Can You Put Orange Peels In A Garbage Disposal?

Orange peels are a type of food scraps you may generate at your home. They’re fragrant, leaving a lovely citrusy smell in your kitchen. So, could you put orange peels down your garbage disposal? If you’re wondering the same thing, continue reading to learn more!

What Can You Put In A Garbage Disposal?

There’s a lengthy list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to garbage disposals. Don’t add this, but that is okay. Don’t add too much, or you’ll end up with a clog. Avoid harsh cleaners; only use mild cleaners. The list of items goes on and on. 

For instance, most vegetable peels and scraps aren’t safe to put down the garbage disposal. Things like onion layers, celery stalks, corn husks, pasta, rice, and eggshells can wreak havoc on the plumbing beneath your sink. The fibrous nature of onion layers, celery stalks, and eggshells can wrap around the disposal blades, freezing them in place. 

When this happens, you get to tinker around in the disposal to free the blade, which is a hassle. Or, if you put rice or pasta in the drain, you might be left with a clog. These foods soak up water, swell in the drain, and cause issues.

So, it’s clear you need to be careful of what you toss down the disposal. Citrus peels, specifically orange peels, often raise questions when it comes to garbage disposals. Are they safe? Well, actually, they can go down the disposal. 

Should You Put Orange Peels Down Your Garbage Disposal?

Should You Put Orange Peels Down Your Garbage Disposal

Orange peels are a questionable thing for your garbage disposal. Right? Well, actually, they can be good for your garbage disposal. The beauty of orange peels in your garbage disposal is they offer a quick two-for-one deal. The disposal smells fresh and gets a quick clean. 

Bonus, right? We think so. If you want to put orange peels in your garbage disposal, there are a few things you should know. 

First things first, the cardinal rule of garbage disposals: don’t overdo it. Yes, it would be easy to send an excessive amount of orange peels down the drain, but you don’t want to end up with orange peels clogging the drain. That’s a whole problem in itself. 

You’d have to tackle the clog, and who wants to do that? Not us! So, here’s what you should do. You’ll need a few things:

  • Ice
  • Cold water
  • Orange peels

To safeguard the handy plumbing beneath your sink, start by running water with the disposal on just to make sure everything is operating normally. This helps ensure you don’t aggravate an existing problem (yikes!). 

Next, cut up the peels before you toss them down the drain. Although your garbage disposal technically grinds the food itself, the peels can get caught around the blade. If you’re a pro orange peeler, the peel might even be in one piece. So, chop it up before you send it away.

If you’d like to do a two-for-one and clean while the peels create a fresh odor, throw a few ice cubes in there with the peels. After making sure the garbage disposal works normally, pour the ice cubes and chopped orange peels into the garbage disposal. 

Turn on the cold water, then allow the disposal to run for 30 to 45 seconds until it sounds like the blades have cleared everything. Bonus: the ice can help sharpen the blades. 

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After the excessively loud crunching sound is done and the disposal sounds about normal, follow up with some hot water. The citrus oils help cut grease and fat buildup in the disposal. So really, this is an all-around win-win. 

How Do You Dispose Of Orange Peels?

If you have a garbage disposal, discard your orange peels there. The citrus oils in the freshly-ground orange skins will give the garbage disposal a quick cleaning and a lovely smell. 

If you don’t have a garbage disposal, you could add them to your compost pile. Or, if you appreciate the fragrant odor, simmer cut-up orange peels in a small pan with water, cinnamon sticks, and whole cloves. 

You’ll be left with the fragrance of sweet, refreshing home cooking. If you have a pot with grime stuck to the bottom, boil the mixture in there. The citrus will help loosen burnt-on food. It’s a win-win!

If you’re baking or cooking, zest the orange peels and use them in your baked goods or cooking. You can use fresh zest in various soups, stews, casseroles, and desserts.  

Or, if bubbly concoctions and baking isn’t your style, you can use dried orange peels as a fire starter. They burn longer than wood shavings and smell nice too. 

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Now, since not everyone has a fireplace (or a need for one, for that matter), you could also use them for fragrant purposes. Wrap the peels in used dryer sheets and put them in closets and drawers to help ward off stale odors.

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