Stop Throwing Away Your Orange Peels. Use Them to Clean Your Kitchen
This story is part of Home Tips, CNET’s collection of practical advice for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.
Hold onto that orange peel. Instead of throwing the fragrant peel into the trash can or compost bin, you can use it a bunch of different ways in your house, including giving your kitchen a natural cleaning.
Orange peels produce a natural oil, called D-limonene, that’s used in many cleaning products because it helps keep surfaces shiny, clean and sweet-smelling. And the peels have antibacterial properties for killing household germs.
So you can skip the expensive cleansers and go straight to the source. But remember: The “peel” is the whole skin of an orange — the exterior is the rind, while the white interior is known as the pith.
Here are some handy tips for using various parts of an orange peel to pep up countertops, appliances, garbage disposals and more.
For more household tips, learn nine surprising laundry hacks, how to properly clean an air fryer and how to clean your bathroom in 10 minutes or less.
1. Shine your stainless steel
Use the rind, or exterior side of the peel, to polish smudges and grease spots on your fridge, stove or faucet. (I find that the fresher the orange, the better this trick works.)
You can use the pith side to rub your silverware to make them sparkle like new.
2. Clean the inside of your microwave
Throw your orange peels in a microwave-safe bowl with some water and zap it for 60 seconds. The steam will loosen dried-on food for a quick clean up and the peels will freshen any bad odors in your microwave.
3. Make a natural cleanser
You can also use orange peels to make an all-natural appliance cleaner. Put several peels in a jar and fill it with white vinegar. Let the mixture soak for two weeks, then strain it into a spray bottle. This cleaner is great for stovetops, fridge doors, microwaves and stone, marble and laminate countertops.
Don’t use this spray on wooden furniture, though, as it can discolor it.
4. Defunk your garbage disposal
Is your disposal smelling a bit rank? Grate some orange zest into the disposal and let it sit for a few minutes. Run the disposal with hot tap water for a few seconds and the foul aroma will transform into a citrusy clean smell.
You can also toss a few peels in the garbage can to deodorize it.
5. Make your fridge smell fresher
Stinky fridges can be caused by a lot of different problems, but to make yours smell better, create an orange peel powder.
Dehydrate your peels in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for two to three hours. Then grind the peels into a powder using your food processor. Mix the powder with baking soda, put the mixture in a bowl and place it in the back of your fridge. Your fridge will never smell better.
6. Clean cloudy glassware
Fill your sink with warm water and toss a lot of orange peels in. Drop in the glasses and let them soak for about 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing off. Even your dishwasher can’t get glassware so shiny and clean.
Pro tip: Rubbing orange peels in coffee cups can also get those pesky coffee stains out, too.
7. Wipe down wooden cabinets and counters
Pour a drop or two of vinegar on the pith and rub it on wooden tabletops and cabinets, then wipe down the surface with a clean soft cloth for a glossy shine.
For more cleaning tips, check out how to get that organized TikTok fridge look, and how to clean a cast-iron skillet.