The Last Thing You Should Do with a Bunch of Orange Peels

updated Jan 18, 2021
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Someone peeling and orange.
Credit: Sarah Crowley

These days, I’m reasonably stocked with disinfecting wipes and I use bleach occasionally, even in my general cleaning. But back in my super-crunchy phase, when I experimented with homemade laundry detergent and cloth diapers, there weren’t many DIY concoctions I didn’t try out for myself. 

Two homemade cleaning solutions that have stuck with me — through 13 years of homekeeping and meeting the demands of five children — are my beloved Alvin Corn glass cleaner and an all-purpose citrus cleaning solution that I haven’t made in a while but fully intend to re-introduce to my cleaning arsenal. 

Credit: Sarah Crowley

Use Orange Peels to Make a DIY All-Purpose Cleaner

My kids eat tons of clementines, so our orange peel collection piles up pretty fast. Perhaps you find yourself in the same boat? Instead of tossing them (or regular orange peels!), use them to add some cleaning power and a pleasant scent to your standard vinegar-water solution. 

It’s super quick and easy to make your own orange peel cleaner. Here’s how.

  1. Fill a jar with the peels: Get a jar or two with lids (Mason jars work well!) and fill it with your orange peels. 
  2. Add vinegar: Pour in enough distilled white vinegar to cover the orange peels and put your lid on.
  3. Let sit: Let the solution sit in a cool, dark place for two weeks.
  4. Strain: Strain out the orange peels, making sure to keep the liquid.
  5. Mix with water in a spray bottle: Mix the vinegar/orange peel concentrate with an equal amount of water in a spray bottle and use just like you would use a plain vinegar spray. 

Another quick and useful cleaning tool you can make with some leftover orange peels is a garbage disposal freshening puck. To make your own citrus pucks, drop a few orange peels into the wells of a muffin tin and fill with water. Freeze. Pop them out and store in a zip-top bag in the freezer. When your garbage disposal gets stinky, or when you just want to give it a refresh, toss a puck or two down there and turn on the disposal. The ice helps knock off stuck-on debris and the orange peels help neutralize any odors.

Do you have any smart bonus uses for your orange peels?