Citric acid cleaning solutions have been used for centuries for many cleaning applications. These products are naturally made from the juice of citrus fruits such as lemons and oranges. While it is available in dry crystal form, it is recommended to select citric acid cleaning solutions in concentrate or ready-to-use formulations when used for professional cleaning.
With that said, here are additional questions you might have about citric acid:
Why Should I Use Citric Acid Cleaners?
Citric acid cleaning solutions are cost-effective and proven safe and effective. They can be used anywhere you would typically use a professional cleaning solution. Today, they are used in various industries, including food service, health care, education, and professional cleaning.
Where Should I Use Citric Acid Cleaning Solutions?
As mentioned, use citric acid cleaning solutions just as you would traditional ones on all types of surfaces. Citric acid sanitizers and disinfectants can also be used to eliminate bacteria, fungi, mildew, and viruses. Our LEXX disinfectant, for instance, has been EPA-registered, certifying the product is effective when used as directed. It is also on List-N because it eliminates the pathogen that causes COVID-19.
There are even citric acid degreasers. These degreasers break down grease and grime on commercial kitchen floors so they can be easily removed by mopping or with a deck brush.
Citric acid cleaning solutions are also frequently used to remove soap scum in showers and to clean certain metal products, wheelchairs in hospitals, and tile and grout. It can even be used as an air freshener.
Where Should I Not Use Citric Acid Cleaners?
A citric acid cleaning solution can lighten stains and spots on carpet or fabric, making them less noticeable, but may not totally remove them. Best use a professional carpet spotter. Further, while citric acid cleaning solutions are effective at eliminating limestone stains, they have limited ability to remove rust stains, especially if there is a lot of rust — best use a product specifically designed to remove rust stains.
Additionally, do not use citric acid disinfectants if a specific type of disinfectant is required. This most frequently occurs in health care settings.
How Do I Clean with Citric Acid?
Use citric acid cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting solutions the same way you would use traditional or green-certified cleaning solutions. The solution can be sprayed onto surfaces or mixed from a concentrated form with warm water for mopping floors. When used for mopping, and this applies to almost all cleaning solutions, be sure to change the mop water and mop head frequently. A heavily soiled mop head or solution can spread soil, and we don’t want to cause that.
Do I Have to Rinse a Surface After Using a Citric Acid Cleaning Solution?
In most cases that shouldn’t be necessary. The only time rinsing might be called for is if a heavy concentration of the solution has been applied. Rinsing is then necessary to avoid what is called “rapid resoiling.” This can happen when using any cleaning solution. The surface acts like a magnet, attracting soils, and we don’t want that to happen.
Are Citric Acid Cleaning Solutions Safe for the Environment?
Citric acid is naturally found in many foods and beverages, making it safe for consumption. In cleaning solutions, citric acid is safe for the environment and readily biodegradable. This term means that the key ingredients in citric acid disintegrate over time. Because of this, citric acid has no significant negative — if any — effect on the environment.
Anything Else We Should Know?
Just because a product contains citric acid does not mean it is a citric acid cleaning solution. Citric acid is added to many cleaning solutions and disinfectants to enhance their performance. When selecting citric acid cleaning solutions, ensure it is the only active ingredient in the product. Then you know you have a safe and effective cleaning product.
Lee Chen is President and COO of ProNatural Brands, LLC, manufacturers of natural, sustainable, and effective citrus-based cleaning solutions.