Why Does Orange Juice Separate? (Particles, Processes + More)

Drinking a glass of orange juice is a great way to start the day. It makes you energetic and alert. As a result, you might have noticed something as you paused in between sips.

Taking a look at the glass and observing the particles, you might be asking why does orange juice separate? Here’s what I found out about this phenomenon!

Why Does Orange Juice Separate?

Orange juice separates because its two main components have varying densities. The solid orange particles known as the pulp are light and compact. Inevitably, they will float and stay on the surface. However, some store-bought orange juice will not separate because they have undergone homogenization to make them more stable.

Find this separation peculiar and want to know more about how it occurs, its causes, and exceptions? Read on to learn more!

Is It Normal For Orange Juice To Separate?

Yes, it is normal for your orange juice to separate. This is because its components have different densities and compositions.

The liquid part is a mixture of water, vitamins, minerals, and sugar while the solid part is the pulp, the lanky portion of the orange fruit that has a low density and tends to float to the top.

Is It Normal For Cold-Pressed Orange Juice To Separate?

Yes, it is normal for cold-pressed orange juice to separate.

Cold-pressing is the process of using a hydraulic press to extract the juice, while the product is filtered by a sanitized cloth.

Your cold-pressed OJ separating is not necessarily a sign that it has gone bad. On the contrary, it’s a sign that the juice is 100% natural!

Why Does My Orange Juice Separate?

Your orange juice separates because of sedimentation.

Since orange juice is made up of pulp and juice extracts which belong in a different weight class from each other, they will inevitably divide.

The pulp is made of loose fibers and has a low density. Since they are light and loosely packed, they float at the top of the liquid.

Why Does Orange Juice Have Its Cloud Separate?

Both freshly-squeezed orange juice and store-bought orange juice have a cloud concentrate due to their production processes.

Freshly squeezed orange juice has its cloud concentrate because it is not closely filtered and no machine has touched it.

The fresh OJ’s fine cloud is made up of orange membranes, protein, lipid, and carbohydrate particles. The particles have not undergone homogenization and differ in size.

Additionally, freshly squeezed orange juice contains an enzyme that causes the liquid to coagulate and form solid particles in the OJ.

On the other hand, store-bought orange juice is not squeezed individually. These oranges are tossed by bulk to a huge press.

This results in juices and oil mixing, making a cloud separate. This opaque orange juice tastes bitter because it is not pure orange juice.

Is There Orange Juice That Won’t Separate?

Why Does Orange Juice Separate?

Yes, some processed orange juice won’t separate.

Before the juice extracts are pasteurized to extend shelf-life, the product is homogenized which means it is blended to make it the same size all throughout. As a result, this orange juice does not separate.

In addition, the homogenization process makes the orange juice more stable, resulting in a uniform, clean appearance.

Finally, emulsifiers that allow the smooth combination of pulp and juice are added to the formula.

Why Does Orange Juice Have Stuff At The Bottom?

The stuff at the bottom of a glass or bottle of orange juice are called sediments, and they sink because they have weight.

Sediments are the nutritious parts of the orange juice, it’s the part of the beverage that is not diluted in water.

90% of orange juice is water, and the remaining 10% is the vitamins, fiber, and minerals that have not been completely integrated into the drink.

If left for a short period without any disturbance, the sediment will sink to the bottom.

Is It Bad to Drink Orange Juice That Has Separated?

No, it is not bad to drink orange juice that has separated.

This is just a natural occurrence where the pulp floats to the top due to being virtually weightless. It does not mean that the OJ has gone bad and has fermented.

Just shake or give your orange juice a little mix and it’ll look normal again.

How Can You Separate Orange Pulp From Fresh Orange Juice?

You can separate the orange pulp from the juice using a method called filtration.

There are various ways to remove the solid pulp particles from the orange juice, including using a strainer as a tool.

However, if you do not have any strainer available, you can use coriander and cheesecloth to filter out the pulp and sediments.

If you want to learn more about orange juice, you can see our related posts on whether orange juice ferments, if orange juice is carbonated, and whether orange juice is a solution.


Fresh squeezed and cold-pressed orange juice separate because they are 100% organic and do not contain any additives to unite the particles. Both have pulp floating on the surface of the juice as well as sediments found at the bottom.

On the other hand, store-bought orange juice does not separate because it has undergone a homogenization process to make the particles more stable and uniform.

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