Banana and citrus peels can be as useful as the fruits themselves. Making use of the peels can create some great results, so instead of tossing your citrus peels or banana peels away, put them to work and give them a second life. Although there are so much more things you could do with your kitchen scrapes, here are a few suggestions to get you started:
1. Air Freshener
You could use orange or other citrus peels as a room or air refresher. To make a simple air refresher add citrus peels with cinnamon sticks, and cloves to simmering water. This will not only add a wonderful fragrance to your house but humidifies the indoor air as well, or make a potpourri instead. I’ve also written in the past about other methods to make your home smell fantastic and you can find them here
2. Teeth Whitening
To whiten your teeth, simply rub the inside of an orange or banana peel over your teeth for about 2 minutes and rinse with water afterwards. Repeat daily or every other day and you should see some results in a few weeks. You can also find more methods in my previous article 13 natural methods for teeth whitening
3. Skin Whitening
The vitamin C in lemons or oranges works as a natural skin bleacher. Lightly rub the peel onto your skin to tone and cover up dark blemishes or spots.
Reduce wrinkles on your forehead, face or cheeks by regularly applying banana peel to it. Gently rub the inside of the peel over your forehead and rinse with lukewarm water afterwards.
5. Soothe Itchy Bug Bites, Rashes, Or Irritated Skin
To soothe itchy bug bites, rashes or irritations, rub the inside of a banana peel twice a day on the affected area to find instant relieve and promote healing of the skin. Banana peel is one of the 15 best natural ways to relieve mosquito bites which you can find here
6. Lemon Sugar Scrub
Finely chop the peel of 1 lemon and add to ½ cup sugar. Add enough oil (olive, coconut, jojoba, or almond oil) to make a paste. Wet your skin in the shower and massage the mix all over your skin. Rinse and dry. You could also use coffee grounds instead of the sugar to tackle cellulite. You can find more scrub recipes in my previous article how to make your own cleansing scrubs for smooth and soft skin.
7. Nail Whitener
Rub your nails with juiced halves of lemon to whiten your nails, rinse with water afterwards.
8. Lemon Sugar
Give your sugar extra flavor by adding organic lemon zest (or any other organic citrus zest of your liking). With the zest of 3 organic lemons you can make about 2 cups of citrus flavored sugar. Remove the zest and chop roughly. Pulse 1 cup sugar with the zest in a food processor until the zest is finely ground. Add remaining sugar and toss to combine. Spread on a baking sheet or pan and let sit at room temperature for about 1 hour.
Note: always use the zest of organic citrus fruits to avoid pesticides.
Add a tangy taste to foods by using organic orange, grapefruit, or lemon zest. Try to scrape only the outer layer of the peel, as the white stuff underneath has a very bitter taste. No need to use them immediately you can dry or freeze the zest for later use.
10. Absorb Humidity From Brown Sugar
Dried orange peel can absorb humidity from brown sugar. Simply place half a dried peel into the bag.
11. Citrus Scented Drawer Sachets
Dry citrus peels and place them in sachets to freshen your drawers. You could also add other spices to your liking, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, or cardamom.
12. Green Cleaning
Clean dirty sink or counter-tops: citrus peels can be used to thoroughly scrub your sink or counter-tops. Apply salt or baking soda to the affected area and rub with juiced halves of any citrus fruit to get rid of dirty surfaces. Lemons work best. Rinse with plain water afterwards. Be careful on sensitive surfaces such as marble though. Try on a small spot first.
Clean coffee pot: add ice, salt and lemon rinds to your coffee pot and swirl around for a few minutes and rinse well afterwards.
Remove mineral deposits in tea kettle: fill the kettle with water and a handful of lemon peels and bring to a boil. Let sit for an hour and rinse well with water afterwards.
All-purpose lemon cleaner: add lemon peels (or any other citrus peels) to an empty jar and pour white vinegar over it. Close the lid and let sit for 2 weeks. Strain the liquid and dilute in a 1:1 ratio with water. Add this mixture to a spray bottle and use as you would use a normal all-purpose cleaner. You can also find another great natural household cleaner recipe here
Sanitize cutting board: clean your cutting board first then rub with a juiced half of a lemon, let sit for a few minutes and rinse with water.
13. Composting and fertilizers
Banana and orange peels are great composting material. They are filled with nutrients to replenish your soil and they add nitrogen which helps plant leaves to grow. But don’t overdo it, too much nitrogen in your compost can have an adverse effect. If you don’t have a compost pile, you could add extra nitrogen and nutrients from banana or orange peels to your soil by applying them directly to planting areas. They rot quickly when buried in soil. You could also dry and grind them to use as a mulch.
14. Natural pest repellent
Instead of using chemical-laden pesticides try orange or banana peel first. Cut peels up and bury them 1 to 2 inches deep around plants to repel ants and aphids Find more information on how to get rid of ants naturally in my previous post
Bake discarded lemon peels until they darken to create natural, fragrant firelighters for your fireplace in the winter.
And now for the health benefits of the fruits themselves – find below 7 good reasons why you should eat bananas. After reading this, you’ll never look at a banana in the same way again: