How to Extract Limonene From Oranges

Updated February 21, 2017

Limonene is used in cosmetic products, cleansers and insect repellents. If you need limonene for a project in the home, you may want to extract it yourself rather than ordering from a supplier. There are several different methods for extracting oils (like limonene), however, a new method involving methanol is the simplest and requires the least material preparation.

Cut the orange peels into small strips with the knife or razor. Make your pieces approximately .1 grams in mass.

Place the strips into the test tube. Fill with approximately 5ml of methanol.

Cap the tube and shake vigorously for five minutes.

Let the tube stand for five minutes.

Dilute the solution 10:1 with water.


Do not include the flesh under the peel in your cuttings.


Methanol is unfit for human consumption, so use this extraction for cleaning, insect repellent and perfume projects.

Things You'll Need

  • Orange peels
  • Sharp knife or razor blade
  • Methanol
  • Test tube with stopper
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About the Author

Darby Stevenson began writing in 1997 for his high-school newspaper, the "Alsea Valley Voice," which won him statewide awards for Best Feature Article and Best Personality Interview. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in international studies and a Bachelor of Arts in religious studies from the University of Oregon.