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Citric Acid: A Surprisingly Great Alternative To Harsh Household Cleaning Products

Lori Roach August 2023

Home Kuel Thought Leader: Lori Roach

Did you know that the average American family uses 30 bottles of household cleaning products every year, to the tune of around $178 per household?

That’s a chunk of money – and a whole lot of plastic going in the trash (less than 1% of plastic actually gets recycled.) 

Specialized Cleaners:

Laundry detergent makes up the largest share of the expense, but most households have an array of specialized cleaners – wood floors, tile, grout, carpet, countertops, stainless steel appliances, bathtubs and showers, toilets, ovens, air fresheners, and more. 

Go take a look at your inventory right now – I’ll bet you have a lot more products than you thought you did! 

“It’s time we take a closer look…at citric acid.”

Beyond the expense and the waste, most of these cleaners are toxic and can cause health problems ranging from irritation of the eyes and throat to headaches, chronic respiratory problems, and allergic reactions. 

What if you could replace all your household cleaners with something equally effective, non-toxic, and environmentally friendly?  

What if it were a readily available product that would cost you about $20? It’s time we take a closer look…at citric acid. 

What Is Citric Acid? 

Citric acid is a weak organic acid that is found naturally in citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, and oranges. It is a white crystalline powder that is highly soluble in water and has a sour taste. 

In food and beverages products, citric acid is used to enhance the flavor of sour candies, soft drinks, and other products. It is also used as a preservative to prevent spoilage and extend shelf life. 

And it’s an amazing cleaner. Many commercial cleaning products have citric acid as an ingredient since it’s an effective cleaning agent for many surfaces around your home.  

Citric acid is generally considered to be environmentally friendly and safe. In addition, it is a naturally occurring substance and is biodegradable. Overall, citric acid is safe when used in moderation and according to instructions. 

Conveniently, it can be purchased at many different types of stores, from grocery stores to health food stores to big box stores like Walmart and Target. Look near the canning and food preservation supplies. Amazon has a big selection as well. And a bag of citric acid will last for a good long time, for just a few dollars. 

“You can mix it with water to create a cleaning solution for your kitchen and bathroom.”

How Can Citric Acid Be Used? 

1. Cleaning: Citric acid is a natural cleaning agent that can be used to clean various surfaces around your home. You can mix it with water to create a cleaning solution for your kitchen and bathroom. It works particularly well on hard water stains and soap scum. 

2. Dishwasher: You can add citric acid to your dishwasher to help remove hard water stains and buildup. Simply add a tablespoon of citric acid to the bottom of your dishwasher before running a cycle. 

3. Laundry: Citric acid can also be used in your laundry to help brighten and whiten clothes. You can add a tablespoon of citric acid to your wash cycle along with your regular laundry detergent. 

4. Descaling: Citric acid can be used to descale coffee makers, kettles, and other appliances that use water. Simply mix a tablespoon of citric acid with water and run it through the appliance. 

5. Food preservation: Citric acid can be used as a natural preservative for certain foods, such as fruits and vegetables. It can also be used to make homemade jams and jellies. 

When using citric acid for cleaning follow the instructions carefully and avoid direct contact with the skin and eyes. Keep it out of reach of children and pets. Like any substance, citric acid can have negative environmental impacts if it is used in large quantities or disposed of improperly. In the quantities needed for household cleaning, it’s very safe.   

Homemade Cleanser Recipes:

Try these easy recipes for homemade cleansers with citric acid: 

1. All-purpose cleaner: 

  • 1 tablespoon citric acid 
  • 1 cup water 
  • 1 tablespoon dish soap 
  • 10 drops of essential oil (optional) 

Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well before using. This all-purpose cleaner can be used on a variety of surfaces, including countertops, sinks, and floors. 

“These homemade cleansers are effective and easy to make.”

2. Toilet bowl cleaner: 

  • 1/4 cup citric acid 
  • 1/4 cup baking soda 
  • 1/4 cup borax 
  • 10 drops of essential oil (optional) 

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and then pour the mixture into the toilet bowl. Let the mixture sit for 15-20 minutes, then scrub the bowl with a toilet brush and flush. 

3. Dishwasher cleaner: 

  • 1 tablespoon citric acid 
  • 1 cup water 
  • 1 tablespoon dish soap 

Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well before using. Spray the mixture on the inside of the dishwasher and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. Then, run the dishwasher on the hottest setting. 

4. Hard water stain remover: 

  • 1/4 cup citric acid 
  • 1/4 cup baking soda 
  • 1/4 cup salt 
  • 10 drops of essential oil (optional) 

Mix all ingredients in a bowl to form a paste. Apply the paste to hard water stains on surfaces such as sinks, showers, and faucets. Let the paste sit for 10-15 minutes, then scrub the surface with a sponge or brush and rinse with water. 

Moreover, these homemade cleansers are effective and easy to make. Just be sure to test the solution on a small, inconspicuous area first to make sure it doesn’t damage the surface. 

Ready To Give Citric Acid A Try? 

Are you ready to make the switch away from harsh chemical cleansers to less toxic, natural products? With just a little effort – and a lot less money – you can make your own household cleaners that work just as well as the store-bought variety. 

Citric acid is an easy product to get you started. Let me know how it works for you.

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About the Author:

Lori Roach’s professional career has encompassed convention management, corporate training, education administration, and – most important to her – full-time motherhood.  As she entered her mid-fifties, she found herself moving to a new city – leaving her friends and job behind just as she became an empty nester. Seeking both purpose and a new challenge, Lori started a blog, CircleSquareOval.  Her goal is to help every woman “shape a modern midlife” by focusing on self-discovery, confidence, and connection to the world around them.

 A bit of a gypsy at heart, Lori has relocated twenty-two times in her life, making her something of an expert on settling into a new space, unpacking and decorating quickly, and creating a feeling of “home”.  She joins Kuel Life as a Home Category Expert.

You can read more from Lori at CircleSquareOval and find her on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest as well.