It’s citrus season, and, chances are, orange lovers have overloaded their compost bins and garbage cans with peels. But that’s no place for these workhorses — there are plenty of creative ways to use the peels around the house. Read on for surprising ways to use orange peels.
But first, a word of warning. Try to buy organically-grown oranges when reusing the peels whenever possible, especially if you plan to eat them or use them on your body. The peels of conventionally grown oranges are usually sprayed with pesticides and are not always safe to eat. If you can’t but organic oranges, wash the fruit under cold water to remove as much of the pesticides as possible.
Shine Wood. - The white side of the peel can also polish dull-looking wood furniture. Who knew? DIY Sponge. - Not-yet-dried orange peels make a fantastic natural sponge. I just tried this on my stove top. Not only did it work just as well as a regular sponge, but it leaves that nice, light citrusy smell. I’m a believer!
DIY Cleaner. - Toss some orang peels in a lidded jar and cover with white vinegar. Let it sit in the fridge for a few weeks and shake it occasionally. Transfer to a spray bottle, shake, and use to clean surfaces, floors and windows.
Repel Insects. - Ants, flies and mosquitoes don’t like limonene, something naturally found in oranges and other citrus fruits. Place some ground-up orange peel in areas where pests are prone to congregate.
Make Your Home Smell Great. - Orange peels are an excellent, subtle fragrance. Dry out the peels, grind them up in a food processor, and place them in a sachet. Place them in drawers, closets, basements, or anywhere else that is prone to getting musty.
Keep Garbage Cans and Garbage Disposals Tolerable. - Even the tidiest housekeeper’s garbage stinks. Place some dried orange peels at the bottom of your trash can before putting in the bag. Grinding up orange peels in your garbage disposal will also help keep odors at bay.
Combat Stinky Shoes. - Place dried orange peels in a sachet, and place the sachet in your smelly shoes. The peel will naturally absorb the odors.
Make Candied Orange Peels. - Candied orange peels are a great garnish for sweets and treats. Here’s a basic recipe to make them yourself, and check out this hot chocolate cocktail for a great way to use them!