Lemon to the power of 10: Natural eco-friendly ways to get more out of your lemons.

Here are ten great eco-friendly uses for getting more than you bargained for naturally from that lemon lurking at the back of your fruit bowl (and they are cheap!)


1. A Lemon Powered Battery

It sounds like a prop from a 1950’s B-Movie but a little old lemon can in fact power a battery. All simple batteries such as a voltaic battery need their metals (zinc and copper)  placed in an electrolyte. An electrolyte is a substance that can carry an electric current when dissolved in water. The citric acid in lemon juice is an electrolyte and is the essential third element to power the battery. Making lemon battery is a great way to get school children of all ages engaged in science and nature and who knows, maybe the next time there is a power cut you may feel compelled to make your own. Click Here to learn how to make your own Lemon Battery.

Adrian Lee's Search for Extra Terrestial Intelligence (SETI) Citrus Division for Kinetica

Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Citrus Division by Adrian Lee (Photograph: David Stock for New Scientist)

A longtime friend of mine, Artist Adrian Lee took this Lemon Battery concept one stage further and created a wonderful Art piece for the Kinetica Art Fair in London a few years ago.  He endeavoured to search for Aliens with his inspired installation for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Citrus Division. He used 65 lemon batteries  to power a small motor. The motor turns a disc into which is punched the Morse code for “We are here”. As the disc rotates, a class 2 laser (also powered by the lemons) shines through the holes and the encoded message is then directed by a small mirror up into space… Amusing, simple yet sophisticated the Citrus Division mixes old and new science and technology and creates an engaging art piece. 

2. Natural Wardrobe/Closet Freshener

natural clothes freshener 
  A little less low tech than the Citrus Division, this is cheap and simple way to freshen without the need for any nasty chemicals is  not to be sniffed at (apologies for the dreadful pun). Take a whole lemon and push straight into the skin between ten and fifteen whole cloves.

Natural freshener

Now place in a strategic place in your wardrobe (I leave mine down near my shoes!). The lemon and cloves act as both a freshener and deodoriser and over the next few weeks will continue to work pure magic as the lemon dries out.  You will notice the difference within an hour and it lasts for weeks.

Tip: Don’t forget to take it out once it has dried up! 

3. Cleaning the glass in your shower  I love this use for a lemon as it is so incredibly effective.

After showering, take half a cut lemon (tip: I tend to use one that I have already juiced) and rub it vigorously all over the glass. Leave it for 2 minutes and then rinse off with hot water. Water marks disappear and it generally dries to a streak-free finish. If there are streaks just give the glass a buff with a lint free kitchen towel and it comes up sparkling. It is all natural and there will be no nasty chemicals waiting for you on your glass the next time you shower.

4. Cleaning Chrome Taps

homemade household cleaners

Lemon juice is just a great natural cleaner for taps in both the kitchen and bathroom. Lemon juice quickly removes limescale with some elbow grease and provides an incredible shine. 

5. Cleaning Stone Kitchen Countertops
Marble and Granite are generally considered to be Stone but are in fact petrified calcium which equates to a porous substance and as a result can stain easily. Use half a cut, dipped in some table salt to gently rub the stain until it disappears. Remove the excess lemon and salt with a clean damp cloth. I use lemon on my pale Silestone kitchen counter top. Despite being non porous and stain resistant lemon is an incredibly effective and natural way to remove stains rather than using a cream cleaner such as Cif.

6. Deodorising and cleaning wooden chopping boards

naturally clean wooden chopping boards

Lemon is the most natural and effective way to clean kitchen chopping boards. Again, rub the under side of a cut lemon over the entire board and leave to soak-in. No need to rinse either. It will neutralise flavours such as garlic and onion and naturally disinfect as it does so. 

7. Boost Laundry detergent.

Lemon juice when used in conjunction with your regular detergent can really produce great results.

Add 1 cup lemon juice into the wash machine during the wash cycle. Lemon juice has a natural bleaching action which will combat stains and remove rust and mineral discolorations from your cotton clothes. It will also will leave your clothes smelling lemony fresh.

8. Health Benefits

Drinking water with Lemon to is considered to be beneficial in the control of high blood pressure due to the high levels of potassium found in the fruit. No need for me to point out the  benefits of a hot lemon drink to help relieve cold and flu symptoms and sore throats. It is not an old wives tale, lemons have antibacterial qualities that make them such  a great natural all-round remedy but did you know that dabbed directly onto a cut is a very effective disinfectant? 

9. Make Your Own Mouthwash 

Make yourself a cheap and natural mouth wash by mixing 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in half a glass of water. Rinsing and gargling with this solution will help combat the bacteria found in your mouth and freshen your breath. Tip: Ensure you rinse well with a glass of just water as lemon juice can erode teeth enamel.

10. Make Your Own Natural Paraben/Preservative-Free Beauty Products

Homemade moisturiser

Mix some coconut oil with a few drops of lemon juice to hydrate skin and brighten it at the same time. It is a wonderful natural Moisturiser. 

Both Coconut oil and lemon juice are anti-fungal so the  mixture will also help prevent acne. To whiten and strengthen nails make a solution of lemon juice with olive oil and soak your nails for 10 minutes. The lemon juice will brighten the nail while the olive oil will strengthen it. Make your own Body Scrub by combing lemon juice, sugar, olive oil, and honey to create a nourishing scrub for your skin. Apply to your body and rub gently-in before rinsing, to reveal wonderfully soft fresh skin. 


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