How to Extract Limonene From Oranges

Written by darby stevenson
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How to Extract Limonene From Oranges
Many citrus fruits contain limonene. Orange peels contain a fairly high concentration. (orange and red orange fruit image by Tomo Jesenicnik from

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.

Skill level:

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Things you need

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

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  1. 1

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

  2. 2

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

  3. 3

    Cap the tube and shake vigorously for five minutes.

  4. 4

    Let the tube stand for five minutes.

  5. 5

    Dilute the solution 10:1 with water.

Tips and warnings

  • 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.

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