Six Thrifty Uses for a Lemon

Miss Thrifty18 August 28, 2009

thrifty-lemon One of the most popular posts on Miss Thrifty is the Make Do and Mend post, which features some of the choicest nuggest from the Ministry of Information’s wartime compendium of household tips. Those nice people at John Lewis have just published their updated take on this book. Sadly they haven’t sorted out their online PR and I can’t find a link to the book anywhere, but the Daily Mail ran a selection of its tips today.

Two of the ideas that caught my eye featured that most useful of fruits: the lemon. Lemons are what, 22 pence each? If you are like me, you will cut one into wedges for fish, or into slices for boozy drinks – but there will often be some left over. Leave it in the salad drawer or on the fridge shelf and it withers away. So here are some of my favourite ideas for leftover lemons:

  1. Rub chopping boards with a cut lemon to banish lingering onion or fish smells.
  2. To remove lingering smells from your microwave, put half a lemon in a bowl of water and heat on low power for a couple of minutes. (These first two tips are from the John Lewis book.)
  3. Do what Frugal Grandma does: squish leftover lemon wedges against the bases of your bathroom taps and remove them after an hour or so. The citric acid dissolves limescale.
  4. Don’t waste a whole lemon if you only need a drop. Stick a skewer into the lemon and squeeze out the juice you need. Wrap the lemon in foil and keep it in the fridge. (From the original Make Do And Mend.)
  5. Deodorant! My first job after university was at a very swish fashion magazine. The glamorous beauty editor did a fine line in luxury spas and the like; when it came to deodorant, however, she swore by the humble lemon. Every day she cut a slice and rubbed it under her arms. According to this beauty editor, it isn’t sticky and works just as well as factory chemical deodorant. (Another advantage is that unlike factory chemical deodorant, lemon doesn’t contain potentially harmful neurotoxins.) I must admit that I had forgotten all about this until I came to write this post; reckon I should give it a go! I shall report back…
  6. Cleaning copper cookware. Slather a lemon wedge with salt – and begin scrubbing! It works well and is cheaper than the abrasive, smelly gunk sold as commercial copper cleaner.

Any other tips to add? Let us know in the comments.

UPDATE: If you like shiny shiny saucepans, please also see Frugal Grandma’s thrifty lemon tips, which have a cookware theme.

Image credit: James Bowe.

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18 Responses to “Six Thrifty Uses for a Lemon

Definitely report back on the lemon deodorant! I have been looking for frugal and natural deodorants, and this look like it is it. There are a lot of recipes for recreating stick deodorant, but I want to keep it simple. Thanks!

August 28, 2009 at 11:14 pm

June Underwood says:

I keep all the unused bits of lemons (and oranges) in the freezer and when i have enough, i use them in recipes like marmalade, elderflower cordial etc, anywhere where lemon rind is needed. It’s surprising when you do this, how much you would otherwise throw away.
Keep the tips coming!

August 29, 2009 at 3:45 pm

Rina says:

GREAT tips – I love using lemons around the house!

September 8, 2009 at 6:13 am

What a hoot! These are great ideas.

Looks like lemons are a lot cheaper on your side of the pond. Twenty-two pence is about 32 cents. Around here, you’d pay at least 50 cents apiece, and I’ve seen them selling for upwards of 60 cents apiece: that’s 30 to to 36 p. apiece.

Luckily, they grow in the backyard.

September 8, 2009 at 4:54 pm

Stephanie says:

Deodorant? That is interesting.
They can be used to clean out a coffee pot. Put one lemon slice in the pot with ice and salt. Add about 1/4 pot of water and swish it all around. Does an excellent job.

September 9, 2009 at 11:57 am

threadbndr says:

in addition to cutting boards, rubbing lemon (or lemon juice) on your hands will get rid of the onion smell.

And lemon juice plus sunlight is a very mild bleaching agent – safe for vintage linens with stains and rust spots.

September 11, 2009 at 9:32 pm

Katie B says:

My mum gave me this tip; slices a whole lemon and freeze the slices to use as and when you want one for a gin and tonic.

April 17, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Verna says:

For mad scientists who keep brains in jars, here’s a tip: why not add a slice of lemon to each jar, for freshness?

May 21, 2011 at 8:53 am

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