Uses for lemons in the laundry

The fragrant citrus smell of lemons is welcome in the kitchen when you are baking, cooking or making a batch of fresh-squeezed lemonade. But did you know that fresh smell is a great addition to the laundry room? Lemons have the power to make your clothes cleaner and brighter.

Lemons as a stain fighter

If you are wondering how to get a stain out of a white shirt, reach for a lemon. A lemon’s citric acid breaks down stains. Try soaking stains in one-third cup lemon juice diluted in two-thirds cup water before washing. It’s important to note that because lemons are a natural bleach alternative, they can harm certain fabrics and colors.

If you or a family member happens to get a rust stain on a white shirt, lemons—not bleach—can get the stain out. We’ve found a couple options you may want to try:

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil. In the meantime, wet the stain with lemon juice. Hold the stain over the steam to loosen the rust.
  • Or, soak the stain with lemon juice, and sprinkle it with cream of tartar or salt. Rub the solution into the stain until you notice it is gone.

Lemons as a bleach alternative

Your white shirts look dull thanks to the many wash cycles they’ve been through. And now you’d like to know how to make whites whiter. Instead of reaching for smelly bleach, start juicing a bunch of lemons!

Adding one-quarter to one-half cup of lemon juice in place of bleach to your wash cycle will whiten clothing (it’s best to use lemon juice on cottons and polyester only). If your whites still are not bright enough, try mixing one-half cup of lemon juice to a gallon of hot water. Soak your whites in this mixture at least one hour or overnight, and then launder as usual.

With these tips, not only will your clothes look brighter, but they—and your house—will smell fresh!