Homemade Orange Oil

February 7, 2016Allison Murray
Why spend good money on something you can make at home? Gather those orange peels and make homemade orange oil and save!

Why spend good money on something you can make at home? Gather those orange peels and make homemade orange oil and save!

It’s pretty dang neat but oranges actually grow here. And lemons and limes and all of that jazz does really well here, too. There are these little oranges that you can get at the store for like 8 for $1 and Rob and I have been going nuts on them. We’re also getting after blood oranges, Cuties and Cara Cara oranges. We seriously just came back from the store where I got silicone caulk, he got a bunch of salt and sand and $9 worth of oranges. :)

And why shouldn’t we go nuts? they are in season and reasonably priced. It’s awesome. And since I also like to use orange oil in homemade cleaners and beauty products I made Rob start putting all of his peels to the side so I could harvest the oil from them. Waste not, want not!

You might be wondering, what can you even do with orange oil? If you love the smell of citrus it is FAB in homemade lotions and scrubs. You can add orange oil to vinegar to make your own natural cleaner for around the house. And since it’s antibacterial naturally it makes an awesome addition to your own homemade hand sanitizers I shared the recipe for a while back ago.

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Why spend good money on something you can make at home? Gather those orange peels and make homemade orange oil and save!

So grab yourself a bunch of oranges of whatever variety you prefer and be sure to put a little box in the kitchen for the family to throw their peels into and you’ll be on your way to a ton of homemade orange oil in no time!

For this project you will need:

  • Large amount of orange peels
  • Knife
  • Glass container with tightly fitting lid
  • Cheese cloth
  • Vodka

Why spend good money on something you can make at home? Gather those orange peels and make homemade orange oil and save!

Here are my orange peels hanging out on my homemade drying rack I made some time ago. To dry well you want to remove as much as the pith (white part) as possible. For the oranges with thinner rinds, like cuties, you are going to have a hard time separating it out. But, say, Cara Cara oranges have a TON of pith. You’re not going to get oil out of those and it’s going to add a lot to your dry time. Use a sharp knife to remove as much of the orange peel as you can. Toss it all some place to dry. I used my rack, hanging in the guest room closet, but you can also just put them up on a cookie sheet on top of the refrigerator, too. Just give them a stir every once in a while.

In all, I let my peels dry out for 10 days but that was a bit of overkill, truly.

Why spend good money on something you can make at home? Gather those orange peels and make homemade orange oil and save!

A mason jar works really well for this but I had these cute little jars and I wanted to use them. It was a terrible idea as the lids didn’t seal too well. You definitely want a tight seal.

With your peels nice and dry you can kind of snap them or crumble them in your hands. Break them up just a little bit and put into your jar(s).

Why spend good money on something you can make at home? Gather those orange peels and make homemade orange oil and save!

Now don’t use your fancy vodka for this next step because that’s just a total waste. See this stuff I’m using? The bottle says premium but it’s anything but :) The bottle is plastic and it cost me just over $4 with tax for an entire fifth or 750ml.

Why spend good money on something you can make at home? Gather those orange peels and make homemade orange oil and save!

Pour enough cheap-ass alcohol in to cover your orange peels.

Why spend good money on something you can make at home? Gather those orange peels and make homemade orange oil and save!

Close your jar up and give it a good, vigorous shake for at least several minutes. Set off to the side and repeat several times a day (or whenever you think to) for 4 days up to 7 days.

Why spend good money on something you can make at home? Gather those orange peels and make homemade orange oil and save!

As the alcohol starts to leech the oil out of the peels the liquid starts to take the orange color away from the peels and it tints the liquid inside.

Why spend good money on something you can make at home? Gather those orange peels and make homemade orange oil and save!

Place cheese cloth or a coffee filter over a bowl large enough to catch all of the liquid and pour the contents into the cloth.

Why spend good money on something you can make at home? Gather those orange peels and make homemade orange oil and save!

Wrap up the cloth and give it several good squeezes to wring out all of the liquid.

Why spend good money on something you can make at home? Gather those orange peels and make homemade orange oil and save!

Transfer the liquid to a clean jar (you can wash the one you started using in the first place) and, leaving the jar open, place a paper towel over top. Set someplace you don’t need to worry about it tipping over and wait a couple of days for all of the alcohol to evaporate off leaving you with pure, amazing orange oil.

Now isn’t that amazing? I always love making something at home for pennies so much better than spending good money on it. Once you start making your own orange oil and using it around the house you’re going the LOVE it, I guarantee you :)

Why spend good money on something you can make at home? Gather those orange peels and make homemade orange oil and save!

Comments (21)

  • kat newkirk

    February 8, 2016 at 6:46 PM

    put the filtered liquid in the freezer. neither the oil nor alcohol will freeze, but will seperate. the oil will be the top layer that you can carefully pour off. the remaining vodka, even the cheap stuff, will have a faint orange flavor. waste not!

    1. Allison Murray

      February 9, 2016 at 7:40 AM

      Awesome! This is good to know :) My Rob does something similar when he cleans walnut oil for oil painting. I didn’t put 2 and 2 together but you’ve got it down! :)

      1. kat newkirk

        February 9, 2016 at 11:00 PM

        you can increase the oil yield, and get quicker results, if you dice or mince the cleaned peels. this increases the surface area in contact with the alcohol.

        1. Allison Murray

          February 10, 2016 at 8:30 AM

          Awesome! Thanks for the tip!

  • Taswmom

    February 9, 2016 at 10:31 PM

    This is wonderful info! Thank you for sharing!

  • Cyn

    February 25, 2016 at 8:25 PM

    Is the drying necessary? Could one use fresh orange peels? I ask because I have nowhere to dry them that would not be disturbed by kids and pets (yes, even the fridge).

    1. Laura

      January 14, 2018 at 6:58 PM

      I don’t know if it necessary, but I dried my in the oven. I put them in a cookie sheet and let them cook for two hours at 200 degrees. That did the trick.

  • Misheila

    February 26, 2016 at 8:40 PM

    I love this idea. Thank you so much for posting

  • Kathleen

    March 3, 2016 at 4:44 PM

    For the large firm skinned oranges you could use a veggie peeler to take off the outer layer of rind before peeling or a micrplane. I do this with lemons and limes also for making flavoured butters, salts and peppers for seasoning.

  • E Perry

    April 2, 2016 at 4:21 PM

    Silly questions: How does one know when “all” the alcohol has evaporated? Is it necessary for “all” to be evaporated? How long does it take? It has been three weeks and I can still taste alcohol (predominately).

    1. Allison Murray

      April 2, 2016 at 7:29 PM

      Wow! I’m not sure why the alcohol taste hasn’t gone away! I haven’t used mine for food, just for cleaning but I went ahead and gave mine a taste. The smell of alcohol is completely gone but I don’t know that the taste actually is. It’s definitely a very strong flavor that might be a really concentrated orange peel flavor rather than alcohol, but it definitely is sharp. Are you planning to use this for food?

      1. Jason Nelms

        April 11, 2016 at 9:18 AM

        If you have a way to hold the liquid at 180 f, the alcohol will evaporate out and leave just the oil in an hour or so. (Ethyl Alcohol evaporation point is at 173.3. f)

        1. Allison Murray

          April 11, 2016 at 10:43 AM

          Wow! Thanks so much! I bet if I research this and try to figure out how to do just that. I appreciate your time and knowledge!

  • The Tiny House Farm

    June 4, 2016 at 1:05 PM

    I love this idea. We have several orange trees and i have wanted to use our peels for cleaning products. Do you know the ratio of water to oil for cleaning by any chance? I know the citric acid is probably pretty strong concentrated so I am hoping it will go a long way :)
    great post!

    1. Allison Murray

      June 4, 2016 at 9:11 PM

      I’ve used 1/4 ounce to 16 ounces of water with much success!

      1. Xiana

        June 17, 2016 at 1:31 PM

        Can you use this diy extract in homemade skin care and beauty products? And how long will it store?

        1. Allison Murray

          June 17, 2016 at 3:38 PM

          Yes, I do!

      2. Christina

        December 22, 2016 at 9:18 AM

        I bought orange oil and put maybe 3 to 4 tbl. In a regular spray bottle and fill with water and this is my cleaning solution. Works great

  • bhavna

    December 10, 2017 at 12:03 AM

    how many days approximately will the alcohol take to evaporate?
    And… can I use this for my skin?

    1. Allison Murray

      December 11, 2017 at 10:18 AM

      Yes! You can use it for your skin, though it’s a bit harsh for my own. It can take up to 2 weeks for it to evaporate completely.

  • Robert

    October 11, 2018 at 2:23 PM

    This is awesome stuff.

    I bought some orange oil and tried to make some with vinegar, but I will try the alcohol and see how that works.

    Thanks for the instructions.

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