What happens to the leftover peels once you consume lemons and oranges? The most common answer would probably be a wet waste bin or a compost at the most. Interestingly, there are multiple ways before the citrus waste gets reused before it decomposes.
But what if we could make cleaners out of them for free?
“Like many environmentally conscious people, I used to put away the citrus peels (lemon and orange) in the compost bin. But after a while, I figured out multiple uses of the same from turning them into home cleaners to personal care products,” says Kaustubha Sharma, an entrepreneur practising sustainable lifestyle for the past two years.
Kaustubha says that one of the best things to do is make an all-purpose home cleaner out of the peels.
“Once the juice gets squeezed out, collect the peels in a box and store in the freezer. After a few hours, move it in a jar and fill it with white vinegar. Now, leave it for two weeks in your fridge,” explains Kaustubha.
Once the mixture matures, it can be used to clean glass window panes, hard stains and other sticky areas in your kitchen. The same mixture can also work to clean toilets, washbasins and bathrooms too.
“This is an environmentally friendly and chemical-free solution to potentially replacing the chemicals available in the market. There is often no need to buy such strong chemical solutions for soft stains that do not require a hard treatment,” Kaustubha added.
Citrus peels also act as an effective cleaning scrub for oily dishes or even metal items like copper, brass, steel and chrome.
Moreover, an effective solution requires less investment in terms of time and money.
But, it is also okay if there is no vinegar available at home, and one does not want to take the pains to get one from the market.
Kaustubha says the other simple way the citrus waste could get used is by straining the peels in a container.
“The juice extracted should then be diluted by water and load it in a spray bottle. The solution becomes efficient enough to clean the kitchen counters, glass surfaces, or other surface areas like the coffee table,” Kaustubha says.
Revealing her little secret, Kaustubha says her favourite method is splitting the peels into two parts.
“The first part of the peels turns to a spray cleaner explained above, whilst the remaining half with the peels gets boiled.
“The resulting paste can get added to mop water in a spoonful of proportions or used as an alternative to dish soap,” Kaustubha said.
Beyond home care
The other common way to make use of citrus peels is to clean the microwave. “It needs adding a few peels to a bowl and running the microwave for a few seconds,” Kaustubha says.
The method helps to absorb the smells from the cabin and makes cleaning the stains easier.
Apart from environmentally friendly home care products, citrus peels can also be used as face and hair scrubs.
Kaustubh adds that citrus peel scrub acts a natural way to remove dead cells and exfoliate skin instead of using chemical infused products from the market.
“Rubbing the peels also works wonders for anti-dandruff treatment. Make sure you scrub the roots of the hair gently with a peel,” she adds.
Kaustubha says there are other fruit peels like banana and mango that could get reused and exploring the possibilities.
(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)