Amazing uses for lemons

One of the most versatile and useful (not to mention delicious!) fruits out there, there are so many different uses for lemons. We’ve spent some time rounding up some of our favourite ways to use lemons, from cooking and cleaning to out in the garden. 

Do you have a way of using lemons that isn’t included in this article? Let us know in the comments and we will share you suggestions on Ailuna’s social media channels.


5 minutes to read

An introduction to the not-so-humble lemon

The trusty lemon – fresh, zesty and a household staple for a lot of people. This yellow citrus fruit is native to Asia and grows on an evergreen tree that bears fruit all year round. 

Most people know that lemons are great for using in cooking both sweet and savoury dishes, as well as sliced and dropped into your favourite drink. Here are a few more facts about lemons to get you in the mood for celebrating them!

  • The oil from lemons has cleansing, purifying and invigorating properties
  • They are rich in vitamin C
  • They are extremely acidic, with a pH of 2.00
  • The inner, white, spongy part of the rind is rich in pectin, which is commonly used in jams and marmalades


Household and garden uses for lemons

Lemons are a useful fruit to have around the house. In the age of ‘top to tail’ consumption, there are uses for all parts of the lemon, including those that can commonly be left behind by conventional baking/cooking. One of our favourite things to do is use as much of the lemon as is possible. So if you ever have some lemon left over from cooking, or only need part of it for whichever use you’ve chosen, make sure you scour the rest of the list to see if there’s some way you can use up the rest.

There are so many tried and tested home uses for lemons. Here are just a few of our favourites:

Lemon use #1: Freshen up your microwave

To get your microwave super fresh, chop half a lemon into pieces and place them in a microwave-safe cup or bowl of water. Place the cup in the microwave and heat on high until the window begins to steam up. Leave it to sit for up to 15 minutes before opening the door.

Not only will the microwave now smell fresh and lemony but the acidity in the steam helps to loosen grease, so you should be able to wipe any grime away easily.

Lemon use #2: Clean your chrome fittings

Run the cut side of a lemon over taps and other chrome fittings to aid in the removal of limescale. Leave to sit for a short period and then rinse and dry thoroughly.

Warning: Please be aware of stone and other porous surfaces that may be sensitive to acid.

Lemon use #3: Kill the weeds

What better way to keep your garden weed and chemical-free? The acidity in lemon juice will damage the leaves on the weeds so pop some into a spray bottle and get out there with your new weapon. Be sure to avoid the plants you want to keep, though!

Lemon use #4: Freshen the air in your home

Before you hit “add to basket” on a fancy diffuser, try this trick as a natural, DIY air freshener. Pop a pan of water on the stove to boil and steam away with a cut lemon floating around.

This method won’t just add scent, it will also help you combat dry air by humidifying the home, too. You can even add other aromatics for a lovely scented blend!

Lemon use #5: Clean your fruits and vegetables

You can mix lemon juice, distilled vinegar and cold water, pop into a spray bottle and use it to clean fruit and veg before rinsing and drying for storage.

Lemon use #6: Clean cutting boards

Cutting boards can retain strong smells and stains – hands up who has eaten a piece of cut fruit that tastes of onion because of this!

To avoid this and to remove stains, odours and bacteria from cutting boards – run the cut side of a lemon over the board. It’s as simple as that!

Lemon use #7: Stop fruits and vegetables from browning

Did you know that a squeeze or spray of lemon juice on most cut fruits and vegetables will stop them from browning? This works on apples, bananas, avocados, cauliflower and more!

Someone using a lemon to stop avocados from browning by squeezing on the juice

Lemon use #8: Repel insects

If you wipe the rind of a lemon around your door frames and windows it will deter insects and make the room smell lovely and fresh, too.

Low-waste lemon recipes

In the spirit of being as low-waste as possible, we’ve sought out a few of our favourite recipes that make use of the whole lemon or the parts that tend to be left behind by more conventional recipes.

Lemon Marmalade

lemon marmalade in a jar uses the whole lemon

Whilst marmalade is usually associated with oranges, this lemon marmalade recipe is a lovely alternative and uses the whole lemon.

Candied citrus peel

With a simple adaptation, this recipe will use the skin ‘shells’ leftover from juicing lemons for a different recipe or drink, ensuring as much is used as possible.  Simply juice your lemon as normal and then scoop out the remaining flesh and proceed from step 1 in the recipe by cutting into wedges.

Preserved lemons

This recipe uses the whole lemon and is great for bumper crops from a tree in the garden or if you’ve accidentally ordered 2kg of lemons instead of 2 lemons (I have done this). 

Preserved lemons were very much in fashion a few years ago. Popular in Moroccan cuisine, they can add some great flavour to your savoury dishes and are a great way to keep lemons for use all year round. With preserving and reducing food waste so big on everyone’s lists, this is a great way to use any surplus lemons, and they make great gifts too.

morrocan preserved lemons in a jar - a great use for lemons

Lemon curd

Homemade lemon curd is nother great way to preserve that summery flavour and is another lovely gift idea.


If you have a recipe that needs buttermilk and you’ve got none in the fridge, just add  1 tablespoon of lemon juice to 1 cup of milk and let it sit for 5 minutes, until it looks curdled. There you have it, homemade buttermilk! Buttermilk also works as an egg replacer in baking, and works in dairy-free milk too. One to bear in mind for any vegan bakers out there!

Hooray for lemons!

So there you have it, lots of amazing uses for lemons. Did we miss something? Drop us a comment below to let us know – we always want to learn.

If this article has brought out the zero-waste wannabe in you, why not open the Ailuna app now and take our waste-less lunch or no more binning food dares?

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