Commonly used for household cleaning, citric acid is effective, nontoxic, antibacterial and antiseptic. Lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits contain large quantities of citric acid. Lemon is often used in commercial cleaning products because of its pleasant, clean smell. Used alone or in combination with other natural household ingredients, lemon can clean and remove stains from fixtures and appliances in the kitchen and bathroom.
Lemon and Salt
Cut a lemon in half and use it to rub down your sinks, cutting boards and counter tops any time you need to remove smells from poultry, meats or smelly cooking ingredients. Squeeze juice onto the surface directly and rub away with the half lemon itself, then wipe clean with a towel. For hard-to-remove stains on scratched surfaces such as cutting boards or old sinks, use a brush or sponge with lemon juice and kosher salt for abrasiveness. Also, dab the cut surface of the lemon in salt to scrub brass, copper pots and chrome fixtures. Wipe them with a soft cloth for a shiny finish. Lemon alone can be used for soaking laundry before washing. Citric acid works as a bleaching agent on white clothes and linens.
Lemon and Baking Soda
Combined with baking soda, lemon is a powerful cleaning agent for areas ridden with odors and bacteria, such as the bathroom. Mix one part lemon and two parts baking soda in a bowl to create a paste-like solution, apply it to the cleaning area and scrub with a sponge or brush to remove grime, residues and even rust from toilets, chrome and copper fixtures, sinks, shower doors and tubs. Rinse or wipe down the area when finished. The citric acid and baking soda combined works well to deodorize drains and garbage disposals and on the dishes themselves when used with dish soap. Used with a sponge mop, it can also be used to clean linoleum and ceramic flooring. Rub a baking soda and lemon paste onto stains on white clothing with a toothbrush before washing.
Lemon and Vinegar
Like citric acid, vinegar is a natural all-purpose cleaning agent. Combine the two in equal parts with water into a spray bottle to clean mirrors and other shiny surfaces, or combine in a bucket to mop floors.The lemon eliminates the unpleasant smell of the vinegar. Beware of using the solution on tile grout if it is not sufficiently diluted in water, as it may eat away at it . Do not use on marble. Pour lemon and vinegar into the toilet to remove the dirty ring left on the toilet bowl, then scrub and flush. The mixture will also eat away at soap scum and hard water stains on shower doors, drains and fixtures.
Mix a few drops of jojoba or olive oil with lemon juice for a nontoxic alternative to wood furniture spray polish. Pour onto a clean cloth to clean wood furniture and keep it from drying out.