This Is Why Limes Sink But Lemons Float

Why Do Limes Float But Lemons Sink?

Despite the citrus fruit’s similarity, your lemons are floating while your limes are sinking in your beverages. Find out why.

Lemons and limes belong to the citrus family, yet they possess distinct flavors that set them apart. According to, although both are acidic, lemons tend to have a sour taste, whereas limes offer a more bitter flavor, particularly evident when incorporated into favorite beverages. Espirito Cachaca highlights that limes are crucial in concoctions like mojitos, margaritas, and gimlets, while lemons commonly enhance summer sangria, iced tea, or Diet Coke. However, there’s another contrast between these fruits that you may have observed.

When dropped into a liquid to infuse it with lemon or lime tanginess, lemons tend to float and resurface at the top of the drink, while limes typically sink to the bottom. The experts at Best Food Facts took notice of this phenomenon and embarked on a hands-on investigation to uncover the secret behind the lemon’s buoyancy. Surprisingly, there’s a logical explanation, and if you remember your high school chemistry, you’ll likely agree as you read on.


The Key Factor Is The Density

Steve Spangler Science suggests that some people speculate the rinds might be responsible, given that lemon rinds are thicker than lime rinds. Could this difference in thickness make lemons more buoyant? Spangler proposes a more intricate concept and directs attention toward the water content of each fruit. Limes consist of 88.26% water by weight, while lemons have 87.4% water. Although these percentages seem close, there’s a substantial distinction between them, as noted by Best Food Facts.

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Evidently, it all boils down to density. By taking two fruits of the same weight—both a lemon and a lime—and immersing them in water to measure their volume, Steve Spangler Science discovered that a lemon’s density is on par with that of water, enabling it to float. Both Spangler and Best Food Facts employed water displacement to validate this theory and established that while the densities of lemons and limes were similar, they were discernibly different. And this slight dissimilarity is responsible for the buoyancy of lemons. Now, who’s ready to savor a refreshing sip of something citrusy?

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