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What Is Citric Acid and Why Is It a Safer Choice?

Citric acid is becoming more and more popular as people are beginning to understand many of the cleaning products their parents used aren’t all that safe. The global citric acid market is expected to grow at a 5.5 percent and 6 percent rate from 2017 to 2023, underscoring the demand for safer products.

Citric acid is derived from citrus fruit and corn versus the harsh synthetic ingredients found in conventional cleaning products. Even though citric acid is much gentler than the toxic ingredients it replaces, it has been found to be equally as effective in cleaning products. It cuts through grease and grime by binding to ions and tearing them apart. It also ties up minerals in the water to improve the effectiveness of soaps and detergents. It has natural antibacterial, antifungal properties as well.

9 Tips for Cleaning with Citric Acid

Cleaning with citric acid is easier than ever as more cleaners are hitting the market that use this miraculous, plant-based ingredient. We’ll give you 8 tips on how to clean your home with citric acid, from your kitchen and bath to your laundry and appliances. Who knew a single, safer choice ingredient could do so much? We did. That’s why we’re sharing.

Tip 1: Give Your Dishes and Dishwasher Some Love

It’s easy to just throw your dirty dishes into the dishwasher, add a detergent pack and run the cycle. But did you know your dishes don’t get as clean if you don’t have some citric acid to boost the detergent’s cleaning power? 

Hard water contains natural minerals, like magnesium and calcium, found in most groundwater. Most of us have hard water, unless you have a water softener installed in your home. Those hard minerals not only leave spots on dishes, but they cloud dishwashers, too. Citric acid breaks down hard water, balances the pH levels and make the soap in the detergent work better.

To get the cleanest, spot-free, shiniest dishes and dishwasher, follow these three steps:

  • Use a non-toxic dishwashing detergent with citric acid
  • Add a citric-acid based dish detergent booster to remove the toughest hard water spots and film
  • Add a citric-acid based dishwasher rinse aid to your machine once a month without the heated dry option to keep your dishwasher as clean as the day you bought it

      Tip 2: Let The Dish Soap Do All The Hard Work

      No one has time to labor over dirty cookware and dishes. Use a concentrated dish soap with citric acid to break down even the greasiest cookware without all the elbow grease. To save water, don’t leave your faucet running while you wash. Use your dishwasher as much as possible and let your dishware soak in a sink of water + dish soap while you clean up the kitchen. You likely won’t have to scrub any dishware – just rinse and dry or put them in your dishwasher to finish the job.

      Here’s another great tip: dish soap is meant to break down grease, so use it on more than just dishes and cookware. Drip a few drops of concentrated citric-acid dish soap on your counters, stovetop, and even refrigerator shelves. Use a damp sponge to work up a lather, then rinse. This is a great, cost-effective way to get your kitchen sparkling.

      Tip 3: De-Germ Your Toilet without Harsh Chemicals

      We get it. The toilet area isn’t where most people want to go easy. Using bleach-based products just seem like a good idea, until you realize those conventional products are loaded with toxic chemicals. Leave the chlorine for the pool. You can get an equally- powerful clean using citric acid instead.

      Just flush the toilet first to remove any loose grime and to wet the bowl. Squirt your citric-acid based toilet cleaner under the rim and give it about five minutes to coat the bowl. Give it a scrub and flush. Your toilet is squeaky clean without chlorine, phosphates or anything toxic, plus it’s free from lime, rust and hard water stains.  

      Tip 4: Clean Your Shower, Tub, Sink and Counters with One Product

      Why lug around a basket full of bathroom products when you can clean just about everything in your bathroom with one, non-toxic product? Use a citric-acid multi-surface cleaner to wipe down surfaces, remove soap scum and disinfect.

      Citric-acid cleaners do more than break down soap scum and hard water. They naturally disinfect. That means no harsh chemicals or residue. To get the most out of your cleaner, spray it on the surface and let it sit for at least 20 seconds to penetrate soil and five minutes to disinfect. The short wait will allow the cleaner to break down residue so you don’t have to work so hard.

      Tip 5: Kill Mold and Mildew without Killing Your Lungs

      Most mold and mildew removers are loaded with toxic chemicals. No wonder most people hold their breath when they spray down their showers and tubs. It burns for a reason: it’s toxic. Citric-acid cleaners kill the common bathroom mold, aspergillus brasillensis, in minutes, without any harsh chemicals. How? 

      Citric acid lowers the pH levels of bacteria, allowing the cleaner to penetrate the cell walls of mold, mildew, and bacteria. All you have to do is spray it on the non-porous surface, give it a few minutes to do its thing, then wipe or rinse with water. Say bye-bye to mold and mildew, not your clean air.

      Tip 6: Save Time with Cleaning Wipes

      Short on time and all about convenience? Use cleaning wipes with citric acid to cut down on time to clean most of your household surfaces. Here’s the trick to getting the most clean with wipes: be sure you use wet wipes. In order to maximize the power of the citric acid and soap in the wipes, you need your wipes to saturate the surface you’re cleaning and let the ingredients do their job.

      Most people use wipes until they’re nearly dry before getting another wipe. While this may make your surface look clean, it may not result in an actual deep clean or disinfecting you were looking for. As with most cleaning products, wipes are most effective when the cleansers on them are allowed to penetrate the dirt, grease, and bacteria. Get another wipe as soon as you notice you can’t see any cleanser on the surface you’re cleaning. 

      Tip 7: Make Your Shower Easier to Clean 

      Hard water and soap scum build-up are natural byproducts of our daily showers. It makes the typical weekly clean a lot more difficult. You can cut down on the time to clean if you use a daily shower spray that prevents the build-up in the first place.

      After showering, spray down shower, wait 60 seconds, then wipe or rinse. You’ll find your regular cleaning goes a lot faster and you won’t have to look at unsightly build-up every day!

      Tip 8: Take Care of Your Appliances

      It seems counterintuitive to clean the appliances that clean your stuff, but hard water and soap scum build-up on them as much as they do your shower. They can also begin to stink, spreading that stink onto your stuff. To keep your appliances running in tip-top shape and smelling fresh, give them a good cleaning on a regular basis.

      Don’t worry. Cleaning your appliances doesn’t have to involve any muscle from you. Use appliance cleaners with citric acid and your appliances will not only sparkle, but they’ll work better in the long run. You can use an appliance cleaner with citric acid for your washing machine, garbage disposal, and dishwasher – all without the use of harsh, toxic chemicals.

      It’s easy to get a clean home without using toxic chemicals that can harm you, your family, and the environment. Look for citric acid as a power ingredient. Even better, look for a Safer Choice label from the EPA on the packaging. If the cleaner has it, you can have peace of mind the product uses only scientifically-proven safer ingredients that work as well or better than their harsher counterparts. To find out more, visit the EPA Safer Choice website.