Native to South Asia, the lemon has become known the world over and is used for both culinary and non-culinary uses. Here are 21 ways you can use lemons in the home, for beauty, and for health. And most of these uses need very few other ingredients, making them great for frugal households as well.

The 12 best lemon tea recipes

While the most basic lemon tea is made only from lemon juice and warm water (perhaps with a little bit of honey), there are many ways in which you can change this simple recipe to not only taste like a little piece of heaven, but also contain even more health properties.

Why not try these lemon tea variations next time you make a cup of relaxing tea? Use fresh lemon, thinly sliced, or fresh lemon juice for the best taste.

  • Lemon, fresh ginger, and honey
  • Lemon, rooibos tea, and honey
  • Lemon, honeybush tea and vanilla
  • Lemon, rooibos tea, and honeybush tea
  • Lemon, black tea (try out different black teas until you find the one you like most), honey
  • Lemon, black tea, cinnamon, honey
  • Lemon, green tea, honey
  • The traditional Sulaimani — Lemon, black tea, cardamom, cinnamon, lime, a few strands of saffron, honey
  • Lemon, fresh mint, and honey
  • Lemon, fresh rosemary, and honey
  • Lemon, fresh sage, and honey
  • Lemon, fresh lavender, and honey

Remember that it is better to sweeten your tea with honey than cane sugar. You can also leave the honey out of these recipes if you don’t have a sweet tooth.

Lemon tea and nice teapot

Using lemons for your health

Like oranges, lemons also high levels of vitamin C — up to 187% of the recommended daily allowance per serving — along with thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, copper, and manganese. As you can see; lemons pack quite a punch! It’s no wonder, then, that lemons are consumed as a source of especially vitamin C.

4 Lemon hot toddy recipes

Lemons are also not only for drinking in lemon tea; it can be used to make different types of hot toddies. These hot toddies are a mixture (usually with alcohol, but you can leave out the alcohol if you prefer) of lemon and spices that can relieve the symptoms of colds and flu. It can also help you sleep better because of the relief of the symptoms you’re feeling.

  • A traditional hot toddy recipe contains: water, a tablespoon or two of whiskey, bourbon or scotch, fresh lemon juice or sliced lemon, honey. Leave out the alcohol if preferred.
  • A lemon and ginger hot toddy works well if you have a tight chest or scratchy throat along with the beginnings of a cold or flu. Recipe: water, sliced lemon or fresh lemon juice, one or two slices fresh ginger (use dried ginger in a pinch, though), and honey to taste.
  • A lemon and mint hot toddy works well for stuffy noses as well thanks to the mint. Recipe: water, sliced lemon or fresh lemon juice, some crushed fresh mint leaves, one or two slices fresh ginger (use dried ginger in a pinch, though), and honey to taste.
  • An alcohol-free “Glühwein” hot toddy can be made by adding the spices used to make Glühwein to make this version of the hot toddy. Recipe: Water, sliced lemon, cinnamon, cloves, star aniseed, a slice of orange, honey, and vanilla. You can also use the prepared tea bags of Glühwein spices available in some department stores.
  • Add about a tablespoon of whiskey, scotch or bourbon, if you want, to any of the recipes and simply adjust the amount of honey to taste.

Hot toddies are best drunk just before bed, so make your hot toddy of choice, bundle up in bed with a good audiobook to listen to, enjoy the lemony-honey flavours, and sleep like a baby!

5 lemon steam inhalations recipes

Inhaling the scent of lemon is also refreshing and revitalising. Mixing lemon with other essential oils and herbs to make inhalants works wonders for relieving head colds, colds, and flu. Here are some recipes for you to try out next time when your nose or chest feels stuffy!

You don’t have to only use fresh ingredients for these recipes — essential oils will also work very well. Just remember to not go overboard with the amount you add to the water; only a drop or two is necessary. Otherwise you might just give yourself a headache in place of a stuffy nose!

Lemon steam inhalants for colds, head colds, and flu

  • Lemon and eucalyptus inhalant recipe: Use sliced lemon or lemon juice and eucalyptus oil (or leaves, if you have a tree in the garden).
  • Lemon, eucalyptus, and mint inhalant recipe: Use sliced lemon or lemon juice, eucalyptus oil, and crushed fresh mint leaves or mint oil.
  • Lemon, eucalyptus, and tea tree inhalant recipe: Use sliced lemon or lemon juice, eucalyptus oil, and tea tree oil.
  • Lemon, lavender, cinnamon inhalant recipe: Use sliced lemon or lemon juice, lavender flowers (dried or fresh), and a cinnamon stick, cinnamon pieces, or a drop of cinnamon oil.
  • Lemon, eucalyptus, mint, and cinnamon recipe: This last one has a very strong scent thanks to the mix of eucalyptus and cinnamon. Use sliced lemon or lemon juice, eucalyptus oil, and crushed fresh mint leaves or mint oil. Preferably use a cinnamon stick, cinnamon pieces or a little ground cinnamon. You can also use a drop of cinnamon oil.

Make and use inhalations as follows: Boil water and pour into a heat-resistant bowl. The bowl should be about half-full. Add the crushed herbs or leaves and/or essential oils. Add a bit of cold water. Lean over the bowl, placing a towel over your head to retain the infused steam, and inhale the steam for up to 10 minutes.

How to use lemons in your beauty regime

  • Make a sugar scrub from sugar, coconut oil, a drop or two lemon oil or lemon zest to exfoliate your skin, leaving it bright, soft, and smelling great. You can also add berries or a bit of honey to the sugar scrub. (A fresh batch must be made each time as it is a completely natural product and will go mouldy.)
  • A salt body scrub can be by taking lemon zest and mixing it with Kosher salt and almond oil.
  • For a less intense exfoliation, mix lemon zest, a bit of honey, some uncooked oats, and a little water. This can be used on the face and body.
  • Rinse your hair with diluted lemon juice — about a quarter cup lemon juice to two cups water — to bring shine and bounce to limp or oily hair. Don’t overdo these rinses though; not only will the lemon start bleaching your hair, it could also strip too much of the oils from your hair if done too often.

Using lemons in the home to clean

Lemons are a wonderful ingredient to add to your homemade, green-cleaning arsenal. And it’s not only because of their wonderful, uplifting fragrance, but because they contain citric acid, d-limonene, and lemon oil.

The citric acid in the lemon is a mild acid that aids in cleaning hard water film and water marks, amongst other. D-limonene is a solvent and powerful degreaser that can cut through fatty stains and spatters. The lemon oil is also an antibacterial disinfectant besides leaving your home smelling delightfully clean.

However, don’t think that you can only use lemon in the kitchen to make the sink shine; there’s a use for lemons in every room of the house. For some of these uses, however, you’ll need to make a few simple cleaners using the lemons.

Sliced lemons on a white background

Easy household cleaners to make with lemons

While you can sometimes use lemons as is — for instance, cut in half to shine the chrome in your kitchen or to wipe the sink for a brilliant shine — lemons are often used along with other simple ingredients. Indeed, with these few cleaners you can practically clean ever room in your home from top to bottom!

Lemon infused vinegar

Lemon-infused vinegar cuts through grease and dirt to leave behind sparkling clean surfaces. It has even been shown to kill strains of bacteria! Brilliant for wiping counters, the fridge, and appliances, it will leave everything smelling fresh and clean. Also use it on cabinets, to get rid of mould and soap scum and leave your fridge smelling fresher than new. It’s also extremely easy to make.

Here is two different ways of making the infused vinegar.

Recipe for lemon-infused vinegar:

To make the lemon-infused vinegar, you only need white vinegar, lemon peels, and some mason jars (or even jars that sauces came in that you can simply reuse). The first way of making the infused vinegar takes about two weeks, while the latter takes only a few hours.

Method one: Fill the jar about halfway with the lemon peels and cover with vinegar. Place in a cool, dark place for two weeks. After two weeks you will find that the lemon oils have infused the vinegar, giving it a yellow colour. All you need to do now is strain the vinegar through a sieve to remove the peel and pour it into a spray bottel. Ta-da! Ready to use and smelling great!

Method two: In a glass, microwave-proof bowl, slowly heat white vinegar. It shouldn’t quite reach boiling point. (Also, do not use an aluminium pot or saucepan to heat the vinegar in.) Next, place the lemon peels into the mason jar, filling it about halfway. Carefully pour the warm vinegar over the peels and let it cool. Much like tea, the peel will infuse the vinegar faster because of the heat of the liquid. Once it has cooled, pour into a spray bottle and it’s ready to use!

  • Variations on lemon-infused vinegar: However, you don’t have to use just lemons to infuse the vinegar with. Here are some other wonderful fragrances to play around with. You can even make a different scent for different rooms. Note: the herbs that are used should be fresh, not dried. If you don’t have the fresh herbs at hand, you can use essential oils instead.
    • Lemon and lavender
    • Lemon and mint
    • Lemon and rosemary
    • Lemon, orange, and lime
    • Lemon and sage
    • Lemon and tea tree oil
    • Lemon and eucalyptus oil

Lemon all-purpose cleaner and disinfectant

This lemon all-purpose cleaner can be used in conjunction with the infused vinegar. Use the disinfectant for the bathrooms and wash floors, rubbish bins, etc. This cleaner doesn’t foam like store-bought cleaners, so don’t worry if you don’t see bubbles!

Recipe for lemon all-purpose cleaner and disinfectant

To make the all-purpose cleaner and disinfectant you need lemon oil, vinegar, water, and about a teaspoon of borax. Combine all the ingredients, mix well and pour into a spray bottle. Voilá!

Add some lavender, mint, orange, tea tree, or any other essential oil that you want to enhance the scent even more. Eucalyptus and lemon or lemon and mint works very well in the bathroom, for instance, while lavender will give a delightful and muted scent to your living area or bedrooms when you wash the floors there.

You can also use this disinfectant on handles, remotes (use a cloth dampened with the mixture), and other surfaces which are constantly touched — especially if someone in the home is ill.

Other uses for lemon in the home

  • Use half a lemon and salt to scrub away dirt, grime and germs from your cutting boards.
  • Lemon juice removes rust from steel cutlery and knives.
  • Use a few drops of lemon juice to shine your kitchen sink.
  • Cut a lemon into quarters, place it in a bowl of water, a microwave it, uncovered, for 2-3 minutes. Now you only need to wipe your microwave clean!
  • Use lemon slices or lemon peel in stove-top potpourri. Add some lavender oil and easily take care of lingering cooking smells.
  • Mix some lemon zest with baking soda and place it in the fridge to absorb any smells.
  • A wedge or two of lemon dipped in baking soda and put down the garbage disposal will freshen it one, two, three.
  • Some lemon juice diluted with a bit of water will freshen musty plastic containers. You can also use the lemon-infused vinegar.
  • Add some lemon juice to your towels’ wash cycle. This won’t bleach them, but will delicately remove stains and mustiness.
  • Pour a few spoons of lemon juice into your humidifier and then switch it on as usual. The lemon will clear out any mustiness, and will leave it smelling fresh and new.
  • Make your own furniture polish/oil by mixing some olive oil, a touch of vinegar, lemon juice, and lemon essential oil. (Remember to test it on a small part first before smearing it all over the wood. You also only need very little!)
  • Mix cream of tartar and lemon juice for a great tile grouting cleaner.

As you can see, the uses for lemons are practically endless! From lemonade and tea to cleaner and disinfectant, buying that extra bag of lemons next time is definitely worth it!