Queer Eye’s Bobby Berk is no stranger to creating proverbial lemonade when he’s handed spaces that have gone sour. But this year, the designer is focused on managing the literal lemons that come from the trees in his and husband Dewey Do’s California backyard. They are churning out more produce than he can keep up with, so the Netflix star has been using the surplus fruit for a variety of spring cleaning tasks so it doesn’t go to waste. “The tree is filled with lemons right now, and new blooms have just come on. We can’t use them all!” Berk recently told us. “I like to be as natural as possible, because I don’t like chemicals, so I use a lot of them for cleaning.”
Berk makes the most use of his harvest in the kitchen in a number of ways that have nothing to do with cooking. That white, mineral-water residue left behind on faucets? Rub it clean with half a lemon. Stubborn countertop stains? Squeeze some juice on the surface and use the produce like a sponge. After a minute or two, wipe it down with a damp cloth. Berk even uses them to get his grimy refrigerator shelves sparkling again. For a brand-new-looking microwave (and for keeping harsh household cleaners away from your food), Berk also swears by putting a bowl of fresh lemon water in the zapper for three to four minutes and then watching caked-on food wipe right off.
His other sustainable hack? Use old socks for dusting. “They’re going to go into the landfill anyway,” he explained. “So you might as well get more life out of them instead of buying something just for dusting.” But before kicking up all that debris, Berk recommends preparing your space with a quality air purifier like his favorite, Molekule, because one of the biggest spring cleaning nuisances is powering through a sneezing spell or struggling with congestion for the rest of the day. “I usually get the socks slightly damp so the dust doesn’t fly everywhere,” he said. But the great thing about the tool is that if particles do end up blowing around, it will catch them (the larger model is able to handle rooms up to 1,000 square feet).
If you’re ready to try Berk’s fruit-infused cleaning tips, the good news is you don’t even need a backyard to grow your own citrus supply. There are several dwarf species, like Meyer and Eureka trees, that can thrive indoors. With enough sunlight, proper drainage (terracotta pots are best), and a light breeze (try a rotating fan inside), you’ll be well on your way to a naturally clean home this spring.