25 Uses For Lemon Peels…Including Lemon Vinegar!

Whenever I walk into a grocery store produce section I have this uncontrollable urge to buy citrus! It seems I can’t leave the store without buying 4 or 5 lemons or limes. If you follow me on Pinterest you will see I have a bit of an obsession with lemons. My Lemon Joy” board has over 340 pins!!

Can you blame me??? Lemons are amazing!  They truly are the “multi-purpose” fruit! They have so MANY purposes that I wasn’t even going to ATTEMPT to include them all in one post. So today we’re going to start with the lemon PEEL and work our way into the juice (in a future post.)

I got the idea for this post when I decided to try making my own Lemon Vinegar. I personally like vinegar just the way it is and the smell never has bothered me, but when I start using it at home the “boys” act like I’m spraying napalm around the house!  They are so dramatic! (I have no idea where they get THAT from!) I’d seen all kinds of pins on Pinterest about a cleaning solution made of ORANGE peels and vinegar, and decided to try it out with lemons instead. It was worth a try if it would reduce the whining around here. :-)

I didn’t have any lemon peels just laying around, but I had just purchased a bag of lemons (big surprise) so I decided to juice them and freeze the juice for later use, then I went ahead and sliced up the peels.

I had enough to fill two quart-sized mason jars, then I poured in vinegar until it reached just under the neck of the bottle. I put the lid on tightly and I waited. TWO WEEKS I waited! Which for me is like TWO YEARS! lol.  I am the most impatient person I have ever met, besides my Dad. :-)  I actually had to put the bottles away in a cupboard so I couldn’t see them and be tempted to use it prematurely.

But I am happy to report that it was worth the wait!  Not only did the vinegar now have a very nice lemony aroma (you still smell the vinegar, but not nearly as strongly as before) it cleaned stuff like crazy!

All-Purpose Lemon Vinegar Cleaner:

  • Fill container of your choice with cut up lemon peels.
  • Add vinegar to cover the peels. Seal with tight-fitting lid.
  • Put it away and forget about it for two weeks.
  • After two weeks, strain the lemon peels from the vinegar then add water. I used on a 50/50 mix of water and lemon vinegar.

The first place I tried my new cleaning solution was the place in my kitchen that gets the greasiest and dirtiest…the stove. Specifically the stove hood! It’s kind of a litmus test for cleaners around here. If it can clean THERE, it can clean ANYWHERE!  And it cut through the grease and grime like it was nothing! I am really LOVING this stuff!

So what else can you do with Lemon Peels?

The list might surprise you!

Here are 25 MORE things to do with lemon peels:

Skin Lightener/Brightener
Lemon is a natural skin lightener because of the citric acid in them which is a bleaching agent. Apply leftover lemon peels to your hands, elbows and heels to refresh and lighten the skin and tighten pores.

Garbage Disposal Deodorizer
Lemon (or orange) peels tossed regularly into the garbage disposal will keep the garbage disposal smelling fresh.

Simmering Stove Top Scents
Add lemon rinds to simmering water along with cloves, cinnamon sticks, and orange peels to make a delightful aroma AND humidify the air.

Ant-Proof Your Kitchen
Scatter small slices of lemon peel along thresholds, windowsills, around door entrances, and near any cracks or holes where ants or pests may be entering. Ants do not like lemon and will not enter your home. Lemons are also effective against roaches and fleas.

Coffee Cup Stain Remover
Put a section of lemon peel into a stained coffee mug and add water. Let it sit for several hours, then wipe with a cloth. Stains should disappear.

Refrigerator Freshness
Cut lemon in half and let it absorb fridge smells.

Tea Kettle/Coffee Pot Cleaner
For mineral deposit build up in your tea kettle, fill the kettle with water, add a handful of thin slices of lemon peel and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and let sit for an hour, drain, and rinse well. For coffee pots, add ice, salt and lemon rinds to the empty pot; swish and swirl for a minute or two, dump, and rinse.

Microwave Cleaner
Add lemon rinds to a microwave-safe bowl filled halfway with water. Cook on high for 5 minutes, allowing the water to boil and the steam to condense inside. Carefully remove the hot bowl and wipe away the mess with a damp towel.

Chrome Polish
Cut through mineral deposits on chrome faucets and other tarnished chrome by rubbing with a squeezed lemon half, rinsing, and lightly buffing with a soft cloth.

Copper, Brass, & Stainless Steel Polish
Brighten copper, brass, or stainless steel by dipping a juiced lemon half in salt (you also use baking soda or cream of tartar for the salt) and rubbing on the affected area. Leave on for 5 minutes. Then rinse in warm water and polish dry.

Stove Top Humidifier
If your home suffers from dry heat in the winter, put lemon peels in a pot of water and simmer on the lowest stove-top setting to humidify and scent the air.

Cutting Board Refesher
The antibacterial properties of lemons make them a good choice for refreshing cutting boards. After disinfecting give the surface a rub with a halved lemon, let sit for a few minutes, and rinse.

Brown Sugar Keeper
Add lemon peel (with pulp removed) to brown sugar to help keep it moist and easy to use.

Lemon Zest
Zest is simply grated peel, and it can be used fresh, dried, or frozen. If you don’t have a zester, use the smallest size of a box grater. To dry zest, spread it on a towel and leave out until dried, then store in a jar. To freeze, use a freezer-safe container. Use zest in salads, marinades, baked goods, grain dishes, etc.

Lemon Twists
Use a vegetable peeler or a knife to cut the peel into long strips, cutting away the white pith which is bitter. These can also be frozen in a freezer-safe container or bag. Great in cocktails, sparkling water, and tap water.

Lemon Extract Powder
Using the zest or twists from above, dry the strips skin-side down on a plate about 3 or 4 days. Put in a blender (or spice grinder) and pulverize into a powder. Use the powdered peel in place of extract or zest in recipes.

Lemon Sugar
Add lemon extract powder (see above) to sugar, or use fresh twists, put them in a jar with sugar and let them infuse the sugar.

Lemon Pepper
Mix lemon extract powder (see above) with freshly cracked pepper.

Candied lemon peel
Candied peels can be eaten plain, or dipped in melted chocolate, used in cake, cookie, candy, or bread recipes.

Lemon Sugar Scrub
Mix 1/2 cup 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 sugar mix all over your skin, rinse. Feel the softness!

Nail Whitener
Whiten fingernails by rubbing with a lemon wedge.

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

Grater Cleaner
Remove dried food from your grater by rubbing with the pulp side of a cut lemon.

Bake discarded orange or lemon peels until they darken. These create natural, fragrant firelighters.

Trash Can Deodorizer
Throw a few lemon peels in the bottom of the can from time to time to keep it smelling fresh.


Remember…..When Life Gives You Lemons…..Don’t Throw Away The Peels! 


What do you use Lemon Peels for?


Print Friendly
Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on Twitter109Pin on Pinterest46.9kGoogle+0

Enjoy This Post? Never Miss Another!

Subscribe to Jillee's FREE email newsletter and receive more great tips and ideas!



  1. Casey says

    What about pouring some of the lemon/vinegar mixture in the rinse cycle when washing clothes? Will it still soften? and leave a lemony scent to the clother?

  2. Karen says

    I have a Meyer lemon tree and right now it has dozens of lemons in various stages of ripening. I just love it and give away lots. Thanks for all the tips! Last year I made Limoncello from lemon rinds using Giada’s recipe. Delicious!

    • Sue S. says

      I was going to recommend making Limoncello too! I have a Meyer Lemon tree (it’s a lemon crossed with a tangerine I think?) and my Limoncello turns out orange, but is super delicious! I buy French lemonade at World Market (with the wire swing tops) and after I drink the lemonade, I sterilize the bottles and use them for my homemade limoncello.

  3. kathy says

    i dry the lemon peels. when they are completely dried out i grind them down in a coffee bean grinder. i mix this in with my homemade dishwasher soap to use as the ctiric acid. has been working great and smells divine

  4. Karen423 says

    I clean my white sink with lemon and baking soda. I sprinkle baking soda in the sink and then scrub with non scratching sponge (I use the new one natural one that can go through the dishwasher to sanitize it). Then go through with a couple of lemon slices, the lemon juice reacts with the baking soda on tough spots. Scrub the sink with the lemon (mostly the pulp, but use the peel like a scrubber on dark marks from utensils), let dry then rinse away. Run left over lemon down the disposal.

  5. Beth Norred says

    I LOVE CITRUS ALSO.. so glad to see this post, as it reminds me to get some, and freeze it while its still fresh. i hate not having fresh citrus and Cilantro in the Winter months. My mouth waters at the thought of squeezing them.. lol LOVE your blog and so happy to get the daily post with all your hard work.. THANKS Jillee =)

  6. says

    I will never throw away my lemon peels again!!! Never knew how wasteful I was. Live and learn. Thanks, Jillee, for the education.

  7. says

    You’ve just reminded me about a tip I heard about the lightener. You can supposedly put lemon juice on sunspots and greatly reduce it’s appearance. I keep meaning to do it on an accidental souvenir from Kauai on the side of my face and this was a perfect reminder!

    • Jenna says

      Do not go outside with lemon or lime on your skin, you will get your skin burned=phytophotodermatitis.

  8. Christina says

    I have one with lemon going right now. I can’t wait to use it – I opened it and it smells wonderful! I did one with orange peels the first time but the lemon one seems much stronger and very lemony. I love this stuff. Can you put the flesh in too or just the peel?

  9. Nancy says

    I tear lemon peel into ½” pieces and sprinkle them outside in areas that I don’t want the neighborhood cats to, uh, use. They really do seem to hate the smell and avoid the area now!

  10. Laura N. says

    First, Thank you for the work involved in this daily blog. Second, I have been making the lemon enzyme for months, and two weeks ago I pulled out my most recent batch and it had the mother of all ‘mother’s growing. It smells like vinegar and not at all like previous batches, My question…how is this different? I’m not talk’n techno stuff…I’m curious as to smell, color, clarity, general cleaning….
    Thanks again to you and your forum for us ‘not so hard core’ living frugal individuals.

    • says

      Laura…I’m not quite sure but I would try giving it a good shake, strain it, dilute it and clean as usual. Shouldn’t hurt anything. If you find it’s not as effective as before you might want to start another batch. I’m going to look into this some more.


  1. […] even use it as a water conditioner for our humidifier. Here is a link in case you haven't tried it: 25 Uses For Lemon Peels?Including Lemon Vinegar!One Good Thing by Jillee | One Good Thing by Jillee Wife to Jim and cat mom to Tucker, Benny, and Sadie Reply With […]

  2. […] life is awesome, you only get one run at it, and if you do it right, you can make lemonade (or super swank DIY projects) out of the lemons life throws your way every single day. And I carry a reminder of that with me […]