Limes may seem like nothing more than lemons' little siblings, but they are simultaneously sweeter and more tart,as they contain higher concentrations of sugar and citric acid, according to Sunkist. Because of this, limes are routinely used to add a tangy bite to drinks, desserts, soups, salads and seafood. However, the juice from this fruit is also a natural bleaching agent and disinfectant. It is the acid in lime juice that dissolves dirt, removes stains and eliminates odors from a variety of household surfaces.
Take advantage of limes' pleasing floral-citrus aroma, and use dilute lime juice as a homemade air-freshening spray. Simply fill a plastic spray bottle with 1 quart of water, add 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice, give the bottle a brisk shake and lightly mist any area harboring disagreeable odors. Get rid of smoky fireplace smells by tossing a handful of lime peels into the embers, or neutralize pungent bathroom aromas by placing halved limes, cut side up, in a nearby dish. Toss lime peels down the kitchen garbage disposal to deodorize the drain.
In the kitchen, use pure lime juice to remove the dark stains from the inside of the coffee pot, and to put the sparkle back in dull pots and pans. Rub lime juice on cutting boards and counters; the acid will sanitize them. You can also add lime juice to sliced produce, such as bananas, avocados and apples, to keep them from turning brown. When added to boiling water, lime juice keeps rice from sticking together and helps potatoes and cauliflower retain their pure white color.
Lime juice naturally whitens and brightens fabrics, but it is much gentler than commercial chlorine-based laundry products. For a mild fiber-safe bleach, fill the kitchen sink with lukewarm water, then stir in 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1/4 cup of lime juice. Soak delicates in this mixture for 30 minutes, then rinse and wash as usual. Additionally, a solution made from equal measures of lime juice and water can remove unsightly armpit stains and ring around the collar. Douse the discolored areas in the diluted lime juice, then rub the fabric lightly to work the solution into the fibers of the fabric. Wait 30 minutes to give the acid time to break down the stain-causing oils. Rinse the garment in lukewarm water, then toss it into the wash.
You can use lime juice to add blond streaks to your hair. For highlights, use a mixture made from 1/4 cup lime juice and 3/4 cup water. Spray the solution evenly over freshly washed hair, then sit in a sunny spot until your hair is dry. The combination of citric acid and sunlight work together, naturally lightening hair follicles and giving tresses a beachy, sun-bleached look. In addition, lime juice makes an effective mouthwash. Gargling with straight lime juice lowers the pH inside the mouth, killing odor-causing bacteria in the process. The high acid content of limes can also be used to remove unattractive skin warts. Mix equal parts of water and lime juice, dip a cotton swab in the mixture, and use the swab to coat the wart in dilute lime juice three to four times a day. Repeat this process for several days, until the acid in the juice totally dissolves the wart.
- University of Florida Extension; South Florida Tropicals: Lime; Amy Simonne, et al; July 2004
- DermNet NZ: Lime; 1999
- "Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things"; Marilyn Bader, et al; 2005
- Indian Journal of Dermatology; Evaluation of the Efficacy of 50% Citric Acid Solution in Plane Wart Treatment; Anahita Vali, et al; March 2007
- Azo Clean Tech: Natural Cleaning Products for Green Cleaning Using Household Items and Common Kitchen Ingredients; July 2008
- Sunkist; Fresh Fruit; Limes