12 Surprising Uses for Citrus Peels You’re About to Throw Away

Photo: Stocksy / Suzanne Clements
As I sit at home, day in and day out, constantly a 30-second-or-less walk from my kitchen, I find my self eating so. many. oranges. Sometimes, it's more than one a day—that's a lot of peels in the trash. Turns out, there are tons of uses for citrus peels to give them a second life.

Whether you're cooking, cleaning, or enjoying some much needed self-pampering, there are tons of different uses for citrus peels. Find some of our favorite options below.

12 uses for citrus peels around the house


Fun fact: your garbage can doesn't *actually* have to smell like garbage. When you're done using the fruit, toss a few citrus peels at the bottom of your trash can to absorb odors.

2. Fire starter

Dried citrus peels make an effective and lovely scented fire starter. Dry the peels out either at room temperature for a few days or in the oven and set them aside for your next camping trip or bonfire.

3. Breath freshener

Instead of relying on chewing gum, scrape the white part off of a fresh peel and chew on it for fresh and fragrant breath, not to mention one way to reap some of the benefits of grapefruits

4. Bath infusion

Elevate your next bath by tossing in a few citrus peels. Essential oils found in citrus peels have been linked to increased mood.

5. Drink garnish

Dried peels are a beautiful and delicious addition to cup of tea or a cocktail. Scrape away as much of the pith as you can and then dry and store the peels for your next cup.


If you love cleaning with a vinegar water solution but don't love the smell, you can add a citrus twist to your next batch. Soak citrus peels in vinegar for a week or two and then mix with equal parts water in a spray bottle.

7. Lemon pepper seasoning

To make your own lemon pepper seasoning, grind dried lemon peels into a powder, and toss with salt and pepper. Plus, it's one of the easiest ways to reap the bevy of lemon peel benefits.

8. Air freshener

Mimic an essential oil diffuser by simply simmering citrus peels in a pot of water. Don't get too relaxed—you are actively using the stove so be sure to keep an eye on the pot.

9. Candied peels

Candied citrus peels stay good for months, and are a wonderful addition to scones, muffins, drinks, or even as a standalone snack.

10. Body scrub

Vitamin C is a beloved chemical exfoliant, so when paired with physical exfoliants like sugar or salt, you can DIY a fun and effective body scrub.

11. Cocktail ingredient

You know when you soak strawberries in sugar to draw out the flavor? The same can be done with citrus peels to create oleo-saccharum, a common cocktail ingredient that translates to "oil sugar." Use a peeler to remove the outermost layer of the peel, allow it to soak in sugar for a few hours, and then press the peels to release the oils. This is used in drinks like an old-fashioned.

12. Drawer freshener

Dry out citrus peels and place them in an old sock or a pretty sachet and add it to your drawer to make your clothes smell fresh and clean.

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