Whether or not you love the tangy taste of grapefruit, it's easy to appreciate its fresh, citrusy scent – especially when that scent is covering up something less pleasant, like the odor of last night's fish that still lingers in the kitchen. Boiled grapefruit rinds make a super-easy DIY deodorizer. Use them in combination with other aromatics to make a simmer pot, which is basically just a pot of simmering water that's infused with delicious scents. As long as the water simmers, the smell of fresh grapefruit should fill your kitchen and beyond.
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How to Boil Grapefruit Peels
It couldn't be easier to boil grapefruit peels for a homemade deodorizer: As long as you can safely operate the stove, it's basically impossible to screw up boiled grapefruit rinds. Start by trimming away any flesh that's left on the peels. The peel of one grapefruit is generally more than enough for a simmer pot, but it's up to you to decide how much peel to use. The more you use, the stronger the scent.
Cut or tear peels into several strips and drop them in a sauce pot or slow cooker. Add enough water to fill all but the top inch or two of the pot and turn the heat on low. If you're using a pot over a burner, the goal is to keep the water just at a simmer – that is, just hot enough that you might see occasional bubbles and some steam but not hot enough for a roiling boil.
Keep the water simmering for as long as you want, as long as you're nearby to supervise. Just pour in more water every 30 minutes or so to replace what has evaporated.
Safety should be your top concern when you're boiling grapefruit peel or making any kind of simmer pot. Never leave the pot of hot water within reach of kids or pets, place the pot on a back burner (or place the slow cooker at the back of the counter) and turn the burner off when you're not in the kitchen.
Aromatics to Pair With Grapefruit
It's not strictly necessary to add anything but grapefruit peels to your simmer pot, but it can be fun to experiment with different scent combinations. Try making an all-citrus deodorizer with lemon, lime and orange peels, or combine cranberries and grapefruit. Other aromatics that pair beautifully with grapefruit include sprigs of lavender or rosemary, vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks and fresh ginger. You can also boost the strength of the smell by adding essential oils.
If you're stumped for ideas, head to a home decor or big-box store, or anywhere that sells a wide variety of candles. Sniff all the candles that include grapefruit scents to see if you can find a particular combination that appeals to you, then try to recreate it at home.
Making Grapefruit Peel Air Freshener
Using boiled grapefruit rinds in a stovetop simmer pot will make your home smell great for a day. Making grapefruit peel air freshener lets you recreate that scent every day. There are a few different ways to make DIY air freshener sprays that smell like grapefruit. One easy way is to fill a spray bottle with water and 10 to 20 drops of grapefruit essential oil.
Using real grapefruit takes a little more advance planning. Fill a mason jar with grapefruit peels, removing any fruit from the peels first. Cover the peels with vodka, seal the jar and store in a cool, dark place for at least a week to infuse the vodka with the grapefruit scent. Strain the liquid and fill a spray bottle halfway with it, then add water to fill.
Spray the mixture into the air as an air freshener, or use it to clean nonporous surfaces. Vodka makes an effective non-toxic cleaner and disinfectant.