How to Re-purpose Bad Lemons Into Something Useful

If you have a bowl of lemons that are about to go bad, here is the perfect answer to re-purpose them into useful items.

If you find yourself with lemons that are going bad, don’t throw them away! They are very versatile and can be used for many different purposes, in this blog post. I will share several ways you can use lemons and make magic out of them. From the she-shed to the kitchen, I can always find a use for citrus that is going bad.

bowl of citrus on the kitchen counter

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How to tell if a lemon is bad

Check for a soft and mushy texture to determine if a lemon has spoiled.

Spoiled citrus often has a slimy exterior rather than a vibrant yellow peel. Additionally, they might look shriveled and crinkly or display a powdery, dusty coating in shades of gray, white, blue, or green.

What to do with those bad lemons

There are so many things you can do with spent fruit, but here are just a few of my favorites.

  • Make lemonade
  • Zest the lemons and freeze the zest
  • Use them to clean your cutting board
  • Clean your cloudy blender with half a lemon, a few drops of dish soap, baking soda, and a small amount of water
  • Cut them up and put down your garbage disposal to clean
  • Create lemon juice ice cubes and freeze them
  • Polish your sink, for a sparking shine and it will smell so good too
  • Make lemon sugar scrub for the shower
  • Make a homemade countertop cleaner
  • Make a lemon flower arrangement
  • Set a table using lemons to decorate
  • Bake a lemon bundt cake
  • Bake lemon ricotta cookies
  • Make a unique flower vase
  • Make my grandmothers lemon sponges

Make Lemon juice ice cubes

  • Cut all of your lemons in half
  • Squeeze them with a juicer
  • Strain the juice to get rid of the seeds
  • Pour the liquid into an ice cube tray and freeze
  • Once frozen, put the frozen juice cubes into a baggie to store
She was cutting lemons in half on a kitchen counter to make lemon ice cubes.
Pouring lemon juice into ice cube trays to freeze for later use.
Tip from wendy:

Be sure not to cut the lemons on a marble surface, as the citrus juice will etch the marble surface.

Make a household cleaner out of lemon rinds

Lemon rinds in vinegar to make a DIY lemon cleaner.

Supplies needed

  • One one-gallon glass jar
  • a few dozen rinds ( I used the rinds of the lemons I had used to make my juice cubes)
  • White distilled Vinegar, enough to cover all of the rinds in the jar
  • Here are a few more ingredients to turn vinegar into a household cleaner.
  • Liquid Castile Soap (unscented)
  • Citrus Essential Oil
  • Water

Pack the lemon half rinds into the jar and cover with white vinegar. Set in a sunny spot for two to three weeks. They look so pretty in the jar, so I left mine in a sunny spot on the kitchen counter.

Making a DIY lemon cleaner

  • Strain the vinegar, and discard the peels.
  •  Pour 1/2 cup of the vinegar mixture into a spray bottle. Add in two cups of water, one teaspoon of Castile soap, and 15 drops of lemon essential oil (this is optional).
  • Shake the mixture well, spray onto the surface and wipe clean with a dry cloth.

Do NOT use this cleaner on natural marble, stone countertops, or stone tile.

Have you ever had those ‘aha’ moments mid-project and thought, “I wish I knew that before I started”?

Me too! 

Below are a few tips and tricks that worked for me while repurposing my lemons.

I hope these tips remove some of the guesswork from repurposing your lemons.


My Tops Tips for Repurposing Old Lemons

TIP 1: Maximize the Lemon’s Potential Across Your Home

Utilize every part of the lemon. Juice the fruit for use in recipes, ice cubes, or cleaners, zest the peel for baking and cooking, and use the leftover peels for air fresheners or decorative elements. This approach ensures you’re extracting every bit of value from the citrus, minimizing waste and maximizing utility.

TIP 2: Embrace Lemons as a Creative Element in Home Decor

Lemons can bring a fresh and vibrant touch to home decor, not just through their scent but also through their visual appeal. Incorporating slices into flower arrangements or creating a fresh lemon wreath can add a burst of color and a touch of nature-inspired freshness to any space. These decorative uses also serve a dual purpose by subtly scenting the room with a citrus aroma, enhancing the ambiance with both visual and aromatic elements. This approach encourages looking at old citrus not as waste, but as an opportunity to add beauty and freshness to your living environment.

Wrapping it up

So when life gives you lemons, don’t just make lemonade – use them to create something new and wonderful that you would never have thought of before. Be creative and resourceful with your spent fruit. Thanks for reading, and I hope this post inspired you somehow. If so, please follow my blog for more daily inspiration.

Lemon signature- fresh lemon wreath
Pinterest pin for 10 things to do with bad lemons

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  1. I had no idea there were so many ideas for old lemons! Love every one. Thank you for sharing your amazing brain with us at Farmhouse Friday. I’m featuring it this weekend. pinned

    1. Wendy McMonigal says:

      Thank you Cindy. We are lucky to access to so much fresh citrus here in California. I love finding creative ways to use it!

  2. Great ideas Wendy. Lemons are so yummy, whether it’s ice cubes or lemonade. Thanks for the tips. I am featuring your lemons at Love Your Creativity.

    1. Wendy McMonigal says:

      Thank you Linda. I agree with you. We love our lemons! Thank you for the feature. I sincerely appreciate it.

  3. Oh my goodness, what great ideas to repurpose lemons. I’ve used lemons in cleaning before. You’ve got so many other uses for lemons.
    Visiting today from SSPS 302 #54,55&56

    1. Wendy McMonigal says:

      Thank you, Paula. It’s truly amazing how many ways there are to use old lemons, isn’t it? We’re so lucky to have so much citrus here in California.

  4. Wendy, such great ideas. I sometimes boil them in water with a little vanilla and have an amazing scent in the home. Wish I had a lemon tree like you. Your lemons are always such a great size.

    1. Tammy, I love that idea. I will try that; I am sure it smells so good.

  5. What great ideas! Saving the cleaner and ice cube tips. I didn’t know lemon etched marble. Great post!

    1. Thank you, Leslie! Yes, lemon is very bad on marble.

  6. I love all of these ideas! I really want to get a lemon tree, but I’m not sure how it would do in Texas.

    1. I am unsure, Susan; you should check with the nursery.

  7. Wendy, I love this post. I have made household cleaner in the past with lemon verbena from the garden, but not with actual lemons. Such a good idea. If you don’t mind, I’d love to share this on Saturday Meanderings or a blog post next week. You are the best!

    1. Thank you, Mary. I’m sorry for being so late responding. I have had the hardest time keeping up lately with my other job.
      It sure looked like your lemon event was a success.

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