3 Ways to Clean With Citrus In the Kitchen

Photo by Linda Ly
Photo by Linda Ly

Some late night on an infomercial, you may have seen those ubiquitous orange cleaners advertised as the Holy Grail of household cleaners, promising to remove grease and grime from all the places you hate to clean.

But did you know you can get this same cleaning power just from a few fresh oranges from the store? And if you have a citrus tree in your yard, then you have almost no reason to buy commercial cleaners again for your house! Fresh citrus is highly versatile and non-toxic, and you can use both the peels and the flesh, thereby reducing any waste. The citric acid in lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits is a natural cleaning agent that smells delicious to boot.

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Here are three easy ways to put citrus to work for you in the kitchen:

#1 Scour your sink and bathtub. For an all natural cleaner, slice an orange or grapefruit in half cross-wise, sprinkle kosher salt on the cut section, and use it to scour your sink, bathtub, countertops, or any surface that needs a good scrubbing. The gentle yet powerful cleanser works on non-porous surfaces like chrome, copper, brass, porcelain, and stainless steel (this goes for your cookware as well). (But take note: Acidic cleaners are not suitable for granite and marble as they can eat away at the sealers and surfaces.) You can also rub a lemon wedge over your faucets to remove hard water stains, lime and calcium build-up, and soap scum. Simply wipe the citrus away with a wet rag afterward, and you'll be left with a clean, polished surface.

#2 Freshen the garbage disposal. If you have citrus rinds left over from juicing, chop them up into small pieces and grind them in your garbage disposal along with a few ice cubes. The rinds contain a natural compound called d-Limonene (which also happens to be the active ingredient in citrus-based commercial cleaners) that acts as a solvent and degreaser. Together, the citrus rinds and ice cubes will clean the blades and cut all the gunk and grease in your disposal, all while releasing a fresh scent in your sink.

#3 Remove odors and stains. Citrus wedges are excellent for removing onion, garlic, fish, and other pungent odors from your hands and cutting boards, as well as sanitizing those surfaces. If you have stains on your cutting boards (from slicing berries, for instance), simply squeeze some lemon juice over the stain and let it sit until the stain fades (even if it takes a few hours). Rinse well, then dry.

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