Citrus peels can be used in myriad ways instead of simply tossing them out or composting them. In a household that consumes many oranges, lemons, grapefruit, tangelo, and other citrus, making use of the peels can save you money and produce some wonderful results. This article presents a few suggestions to get you started.

Method 1
Method 1 of 8:

Which peel appeals?

  1. There are many types of citrus, including orange, mandarin, kumquat, grapefruit, lemon, lime, pomelo, citron (citrus apple), tangerines, etc.
    • Always wash the peel extremely well before use. If possible, prefer organic sources rather than those which have been sprayed, especially for any food or internal use. If you can't get organic fruit, use a very good fruit and vegetable scrub to remove chemical traces.
    • See "Warnings" below for the possibility of dermatitis and allergic reactions to citrus peel.
    • Use the peel of a kumquat to make marmalade. Just cook the chopped peel with sugar-water until it's like a syrup — use your favorite marmalade recipe.
  2. Advertisement
Method 2
Method 2 of 8:

Lemon peel

  1. There are so many potential lemon peel uses that entire chapters in books have been devoted to it.
    • Peel a lemon and use it to bathe yourself in the shower. It leaves your body and hair smelling fresh and clean.
    • Infuse lemon peel in your tea to add a delicious lemony taste.
    • Prepare fresh lemon peel
    • Make candied lemon peel
    • Make lemon brandy
    • Citrus peels such as peel of lemon work well for roasting chicken. Put peel into the chicken and roast. You will find a great smelling and good tasting chicken.
    • Lemon is often used as a cocktail garnish.
  2. Advertisement
Method 3
Method 3 of 8:

Orange peel

  1. Orange peel also has many possible uses. Here are a few:
    • Use the peel to keep your brown sugar soft by putting it in the packaging with the brown sugar.
    • Make candied orange peel.
    • Make preserved orange peel.
    • Use as a garnish on fruit juice drinks, cocktails, and salads.
    • Use dried and powdered citrus peels to brighten your teeth.

    Tip: Mix equal amounts of peel, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), and salt. Apply the powder with a toothbrush and brush normally. It will brighten your teeth and also make your mouth taste fresh, reducing the odor. Alternatively, you can simply mix a bit of peel with your toothpaste while applying that to your brush.

Method 5
Method 5 of 8:

Cooking with peel

  1. There are lots of possibilities no matter the type of citrus peel:
    • Use to flavor water. Add any citrus peels to a pitcher of water and put in the refrigerator. Now you can enjoy the taste of water even more.
    • Use any type of citrus peel and candy it. It is very sweet and a great snack for the kids.
    • Make marmalade, chutney, jam, and savory sauces using citrus peel.[2]
    • Add a slice of citrus peel to brown sugar to stop the sugar from going hard.
    • Use citrus peels of any kind to freshen up that smelly garbage disposal. All you have to do is cut up the peel and put it in the disposal.
  2. Make sure you wash the mandarin before experimenting.
    • Peel the skin off the mandarin.
    • Pour 100 °C (212 °F) of boiling water into a cup until 3/4 of the cup is filled.
    • Add in the mandarin peels and enjoy your lovely tea.
  3. Advertisement
Method 6
Method 6 of 8:

Household uses for peel

    • Use as kindling. Any type of citrus peel makes a great kindling for your fireplace in the winter.
    • Use dried citrus peels to freshen up that smelly sock or underwear drawer. It is best to place the peels inside a sachet first. A sachet is a small perfumed bag used to scent clothes.
    • Use citrus peels for your bath. It will create a beautiful scent.
    • Compost your peels.
    • Citrus peels can aid in cleaning burnt pots when applied with common salt. They can also remove any stains from porcelain pots. These are particularly known to brighten metal pots or any metallic thing for example your metallic staircase.[3] Citrus peel is a great addition to the compost pile. Just be sure to chop them a little to help them to degrade faster. You can use any of the peels to add to a compost pile. It will make the compost pile smell fresh and clean too. Just be aware that some people claim that the anti-bacterial nature of orange oil slows down decomposition,[4] while others don't find it has any impact at all and call this an "urban myth".[5] Be your own judge of whether or not there is an issue by observing!
    • Use any of the citrus peels to keep cats from digging or using your garden as a litter box. Just peel the citrus and place around the garden to keep Fluffy away from your petunias.
    • Chew the peel. You can use preferably orange or lemon peels to make your breath smell great. Chew the peel for a little bit; you'll find it's a good substitute for mints and gum.
    • Place any citrus peels in a pan of low simmering water to freshen up the house.
  1. Enjoy the extra taste and benefits.
  2. Advertisement
Method 7
Method 7 of 8:

Pests begone with peel

    • Orange peel applied to your skin at night will ward off the insects. Simply rub the peel over your exposed skin and repeat whenever the insects start bothering you again.[6]
    • Place orange or other citrus peel from 2-3 oranges/citrus into a blender with a cup of warm water. Blend into a mixture that can be poured into an anthill that is causing you problems.[7]
    • Rub citrus peel over the leaves of plants monthly to keep cats away from the leaves.[8]
    • Place dried citron peel into closets and wardrobes to ward off the moths.[9]
Method 8
Method 8 of 8:

Peel as scent

    • Use citrus peel as a fixative for potpourri. Dry the peel until it turns crisp. Once dried, grind it coarsely and add to potpourri as needed.[10] It should be stored in a glass jar until needed. This can also be added to sachets to keep away moths and to sweeten your clothes.[11] Read How to make citrus potpourri for specific details.
    • The ground powder can be added to the bath for a scented treat.[12]
    • Extract the oil from citrus peels for use in home-made perfume.
    • Make citrus perfume.
    • Make summer citrus soap.
  1. Advertisement

Community Q&A

  • Question
    Will citrus peels help repel deer?
    Community Answer
    Community Answer
    Yes, they will help to repel deer.
  • Question
    It is the peel of a lemon or orange bad for you?
    Community Answer
    Community Answer
    No. If it's cleaned properly and not consumed in excess, it's a natural breath-freshener. Also, the white stuff between the skin and the fruit is good for intestinal health. You find it abundantly in grapefruit or pomelos.
  • Question
    Can I use oven-dried orange peel as a fertilizer?
    Community Answer
    Community Answer
    No, once you bake them you degrade their nutrients to almost nothing and they take a lot longer to compost.


  • If the peel has mold on it then throw it away. It's not worth getting you sick!
  • Be aware! Some people can develop contact dermatitis from citrus peel. This condition can happen when peeling many oranges or having peel next to the mouth, and symptoms include a dermatitis rash and blisters, or irritation around the mouth, and even respiratory reactions.[13] If this is the case, you could handle the peel wearing gloves but if you know you are going to have respiratory reactions, then don't attempt the use the peels at all. If you notice any problems while cutting or using peel, seek advice from your doctor.
  • Just be aware that grapefruit can impact some medications. If you're taking medications, talk to your doctor before using the peel or its flesh.[14]
  • It takes 1200 lemons to make 0.5kg of oil, so don't get your hopes up too much![15]
  • The oil from lime can cause dermatitis in sensitive individuals.[16]

Things You'll Need

  • Citrus peel
  • Peeler or knife
  • Vegetable and fruit washing liquid or give non-organic citrus a thorough scrub with water


  4. Susanna Lyle, Discovering Fruit & Nuts, p. 142, (2006), ISBN 1-86953-621-5
  5. Susanna Lyle, Discovering Fruit & Nuts, p. 130, (2006), ISBN 1-86953-621-5
  6. Susanna Lyle, Discovering Fruit & Nuts, p. 134, (2006), ISBN 1-86953-621-5
  7. Susanna Lyle, Discovering Fruit & Nuts, p. 136, (2006), ISBN 1-86953-621-5

About This Article

Brandon Beckwith
Co-authored by:
House Cleaning Specialist
This article was co-authored by Brandon Beckwith. Brandon Beckwith is a House Cleaning Specialist and the CEO of Reliable Housekeeping in Sacramento, California. Brandon and his team specialize in house cleaning such as maintenance cleaning, deep cleaning, move in/out cleaning, apartment cleaning, as well as commercial cleaning, window cleaning, and carpet cleaning. All members of the Reliable Housekeeping team receive background checks and professional training. Their family-owned and operated business is licensed, insured, and bonded. This article has been viewed 325,897 times.
2 votes - 100%
Co-authors: 23
Updated: January 14, 2023
Views: 325,897