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Cleaning wood cutting boards with lemons and salt: Does it work?

Cleaning professionals and social media users are touting lemon juice and salt as a grainy concoction that can remove stains and grime from wooden cutting boards.

But does it work? Many in the #CleanTok community – a subculture of cleaning experts and fans on TikTok – seem to think so.

Several videos, each with thousands or millions of views, show salt getting rubbed onto cutting boards with sliced lemons, which is said to remove unwanted buildup and odor from wooden surfaces.

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Lemon juice can also remove limescale and alkaline stains, including calcium carbonate and rust.

“The acids in lemons and other citrus fruits make them good choices for cleaning cutting boards, knives, plates, and other surfaces that come into contact with acidic stains,” Limoneira’s cleaning guide states. “Typically, the acid attacks the staining material and softens it, making it easy to wash away.”

“With fish, for example, the odor is called by chemicals called amines. They react to the citric acid in lemon juice and form salts,” Limoneira’s cleaning guide states. “Those salts dissolve in the liquid of the juice – or water that you can use to rinse.”

@jessicamay_home Part 1 | Cleaning with lemons 🍋 These super simply cleaning hacks using lemons will help to not only keep your home looking amazing but smelling amazing too! 1. Remove stains from your chopping boards by adding a sprinkle of salt and then rub a halved lemon on top. Wipe with a cloth and voila! 2. Leave your stainless steel sparkling by halving a lemon and add a sprinkle of bicarbonate of soda. Rub this onto your stainless steel to make it shine ans smell incredible. 3. Refresh and clean your oven by adding 2 cups of water and a sliced lemon to an oven proof dish. Place this in the oven for 20 minutes on a 220 degree heat. Leave to cool slightly and then soak a cloth in the cooled lemon water and wipe down your oven. Let me know what you think of these hacks in the comments 🍋 #cleanwithme2023 #cleanwithmemotivation #cleaningmotivation #cleaninghacks #cleaninghacksthatwork #cleaninghacks101 #lemonclean #cleaningwithlemons #satisfyingcleaning #cleantokuk #cleantokukcleaninghacks ♬ original sound – vibey music 🎶 🕺 🪩 

Limoneira notes that combining lemon juice with alkaline compounds, such as baking soda (a type of salt also known as sodium bicarbonate), makes for “an even more powerful cleaning solution.”

Salt

Salt is a crystalline mineral that’s long been considered a natural cleaning agent capable of disinfecting and breaking down buildup on tools and surfaces.

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Close up view of salt bowl and sliced lemons.

Salt, also known as sodium chloride, is a crystalline mineral that’s rough enough to remove grime. The seasoning can also kill bacteria. (Cortney Moore/Fox News Digital)

A science-focused cleaning article on the disinfectant properties of salt published by Koyuncu Salt, a Turkish salt producer, states that salt is a “microbial inhibitor” that can prevent bacteria growth because the mineral has “dehydrating effects on bacterial cells.”

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Does it damage wood?

Sliced lemon rubbed onto cutting board.

Rubbing salt onto a wood cutting board with a sliced lemon is being done by cleaning professional and amateurs for sanitation and stain-removing purposes. (Cortney Moore/Fox News Digital)

There’s no evidence that lemon juice and salt DIY cleaning concoctions damage wood cutting boards, but owners should be aware that occasional oil applications are necessary in order to prevent cracks and splinters in wood.

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