20 Creative Uses for Orange Peels

Diane Hoffmaster
by Diane Hoffmaster

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I am always trying to get my kids to eat more fruit and one of their favorites is oranges. I go through a bag of those little clementines in only a few days, leaving me with millions of leftover orange peels. Usually, I just throw them in the compost bin but recently I have been wondering if there are other uses for orange peels that I might be missing. Nature created this amazing little fruit wrapper....might as well figure out a few creative things to do with it right?

10 Creative Uses for Orange Peels

These uses for orange peels can probably be applied to most citrus fruits. If you eat a lot of grapefruit, limes or lemons, you can probably substitute those as well. If you have any other uses for orange peels that I have missed please leave me a comment! I'm sure I will have a few more to use up when the kids get home! And if you have tons of limes, check out my post on what to do with limes that are just a bit too old.

Use orange peels to remove water stains on metal fixtures:

The oils in orange peels naturally remove water stains. Just rub the peel on the metal fixtures to polish them.

DIY Multi-surface Orange Cleaner

Put your leftover orange peels in a mason jar with white vinegar. Let it sit for several weeks, shaking occasionally. Transfer this to a spray bottle and use to clean counters and windows.

Do orange peels repel insects? YES!

Bugs dislike the smell of oranges. Place finely chopped bits of orange peels in places you are seeing bugs. This is a great way to get rid of ants. Check out my post on how to get rid of ants in the kitchen for more ideas.

Keep Garbage Cans and Garbage Disposals Smelling Fresh

Place dried orange peels in the bottom of your garbage can before putting in the bag. You can also grind up fresh orange peels in the garbage disposal if your sink is starting to smell funky.

Orange peels soften brown sugar

If your brown sugar is getting hard, throw in a few fresh orange peels. After 3 or 4 hours the oils in the peel will naturally soften the brown sugar.

Citrus peels help combat smelly shoes

Dry some orange peels and put them into a sachet. Tuck this into stinky shoes to help remove odor. You could also sprinkle a little baking soda in there, too. If you are dealing with some seriously stinky shoes, try these DIY sneaker sachets.

Make orange candles

If you can manage to get an orange peel to remain relatively intact, you can make a candle out of it! All you’ll need is an orange, some cooking oil and a sharp knife. Click here to see this orange peel candle on Pinterest.

Make bath tub teabags

Dried orange peels are great in the bath. They smell good and the citrus oil is good for your skin. Check out these bathtub teabags and relax in a citrus scented heaven!

Make orange tea

Steep orange peels in hot but not boiling water for 10 minutes. Orange peels are used in teas to help with stomach cramps and as an appetite stimulant.

Make Orange zest ice cubes

Cut off strips of orange peel (no pith, only the orange part...use an orange zester for best results!). Put the strips of zest in an ice cube tray and fill with water. Freeze overnight. You now have pretty ice cubes for your next glass of water. The orange peel will add flavor to the water as the ice melts.

Learn how to make homemade fire starters

Orange oil is very flammable. Tuck dried orange oil and dryer lint into a toilet paper tube. Place this under your kindling and light on fire. It will catch quickly and help your kindling burn better.

How to make homemade potpourri with leftover oranges

Add dried orange peels, cinnamon sticks, etc to a small glass bowl for a festive scent to your home. You could add a few drops of essential oil for a stronger smell. You could also add these same items to a pot of simmering water to give your house a wonderful aroma as well as a bit of moisture during the dry, winter months. Check out my orange and ginger simmering spices for details.

Make citrus sugar

Add fresh orange peels to sugar in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Let this sit several weeks so that the oil has time to infuse flavor into the sugar. Remove the oil peel and use the sugar as needed.

Keep cats away from your garden or houseplants.

Cats don’t like the smell of orange. Place dried rinds around your plants to scare away feline pests.

Make orange infused sea salt:

Use orange zest and fresh spices to perk up your salt. Check out my lemon and thyme infused sea salt recipe and just replace the lemon with orange.

Turn it into orange peel body scrub:

Citrus is very good to help remove excess oils from the skin. Combined with sugar and a carrier oil, you can turn your orange peels into a homemade sugar scrub. Check out my orange and clove sugar scrub recipe for directions.

Make candied orange slices:

Candied oranges slices are a deliciously sweet treat that I really enjoy. It's like junk food but healthier!

Make orange vodka

One of my favorite uses for orange peels is to flavor alcohol! Take some fresh orange peels and soak them in vodka for 2 weeks in a glass jar or bottle. Use around one orange peel for each 8 fl oz of vodka. Check out my tutorial on how to make flavored vodka for more information.

Prevent mosquito bites

Orange peels contain limonene which most insects don't like. Rub orange peels on your skin in the evenings to prevent being bitten.

Make flavored citrus oil:

Add orange peels to olive oil in a clean glass jar and let sit for several weeks. The orange oil will infuse the olive oil with a wonderful citrus flavor that is great on veggies and seafood!

What can you do with leftover orange peels? Obviously, there are a TON of ways to use them around the house. If you want to learn how to dry orange peels, you need to invest in a good dehydrator. Whether you take an orange peel bath or learn how to burn orange peel for scent, don't throw them away! Do you have any other creative uses for orange peels?

Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She has two college aged kids, one husband and more pets than she will admit to. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire but left her career in science to become a stay at home mom. Years of playing with LEGO and coloring with crayons had her craving a more grown up purpose to her life and she began blogging and freelance writing full time. You can learn more about her HERE.

Diane Hoffmaster
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