Cleaning With Vanilla And Lemon

Apr 11, 2022 | Pets, Tips and Tricks

Happy Monday everyone!  In part three of my collaboration with Sweet Home Vanilla, we have put together several natural cleaning and deodorizing options using vanilla and lemon.  I’ve learned so much from talking with Amanda from recipes using vanilla, differences between soy wax vs beeswax, to these cleaning tips.  This post is a combination of ways she cleans her house having a small family with mine having two large dogs in the house with some research thrown into the mix.
This post is a few hours late because I am a Bridgerton addict.  Yes, Mr. TAL and I binge watched the third season of Bridgerton last night.  We took Jake and Maggie to a charity event held by Angel Ridge Animal Rescue at the Allegheny City Brewing where they enjoyed watching dogs paint and socialize during the day, had lunch, and then it was home to watch my favorite show on Netflix.  And…yes, all dogs got to create a painting for charity.  Read more to find out how!

A Fun Day Supporting A Wonderful Charity And Business

Allegheny City Brewing and Angel Ridge Animal Shelter teamed up together to raise money for animals in need yesterday.  We took Jake And Maggie to the event for some socialization.  While they did not participate in the painting, several dogs did.  Canvas’ were sold for $10 each, paint was added to the canvas, wrapped in a freezer bag, sealed, and then peanut butter was add to the top of the bag.  The dogs licked the bag which made the paint inside swirl around making their artwork!

Jake And Maggie wore their new bows from The Pampered Pooches @thepamperedpooches, (use code “2labs” for 10% off at checkout), participated in the raffles, and made some doggie friends!  We even tried out their new no pull harnesses from 2HoundsDesign and they worked perfectly.  Maggie’s is black and Jake’s in brown but they have several fun designs to choose from.

Deodorize with Vanilla
Sweet Home Vanilla

Despite my efforts to keep the various appliances in my kitchen clean, it seems like at any given point an unpleasant smell greets me in the kitchen. Whether it’s the trash, dishwasher, left-overs in the fridge, or the microwave, there is some mild odor I’d like to eliminate. For this reason, I explored natural deodorizing options, as our family prefers to keep our home products as chemical free as possible. I discovered Pure Vanilla Extract to be an excellent solution for removing undesirable smells, especially in the kitchen. Not only is vanilla a natural alternative to a room spray filled with many unknown and potentially harmful ingredients, it happens to be our family’s favorite scent.  

Lemon is the second important ingredient in this effective deodorizing solution. Since lemons are naturally anti-bacterial and acidic to further break down grease, it’s the perfect compliment to the warm fragrant vanilla. 

In just a few simple steps, you can rid your microwave of that bad smell that remains after heating food and leave it smelling fresh. 

Step 1: Clean out your microwave really well, focusing on the interior corners to remove any food particles that may be stuck. I like to use a gentle plant-based dish soap, warm water, and a splash of vinegar to clean most kitchen appliances, including the microwave. 

Step 2: In a glass bowl, pour in a cup of water. Add half of a lemon, cut into wedges to the bowl, you could also use a few drops of quality lemon essential oil. Add 3 tablespoons of pure vanilla extract to the bowl.

Step 3: Place bowl in the microwave for about a minute, until you see some condensation build inside. 

Step 4: Carefully remove the bowl and wipe the whole inside of the microwave with a microfiber towel. 

There we have it, a fresh and clean microwave that suddenly adds a welcomed scent to your kitchen. 
Many other ways to clean and use vanilla
Bobbi Jo
Two Adorable Labs

Neutralize the smell of fresh paint
If you would rather not have the unpleasant smell of fresh paint in your house, mix 1 tablespoon vanilla extract into the paint can when you open it. The house will smell delicious!  This is something that I have tried a few times and yes, it does work but only for a short while.  I’m not sure if I got use to the scent or it disappeared over time.

Sweeten the smell of your home
It’s an old Realtor’s trick. Put a drop or two of vanilla extract on a lightbulb, turn on the light, and your house will be filled with the appealing scent of baked goods in the oven.

Repel bugs
Everybody likes the smell of vanilla. Everybody but bugs, that is. Dilute 1 tablespoon vanilla extract with 1 cup water and wipe the mixture on your exposed skin to discourage mosquitoes, blackflies, and ticks.

Relieve minor burns
You accidentally grabbed a hot pot or got splattered with grease in the kitchen. Grab the vanilla extract for quick pain relief. The evaporation of the alcohol in the vanilla extract cools the burn.


More tips using vanilla:

You can also add drops of vanilla to your vacuum cleaner’s dust bag if your vacuum cleaner doesn’t have a filter in it.  I have tried this and it does work!

Take a cotton ball and moisten it with a liberal amount of vanilla extract. Leave the vanilla-moistened cotton ball in your refrigerator to neutralize food smells.

Place more cotton balls moistened with vanilla extract in musty closets, bathrooms, basements or other areas where unpleasant smells may arise.  This works!  I have tried it!

Put a few drops of vanilla extract on your vacuum’s filter. Allow the vacuum to infuse your carpet with the aroma of vanilla while vacuuming.

Turn off appliances that use light bulbs and allow the bulbs to cool. Dab about two drops of vanilla extract on your fingertip and smear it on the light bulb’s surface. Turn on your light bulbs and enjoy the scent of warmed vanilla in your home.  Well, I know what to do when we sell our house!  Maybe burn a combination of Two Adorable Labs candles in creme brûlée and try this trick?  Yumm!


Cleaning with lemon:

Refresh wooden cutting boards

Sprinkle some salt on it, then scrub with the cut side of half a lemon. Rinse, then repeat if needed. Your board will be refreshed and ready to use.  I have tried this with several of my cutting boards and using this tip has always made them sparkling clean and smelling fresh.

Deodorize your drain

Run a few lemon rinds through the garbage disposal to eliminate sink stink. 

Polish furniture

Make your own natural furniture polish by combining 2 parts olive oil with 1 part lemon juice. Apply with a cloth to wood tables and chairs. (Note: Not all finishes are created equal, so before committing to the whole piece, try the DIY polish on a small, out-of-the-way section to confirm that it won’t stain.). I have to admit that I’m afraid to try this for fear of messing up my leather chairs. I  use a beeswax bought on Amazon instead.

Remove stubborn stains from containers

To get rid of the residue last week’s spaghetti sauce left on your Tupperware, rub lemon juice on the stains. Let sit for 15 minutes before rinsing.

Freshen your fridge

Cut a lemon in half and place it inside the refrigerator. Leave it in there for about 30 minutes. That’ll do the trick! 

Clean a cheese grater

Save sponges from getting shredded by wiping graters with a lemon before washing. It’ll loosen up any debris stuck in the small crevices.  This is how I clean not only cheese grater but my oven racks and it works!

Give the dishwasher a boost

Fill a dishwasher-safe container with a cup of lemon juice (or toss in a few lemon wedges), set on the top rack, and run the load as normal for perfectly clean, shiny plates.  Another option is to fill a container with vinegar and do the same.  This helps clean your entire dishwasher plus the dishes!

Brighten up faucets

Remove hard water buildup or mineral deposits from your faucets by spritzing lemon juice on the affected area. Wait 10-15 minutes before wiping off. Got a grungy shower head? Tie a Ziploc bag filled with lemon juice around your shower head and let sit.  This will take off all the gunk!

Make your pots gleam

Sprinkle some coarse salt on the cut side of a lemon and rub all over any copper, aluminum or brass kitchenware. Rinse well and dry. This’ll remove tarnished spots in minutes.


More ways to clean with lemon

Use as an air freshener

For pleasant aromas all throughout the house, fill a pot with water, lemon rinds and your favorite combination of herbs, spices or extracts. Bring to a boil, then let simmer on the stove for an hour.  This works amazingly!  I did this at Christmas time one year but used oranges instead of lemons.  The sweet citrus aroma filled the house and everyone thought I had baked a cinnamon spice cake!

Wipe the floors clean

Instead of using harsh chemicals to clean floorboards, scrub them with a mixture of 1 part lemon juice, 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water. The vinegar smell might bug you at first, but it will fade. This solution is ideal for people with kids and/or pets, since crawling on a dirty floor or a floor cleaned with chemicals isn’t healthy.  This is how I clean my floors every week.  I admit that I have bought many floor cleaners but this works the best with two big labradors running around!

Clean grill grates

Turn the grill on high, then rub with the cut side of half a lemon.  For extra abrasiveness, dip the lemon in salt first.  I cleaned our grills last year with Dawn dish soap and lemon!  Wow, what a difference and the grill looked like new!

Keep insects out

Prevent potential pest problems by squeezing lemon juice along windowsills or doors. It’ll deter them from even trying to break in.  I have done this and it works.  Also, if you want to plant lemon grass along your decks and patios, this will help as well.

Restore your grout

The natural acidity in lemons is perfect for tackling any dirt or discoloration in grout. Spray lemon juice on the target area and let sit for at least 10 minutes before scrubbing.  I will definitely be trying this.  I have a bathroom where the white grout was never sealed when installed and now looks yellow.  I’m sure this will make it look like new again and then I can seal it.

Degrease pans

Adding just a teaspoon of lemon juice to your soapy dishwater helps tackle extra-greasy dishes.

Remove rust

Make a paste with lemon juice and salt to brighten up items that’ve been touched by rust.  This does work.  I have tried it before and rust was gone!  

Wipe down counters

Use lemon juice on countertops! The citric acid will lift tough stains and act as a natural disinfectant. Honestly, I would try this on a small portion before wiping down the whole counter.

Clean the oven

One of our best oven-cleaning tricks: Fill an oven-safe baking dish with water and lemon juice, then bake for 30 minutes at 250 degrees. After the oven has cooled, remove the dish and sponge any remaining grime from the oven’s interior.

Wash the windows

Instead, combine water and lemon juice in a spray bottle to clean glass windows, mirrors and doors. (Using newspaper rather than paper towels is another excellent and economical trick for creating a streak-free shine!). 



We hope you enjoyed the many ways of cleaning with vanilla and lemon that Amanda and I put together for you.  Can you just imagine selling your home and having your potential buyer walking in and saying, wow, this home feels and smells so clean!  Clean houses sell!

Or for just every day use and having your home smell delicious.  Whether you have children, pets, or it’s just you, having a clean, organized home makes you feel good.

One of my favorites things to do is clean.  Yes, I said clean!  LOL. I love having a fresh clean smelling house, lighting one of my candles, and sitting down to relax.  And don’t forget to check out Sweet Home Vanilla for your vanilla and beeswax products!

Interested in more pet related posts?  Check them out here:

Why Do Dogs Smell When Wet?


I love hearing from all of you and do my best to respond to each and every one of you.  I always enjoy your comments, feedback, and suggestions so keep them coming!  If I’ve posted a recipe (for our human and our furry friends) and you try it, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @twoadorablelabs and use #twoadorablelabs​.

If you do try and love my recipes, I would greatly appreciate a comment and rating.  I read every single one and respond to them.  It also lets Google know that the website contains quality content.  The more comments and 5-star ratings, the more Google will show my blog in search results!  Thank you so much! 

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What Do You Think? Let Us Know!


  1. Thomas Domitrovich

    I really enjoyed the day with the team at the Allegheny City Brewery event. Maggie and Jake were so good and I’m sure that all the other furry pups there were envious of their bows. :). Love the suggestions with Lemon and Vanilla in this blog. I can say that I have a new love of Vanilla especially and not just related to cookies 😉

    • Bobbi

      Thanks! Yes, Jake And Maggie have come so far with their reactive issues. I was so proud of them. Looks like I’m buying more vanilla :-).

  2. Carla D Evans

    Wow! I can’t believe all the ways to clean with lemon and vanilla. I especially love the vanilla ideas! Thanks for all the tips????

    • Bobbi

      You are welcome. The one about adding vanilla to a light bulb was new to me!


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