These days, most store-bought cleaning products are laden with unpronounceable chemicals that you really don't want to put in your laundry. Sometimes with tough stains, you really don't have the option of using natural stain removers, but wouldn't you generally prefer to use the most natural products in your household and on your laundry?
Lemons are a powerful citrus fruit with enzymes in their acids that are strong enough to whiten everything from your teeth to your new cotton blouse. Read on for five simple solutions for using the cleaning power of lemons in your laundry and clothing care.
If you feel like your whites aren't clean unless they come out smelling faintly of swimming pool, then you'll be happy to know that a little old lemon is a great bleach alternative. Not to mention, it smells a lot better.
The citric acid in lemons helps to break down stains and get those dingy whites back to bright. And unlike bleach, lemon juice is safe for colors, too. Just add one cup of lemon juice to your load of wash along with your usual detergent.
Eliminate Rust Stains
You're wearing your favorite white shirt and you swipe up against something rusty. Now you're wearing that, too. Bleach is great at removing chocolate, ketchup and coffee stains, but it only makes rust stains more permanent. What's a girl to do? Lemon juice to the rescue!
Just boil some water in a tea kettle or on the stove and wet the rust stain with lemon juice. Hold the stained area directly over the steam for a few minutes, taking care not to get a steam burn. Then just wash the garment as you normally would.
Removing Juice Stains
Most of your kid's clothes you can just pop in the washer, but not that sweet little sailor dress with the crisp white apron from Aunt Jenny. You know, the one she always wants to see your little darling in at get-togethers. With the knowledge that the white apron will stay clean for all of 15 minutes before said darling drops her sippy cup and the juice splatters all over it, you'll be glad to know that a mixture of 1/3 cup lemon juice with 2/3 cup water will get that juice stain right out. Simply soak the stain in this solution and then wash.
Mold and Mildew Stain Paste
Mold and mildew are happy to find a home in organic materials like fabric, paper and leather. If you live in a humid environment or a home without proper airflow, you're bound to come across some sooner or later. They can damage fabrics by causing discoloration or even eating through the material.
Fortunately, a paste of lemon and salt is a great spot treatment for tough mildew stains. Simply apply the paste to the stain, set the item in the sun to dry and then wash as you normally would -- preferably in hot water to kill any remaining mold spores.
Shine Your Shoes
Even though there are quite a few alternative materials to leather these days that are cheaper and easier to care for, many consumers still prefer the look and quality of a finely crafted leather shoe. While leather makes a great shoe, the big downside is the care it requires.
To keep leather shoes in good shape, they need regular cleaning and shining. A soft cloth dampened with lemon juice is great for cleaning your favorite shoes, while leaving them nice and shiny as well.
Adapted from "Lemon Juice: Lighten Your Hair and Solve Household Problems," © 2009 Publications International, Ltd.