How clean does lemon juice REALLY leave your home? Cleaning hacks debunked

Lemons: Nutritionist reveals quick and easy hack for lemon juice

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White vinegar, baking soda, salt and lemon juice have all risen to a new level of fame for their cleansing properties, with a combination of all four working to target almost any stains. While cleaning gurus Mrs Hinch and Lynsey Crombie are huge fans of this citric acid-filled fruit, the jury is still out on just how cleansing lemon juice is when it comes to bacteria. As flu season rolls around and COVID-cases worsen, should we really be using lemon juice to target harmful germs around our homes?

Is lemon juice good for cleaning?

Lemon juice is regarded as one of the best natural cleaners due to its low pH levels and large quantity of citric acid.

The citric acid in this yellow fruit lowers the pH levels of bacteria, allowing the cleaner to penetrate the cell walls of mould, mildew, and bacteria.

While this citrus solution may work to remove surface dirt, including odours, stains and household grime, food safety experts have warned against relying on it to target harmful bacteria like salmonella.

Does lemon juice kill salmonella?

Using lemon juice as a natural cleaning agent around your home is a safe alternative to harsh chemical cleaners like bleach and bathroom or kitchen sprays.

The results of scrubbing your bathroom, flooring or kitchen surfaces with the juicy upside of lemon are undeniable, however, cooking experts at the CookBook People have warned it can leave our homes over-sanitised, but under-cleaned.

This spells bad news when it comes to tackling harmful bacteria like salmonella because sanitising – something lemon juice is notoriously good at – simply kills bacteria on the surface rather than removing it entirely.

Myth: lemon juice and salt can be used to sanitise kitchen tools

According to John Floros, a food science communicator for the Institute of FoodTechnologists, acidic lemon juice is unfavourable to the growth of most microbes, though it won’t kill them directly.

While salt has its own antimicrobial effect, drawing out water that microbes need to survive, the combination of the two will still not necessarily kill all the microbes lingering on your surfaces.

Regular sanitation of chopping boards, kitchen surfaces and cooking utensils will undoubtedly keep your kitchen from harbouring harmful germs, but never underestimate the power of hot soapy water when it comes to cleaning your home.

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The ‘winning’ combination of abrasive salt crystals and the acidic juice of lemon works wonders when it comes to tackling odours and stains on wooden or plastic chopping boards.

Cleaning first with warm soapy water will physically remove germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces or objects.

Following this up with a natural sanitiser like lemon juice will lower the number of any remaining germs on surfaces to a safe level, ensuring your kitchen or bathroom is thoroughly scrubbed to rid surfaces of harmful microbes.

Floros recommends a diluted bleach and water solution to soak kitchen utensils before cleaning, adding bleach is a better alternative to lemon juice and salt in order to kill all the pathogens we want to kill.

Lemon juice and white vinegar for cleaning

While lemon juice alone hasn’t yet been proven as a stand-alone bacteria-fighting solution, some studies have shown it can be used in combination with other ingredients to kill bacteria.

One study done in 2004 tested the effectiveness of lemon juice, vinegar and their mixture in the elimination of Salmonella typhimurium on carrots.

The experiment found the carrot samples tested with lemon juice and white vinegar alone caused a visible reduction in the presence of salmonella after one hour submerged in the solution.

When testing the combination of the two products, the number of pathogens found on the carrot samples was reduced to an undetectable level after just 30 minutes of treatment.

Another study found adding lemon juice to alcohol-based hand sanitisers increased the effectiveness of the product significantly.

So lemon juice does have its benefits, but the experts advise you don’t use it to clean every surface in your home.

Want some lemon juice cleaning tips? Check out’s guide here. – Lemon cleaning hacks – The 8 things you can clean using lemon juice

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