I really didn’t like throwing citrus fruit peels in the compost after only using it for one thing, like juicing or zesting. I didn’t really think that was very zero-wastey of me. Citrus peel contains lots of vitamin C and other health benefits. So I have tried a number of different ways to reuse them because of all the magic they can do! These are my favorite 3 Zero Waste Uses for Lemon Scraps and also the most practical.
How to use already zested, peeled, or juiced lemons.
- Cleaner/Sponge replacement. Literally you just grip half of the leftover lemon like you would a sponge and scrub away your sinks, faucets, stove tops, coffee pots, cutting boards, microwave, ovens, bathtubs, showers, toilet (with gloves hopefully), tiles etc. The acidy and essential oils being released does all the magic. Such an inexpensive tool that smells yummy! Some say to use salt, soap, baking soda or washing soda for a grit or bubble factor on tough jobs. I usually scrub my bathtub every two weeks or so in the morning when I have so must energy from drinking my lemon water! If the timing isn’t right stick the lemons in the fridge and use as a cleaner in 3-5 days.
- Tea/Water Garnish. There are so many benefits to citrus peel. Why not use the good stuff that we usually don’t eat fresh and make DIY lemon tea!? The easiest way is to slice your leftover lemons and soak in a pitcher of cold water for a few hours and enjoy. Another way to use fresh lemons is to slice and pour hot water over, let sit for 4-6 minutes and enjoy lemon tea. You can also perserve your lemons and enjoy at any time by slicing and drying the lemon peels on a cookie sheet, oven or dehydrator. Than use alone or blended with other herbs for hot or cold brew tea.
- Homemade Dish Washer Detergent. Brendid.com hosts on of my favorite recipes for dish detergent. She doesn’t mention using already peeled, zested or juiced lemons but they work great. How I collect them is after I use a lemon (Lemon water, homemade salad dressing or vegan lemon bars are my go-to’s), I remove as many seeds as I can and than toss the leftover lemon in the freezer. When I get enough or run out of detergent I thaw them out and cook up a batch. I’ve been using this for over a year now and I love it. Keep in mind every dishwasher is different as well as water contents, so you may have to adjust amount and/or rinse aid. We only use about 2 teaspoons of liquid for a full load. I also use white vinegar for the rinse aid.
More ideas on Zero Waste Uses for Lemon Scraps:
- stain/grease remover
- bug repellent
- homemade lemon extract
- infused vinegar
- candied lemons
- deodorize shoes
What’s your favorite way to reuse lemons?