You know oranges taste great and are high in vitamin C. But if you’re tossing away the orange peel each time you eat one, you are missing out on some of the popular fruit’s other benefits.
Orange peels and the peels of other citrus fruits have many frugal uses around the home and garden. If you’re seeking to do more with less as part of a frugal lifestyle, you’ll want to consider these uses for orange peels.
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Around The House
1. Natural Cleaning Spray
You can use white vinegar and orange peels to create an all-natural and effective cleaning solution. Place some orange peels in a large mason jar and fill it with white vinegar.
Close the jar with a lid and allow it to sit in the refrigerator for two to three weeks, giving it a shake every other day or so. Then strain the liquid and transfer this eco-friendly solution to a spray bottle and use it to clean floors, counters, and windows.
2. Water Spot and Grease Remover
You can use a leftover orange peel like a sponge to remove watermarks on metal faucets and appliances. Simply rub the white side of the peel on the metal until it shines. You can also use the peel to remove grease and other gunk from the sink and stove.
3. Furniture Polish
Did you know orange oil is an ingredient in many furniture cleaning products? You can also use the white side of a citrus peel to clean and brighten your wood furniture.
4. Room Deodorizer
You can fill your home with a sweet natural fragrance by boiling orange peels in a small pot of water. Add a half teaspoon of cinnamon if you’d like.
5. Garbage Disposal Freshener
Garbage disposals can get pretty smelly. You can toss some peel down to give it a pleasant citrus scent. Or try making these citrus disposal cleaning cubes in an ice cube tray.
6. Trash Can Deodorizer
Place some dried orange peels in the bottom of your kitchen trash can before putting in a clean garbage bag. You can also toss them in the bottom of your outdoor garbage can to cut down on smelly odors there.
Create an easy and inexpensive sachet for your drawers, closets, and basement with dried orange peels and dried flowers. Grind some dried citrus peels in a food processor before placing them in muslin or cheesecloth bags. Then hang or place the bags wherever you’ll enjoy the clean, fresh scent.
Here’s a recipe for an autumn-scented potpourri using orange peels.
8. Shoe Deodorizer
You can also use dried citrus peels to combat shoe odor. Just place a small muslin or cheesecloth bag filled with dried orange peel in each shoe and leave it there overnight.
9. Orange Peel Candle
Here’s a fun idea. Carefully cut an orange peel so that you have a cup or bowl shape with the center stem intact. Fill the cup to just below the stem top with olive oil. Then light the stem and enjoy. (Keep a close eye on the “candle” and extinguish the flame before it burns down to the peel.)
You’ll need to be careful with that orange peel candle because the peel burns readily. In fact, citrus peels work well as kindling for the fireplace or campfire.
The natural oils offer a slower burn than typical fire starters (like twigs or newspaper), and the peels give off a pleasant citrus aroma as they burn. Instead of tossing peels in the trash, you can throw them in a heat-resistant bucket by the fireplace instead!
11. Plant and Cat Protection
Does your kitty like to nibble on your houseplants? You can protect your plants and help keep kitty safe from possible poisoning by rubbing the leaves with an orange peel’s white side.
12. Refrigerator Deodorizer
Fill an orange rind with salt and place it in your fridge. The salt will absorb odors while the fruit will leave behind its fresh citrus scent. Replace as needed.
13. Cutting Board Cleaner
Clean and deodorize your wood cutting board by rubbing it with orange peel and a sprinkling of salt. Then rinse well and allow the board to dry in the sun.
14. Microwave Cleaner
You can clean and deodorize the interior of your microwave without harsh chemicals. Place orange or lemon peels in a microwave-safe bowl and fill halfway with water. Microwave on high for about five minutes. Then wipe down the inside of the microwave with a clean towel.
Cooking and Baking
15. Orange Zest
You can use orange zest (the thin outer layer of the peel) to add a citrus flavor to many recipes, including main dishes, gravies, and desserts. Here’s how to make and store dried zest from your leftover peels.
16. Brown Sugar Storage
You can prevent your brown sugar from clumping by placing a three-inch-long orange peel in the package when storing it in your pantry. The citrus oils in the peel draw moisture away from the sugar, preventing it from hardening.
17. Make Orange-Infused Olive Oil
18. Citrusy Tea
Add some dried orange (or lemon) peel pieces the next time you brew tea. The peel will add a subtle citrusy taste to your tea that tastes great hot or iced.
19. Citrusy Water
Add some orange or lemon peels to your freshwater or sparkling water to give it a zesty flavor and vitamins without any extra calories.
Citrus peels have gotten a bad rap in terms of composting. Some people warned that they killed friendly bugs and worms in years past, but this information is false. Their scent may keep scavengers away from your pile, but that’s a good thing.
It’s also a good idea to break your peels into small pieces so they will compost more quickly. This article more information on using citrus peels in your compost pile.
You can make an inexpensive bird feeder using orange peels. Remove the fruit from half of an orange. Poke three evenly-spaced holes near the cut edge of the peel and thread a string through the holes. Fill the peel with birdseed and hang it from a tree branch or porch planter hook.
22. Seed Starter Pots
You can also use orange peels as bio-degradable seed starter pots. Remove the fruit from half an orange peel, poke a hole or two in the bottom for drainage and fill with potting soil and seeds. (Bigger can be better in this case, so you might want to try grapefruit peels for this project.)
23. Mosquito Repellent
Mosquitoes do not like the smell of citrus fruit. You can rub the white side of an orange peel directly on your skin to deter the pesky insects before heading outdoors.
24. Garden Pest Deterrents
You can use discarded orange peels as a natural way to keep pests away from your garden.
- Aphid and Whitefly Spray – Steep a half-cup of orange peels in three cups of boiling water for 15 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool. Then remove the peels and pour the liquid into a spray bottle. Spray on plants weekly.
- Slug Deterrent – Spread peel pieces or ground peels around the surface of your garden to keep slugs away.
- Ant Repellent – Spread ground-up orange peels around any areas where you have seen ants.
- Keep cats away – Do the neighbor’s cats use your garden as a litter box? Try mixing some dried orange peels and coffee grounds into the soil as a safe deterrent.
You can use leftover orange and lemon peels to acidify your garden soil. Dry the peels and then grind them into a powder. Sprinkle the powder on the dirt and then mix it in.
The peels also add nitrogen and other nutrients to your soil. This Australian gardener shows how he uses orange peels to nourish his vegetable garden.
Hygiene and Beauty Routine
26. Body Scrub
You can use orange peels to brighten and refresh your skin. Wrap some orange peels in gauze and rub them gently on your skin while you’re in the bathtub or shower. Or you can try this orange peel sugar scrub recipe.
27. Bath Powder
Dried orange peel can be part of a refreshing and relaxing bath powder. Here are the instructions.
28. Bath Oil
Just a few drops of orange oil in the bathwater has benefits for your skin. Here’s how to make orange oil, which you can use for many other purposes as well.
29. Hair Conditioner
You can make a DIY orange peel hair conditioner that adds shine to your mane and helps prevent dandruff.
30. Breath Freshener
You can use orange or lemon peels as a substitute for breath mints or chewing gum. When you chew on a citrus peel for a few minutes, your breath will be fresh and fragrant.
Did you know that there are more than 600 varieties of oranges? While California and Florida are the largest producers of oranges in the U.S., Brazil grows one-third of the world’s oranges. Nearly 85 percent of all oranges are used to make juice.
If you like these ideas and would like to keep some dried orange peels on hand for ready use, here are the easy directions for making a batch of dried orange peel. And here are the directions for making orange peel powder, which you can use in drinks, recipes, scrubs, and cleaners.
Okay, no more excuses for tossing those peels. If you want to be frugal or just enjoy upcycling, take advantage of these amazing uses for orange peels.
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