What is Sweet Orange Oil?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Sweet orange oil is an essential oil extracted from Citrus sinensis, also known as the sweet orange. Sweet oranges are native to China, but today they are cultivated all over the world and they are utilized to make juice and essential oils as well as being eaten plain. Many people who eat oranges have noticed the distinctive scent which is released when the rind is ruptured in preparation for peeling; this scent is the result of the release of fragrant sweet orange oil.

Oranges, which are used to make sweet orange oil.
Oranges, which are used to make sweet orange oil.

The traditional method for extracting sweet orange essential oil is a cold pressing, in which the peel of the orange is squeezed at roughly room temperature to rupture it so that the oil is released. Processing the oil can be a bit tricky, and several techniques have been developed to facilitate smooth and even extraction. It is also possible to distill sweet orange essential oil, but this process usually yields an inferior oil which is not preferred.

Sweet orange oil may be included in citrus-based toners.
Sweet orange oil may be included in citrus-based toners.

This essential oil has a sweet, crisp, refreshing fragrance and a yellow to green color. For people who practice aromatherapy, sweet orange essential oil is used to elevate mood, as it is believed to stimulate happy, warm feelings. The oil is also used to treat digestive complaints, and in a diluted form, it may be applied to the skin to treat dry, flaky, irritated skin.

One thing to be cautious about when purchasing sweet orange oil is the extraction method. Cold pressed oils tend to smell better, and distilled oils can increase photosensitivity when applied to the skin. It is also important to pay attention to the dilution level of the oil. Pure sweet orange oil can be an irritant, and needs to be diluted before use in a carrier oil or cream if it is going to be applied directly to the body or taken internally.

One use of sweet orange oil can be in a homemade skin toner which is applied after baths and showers to refresh the skin and help it retain moisture and stay clear. It can also be blended with massage oils for a relaxing massage, and it may be utilized in an aromatherapy diffuser to scent a room. Home herbal remedies can also be prepared with sweet orange oil, with the oil adding to the remedy and covering up unpleasant tastes and smells which are sometimes associated with herbal preparations. Food grade oils can also be used as food flavoring.

Citrus essential oils are known for their uplifting scent.
Citrus essential oils are known for their uplifting scent.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


My sister is a distributor for an essential oil company and she has told me about many of the benefits of using sweet orange oil. I think there have even been studies done showing how it can have cancer benefits. If this is true, it shows how powerful this oil can be.


My girls and I like to make our own lip balm and use food grade orange oil for one of the flavorings. I buy orange oil from the same place where I buy my supplies.

I know that food grade orange oil wouldn't have the same benefits as the essential oil, but for what we use it for it works out great. The scent smells pretty strong in the bottle, but when it it mixed in with the hot beeswax and olive oil, it isn't nearly as strong, but has just the right amount of orange smell and flavor. It is really hard to resist this sweet orange taste.


I use essential oils for both medicinal and aromatherapy benefits. Sweet orange oil is one of my favorite citrus oils and it is also one of the most inexpensive ones.

One of my favorite ways to use this is to add a few drops to a diffuser in my office. When orange oil is diffusing, I can tell a significant difference in my mood and ability to focus and concentrate. It is hard to be in a bad mood when you get a whiff of this oil.

Even taking off the cap and smelling the oil without putting it in the diffuser will give me a lift. I use other citrus oils like tangerine and grapefruit oil, or mix them together with a little bit of peppermint for a truly invigorating scent.


I am not surprised there are so many sweet orange essential oil benefits. Any time someone peels an orange in a room, the sweet orange aroma is so potent and can be smelled throughout the whole room.

Even though it sounds like a lot of work to extract this oil, I think the benefits would be worth it. Whenever I make smoothies I always leave out the orange peel because it has a bitter taste, but when it comes to an essential oil, that would be completely different.

Post your comments
Forgot password?