Citric acid: how to make the most of this versatile product

Let’s find out how it can help with household cleaning and beyond

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By Alex

citric acid

Do you really know citric acid? Here’s how to best use it at home for your cleaning and for the well-being of your body.

A little known natural resource

Citric acid, as useful as it is little known… Who among you, for example, has ever tried to use it to degrease and clean bathroom fixtures or dishes in the kitchen?

This compound, present in all citrus fruits, is an excellent natural cleaning remedy that you can add to our guide to ecological home cleaning.

By learning to use citric acid correctly, you will avoid using all those commercial products rich in substances that pollute the environment and are toxic to our body.

Where is it

We said that it is found in abundance in citrus fruits, such as lemon, but also in kiwis and strawberries.

Today, however, it is mostly produced through the fermentation of yeasts and fungi. It has the appearance of a small crystal and occurs in various chemical forms.

Citric acid properties

It has numerous properties that make it a versatile product: it acts as a softener, pH regulator, sanitizer and anti-limescale.

The only precaution to follow is to avoid its use on wood, stone and marble. It is also not recommended on all those surfaces that do not tolerate acid products.

If you want to use it on clothes and fabrics, dilute it first and absolutely avoid pouring it in pure form.

It is also used in the food industry to make jams and jellies more compact and as a preservative. It is rich in antioxidants, which fight free radicals, is diuretic and helps absorb iron. It exerts a stabilizing action on our entire skeletal system and has an antibacterial action. Let’s now see in detail.

Uses for the home

Citric acid can be used for household cleaning, along with other natural ingredients. Let’s find out how to use it:

Fabric softener

It can be an excellent softener for the washing machine: you only need 50g of citric acid and 500ml of water to obtain a natural softener for your clothes.

Mix well by shaking the bottle and pour at least 100 ml into the washing machine compartment.

If you want to perfume your clothes, also add a few drops of essential oil in the fragrance you prefer.

For cleaning windows

It is also very effective for cleaning windows at home.

To make glass and mirrors shiny, avoid classic spray products and make a solution with 1 teaspoon of citric acid, 1 teaspoon of ecological dishwashing detergent and 1 liter of distilled water.

As a descaler and as a rinse aid

This compound is a valuable anti-limescale and rinse aid: if you want to remove limescale from the bathroom fixtures or sink, combine 150 g of citric acid in 1 liter of water.

Mix everything and pour the product onto the sponge or use a spray container to reach it directly on the surface. You can use the same product for the washing machine and the dishwasher, like a common rinse aid and limescale remover.

For cleaning sanitary ware

Citric acid can be used as a toilet bowl cleaner: proceed this way to obtain a natural toilet disinfectant.

In a bowl, place 25 g of citric acid and 210 ml of distilled water, then pour 10 ml of ecological detergent and 5 drops of lemon essential oil.

Mix until you obtain a clear liquid that you can use to disinfect your toilet.

As a drain cleaner

This substance is also perfect as a drain cleaner: if the problem is blocked pipes, citric acid together with baking soda can dissolve any blockage.

First prepare a solution with 30 g of citric acid dissolved in 200 ml of water and set it aside.

Then pour 100 g of sodium bicarbonate into the pipes and immediately afterwards the liquid prepared by you.

Citric acid is a valid ally for cleaning the house.
Citric acid is a valid ally for cleaning the house.

For the well-being of your body

Even for the health of hair and body, it proves to be a good ally, here’s how to use it.

For hair care

Excellent as a hair conditioner: pour 1 tablespoon of citric acid in 1 liter of water and then rinse your hair after shampooing. They will appear smoother and silkier, an ideal solution for those who suffer from frizzy hair.

For the bathroom

If you have a tub at home and love taking relaxing baths, you can easily make fizzing bath balls.

You must combine 50 grams of citric acid, 100 grams of bicarbonate and 50 grams of corn starch.

Work the mixture by adding a few drops of water and when it seems compact enough you can put it in some molds.

You can use cake molds or even small plastic jars, as long as they are short.

Leave to rest for a couple of hours, so that they solidify well and then remove them. If they seem damp, wait for them to dry in the open air.

The advantages of citric acid in home cleaning

As seen, it is a very versatile ingredient that can be used in various ways in household cleaning and laundry. Here are some of the benefits of using citric acid in these applications:

  • Reduction of household detergents to be purchased. This substance can replace many detergents and cleaning products, reducing the need to purchase a wide range of cleaning chemicals.
  • It is possible to create a variety of homemade cleaning products, such as degreasers, glass cleaners, descalers, and much more, using it as a basic ingredient.
  • This product is effective in a few moments as a limescale remover: it is particularly effective in removing limescale and mineral accumulations from surfaces such as taps, showers, and electrical appliances such as kettles and coffee machines. This means you can clean quickly and effectively.
  • It’s effective in both the washing machine and the dishwasher. It can be used to remove limescale deposits in washing machines and dishwashers, helping to keep them efficient and in good condition.
  • If used with common sense, self-production of cleaning products can lead to significant savings, as it is generally less expensive than purchasing commercial products.
  • It has fewer odors than vinegar: unlike vinegar, citric acid is odorless and does not leave bad odors. This makes it a nicer choice for household cleaning.
  • A little is enough to get a good result. This acid is very concentrated, so a small amount is enough to achieve good cleaning results, which means one pack can last a long time.

Citric acid, when not to use it

However, there are some circumstances in which it is not appropriate to use citric acid. Let’s see them below:

  • It should not be used directly on fabrics, as it may cause stains or damage the materials. It is therefore best to avoid it when it comes to laundry or cleaning fabrics.
  • On delicate surfaces: avoid using it to clean marble, stone, terracotta or even wood surfaces. The acidity of citric acid may damage or stain these materials.
  • On acid-sensitive materials: these include some plastics, but all delicate materials may suffer damage or corrosion.
  • Along with baking soda. While it is true that in some situations baking soda and citric acid can be combined to create a useful effervescent effect (such as in drain cleaning), it is important to be aware that these two substances neutralize each other in some applications. For example, when they are mixed together in significant quantities, the effervescent effect can make them less effective. Therefore, it is essential to follow the specific instructions for use.

How to store citric acid

Correct storage of citric acid is important to ensure its durability and effectiveness over time. So let’s see how and where to store it.

First of all, always store it in a cool, dry place. A closet or pantry away from direct sources of heat and sunlight is ideal. Prolonged exposure to heat or light can reduce the effectiveness of citric acid over time.

Always use a tightly closed container, such as a glass jar or airtight box, to avoid moisture and prevent it from hardening into blockages. Citric acid has a tendency to absorb moisture from its surroundings, which can cause it to agglomerate. Be sure to keep it away from moisture. Moisture can cause citric acid to harden, making it difficult to use. Keep the container dry and well sealed.

Finally, keep it out of reach of children and pets. Make sure it is stored in a safe and inaccessible place. If you store citric acid in a container other than the original one, be sure to label it clearly so as not to confuse it with other substances.

Where to buy citric acid

Citric acid can be bought in any pharmacy or natural and organic products shop. You can also find it in herbalist’s shops.

It is sold in the form of granules or powder, but it is always better to buy packages that can be hermetically sealed and that allow you to store it away from light and heat sources.

Warnings and contraindications

Citric acid is generally considered safe when used appropriately, but there are some contraindications and warnings to consider:

  • Powdered citric acid can be irritating to the skin, especially if the skin is sensitive or if there are cuts or abrasions. It is advisable to wear gloves when handling it in powder form to avoid skin irritation.
  • Citric acid powder or solution may be harmful if it comes into contact with eyes. If it gets into your eyes, rinse immediately with plenty of water and seek medical attention if irritation persists.
  • Accidental ingestion of citric acid in large quantities can cause gastrointestinal problems such as heartburn, nausea and vomiting. Keep products containing them out of reach of children and pets to avoid accidental ingestion.
  • Finally, be aware of potential allergic reactions. If you have a history of allergies or sensitivity to acidic substances, it is important to use caution when using citric acid and monitor for any adverse reactions.

Always use this resource consciously and in compliance with what is written in the instructions for use.

Other household cleaning guides

Also discover our guides for cleaning your home in a more eco-friendly way: