How to Clean Lemons With Baking Soda Like a Pro

A few bright yellow lemons scattered on a wooden countertop

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Lemons are a versatile fruit that can be used in a variety of dishes, beverages, and even household cleaning tasks. However, before you can fully enjoy the benefits of this citrus wonder, it’s crucial to ensure they are thoroughly cleaned. This article will guide you on how to clean lemons with baking soda like a pro.

Why Clean Lemons?

While it might seem unnecessary to clean a fruit that you’re going to peel or squeeze, there are several reasons why this is an important step. Firstly, lemons often have a wax coating applied by the growers to keep them fresh and shiny. This coating can trap dirt and bacteria, which can then be transferred to your food or drink when you use the lemon.

Secondly, if you’re using the zest of the lemon in your cooking, it’s essential to ensure that the skin is as clean as possible. The zest can hold a lot of flavor, but it can also hold onto dirt and pesticides if not properly cleaned.

The Power of Baking Soda

Baking soda is a natural cleaning agent that is safe to use on food products. It has a mild abrasive property that can help to remove dirt and wax without damaging the skin of the lemon. Additionally, baking soda is known for its ability to neutralize odors, which can be beneficial if your lemons have been stored with other strong-smelling foods.

It’s also worth noting that baking soda is a very economical cleaning solution. A small box can last for a long time and can be used for a variety of cleaning tasks around the house, not just for cleaning lemons.

How to Clean Lemons with Baking Soda

Now that we’ve covered the reasons why it’s important to clean your lemons and the benefits of using baking soda, let’s move on to the step-by-step process.

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. First, gather your materials. You will need your lemons, baking soda, a clean bowl, a scrubbing brush or sponge, and clean water.
  2. Next, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda into the bowl. You don’t need a lot – a couple of tablespoons should be enough for a few lemons.
  3. Wet your scrubbing brush or sponge with clean water and then dip it into the baking soda. You want to create a sort of paste on the brush or sponge.
  4. Now, take a lemon and start to scrub it with the baking soda paste. Make sure to cover the entire surface of the lemon, paying particular attention to any nooks and crannies where dirt might be hiding.
  5. Once you’ve scrubbed the lemon, rinse it under clean water to remove the baking soda and any dirt or wax that has been loosened.
  6. Finally, dry the lemon thoroughly before using it. This will help to remove any remaining baking soda residue and will also make the lemon easier to handle when you’re using it.

Additional Tips and Tricks

While the above method is effective for cleaning lemons, there are a few additional tips and tricks that can help to ensure your lemons are as clean as possible.

Soaking Lemons

If you have a lot of lemons to clean, or if your lemons are particularly dirty, you might find it beneficial to soak them in a baking soda solution before scrubbing them. To do this, simply dissolve a few tablespoons of baking soda in a bowl of warm water and then add your lemons. Let them soak for a few minutes before proceeding with the scrubbing process.

Using Vinegar

Another natural cleaning agent that can be used in conjunction with baking soda is vinegar. Vinegar is acidic and can help to break down the wax coating on lemons. Simply add a splash of vinegar to your baking soda paste before scrubbing your lemons.

Storing Cleaned Lemons

Once your lemons are clean, it’s important to store them properly to keep them fresh. If you’re not going to use them straight away, store them in the refrigerator in a sealed container. This will help to keep them fresh and prevent them from absorbing odors from other foods.


Cleaning lemons might seem like a small step, but it can make a big difference in the quality and safety of your food and drinks. With the help of baking soda, you can easily and effectively clean your lemons like a pro. So, the next time you reach for a lemon, don’t forget to give it a good clean first!

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