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11 Surprising Uses for Oranges

This fruit does more than pack a punch of Vitamin C to your diet.

trash canmrcmos/Shutterstock

Getting rid of the smell of garbage

“My grandma used to put the orange peels down the disposal after removing them from the orange,” says an editor from our sister site Taste of Home. “It made the drain smell very fresh and got rid of any bad odors.” If that doesn’t work, try these other natural kitchen odor killers.


Deodorize your refrigerator

Orange peels won’t just eliminate the smell of trash but can clear up any lingering odors in your fridge. Merry Maids, a home cleaning service, suggests placing an orange peel filled with salt in your fridge to keep it smelling fresh. Cut the orange in half, scoop out the pulp, fill the rind with salt, and just tuck it away on the back of a shelf. Can’t find a use for the orange peels? We have instructions for those, too. 

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Make a natural cleaner

You can make a natural cleaner for your home just using oranges and vinegar. Cut off as much of the white part of the rind as possible, says Nate Masterson, head of natural product development for Maple Holistics. Then put the peels in a jar of vinegar and let it sit for two weeks, shaking the container once a day. After two weeks is up, strain the liquid into another container. “This natural cleaner has an extremely long shelf-life and smells delicious,” Masterson says. “Plus it can safely and effectively kill germs.” It’s a great solution to add to your list of chemical-free ways to clean your home.

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Make lemonade

No, really…this is the perfect recipe for summer. You can try it by getting the recipe here.

orange peelsKseniia Konakova/Shutterstock

Freshen up your home

“Boiling orange peel on the stove top with spices like cinnamon and clove is the BEST way to make your home smell amazing,” suggests one Taste of Home editor.

Exfoliate your skin

Dip a cut orange in coarse, raw sugar and gently scrub your skin with it to exfoliate. “The coarse sugar removes the dead skin and oils and juices from the orange soften the skin,” one Taste of Home editor says. You can try this on your face, hands, and feet. You can also use that sugar for a homemade remedy for your chapped lips.

cleaning glovesipcrew/Shutterstock

Clean up grime

Squeeze orange peels over “sticky” spots caused by spills or the residue from stickers. “The natural oils in the rind are a great cleaner,” says one Taste of Home editor. “The oils released from the peel will help to loosen the grime.”

orange saladMegan Betteridge/Shutterstock

Spice up your salads

Add orange to a salad for a citrus-y kick or make an orange-based salad using this recipe. Here’s how to pick the best ones to add to your recipes.

orange cinnamon cloveAnton Belo/Shutterstock

Make sachets

Just like boiling an orange peel can fill your home with great scents, you can dry the peels out and make them last even longer as an air freshener. “The peel is the most fragrant part of the orange, so why not put it to good use in your house,” says nutritionist Lisa Richards, creator of the Candida diet. She suggests drying out orange peels with a dehydrator or by baking them at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Then grind the peels up and put them in a sachet that can be placed anywhere around your home. Try adding cinnamon stick or clove essential oil for a more interesting smell.

candy orange chocolatePixel-Shot/Shutterstock

Candy the peels for better desserts

One Taste of Home editor recommends saving orange peels and candying them. You can then use the candied peels to top desserts or add them to baked goods for additional flavor and texture.

orange peelsffolas/Shutterstock

Improve your skin

Rubbing the peels of oranges on your skin and leaving them there for a few minutes will leave your skin sticky, but totally fresh. The peel actually has more vitamin C than the orange itself, according to Dr. Catherine Chang, MD of Cassileth Plastic Surgery. “Although citrus fruits are a rich natural source of vitamin C, which can free your body of free radicals, not many people realize that the common orange can be really good for exfoliating and detoxifying skin,” Chang says. “This is because oranges are amongst the least acidic citrus fruits, although they still contain vitamins C and E as well as antioxidants and zinc which can help smoothen skin. So if you have acne-prone or oily skin, it’s perfect for you.” If that works, you can also try these natural recipes for your skin.

Erin Kayata
Erin Kayata joined Reader’s Digest as an assistant staff writer in March 2019, coming from the Stamford Advocate where she covered education. Prior to this, she was part of a two-year Hearst fellowship program where she covered crime and education in suburban Connecticut. She graduated from Emerson College and spent part of her undergraduate career writing for the Boston Globe. When she’s not writing articles about useful facts and pop culture, you can find Erin enjoying the local theater scene and working toward her goal of reading 50 books a year.

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