The 5 Places You Should Be Cleaning in Your Kitchen With Lemon

Bonus points for the citrus aromas it leaves behind.

Lemon slices, wedges, and whole lemons

The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Whether you’re hoping to stave off germs, cut through grease, or neutralize odors, you may rely on potentially pricey (not to mention environmentally unkind) specialty cleaners. There’s a time and a place for chemical-based cleaners, but in a pinch, you can find surprisingly reliable swaps in your kitchen. 

Enter the humble lemon.  Not only does it smell delicious, but thanks to its acidic properties, it’s also effective at tackling pesky messes all around your kitchen. You can use an actual lemon half, just the juice, or a mix of lemon and warm water to achieve amazing results , for way cheaper than your typical cleaning products. 

Here are the top five places you should be cleaning in your kitchen with lemon.

1. Your Microwave

If there’s any place prone to bad smells, splatters, and grease, it’s your microwave oven. Luckily, these annoying messes are easy to clean with the help of some citrus.

Simply squeeze the juice from half a lemon into a small, microwavable bowl and nuke it for three minutes on medium-power. Keep the microwave door closed for another five before you open the door. Now you should be able to easily clear away all the stuck-on gunk with a microfiber cloth. (Just be sure to handle the hot bowl with care.)

2. Your Sink Drain

Noticing stinky smells coming from your drain? Lemon to the rescue. If you have a garbage disposal, simply toss a spent lemon half or a few used wedges down the drain with the garbage disposal running, followed by a few ice cubes to knock off stuck-on debris. 

If you want a deeper clean or to tackle small clogs, try pouring a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by the juice from three  lemons. The mixture should produce foam that will clean out your drain. Finish the job by pouring hot water down the drain.

3. Wood Cutting Boards

If your wooden cutting board has seen better days, try giving it a spa treatment with lemon and coarse salt. Liberally sprinkle Kosher salt over the entire surface of the board,  then use a  lemon wedge to scrub the salt, releasing its  juice in the process. Allow the salty-lemon solution to sit on the cutting board for 20 minutes, then give the board a quick rinse under warm water.  (Note: While lemon and salt can refresh a cutting board by removing stains and cutting through bad smells, it's no replacement for disinfecting with soap and water—especially if you cut meat on your board.)

4. Your Faucet

Over time, faucets can accumulate mineral deposits that affect the taste of your water (especially if you live in a region that has hard water). To tackle limescale buildup on your faucet, cut a lemon in half and rub it on the faucet opening, squeezing the lemon as you go. Allow to sit for 15 minutes before wiping and rinsing away the lemon residue. You can also add lemon juice to a small plastic baggie, immerse the faucet opening in the juice, and tie the bag to the faucet for a 15 minute set before removing the baggie and rinsing.

5. Your Windows

Kitchen windows are especially prone to grime, but you don’t need any special cleaning products to get them sparkling again. Add  the juice of one or two lemons to a cup of water in a spray bottle.. Mix and then spray the mixture on to your dirty windows, before  wiping dry with a paper towel or microfiber cloth.