What Can I Do With Orange Peels?

What Can I Do With Orange Peels?

Citrus is in season, and at our house we have been inundated with an abundance of orange peels! Sticking to the value of “waste not” — I set out to find a solution for re-purposing the peels. In my search, I found not one, not two, but countless ways to reuse those once discarded items. And here are my favorites:

Orange-Infused Vinegar

Recipe: Cover orange peels with white vinegar. Let it steep for a few weeks. Load into a spray bottle and use for cleaning.

What Can I Do With Orange Peels?

Stove-top Potpourri

Recipe: To a medium sized pot, add orange peels and spices such as cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Simmer on low-heat to infuse the home with a lovely scent.

What Can I Do With Orange Peels?

Citrus Sugar Scrub

Recipe: Zest the peel of an orange and add it to 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of olive, almond, sunflower, or grapeseed oil. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and store on the counter in a glass mason jar.

What Can I Do With Orange Peels?

Other ways to use orange peels:

How you re-purpose orange peels?

Note: If you will be using orange peels as an edible, it is best to find organic, sustainably grown, and/or foraged fruit if at all possible. The peel of most conventionally-grown oranges contain one of the highest concentrations of pesticides and other nasty chemicals.


  1. YAY! I’m so excited to find a purpose for the orange peels. Aside from having candied orange peel (and only so much of that needed any given year) and orange zest in the freezer, I really didn’t like throwing so much of it into the compost pile. I’m tickled to find the orange peel/white vinegar cleaning solution idea. I love using vinegar to clean and have always enjoyed citrus-smelling cleaners. Thanks, Andrea! This definitely was THE link to follow from FB tonight!

  2. I have a big bag of peels in the freezer, accumulating till I have enough to make citrus vinegar cleaner. I’m even going to use it to refill my swiffer cleaner bottle as I hate buying the pre-made swiffer cleaners, they stink!

    I found the recipe at http://www.lexienaturals.com/2011/10/natural-cleaning.html

    • Thanks for posting this link! I LOVE using this cleaner. I’m going to have to try the other recipes mentioned in this post!

  3. We used to wonder the same thing and came up with the stove top pot pourri. We would add spices like you mentioned ie:clove, cinnamon and the house would smell amazing. We do the same with lemons and limes. We will be trying a couple of your other ideas. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Boil the orange peels and let steep for 10 minutes.drink as a tea to get rid of migrains…I’ve done this many times and it’s worked everytime except once.great stuff

  5. My house goes nuts for the candied orange peel. We save the extra sugar/orange/water syrup left over from making the peel, and use it on pancakes, ice cream, and in marinades. My mom has a pulled pork recipe that uses the orange syrup, and it is heavenly.

  6. moir casadei says:

    I slice the peel away from the white pith, dry the peel and put them into a coffee mill for citrus “essence” and flavoring!

  7. Dry orange and lemon peels and use in custom made tea blends. A food processor or coffee grinder works well to get the dried pieces small enough.

  8. Do clementine peels work the same. I don’t usually buy regular naval oranges, but I tend to eat clementines by the boxful.

    • Any type of citrus peels should work fine for these recipes 🙂

      • Thanks. That’s what I figured, and I felt a little silly asking, but I figured the only stupid question is the one unasked. Plus I’m new to this frugal living and homemade cleaner thing. I’m kind of excited to try it out though. 🙂

  9. I make the vinegar all the time and it works great! In fact, I just strained a batch yesterday. 🙂 My friend Anne dries her peels and then grinds them up in her coffee grinder to make zest – you can find her tip at Quick and Easy Cheap and Healthy.
    My mom makes the stovetop potpourri – but I haven’t done much of that…I forget and let the pot burn dry too often. LOL

    • Yeppers! I’ve done that before too 🙂 I need to go check out your friend Anne…simply because I love the name of her blog 🙂

  10. great ideas! Thanks for sharing

  11. Kimberly Gallagher says:

    I keep them in a miniature colander next to my sink. After they dry, I periodically put them down the garbage disposal – helps clean blades, & smells lovely.

  12. Neat ideas! I usually just compost mine but these will be fun to try too. Thanks!

  13. How about orange marmalade? I have never made it, never had an abundance of orange peels, either, but love orange marmalade.

  14. Whenever I buy organic oranges, I zest them and cover with vodka. Let sit. Delicious Orange Extract (works for lemons, too).

  15. I collect them for a season, drying them in the sun or in the oven periodically. At the end of the season, I powder the whole lot, mix it with chickpea flour for a natural exfoliating cleanser that can be used on face and body.

  16. Good point about buying organic v. non-organic. Since I compost the peels, I tend to buy conventional oranges. Although thinking about it, I probably should buy organic so it’s better for the compost too!

    Love the cleaning spray.

  17. Great ideas.

  18. Andrea,

    What would you guess the shelf life of the citrus sugar scrub is? And, could that life be extended by placing in the fridge?



  19. We do the orange peel cleaner too! Also have soaked orange peels in ACV and used as a hair rinse which is delightful!

  20. An orange peel with some coffee grounds makes a great scrubber for a cast iron pan! The peel helps to protect your hand from the coffee grounds (which are an excellent abrasive scrub), as well as adding citrus cleaning power, and then you just toss it in the compost–instead of trying to wash coffee grounds out of a dishcloth or sponge.

  21. I dehydrate the peels in my gas oven with a pilot light, thereby not using electricity. I then grind them in a coffee grinder and give them to my step daughter who uses them for scenting her all natural soaps, beeswax candles and lip balms.

  22. annabanana says:

    I have used this after only 10 days steeping as Im too impatient to wait any longer. Cleaned the whole house with it today and it works like a dream. One question though – how long do I leave the peel in the jar? Indefinitely? Keep topping up with vinegar? Used half a jar today…lol.
    Like the other tips, thanks!
    Anna 🙂

  23. Christy says:

    I discovered your blog today and I love it!!!

  24. A friend says he puts orange oil on his dogs and keeps his dog free of fleas. Any experience with this?
    another says she uses orange oil mixed with garlic oil for fleas.

  25. JoAnn Deason says:

    I didn’t think about the pesticides in the peel and I have already made a batch of the vinegar and have been cleaning with it. Does that mean I am spreading pesticides all over my house?

  26. I chop them up into little squares and dehydrate them. Then I use them in my herbal mix for tea. Especially great in the winter because the extra vitamin C helps boost the immune system to ward off colds and such.

  27. Thanks for the tip on infused vinegar! I love to clean with vinegar, but my husband can’t tolerate the smell. We recently bought a new awesome blender so we’ve been making smoothies, including oranges, but have an abundance of peels. Now I won’t throw them away!!

  28. Donna Cosey says:

    I have use the infused vinegar and my husband doesn’t like it either so I make sure if I use it is early in the morning after he leaves for work been reading about it killing fleas we have done the dawn dishsoap but I’m going to try some of my infused vinegar and spray him. We have a ragdoll kitten with the worst case of fleas I have ever seen poor little guy

  29. Thank you! Neither chickens nor pigs will eat citrus peel, and it doesn’t compost well. Now I don’t need to throw the peels out anymore (making me feel wasteful). Recycled orange peel–yay!

  30. I have been eating an orange everyday and I thought I hate to throw these peels away and I remembered I saw this on your site! Super great idea! Can’t wait for my batch to be done so I can try it out!

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