August 1, 2021

What do you do with your leftover orange peels? Most likely, you toss them out without a second thought. But if you're trying to reduce your household's waste, don't be so quick to discard your peels.

You can do so much more with orange peels than you might realize. This guide will look at the best uses for orange peels around the home.

Orange Peels In The Kitchen

Add Orange Zest to Recipes

Leftover orange peels are ideal for using in recipes that require orange zest. You'll just need a zester and a handful of fresh peels. It's common to add orange zest to cakes and tarts, but you could also get inventive - who said you shouldn't use them as a delicious salad topper, for instance?

Make Candied Orange Peels

Candied orange peels are a healthy sweet treat to consider if you're trying to cut down on sweets or chocolate. There are plenty of candied orange peel recipes to check out online if you're interested.

Make A Batch of Orange Marmalade

One of the most obvious culinary uses for orange peels is to make orange marmalade. Again, the internet offers plenty of guidance if you've never made this sweet spread before.

Put Orange Peel In Your Tea

tea with orange peel

There are plenty of citrus-flavored teas available to buy nowadays, but these are much more expensive than making your own. Brewing your tea with a piece of leftover orange peel will offer a tangy, citrusy flavor. You can add more peels if you'd prefer a stronger flavor.

Keep Brown Sugar Soft

We've all kept brown sugar in a jar and opened it up one day to discover the sugar has formed a single rock-solid clump. A simple solution to this problem is to put a leftover orange peel into the container, which will absorb the air, keeping your brown sugar soft.

Infuse Olive Oil

olive oil

Olive oil is delicious as it is, but if you've never infused ingredients into it, you're missing out. Add orange peels to a bottle filled with olive oil, then store for up to 3 weeks to allow the flavors to infuse.

You can infuse orange peels into pretty much any substance that would benefit from the flavor. Honey is another ingredient that can have its flavor elevated by infused orange peels. Again, let it sit for several weeks for the tastiest results.

Infuse Ice Cubes

Don't have the time to make your own batch of orange juice? You can still add the citrus flavor to your water by adding orange peel to your ice cubes. Once you've zested your peels, pour water into an ice cube tray and mix the peels into each cube. Freeze and enjoy.

Make an Orange Peel Marinade

Fans of Chinese food will agree that orange chicken or fish is delicious. You can make your own version of this dish with orange marinade. Just combine ground orange peel with rosemary, garlic and thyme. Fish works best with orange peel, garlic, lemon and dill.

Orange Peels for Cleaning

All-Purpose Orange Peel Cleaner

If you don't like to use chemical cleaners in your home, making a homemade orange peel cleaner is a smart idea. This cleaner cleans, disinfects and removes grease. You just need a handful of orange peels and a batch of distilled white vinegar.

Wood Polish

orange peel

You can also use orange peels for wood polishing. The oils released by the peels can restore shine and bring wood back to its original state. No need to make a polish - just rub the inside of an orange peel directly onto your wooden surfaces.

Similarly, you can follow the steps above if you wish to use orange peels to polish stainless steel.

Orange Peel Bin or Garbage Disposal Deodorizer

There's nothing more unpleasant than a stinky bin. Rather than emptying your bin at the first whiff, save your orange peels and add the peel to the bin liner when needed. The strong citrus odor will mask any other smells.

Orange Peel Shoe Freshener

orange peel

Just like you can freshen your bin or garbage disposal with orange peel, you can do the same to your shoes. Simply place your leftover orange peels in a coffee filter and wrap an elastic band around the filter to secure it in place. Stick several holes into the coffee filter, letting the citrus scent leak out. Pop a filter in each smelly shoe to keep any nasty odors at bay.

Orange Peel Fridge Deodorizer

If you've accidentally let something spoil in the fridge, you'll need to get rid of the smell before it's absorbed by your other foods. A simple way to deodorize the area is to use orange peels combined with baking soda. The baking soda will absorb the bad smell, while the orange will replace it with a fresh, citrus scent.

Orange Peels For Beauty

Homemade Orange Peel Bath Oil

There's nothing nicer than a relaxing soak in the bath - and bath oils can make the experience even more spa-like. Collect your leftover orange peels and add them to a container of coconut oil. Leave for at least a week to allow the flavors to infuse, then pour a couple of drops of oil into your bath while it's running.

DIY Orange Sugar Scrub

person using a scrub

Sugar scrubs are a big trend at the moment, but you don't have to spend your money on a costly product when you could make your own. Simply combine granulated sugar with orange peel-infused coconut oil and apply to your body before showering.

DIY Orange Peel Hair Paste

For dry hair with split ends, natural ingredients like orange peels can provide shine and strengthen your strands. Simply grind your orange peels into a paste, then apply this to your hair. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then shampoo and wash as normal.

Orange Peel Skin Serum

serum dropper

Vitamin C serum is a well-known product amongst skincare enthusiasts. This product is typically very expensive - and there's no need to pay for it when you use orange peel to make your own. Simply boil water containing orange peel, allowing the peel and the water to infuse. Then strain the liquid and store the vitamin C serum in a glass jar in the fridge. Apply daily as part of your skincare routine.

Orange Peel Breath Freshener

We already know that orange peel is ideal for freshening fridges and bins. It makes sense, then, that it can also freshen your breath! Orange peels are anti-bacterial, and chewing on them can help to get rid of the bacteria that are responsible for bad breath.

Orange Peel For Overall Health

Fight High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol

Orange peel contains a flavanoid called hesperidin, which has been proven in studies to lower blood pressure. Additionally, hesperidin can help reduce levels of bad cholesterol, making orange peel an all-round heart-healthy ingredient.

Relieve Anxiety and Depression

Citrus oils have long been known as effective natural mood boosters, favored for their calming effects. Orange peels can be used to relieve anxiety - just release the oils by rubbing the peels on your temples.

Additionally, orange peels can be used as a natural means of reducing depression. Follow the steps above: rub the peels onto your temples to allow the oils to escape. Seek professional advice for symptoms of depression and anxiety that are difficult to manage or don't go away.

Orange Peel Hangover Tonic

person with headache

You might not immediately think of orange juice if you're hungover, but it could be exactly what you need. Before you give in to an unhealthy cooked breakfast, see if you can perk yourself up with an orange peel tea. Just take a few peels and steep them in boiling water. Wait for the tea to cool slightly, then remove the peels and drink up.

Orange Peels in the Garden

Orange Peel In Compost

person working on compost

Composting your orange peels will benefit your whole compost heap, thanks to the nitrogen content of the peels. Just don't add too many, or you could kill the insects that help speed up decomposition.

Orange Peel for Repelling Slugs, Mosquitos, Ants and Stray Cats

There are many insects and pests that don't like the smell of citrus fruits. Spreading orange peel around your home's doors and windows should keep the pesky insects away.

You can also use orange peel to repel slugs. Just coarsely grind the peels and sprinkle them on the soil around your plants.

Another insect that doesn't enjoy the smell of orange peel is ants. If you're dealing with an ant problem, place a few orange peels around the area. This should send them away in no time.

Finally, orange peel can repel stray cats from your garden. Cats can't stand the citrus smell, so placing orange peel around your outdoor space should keep them away.

Orange Peel Bird Feeder

Orange peel can make a fantastic holder for bird seed. Remove the peel from half an orange, making sure you don't flatten the peel in the process. Check that there's no fruit still inside the peel, then jab three holes near the top of the peel. Thread some string through the holes, then tie the feeder onto a bird table or tree. Add birdseed and wait for the birds to arrive.

At-Home Orange Peel Uses

Orange Peel Candles or Potpourri

The smell of orange peel is delicious - and you can do more with your peels than you might realize!

If you're into arts and crafts, you'll want to try making your own orange peel candles. This is much easier than it sounds - you use the orange peel as the candle base, insert a wick, and pour in some oil. All that's left after that is to light the candle and enjoy.

A simpler use of oranges, if candles aren't really your thing, is to make an orange peel potpourri. Boil your orange peels in a pot of water to release a delicious scent that will spread around your home. You may also want to add a cinnamon stick.

Orange Peel Christmas Ornaments

orange peel

For many of us, the smell of orange peel is connected to the holiday season. If you love the smell of citrus in the winter months, you'll enjoy making your own orange peel Christmas ornaments. Just use a Christmas cookie cutter to cut different shapes out of your peel, then poke a hole through the top of each ornament. Thread string through the hole and attach the ornament to your Christmas tree.

Orange Peel Moth Repellant

Even if you can deal with most insects, moths can be especially shudder-worthy. Luckily, it's easy enough to repel moths with orange peels. Just make a pomander out of a leftover orange by poking holes into an orange and stuffing the holes with cloves. Next, bake the oranges on a low heat in the oven for around 1 hour, until they're hard. Once they're cool, decorate them with ribbon if you want, then place them around your homes to repel moths.


You'll certainly think twice about throwing out your leftover orange peel after reading this article. Hopefully, you have been inspired by the ideas above to use orange peel in your kitchen, garden or bathroom instead of treating it as garbage.

Whether you're making a homemade orange oil for your skin, whipping your own orange cleaning formula in a spray bottle, or repelling animals and insects in your garden, there are plenty of ways to use your leftover peels.

About the author

Tim Russell

I am passionate about health and wellbeing and have writing for over 10 years on the subject. I have a BSc Hons Degree and undertake vigorous research to help people improve their lives and live more a healthy and happy life.

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