How to extract oil from the skin of oranges

Written by zora hughes
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How to extract oil from the skin of oranges
The orange juice industry generates 5 million tons of citrus peel waste each year. (oranges image by Maria Brzostowska from

If you think oranges are just good for eating and for orange juice, think again. The peel of the orange actually has a lot of health and cleaning benefits. The natural oils in the orange peel are being used commercially in everything from plastic to household cleaners. Extract the oil from the orange yourself and use it around your own house. Orange oil helps relieve minor inflammation internally or externally and as an antiseptic, as it inhibits microbial growth and helps to disinfect wounds. Orange oil is also useful in decreasing motor parts.

Things you need

  • Oranges (any amount)
  • Grain alcohol
  • Glass jar
  • Blender
  • Coffee filter

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  1. 1

    Using a paring knife, trim away the orange peel in strip, being careful to leave avoid as much of the white pith behind.

  2. 2

    Place the peels skin-side down on a plate or paper towel and leave out to dry for three to four days, until they are completely dry and shrivelled up.

  3. 3

    Place the orange peels in a blender and finely grind.

  4. 4

    Place the ground up peels in a glass jar. Pour enough grain alcohol into the jar to cover the ground orange peels.

  5. 5

    Place the lid tightly over the jar and shake vigorously for several minutes. Shake the jar several times over the next couple of days. The shaking warms the alcohol a bit which helps produce more oil.

  6. 6

    Pour the orange peel and grain alcohol mixture through a strainer, holding a bowl underneath the strainer.

  7. 7

    Cover the remaining mixture with cling film and allow alcohol to evaporate completely over the next few days. Once the alcohol has evaporated, the remaining orange oil is ready for use.

Tips and warnings

  • Mix 28.4 g (1 oz) of the orange oil with 1 litre (1 quart) of water for a general household cleaner.

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