13 Uses for Limes (That Don’t Involve Cocktails)


Limes can be used to clean the sink, strengthen your fingernails and some even say they taste pretty good in cocktails.

I can’t resist a bargain. I’ve mentioned before that great deals can be found at the farmer’s market late in the day. When a vendor packing up his booth was willing to sell me a forty pound case of limes for twelve bucks to save him the trouble of putting it back on the truck, I didn’t hesitate.

Limes are an incredibly versatile fruit. At home in cocktails and recipes of virtually every ethnicity, I always keep a good supply of the handy citrus on hand. But will I use forty pounds of limes before they go bad? I can always squeeze them and freeze the juice into cubes for future use, but a case of limes on hand doesn’t seem like all that much once you consider the many uses that go beyond the culinary.

Once we’ve finished our Dark and Stormys, polished off the lime salsa and cleansed our palates with lime sorbet, we’ll really put our unexpected bounty to use. Limes have a million and one uses beyond dinner and drinks. We’ll start with thirteen.

1. Clean a Coffee Maker
Squeeze the juice of three limes into the water reservoir of your coffee maker and top off with water. Wait fifteen minutes and run the coffee maker (without coffee or filter). Once brew cycle is complete, wait 15 minutes and then run once again with plain water to rinse.

2. Sooth a Sore Throat
Add a tablespoon of lime juice and a tablespoon of honey to a cup of hot tea to help relieve the itchy pain of a sore throat.

3. Freshen the Garbage Disposal
Don’t have any handy disposal freshener on hand? Toss a lime or two into the disposal to knock out lingering odors.

4. Make Stainless Steel Shine limes2

Sprinkle half a lime with salt and use it to scrub stainless steel, brass or copper. My fridge has never looked so good!

5. Rejuvenate Fingernails
Weak or soft fingernails? Combine a tablespoon of lime juice with two tablespoons of olive oil and rub on to nails and beds nightly to brighten and strengthen nails.

6. Wash Away Odors on Hands limes3
Quickly neutralize the smell of garlic, onions or fish by rubbing lime juice on your hands.

7. Deodorize the Dishwasher (and Make Dishes Sparkle)
Squeeze a lime and toss the juice into the bottom of the dishwasher before washing a load of dishes. The juice will neutralize lurking odors and the dishes will come out spotless!

8. Steam Clean the Microwave
My oven has a “steam clean” cycle in which water is poured into a reservoir and heated to break down the grease and grime that accumulates over time. I give the microwave the same treatment with the added benefit of acidic lime juice. Add the juice of one lime to a quart of water in a microwave safe bowl. Cook at full power for 6-7 minutes to boil water and steam clean the microwave. Once complete, wipe down with a dry cloth.

9. Remove Hard Water Stains limes4
Wipe down bathroom fixtures with lime juice to break down rust and hard water stains.

10. Repel Ants
Ants hate citrus. If ants have found their way into your home, wipe infested areas down with a 50/50 mix of lime juice and water to discourage them. It won’t rid your home of ants, but they will stay off your countertops when company comes to visit.

11. Refresh Kitchen Tools limes5
Wooden kitchen tools will hold onto foul odors. Wipe cutting boards, wooden bowls or rolling pins down with lime juice to leave them looking and smelling clean.

12. Prevent Mildew
Create a paste of equal parts lime juice and baking soda to scrub bathroom tile and grout. Allow to rest 2-3 hours before rinsing to remove mildew and stains.

13. Clear the Air limes6
Need a quick fix for lingering odors in the house? Slice a lime or two into a pot of water and let it boil away on the stovetop for half an hour hour or longer to freshen the air.

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