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

It turns out oranges are more than just a great-tasting source of vitamin C. Here are 16 genius household hacks that start with old oranges.

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What to do with old oranges - make kindlingPhoto: Shutterstock

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 pomandersPhoto: Shutterstock

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 lawnPhoto: Shutterstock

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 antsPhoto: Shutterstock

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 10 of the most disgusting house bugs.

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What to do with old oranges - mosquito repellentPhoto: Shutterstock

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 spiralPhoto: Shutterstock

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.”

Don’t miss these DIY tricks to freshen up your car.

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fridgePhoto: A-photographyy/Shutterstock

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.

Find out more clever uses for salt all around the house.

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cleaning showerPhoto: VH-studio/Shutterstock

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.”

Check out 30+ more brilliant uses for vinegar all around the house.

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orange drinkPhoto: Nadir Keklik/Shutterstock

When life hands you old oranges, make orange lemonade!

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

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orange peelsPhoto: 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.

You should also get to know the best air cleaning plants for the home, according to NASA.

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exfoliatorPhoto: Anneleven.com/Shutterstock

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.

Chances are, you’ve already got all the ingredients you’ll need to make these homemade facial masks.

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cleaning glovePhoto: sipcrew/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.” If that doesn’t work, try using a pencil eraser—it makes quick work of sticker residue!

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orange saladPhoto: 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.

Here’s how to choose the ripest oranges to add to your recipes.

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orange peelsPhoto: ffolas/Shutterstock

Give your skin a boost of vitamin C

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.”

Find out the 13 essential vitamins your body needs every day.

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orange cinnamon clovePhoto: 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 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.

Find out 20+ clever tricks to make your whole home smell amazing.

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candy orange chocolatePhoto: Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock

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.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest