Lemons are one of our favorite ingredients to cook with (meringue pie, anyone?), but this sweet ‘n' sour citrus has more than a few unexpected tricks up its sleeve. Lemons are one of the most dynamic fruits out there, and we've rounded up five unexpected things you can do with them –– from cleaning your house, to clearing up acne!
1. Whip up a facial cleanser.
Not only do lemons make great natural astringents, the juice helps fight acne and is anti-aging to boot! Try rubbing a raw lemon over your face after washing with soap and warm water (this only recommended for occasional use on oily skin!), or create your very own cleanser by mixing lemon juice with honey and gently rubbing it on your face with a cotton swab. If you're looking for an exfoliant, try creating a paste out of the juice of one lemon and a spoonful of baking soda. Give your T-zone a scrub and you're good to go!
2. Clean your house.
The antibacterial properties of lemons make them a perfect organic cleaning solution for your home. When used in combination with salt or baking soda, these tangy fruits can be used to polish brass, clean countertops, and scrub bathroom grout. You can also combine lemon juice and water to clean countertops and windows, remove stains from your clothing (by rubbing a wedge on the stain and letting it sit for a few hours before washing), and sanitize cutting boards! Oh, and don't forget to brighten your whites by adding a cup of juice to your laundry cycle!
3. Get rid of unwanted odors.
Lemons are a great way to get rid of unwanted smells. Not only does rubbing a wedge all over your hands diminish the lingering scent of raw garlic and fish, you can place a halved lemon in your fridge to remove odors, throw a few wedges down your garbage disposal to make it smell fresh, and even zap the juice to eliminate smells from your microwave. Dried lemon peels also make wonderful additions to potpourri, if you feel like getting crafty ‘90s-style!
4. Bleach your hair.
If you want to highlight your hair this summer, skip the boxed dye and go with something a little more natural. Yep, you can dye your hair with lemons! Simply mix warm water with the juice of a few freshly squeezed lemons, and spray the mixture all over your hair (or on the strands you want highlighted). Sit in the sun for about an hour, then re-apply and repeat. Make sure to wash and condition your hair well after finishing up this process (lemon can be very drying), and expect to see results in a few weeks!
5. Make lemonade.
Sounds pretty obvious, but lemons are a bonafide thirst-quencher due to their high citric acid content, and can bring you huge amounts of relief on a hot summer's day. The trick? Instead of guzzling up sweet, sugary lemonade, simply squeeze a few lemons into a glass of cool water. If you're really craving something sweet, try adding honey instead of sugar (the latter can actually increase your thirst).