Happy Monday and welcome to the eighth installment of ‘Back to basics,’ a series of posts highlighting cleaning/laundering products and solutions that have persevered throughout the years for good reason: they’re effective, eco-friendly, and often extremely versatile making them cost-conscious alternatives to all the newfangled targeted products that have come and gone over the years.

Over the past few months I’ve featured Bon Ami Cleaning Powder, Kirk’s Original Coco Castile Bar Soap, Fels-Naptha, Heinz Distilled White Vinegar, Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda, 20 Mule Team Borax, and Dr. Bronner’s Classic Liquid Soaps. Today, up to bat is a product that, like Heinz White Vinegar, may not live under your sink or in your laundry room but can be used in various household tasks: ReaLemon lemon juice. 

This 100 percent juice-made-from-concentrate refrigerator fixture that’s been around since 1934 when concoted by Irving Swartzburg — the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group acquired it in 2001 — doesn’t necessarily need to be used to make lemonade, marinate chicken, or what have you. Lemon juice possesses strong acidic properties that make it an ideal natural household cleaner/deodorizer, whether used in combination with other ingredients or by itself. Of course, you can opt for the real deal by using fresh-squeezed lemons but having a bottle or two of ReaLemon stashed away is more cost-effective and convenient than using the real thing.

Without further ado, here’s a list of non-culinary household uses for ReaLemon (and lemons in general) that range from the kitchen to the bathroom to the garden: 

• Cutting board/Tupperware sanitizer

• Microwave oven cleaner/deodorizer 

• Dishwasher deodorizer

• Garbage disposal refresher

• Laundry booster

Air freshener 

• Lime scale/hard water stain remover

• Tea and ink stain remover

• Cooper cookware brightener 

• Hardwood furniture polisher 

• Soap scum/grout remover

• Silver cleaner

• Window/glass shower door cleaner

• Rough, "garden" hands soother

• Humidifier refresher

• Poison ivy soother

• Coffee pot cleaner

• Dandruff and acne treatment

• Minor cut/scrape disinfectant 

• Nontoxic garden insecticide 

Any uses that I forgot to mention? Tell me about them in the comments section!

Photos: Roadside Pictures (top), Morgbert (bottom)

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Back to basics: ReaLemon
ReaLemon lemon juice has forever been a staple in many fridges. But did you know it can also come in handy as an all-natural cleaning and laundering additive?