How come lemonade mixes use artificial lemons, but furniture polish uses the real thing?

To put it simply, you want lemonade mixes to taste good, and you want furniture polish to actually clean your stuff.

First, one issue with the question: Some furniture polishes don’t use lemon, even if they’re advertised as “lemon scented.” Likewise, some lemonade mixes use real lemon flavoring, but many use natural flavors like citric acid to provide the tart flavor that consumers expect. That citric acid can come from citrus fruits, although it can also be produced through various fermentation techniques.

There’s not a whole lot out there on this topic, but we can make a few educated guesses as to why mixes use artificial ingredients. First, distilling lemon juice into a powder would probably cause it to lose some of the properties that we associate with lemonade. Besides, while real lemon flavoring is nice, it might drive up the price of the drink, and many buyers are just as happy with an artificially flavored substitute.

On the flip side, some furniture polishes use real lemon oil because it’s acidic, making it good at cleaning the surface of the furniture. It also leaves behind a nice scent. Citric acid wouldn’t accomplish the same goals, and consumers are willing to pay for real lemon.

Some popular products are lemon scented, but they’re made of synthetic ingredients with lemon as an added fragrance. Pledge Lemon Clean, for example, uses ingredients like dimethicone (a type of silicone) to preserve wood instead of oil, with a touch of lemon and orange just to provide the scent.