Got Old Oranges? Here’s How to Put Them to Work All Around the House

It turns out everyone's favourite source of vitamin C can come in handy even after it's past its prime.

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What to do with old oranges - make kindling
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What to Do With Old Oranges

Make kindling

Can’t seem to get that campfire started? Dried orange and lemon peels are a far superior choice for use as kindling than newspaper. Not only do they smell better and produce less creosote than newspaper, but the flammable oils found inside the orange peels enable them to burn much longer than paper.

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What to do with old oranges - make pomanders
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Turn old oranges into pomanders

Pomanders have been used for centuries to fill small spaces with a delightful ­fragrance as well as to combat moths. They’re also incredibly easy to make. Take a bunch of cloves and stick them into an old orange, covering the whole ­surface. Now suspend your pomander using a piece of string, wool or monofilament fishing line inside a wardrobe or cupboard, and it will keep the space smelling fresh for years.

Find out more genius home hacks to get rid of odours.

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What to do with old oranges - keep cats off your lawn
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Keep cats off your lawn

Are the neighbour’s cats still ­mistaking your lawn for their litter box? Gently point them elsewhere by making a mixture of orange peels and coffee grounds and distributing it around the cats’ “old haunts.” If they don’t take the hint, lay down a second batch and try moistening it with a bit of water.

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What to do with old oranges - get rid of ants
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Show ants the door

Want to get rid of the ants in your garden, on your patio and along the foundations of your home? Reach for an old orange! In a blender, make a smooth puree of a few orange peels in 1 cup of warm water. Slowly pour the solution over and into anthills to send the little pests packing. Repeat the process if they return.

Find out how to get rid of fungus gnats.

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What to do with old oranges - mosquito repellent
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Make your own mosquito repellent

If you’re not crazy about the idea of rubbing onions all over yourself to keep away mosquitoes (yes, onions are actually a DIY insect repellent!), you may be happy to know that you can often get similar results by rubbing fresh orange or lemon peels over your exposed skin. It’s said that mosquitoes and gnats are totally repulsed by either scent.

Find out the best mosquito repellent plants to grow in your yard.

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Uses for oranges - orange peel spiral
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Get rid of funky garbage disposal odours

“My grandma used to put the orange peels down the garbage 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 odours.”

Here’s how to clean absolutely everything in your kitchen, according to Charles the Butler of CTV’s The Marilyn Denis Show.

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Woman reaching into fridge
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Deodorize your refrigerator

Orange peels won’t just eliminate the smell of trash but can clear up any lingering odours 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.

These clever cleaning hacks can help take the hassle out of housekeeping.

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cleaning shower
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Make a natural cleaner

You can make a natural cleaner for your home just using old 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.”

Don’t miss these green cleaning tips for the bathroom.

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orange drink
Photo: Nadir Keklik/Shutterstock

When life hands you old oranges, make orange lemonade!

No, really… This is the perfect summer sipper! Get the recipe here.

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orange peels
Photo: Kseniia Konakova/Shutterstock

Never spend a dime on another fragranced candle

“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.

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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.

Find out the best foods to eat for healthy, glowing skin.

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cleaning glove
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Clean up grime

Squeeze orange peels over “sticky” spots caused by spills or the residue from adhesive 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.” If that doesn’t work, try using a pencil eraser—it makes quick work of sticker residue!

Discover 25 more cleaning tricks for hard-to-remove stuff.

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orange salad
Photo: Megan Betteridge/Shutterstock

Liven up your salads

Add oranges to a salad for a citrus-y kick or make an orange-based salad using this recipe.

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orange cinnamon clove
Photo: Anton 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°F for 30 minutes. Then grind the peels up and put them in a sachet that can be placed anywhere around your home. You can experiment with adding a cinnamon stick or clove essential oil as well.

Here are more home hacks that’ll stretch your decorating dollar.

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candy orange chocolate
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Candy orange 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 flavour and texture.

Now that you know what to do with old oranges, find out 45 clever new uses for aluminum foil.

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Originally Published on Reader's Digest

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