About Citric Acid

We have all heard of Vinegar as all round cleaning agent, this acidic solution is a great rinse aid, neautralises soap scum and disinfects - not to mention it is cheap. So how can we top this?

With Citric Acid of course.  Just a teaspoon (approx 10g) to one litre of water and you have the same acidic solution as vinegar, which you can use in all the same ways and more!

By diluting Citric Acid in water, you have magically created an acidic solution with a pH approx. 2.2. The pH of vinegar ranges between 2-3 depending on what it was made with.  

They both perform the same cleaning function, but Citric Acid does not come with the pungent smell like Vinegar, in fact it is easy to scent naturally using essential oils or even pantry items like Vanilla essence. 

Being in crystal powder form it is much easier to store, a 750g bag of Citric Acid is equivalent to at least 75 litres of Vinegar. Plus you have the option of powder of liquid depending on the cleaning task. 

Speaking of which, here are some ways to use this one simple ingredient around your home

  • Removes hard water stains- a solution with a six percent concentration of citric acid will remove hard water stains from glass without scrubbing

  • Fabric Softener- add a teaspoon or two to the fabric softener compartment of direct to the rinse water, it will neautralise any left over soap and prevent stiffness is your socks and towels.

  • Rust Remover - soak items in solution to dissolve rust from steel  

  • Bathroom Spray- Dissolve 2-3 Tablespoons in 1 litre warm water and spray your affected areas  

  • Mouth Rinse - Citric acids kills bacteria and is a general disinfectant so can be used as a mouth rinse. But be careful – too much could cause tooth decay.

  • Rinse Aid  - bring sparkle to your glassware and cutlery, use in the rinse water in your dishwasher or even in the sink

  • Bath Bombs - We call them fragrance bombs, as they don't have that much cleaning power but a great way to release fragrance in the bath, shower or even the toilet plus it is a bit of fun!

  • Face Masks - Treat green fly, mildew & black spot. Use to freshen citrus plantsCitric acid reduces fine lines, is very good in preventing wrinkles, removes dead cells, prevent acne and treats uneven skin tone. Making this a darn fine ingredient for facials and homemade scrubs.

  • Treat Foot Odour- and toenail infections Use equal quantities of citric acid and bicarb in a bucket large enough for feet, fill it up with lukewarm water and add few drops of tea tree oil. Immerse your feet in it both morning and night for a few days.

  • Cleans dentures - Soak your dentures in a cup of warm water and teaspoon of food grade citric acid to help disinfectant and whiten  

  • Jewellery Cleaner - Soak diamonds in warm water and citric acid, rinse and wipe until sparkling.  

  • Descales and Disinfects - Washing Machine In an empty washing machine, add two tablespoons of citric acid, use hot water, and run on the longest cycle.

  • Car cleaning  - Can be used to clean radiators and wheels  

  • Preservative- Citric acid is present in a lot of processed food and the labels show it as “E330”. It is used in the canning process as it helps to maintain a healthy Ph balance inside the foods and helps to prevent botulism (a harmful form of food poisoning).

Made up of common simple elements of Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen (C6H8O7) it is naturally occurring in citrus fruits from which it was first derived and how it was originally produced.

Unfortunately production using fruits stopped in the early 1900's and worldwide it is made synthetically using a black mould, Aspergillus niger, which creates citric acid when it feeds on sugar. 

Unfortunately production using fruits stopped in the early 1900's and worldwide it is made synthetically using a black mould, Aspergillus niger, which creates citric acid when it feeds on sugar. 

Although this sounds a bit gross the reality is we produce a lot of food from mould, like cheese, and Penicillin was discovered from a mould called Penicillium rubrum.  However it would not be right not to address the environmental impact of producing it this way. 

There are numerous components required to make Citric Acid, some of which are simple and natural like the glucose or corn starch. However it does also require more toxic chemicals hydrogen chloride, and ammonium nitrate. It uses a lot of water and energy and is not without its waste and pollution. 

Under Your Sink is still on the worldwide search for Citric Acid produced the old way from citrus fruits, however no luck yet. In the meantime we have to take hit on this one, because although its production is not ideal look at all the uses it has, you can replace so many other commercial products with just this one! 

This is the only way we can start to offset the production of it while we push for greener production methods, which are already underway by the industry. 


Thank you to the various sources relied upon the compile this article

healthloine. (n.d.). What Is Citric Acid, and Is It Bad for You? Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/citric-acid

PubChem. (n.d.). Citric Acid. Retrieved from https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Citric-acid

Science Direct. (n.d.). Citric Acid. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/citric-acid

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Citric Acid. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citric_acid


Article has been updated 21 December 2020

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