31 Amazing Uses for Lemon Peels

31 Amazing Uses for Lemon Peels

I love lemons. They are bright, refreshing, and smell divine. I’ve gotten in the habit of squeezing fresh lemon juice in a glass of water to help wake me up (and my digestive system) first thing in the morning. When I first started, I’m ashamed to admit that I would usually just throw the lemon peel away (or toss it in the garbage disposal). But when my lemon habit really took off I started storing the peels. I’ve collected a lot, actually.

31 Amazing Uses for Lemon Peels

And thanks to the internet, experimenting, and other tidbits along the way I’ve also collected a lot of things you can do with those lemon peels. So without further ado, here are 31 uses for lemon peels.

Uses for Lemon Peels: Culinary

Did you know that lemon peels are nutritional power houses? Seriously?

Lemon Peels contain a spectrum of vitamins, minerals and fiber (things like calcium, potassium, and vitamin C) that can give your menu a nutritional boost. And even though you would have to consume large amounts of peel to glean significant nutritional benefits, it doesn’t hurt to throw in some peel when you can.

Remember, organic will be your best best when consuming the peel to avoid eating any pesticides.

1. Lemon Zest
Lemon zest is a common ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes. Zest some of your peel, use some now or freeze it for later. (Check out my favorite tool to get my zest.)

Don't throw your lemon peels away! Here are 31 ways to use them.

2. Lemon Pepper
One of my favorite seasonings, and easy to make. Check out  Lemon Pepper Seasoning by Simply Scratch.

3. Candied Lemon Peel
Um. Yum. What more do I need to say? I love this Candied Lemon Peel recipe by Luna Cafe.

4. Lemon Sugar
Doesn’t it just sound awesome? I haven’t tried this yet, but it’s definitely on my “to do” list. Check out this Lemon Sugar Recipe by Baking Bites.

5. Lemon Olive Oil
Give your olive oil a yummy makeover for a bright flavor. Here’s a simple recipe to get you started.

6. Lemon Extract
Sometimes I’m amazed at the things I never realized you could make yourself. Like this lemon extract.

7. Lemon twists and ice cubes!
Brighten your drinks by putting twists of the peel into ice cubes. Perfect for summer parties. Use a vegetable peeler (like this) or knife to make long strips, cutting away from the white pith which can be quite bitter. Again, these can be frozen.

8. Herb-Lemon Zest Butter
Another “what more do I need to say,” right? Get the recipe from bon appetit here.

9. Keep brown sugar soft
Adding some lemon peel (with traces of pulp and pith removed) to your brown sugar can help keep it moist and easy to use.

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Uses for Lemon Peels: Cleaning

Don't throw your lemon peels away! Here are 31 ways to use them.

10. Lemon AP Cleaner
Also known as lemon vinegar, this stuff is awesome at cutting grease and disinfecting. To make, simply place a bunch of lemon peels in any sized glass jar (mason jars would work great). Pour white vinegar over. Put the lid on and let it sit for 2 weeks (I promise, it’s worth the wait). Then strain the liquid. Combine this with water (using a 50/50 ratio) and then use as you would your normal all purpose cleaner.

11. Get rid of ants and pests
Place small slices of lemon peel along thresholds, windowsills, door entrances, or near  cracks or holes where ants or pests are lurking about. I haven’t tried this one yet (living on the third floor does have some advantages… no big ant problem where I live), but apparently ants do not like lemon and will not enter your home. Lemons are also effective against roaches and fleas.

12. Freshen your Fridge
Place a lemon peel or two inside your fridge to absorb smells and bring a bright citrus scent.

13. Trash Can Deodorizer
Throw a few lemon peels in the bottom of the can. This will also help absorb odors and keep things smelling fresh.

14. Simmering Stove Top Scents
This idea has been floating around pinterest for some time, and with good reason. You’ll make your house smell heavenly simply by adding lemon peels to simmering water. Throw in some cloves, cinnamon sticks, and orange peels. This adds a wonderful scent and humidifies the air.

15. Clean your tea kettle or coffee pot.
To clean mineral deposits in your tea kettle: Fill the kettle with water and add a handful of thin slices of lemon peel. Bring it to a boil then turn off the heat. Let is sit for an hour, drain, and rinse well.

To clean your coffee pot: Simply add your lemon peels with some ice and salt. Whirl everything around a minute or two and the dump and rinse.

16. Sanitize your cutting board.
Lemon’s natural acidity provides great antibacterial properties to home cleaning. After properly cleaning your cutting boards, rub the surface with half a lemon. Let it sit for a couple of minutes before rinsing.

17. Freshen and deodorize the dishwasher.
Add lemon peels to your dishwasher every now and then to help rinse and deodorize it.

18. Clean your microwave.
We don’t use our microwave much, but I wish I knew this secret back when I did! Add lemon rinds to a microwave-safe bowl filled halfway with water. Cook on high for five minutes, allowing the water to boil and the steam to condense on the walls and tops of the oven. Remove the hot bowl (carefully!) and wipe away the mess with a towel. Yes.

19. Deodorize the garbage disposal.
Use lemon peels to deodorize the garbage disposal and bring that amazing citrus smell to your kitchen. Fake lemon cleaners have nothing on the real thing. Simply put a peel or two down the disposal, flip the switch on (with the water running), and done.

20. Firelighters
Bake discarded lemon peels until they darken. These create natural, fragrant firelighters. So cool, and just in time for grilling season!

21. Make drawer sachets.
Dry your lemon peels (either out in the sun or in a dehydrator) and place them inside of fabric sachets. Add spices, as desired such as cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and cardamom. Place in drawers to freshen.

22. Clean your stainless steel, polish your chrome, and make your copper shine!
This one was my favorite as we’ve had some nasty residue on our steak knives that I’ve been trying to get off for a while. Simply sprinkle some sea salt on the metal, and then use the lemon peel to scrub away any dirt, grime, or stains. Rinse and polish! This is one of my most common go-to uses for lemon peels.

Don't throw your lemon peels away! Here are 31 ways to use them.

Uses For Lemon Peels: Beautiful & Promote A Healthy Body

23. Skin Brigthening Scrub
This will really perk your skin up. Go here to get the Skin Brightening Scrub recipe from Mommypotamus.

24. Nail Whitener
Whiten fingernails by rubbing with a lemon wedge.

25. Travel Sickness Cure
Suck on a slice of lemon to help you stop feeling nauseous.

26. Lighten age spots.
Here’s a fun use for a lemon peel: Many folk remedies suggest using lemon peel to help lighten age spots. Apply a small piece to the affected area and leave on for an hour. (I’d avoid too much sun exposure while it’s on your face.)

27. Soften dry elbows.
Use a half lemon sprinkled with baking soda on elbows; just place your elbow in the lemon and twist the lemon (as if you are juicing it) for several minutes. Rinse and dry.

28. Use as a skin tonic.
Lemon peels can be very lightly rubbed on your face for a nice skin tonic; then rinse (be careful around your eyes).

29. Make a sugar scrub.
Mix 1/2 a cup of sugar with finely chopped lemon peel and enough olive oil to make a paste. Wet your body in the shower, turn off the water, and massage the sugar mix all over your skin. Rinse off and bask in your smooth skin.

30. Make a scented humidifier.
If your home suffers from dry heat in the winter, you can put lemon peels in a pot of water and simmer on the lowest stove-top setting to humidify and scent the air. This is one of my favorite uses for lemon peels… especially during the holidays.

31. Make a foot soak.
Boil citrus rinds for several minutes. Allow to cool completely and strain. Add ¼ cup cow or almond milk, 2 tablespoons of cold pressed olive oil and a couple of drops of lemon essential oil. Soak feet for about 20 minutes and then pat dry to moisturize and soften feet.


What are your favorite uses for lemons and lemon peels?

 Don't throw your lemon peels away! Here are 31 amazing uses for lemon peels.


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About the author

Hi! I'm and I’m passionate about healthy living: feeling nourished, having energy, getting good sleep, and feeling strong. I believe healthy living does not have to be complicated or stressful. I’m a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist (RSMT) and a Certified Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst (CLMA). I’m also an avid researcher and love to read about nutrition, the body, and toxic-free living. Learn more.

View all articles by Robin Konie


  1. Olivia H.

    I love putting a little raw honey on an already juiced lemon wedge, with some pulp still on it, and lightly massaging it on my face for a easy homemade mask. It feels refreshing and smells great!

  2. Lisa

    I make my own perfume, use Vodka to steep lemon peels, this can also be used to make an air-freshener. If you like to drink you can make Limoncello, which I cannot drink…I am a sober Italian woman -LOL sorry if the Limoncello, offended anyone…..just my thoughts….

    1. Jane Heemstra

      We got hooked on lemon cello in October when we were in Italy. I’m looking for a good recipe.

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  4. Andries Meyer

    Very helpful hints and tips. I know doom also on oil stains on carpets avoids a massive stain if sprayed directly and fast onto the spill. Great web and stunning tips. Thank you.

  5. Jan

    Unfortunately, you have to be really careful that the lemons are organic. The box of beautiful lemons I purchased through the co-op lists three chemicals used to inhibit mold. One of those is used in goat wormer! Had to change my whole thinking about using the peels for anything we would be ingesting, or even putting them in the compost.

      1. Alex

        Unfortunately, ORGANIC isn’t always an option, at least around this area…. Sometimes I have to go to a store that’s about an HOUR away to find some organic products. And, some things are “seasonal” or maybe just not available in our area…. Any thoughts on how to deal if we can’t find organic products/foods?

        1. Post author

          You organic isn’t an option, I’d first scrub the lemon REALLY good, and I’d probably not use it very often for actually eating.

          In terms of other foods… do the best you can. If it isn’t an option, stressing about it will do more harm to your body than eating the best quality you can find… even if it’s not “ideal.” :)

        2. Jann Schott

          Have you ever tried to grow a lemon tree? I’ve read about people growing their own small, almost topiary type trees they keep indoors…and take them outdoors to get pollinated. I suggest putting the planter pot on casters to wheel it back and forth.

          1. Emily

            Citrus needs a LOT of sun. You would put an indoor citrus plant by a large window, use artificial sun bulbs on it a LOT, and get it in direct sun every minute you can. In northern latitudes, it probably isn’t worth the effort.

          2. Grandma GG

            I have been growing a Meyer lemon tree for years & I believe my biggest crop ever was nearly 20 very large lemons. I really don’t think it is worth all the bother except I do know it is organic.

        3. Shelley

          I wash all my fruit & veg in a solution of vinegar and lemon juice, it removes the polish from all the fruits .. sometimes organic is not available and I still work on the theory that you dont know what has come into contact with your produce.. and as I juice .. it is very important to know its clean :) a small sink of water … 1/4 cup of each and soak for 10 mins .. works a treat …

  6. Susan Davis

    Rub lemon on your hands after cutting up onions and garlic. It will take the odor off of your hands.

    1. Angela

      If you put a Little sugar too when you rub your hands with the lemmon peel, it takes out the odor… and they get sooooo soft!!

  7. LuAnn

    Just reading these simple, wonderful ideas gave me a lift! I hate to waste something that smells so good, and now I won’t have to. Thank you.

  8. veronica cardozo

    take the whole lemon, dry them out and then powder them and use in soups, broths etc………….

  9. Pingback: 31 Ways to Use a Lemon Peel | Herbs and Oils Hub

  10. karen

    You can use lemon to deter cats too. They really don’t like the smell but it does have to be reapplied. Squeeze the oil on the rind on what you don’t want them jumping on or getting into.

    1. kristyreal

      It’s not that cats don’t like citrus, it’s that it is actually toxic to cats. Don’t use citrus anywhere around cats unless you want them to have GI distress and diarrhea. Citrus essential oils are particularly toxic….even citronella essential oil cannot be used around cats – opt for lemongrass instead.

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  13. ceej

    I save all my lemon scraps from the week in a container in my fridge. When my hands are extra dry(which is often from dish washing!) or sore I cover the scraps in warm water then squeeze them through my hands for about a minute. I discovered this by chance after making some lemonade.
    My hands heal quickly and feel supple, it’s amazing what fruits of the earth can do.

      1. Emily

        After you squeeze a lemon, if your face breaks out, rub the lemon all over your face; it will prevent breakouts.

        You can also simply rub faucets and stoves with the half of a squeezed lemon to degrease and clean. Add baking soda to bad spots. I have cleaned ovens with lemons and baking soda – in spots, of course!

          1. Violet Olsen

            I use Basic-H wash for all fruits and vegs.takes every bit of pestisits, and anything else thats on them off.

            They sure are, love them.

    1. Rachel Blackett

      Oooo my best friend suffers from eczema really bad from washing her hands all the time (She use to be a nurse before she became a mum and can’t get out of the habit of “needing” to keep clean all the time)so I might have to suggest this to her!!

      1. kristyreal

        Tell her to switch to a simple, pure soap rather than an antibacterial liquid soap (they are actually detergents, not soap) or shower gel. A simple soap contains only fat, lye and water….there are very few on the market. Try Grandma’s Lye soap or Love My Face pure olive oil soap. Same with lotions…..get rid of the crap with 20 ingredients and look for one like those at Tropical Traditions. Odds are that she is reacting to one or more of those chemicals in her current skin care products.

    2. Shelley

      if you add a Tbspn of coconut oil to the water also … it is fantastic for your hands and the lemony scent mingled with the coconut is lush!! <3

  14. maria

    You can also preserve lemon peel in honey. Simply keep lemon peel in fridge. Once you have enough to fill a preserving jar, remove pith, chop into small pieces and place in a jar. Add honey and mix well. The jar will keep for weeks in the fridge. Can be used for baking.

  15. Lenny Webster

    Freeze a lemon in the freezer. Instead of using salt grate the skin over your meal as you do with salt and replace lemon back into the freezer till its needed again, enhances any meal.

  16. Pam

    There is a product called fruit and Veggie Rinse by Sunrider. I am a distributor with the company if anyone is interested :-) it’s the best stuff for cleaning our fruits and veggies. You can taste the difference. :-)
    Thanks for all the neat posts on lemon peels.

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  18. Jann Schott

    WHAT a great post!! Bookmarked it for next winter when hopefully our lemon tree will produce lots of fruit! We’ve been blessed the last 3 years with an overabundance of fruit. I usually grind the lemon peel in our garbage disposer with ice–sharpens the blade and cleans the disposer as well.

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  20. julie

    great post! since I have been drinking lemon water in the mornings I have a ton of leftover peels!

  21. Mandy

    I have a recipe using lime juice and zest and then adding what is left of the lime to the water for boiling the rice……I presume you could do the same with lemons? :)

  22. Nikia

    Oh I just had to reply to this one! I love lemons, they were seriously all I could eat for like a month or two of morning sickness. I refused all antinausea meds and just drank water and snacked on lemon slices all day long. It kept me hydrated and less nauseous in general but I still couldn’t really eat other foods.

  23. Angie K

    I am embarrassed to say the only contact I have with lemons is when I dine out and forget to ask for a glass of water *without* the lemon (which is every time). My mildly germophobic mind conjures up all sorts of horrific images of what happened to the lemon before it was sliced and put in my drinking water o_o… BUT! Skimming through all these ideas makes me want to be friends with lemon again. :> I’d love to have homemade lemon extract at my disposal ^_^! Citrus is a wonderful scent. So many cool ideas here. Thanks!!

    1. Post author

      Ha ha! I feel the same way about lemon in my water at restaurants. But it’s a different story when you have a bowl full of wonderful organic lemons in your fridge. :)

  24. Shannon

    I didn’t know I could use lemons to ward off roaches! Unfortunately, my apartment building has a bit of a problem with them. Though we have successfully kept them from being a problem for us, the occasional one does find it’s way into our bathroom. I will be cleaning my bathroom with lemons from now on!

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  28. Candice

    Lemons are also a natural aphrodisiac for men, rub a little lemon on the neck and wrists, he won’t know what hit him! (PS that’s why they started scenting chemicals with lemon scent back in the early days!)

  29. anne


    Will the AP cleaner (lemon vinegar) disinfect germs such as raw food (i’m thinking fish, poultry and meat)?

    I’m trying to get the absolute basics down when it comes to my own toxic free cleaners and was thinking this AP cleaner and your glass cleaner. Would you recommend anything else? Just want to be sure I can use it all over the kitchen (and other rooms!) and not contaminate any other food with raw food items.


    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      I use vinegar all the time to disinfect. For example, if I use a cutting board with raw chicken (my bamboo cutting boards are not supposed to go in the dishwasher), I’ll rinse and clean it with some soap water (Dr. Bronner’s diluted). Then spray it with vinegar and let it sit for 10 or so minutes. And then one final rinse. It will kill the bad guys. :)

  30. kavita takuli

    1 tsp gram flour
    1 tsp lemon juice
    1 tsp curd
    Pinch of turmeric
    Make the paste of all. Then massage on your face. Clean the face with water . This is natural homemade face cleaner. This is effective for pimple, acne, taning , lighten spots n dark patch, lighten skin color ton etc n many more.
    I hope u will like it.

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    1. Lydia Fish

      When I was a young broke instructor I used to make candied orange, grapefruit and lemon peel for Christmas presents. It’s lovely — and very easy to make.

  32. Emma

    I dry it grind it and use it in my teas and cook with it I use it in homemade polish for furniture and many more things I don’t through them out.

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  34. Lyn

    I have collected lemon pieces that went bad in my fridge or didn’t get used up. I keep them in a container to rot. When they are rotted to the point of a paste I use it for burns of any kind. I was taught this by a head chef when I cooked in a hotel 24 years ago. I’ve done it ever since. I happend to be cleaning the grill and my hand slipped off the grill stone and i burned the palm of my hand pretty badly. He put some of the rotten lemon on and the next day it was just a brown spot on my hand! It works for any type of burn. It smells like pennicillan.
    Thanks for all the other great ideas for lemons many of which I use but some new ones that I will definately try!

  35. Kat Armstrong

    I really love your suggestions, especially making a scrub!

    The only one that doesn’t quite work like all the blogs say is sanitizing a cutting board. Unfortunately the amount and strength of acid in a lemon isn’t strong enough to sanitize (even when you add salt), but it can kill about half of the live bacteria and germs left by raw meat on a board.

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  43. Rachel Blackett

    I squeeze the juice of 4-5 lemons into a hot bucket of water to wash my floors, not only does it smell yummy, but keeps roaches and ants away without having to leave lemon rind around the door :) And I find my floors feel cleaner too. Am thinking of trying on my windows too as I use window cloths, so maybe instead of just wetting the cloths, might dip in a bowl of water with some lemon in it

  44. Dolly

    Could you please tell me how to make a lemon oil …I have a very bad eczema almost covered my whole leg…and this been going since 1992…. So if anyone have a ingredients I can make it my self to use it so I can get rid of all my medicine and the steroid I have use for the last 20 years of frustrations and finding the best remedy… It’s a lot of good ideas I have read and they are amazing… But one thing I want to know is the mixture of lemon oil ..what ingredients I need to use…. Thank you so much to anyone read my post…


    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      I’m not super familiar with making lemon oil. Are you talking about extracting oils from the lemon peel or mixing lemon juice with other oils, like Olive?

    2. Anna Menchaca

      For exczema or any type of rash use coconut oil. It works wonders. Apply as you would lotion.

  45. HealthRegards

    Nice Article, Lemon peel has many amazing benefits, don’t throw it off, it reduce oxidative stress, weight loss,fight with cancer and prevents many degenerative diseases. Dry it in shades make it a powder and add them instead of vinegar for better health

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  47. Chris

    Getting Rid of Warts :-

    Put a wedge of lemon in a small container and cover with white vinegar – great for getting rid of warts. Simply rub the wart night and morning for about 2 weeks and it will be gone ! Thanks for all the other great ideas too.

      1. sam

        Can you tell me if lemon can use for man .I mean for man..power if not any other fruit do you that can help me I don’t want to take vigra thabkthanks

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  50. Joy

    I put citrus peels in water and boil for a citrus tea along with shreded ginger. Yum it is awesome.

    I’m certainly going to try these others as well. Thank you for all these wonderful ideas.

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  53. linda

    Be careful about the lemon on age spots. I zested a little pile of lemon rind and put it on a age spot on my cheek. I burned my face. I have a real dark age spot now!!! Twice as big as before. I know the post says to put peal on age spot and not zest, but in my mind thats the same thing. Good luck

  54. Esther

    I use lemonjuice at the end of my vacation when my blond hair turned a bit green of the pool water, I sprinkle juice in my hair and the green colour of the chloor will disappear.

  55. Phyllis

    Thank you for all these great ideas! I’ll be doing The Master Cleanse come Jan 2 and now I’ll be keeping all my rinds. I use H2O2 to disinfect my wooden cutting board. It sits under the sink in a spray bottle. You can see if foam as it seeps into the wood grains going after the bad guys.

  56. tina

    I was reading of your uses for lemon peels and I look forward to trying some of them out…but felt I needed to throw a caution out for one of your suggestions. You said that people can use them for age spots but try not to get “too much sun.” I live most of the year in the Caribbean. I am an American and learned the hard way that sun and citrus don’t go together. Lemon SHOULD NOT be put on their skin if they will be out in the sun at all and should be washed off if they intend to go out in the sun. If not, they could very well experience what I did..and that is to find brown patches…like age spots…only some can be big patches. It will eventually fade away…but if you are using it to get rid of age spots…this could make things look much worse! Everything else sounded pretty interesting.

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