some humidifiers release medicine or antibiotic vapors to open airwaves or decrease coughs. However, some models can overheat the water sitting in them, causing a noticeable smell.
It's a common problem to have bad odors leaking from a humidifier because the stagnant water inside the tank is a great environment for mold to grow. Add 4 teaspoons lemon juice to the water in your humidifier to eliminate the stink.
Adapted from "Lemon Juice: Lighten Your Hair and Solve Household Problems," © 2009 Publications International, Ltd.