Why Are People Eating Oranges In The Shower On TikTok?

Experts break down the benefits and downsides of this unusual trend.

From hair masks to cold rinses, people incorporate many different shower rituals into their routines. But a particularly interesting one that’s caught hold on social media is eating an orange in the shower.

The concept is simple: Turn on your shower, grab an orange, get in and start peeling and eating the fruit, enjoying all that citrusy goodness. Although there’s no way to really say who first tried this shower experiment, some link the trend to a 2015 Reddit post from a since-deleted account that described the “feel good” experience of shower oranges. That same year, the “Shower Orange” subreddit was created.

More recently, the shower orange concept has reached new audiences on TikTok, where a growing number of videos extolling the virtues of this bathing ritual.

“I first saw this concept on TikTok,” registered dietitian Maggie Michalczyk told HuffPost. “It was just a video of someone peeling an orange in a steamy shower with mellow music and no real context as to why. It looked really relaxing, and I could almost smell the citrusy orange from watching the video. I thought, ‘I’ve gotta try that because I bet it would be really energizing!’”

Michalczyk tried the shower orange process with Sumo Citrus, which is easy to peel. And she found she enjoyed the way the shower steam exaggerated the scent.

“I feel like there’s a lot of wellness rituals that catch fire and anything that’s somewhat simple to do, but that could make you feel a little bit more energized or motivated, is something I think a lot of people are willing to try,” the dietician explained. “I know for me personally, living in Chicago where we don’t get a lot of sunlight in the winter, I’ll try anything for a boost of energy on a gray day, which is another reason why eating an orange in the shower appealed to me.”

But what exactly are all the purported benefits of eating an orange in the shower? Are they based on science? And are there any downsides to this process? Below, Michalczyk and other nutrition experts break it down.

You get an enhanced sensory experience.

“People are trying out the TikTok trend of eating oranges in the shower because, supposedly, the shower’s heat enhances the smell and taste of oranges,” said registered dietician and nutrition writer Alyssa Northrop.

The idea is that the shower and fruit elevate each other.

“Peeling an orange in a steamy shower helps release that energizing aromatic citrus scent,” Michalczyk said.

As a result, your at-home shower may feel more like a fancy hotel or spa stay, and the smell of orange can be extra delectable.

“The shower humidity may grab the essential oils of the orange, especially released when peeling it, and circulate the smell around the especially small space of the shower,” said registered dietitian nutritionist Dawn Jackson Blatner.

However, she believes the flavor or taste of the orange is less likely to be stronger in the shower.

“This is not as likely to make as big of a difference in the shower since most of the essential oils are in the peel, not the flesh that you’re eating,” Blatner said.

The heat and steam from the shower can help release a stronger citrus aroma.
Apinya Phuangphem / EyeEm via Getty Images
The heat and steam from the shower can help release a stronger citrus aroma.

The sticky mess is less of an issue in the shower.

“If you’re lucky enough to have an especially juicy orange, eating it in the shower eliminates any sticky mess,” Northrop said.

Indeed, there’s no need to worry about having sticky hands after eating a shower orange since you can easily wash them immediately.

“It’s true that peeling and eating an orange is messy, and being in the shower, you can easily rinse it off,” Blatner echoed.

Still, that doesn’t mean there’s no mess from the remains of the orange.

“Consider getting a similar effect by just adding a couple of drops of citrus essential oil to the floor of your shower,” Blatner said. “Then you won’t have to deal with the peel or seeds and you will get the potential mood boost of the citrus scent.”

The process offers a relaxing form of self-care.

“Eating oranges in the shower reminds me of using essential oils in a sauna or placing cucumber slices over your eyes in a steam bath,” Northrop said. “It can transform a daily task into an aromatic experience of relaxing self-care.”

As noted, the shower orange can create more of a spa environment. In addition, the specific aroma is also associated with positive benefits.

“Scent is a really powerful way to impact our emotions ― specifically, citrus is energizing, mood-enhancing and stress-reducing,” Michalczyk explained.

She recommended placing dried eucalyptus in the shower for a similar relaxing effect and playing around with the water temperature.

“One thing I haven’t tried but could be a good energy-boosting combo would be turning your water cold for the last minute of your shower to get the benefits of a cold shower or cold plunge, which decrease stress and inflammation with the energizing and relaxing nature of peeling and orange at the beginning of your shower when it’s hot,” Michalczyk explained. “So it would be peeling an orange in a steamy hot shower to get those relaxation and energizing benefits of the citrus smell, and then turning your water cold for the last minute to benefit from decreased inflammation and stress that is a benefit of cold exposure.”

Citrus fruits have health benefits.

Ensuring you get more healthy citrus into your diet is also a benefit of this ritual. Oranges are a great source of vitamin C.

“Only about 10 to 12% of adults in the U.S. are meeting current fruit and vegetable intake recommendations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” Northrop said. “The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends most adults consume at least 2 1/2 cups equivalents of vegetables and at least 2 cups equivalents of fruits daily. So if this trend increases people’s intake of vitamin C and fiber-rich oranges, I am all for it.”

Eating an orange in the shower is not very mindful, however.

“In my practice, I emphasize mindful eating. So I see a potential downside to this trend if people are multitasking by showering while eating an orange for breakfast,” Northrop said. “I would much prefer people focus all of their senses on the taste, smell, texture and experience of the orange itself rather than showering at the same time.”

If you designate time for paying attention to the taste and experience of eating the orange separate from washing up in the shower, you might be able to have a mindful experience, but this is probably not practical in the long term. Multitasking in the shower is also not the safest idea, especially if you’re prone to slipping.

Blatner advised against “coupling” eating with other activities like showering, working at your desk or watching TV.

“This is because the activities can start acting like a ‘cue’ that you need to eat,” she explained. “So every time you get in the shower, you really don’t want it to cue you to have to eat. It’s fine to eat an orange in the shower once to do the experiment, but don’t make it a habit. It’s really best to eat and enjoy food from a plate while seated at a table.”

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