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Zero waste kitchen: What to do with citrus peels

Oranges, lemons, tangerines and other citrus fruits are many people’s favourites and are a great way to get your daily dose of vitamin C. However, their peels often land in the garbage, even though they can be used in various ways. In this article we’ll show you 7 things you can do with citrus peels!

1. Citrus aroma

The orange and lemon zest is an ideal way to flavor cakes, desserts, sauces or drinks in a natural way. Sure, you can find a lot of forms of this aroma in the baking department of your local supermarket, but why would you want to spend extra money?

The easiest way is grinding your own aroma powder! Gently dried, it can even be stored for several months. Make sure to use organic fruits, as their peel contains no pesticides.

2. Orange spice for tea

Orange zest is contained in many tea blends and can even be bought fully dried. However, you can prepare amazing orange-flavoured tea yourself when you buy some oranges next time.
Whether fresh or dried peels – both give off a nice aroma when poured over with hot water. Combine them with herbs or cinnamon to create a delicious tea spice mix. Once again make sure to buy organic fruits when planning on consuming their peels.

3. Lime dissolver

Citrus peels contain citric acid – one of the best limescale removers out there. Next time the fittings on your shower or in the kitchen show traces of lime, just rub them with the inside of a squeezed lemon or orange. The lime will dissolve without any problems and the fittings will look amazing in no time.

It is best to store the potato dishwashing liquid in the refrigerator where it will stay good for use for about eight days. You can also add a teaspoon of washing soda. This does not only eliminate germs, but increases the detergent's fat-dissolving power.

4. All-purpose cleaner

All-purpose cleaner without any chemicals? No problem! Household vinegar and citrus peel make for a great sustainable, very effective household cleaner.

That's how it's done:

1. Take a large mason jar (as acid dissolves harmful components of plastic you should definitely use glass) and fill it up densely with the peel of citrus fruits – lemons, oranges and mandarins will work equally well.

2. Pour white household vinegar (not vinegar essence) onto the peels until they’re completely covered. Now let the mixture stand for 2-3 weeks. If necessary, pour more vinegar, as the peels absorb it and can develop mold if they are not completely covered with vinegar.

3. Has the vinegar turned darker and adapted a lemon aroma? Fantastic! Your cleaner is ready to use!

Just pour the liquid through a fine sieve into an empty spray bottle.

Caution! The cleaner is not suitable for natural stone floors because it could dissolve lime and wash it out. Also for silicone joints, rubber seals and linoleum floors you should use citric acid or baking soda instead of vinegar.

5. Rinse aid for the dishwasher

Citrus peels can effectively help soften your water. Put larger peels in the cutlery tray of your dishwasher and see for yourself. Bonus: a pleasantly fruity fragrance!

6. Fabric softener replacement

Commercial fabric softeners are bad for the environment – luckily, they can easily be replaced with usual home remedies such as vinegar, baking soda or citrus peels! You can put some peels into a small, knotted cloth bag and throw it directly into the washing drum. Practical, isn't it?

7. Odor remover

Does your oven smell weird? Try orange peel! Just spread it on a baking sheet, heat it up and your problem should be solved.

Plastic boxes also adopt different smells after a while. Just rub them with the inside of a lemon peel and wash out afterwards, the smells will disappear as quickly as they came. You can also use the same trick to clean your refrigerator of any bad smells.


Citrus fruits are not only delicious and full of vitamins, they’re also great to use around the house. So make sure you buy a couple more next time! Find delicious recipes with citrus fruits on our blog - for example the heathy ginger shots - and try some of our zero waste tips with the remaining peels!

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