Don’t toss out your orange peel – there are plenty of uses for it that will save you time and money. These can probably also be applied to most citrus fruit, including grapefruit, limes, or lemons.
Despite its slightly bitter taste, orange peel smells delicious and can be used to create a fresh, non-toxic DIY cleaner in place of expensive store-bought brands. You can even enjoy eating a juicy orange and then using the peel in your beauty routine to create a nice-smelling sugar scrub. Or you can make a unique candle that burns for hours.
So, if you want to enjoy upcycling, take advantage of these amazing uses for orange peel.
A non-toxic cleaning spray:
Use vinegar and leftover orange peel to create a brilliant natural cleaner that disinfects, reduces smells, and removes calcium build-up. Freeze some orange peel then put it in a lidded glass jar. Fill the jar with white vinegar and let it sit for at least two weeks. Shake occasionally. Strain the liquid and transfer the vinegar and mix it with water in a one-to-two ratio in a spray bottle. Use to clean surfaces, floors, and windows.
An orange peel candle:
Slice an orange in half to form a cup and dig out everything except the stem-like piece in the middle, which will act as the wick. Try to get a relatively intact half of orange peel. Fill with olive oil, light the wick, and enjoy the amazing scent. The flame will last for a few hours.
All-natural bug repellent:
Mosquitoes, roaches, and the like cannot stand the smell of orange peel. Blend some dried peel and water and save the mixture in a spray bottle for a natural bug repellent. You can also rub orange peel onto your skin in the evening to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes. Try placing finely chopped bits of orange peel or ground-up peel around problem areas to keep ants away.
Homemade sugar scrub:
Exfoliate the natural way by adding this sugar body scrub to your shower or bath routine. Mix one cup of light brown sugar and one cup of white sugar. Add two tablespoons of dried orange peel or the zest of one orange and one tablespoon of orange extract. Add three to four tablespoons of coconut oil and ten drops of orange food colouring. Blend all the ingredients well and store in an air-tight container. To use, wet the skin in the shower and then rub the sugar scrub gently over the skin. Rinse with warm water and pat skin dry.
In the kitchen:
Among many other uses, orange peel can stop brown sugar hardening. Store a three-inch long piece of peel in your brown sugar package when storing. The oils in the peel help to draw the moisture from the sugar and keep it from solidifying. You can also use orange peel to zest up your meals, as it’s great in cakes and salad dressings. Or you can add some orange or lemon peel pieces the next time you brew tea. The peel will add a subtle citrusy taste to hot or iced tea.
Place dried orange peel in the bottom of your garbage container before putting in a clean bag.
Create an easy and inexpensive sachet for your drawers, closets, and basement with dried orange peel and dried flowers. Grind some dried citrus peel in a food processor before placing it in muslin or cheesecloth bags. Then hang or place the bags wherever you’ll enjoy the clean, fresh scent. You can also use the sachet to combat shoe odour. Just place it in each shoe and leave overnight.
You can fill your home with a sweet natural fragrance by boiling orange peel in a small pot of water. Add a half teaspoon of cinnamon if you like.
Place some orange or lemon peel 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.
Fill an orange rind with salt and place it in the fridge. The salt will absorb odours, while the fruit will leave behind its fresh citrus scent. Replace as needed.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 17 March, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.