Learning More About Citric Acid-Based Cleaning Solutions

Citric acid-based cleaning solutions have made it big in specific markets such as food service. They are now making their entrance into the professional cleaning industry.

The following is an interview with ProNatural Brands, LLC. Members, which markets citric acid cleaners, sanitizers, and disinfectants to the industry.

Let’s start by telling us more about citric acid-based cleaning solutions.

As a cleaning agent, citric acid dates to the eighth century. Not only was it used for cleaning, but it was also used for sanitizing and disinfecting surfaces. In the 1700s, manufacturers started using it to clean industrial equipment and their products.

What’s happening now is that researchers are finding more ways to use citric acid, to replace potentially harmful ingredients in cleaning solutions with environmentally friendly ones.

What are the key ingredients in these cleaning solutions?

Mostly, it’s made from naturally derived products such as lemons, limes, pineapples, and other citrus fruits. These are very sustainable and renewable ingredients. Because citric acid cleaners are so sustainable, it is one reason they receive growing interest from the professional cleaning industry in the future. The jansan sector, from our perspective, is now going beyond Green, becoming much more sustainability focused.

They can be used for sanitizing and disinfecting. Does this mean it’s a natural sanitizer and disinfectant?

We need to add a few safe but effective ingredients to the formulation to convert citric acid into a disinfectant/sanitizer. Then it must undergo rigorous in-house testing before it can be presented to the EPA to be registered. This is how we got our LEXX Liquid Disinfectant registered, which has become our best-selling product.

We know citric acid cleaners and disinfectants are effective. But you also say they are safe. How can we substantiate that?

The San Francisco Department of the Environment recently published a comprehensive study comparing all types of disinfectants and their properties related to safety and efficacy. We are proud to say that they concluded that citric acid-based disinfectants are among the safest. The report suggested they be used in all city-owned and -operated facilities in parks and recreation centers, even outdoors.

Where are citric acid-based disinfectants or sanitizers most often used today?

They are most often used in the food service industry. After all, they are made using 100 percent EPA-approved, naturally derived food additives.

But these cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting products are also used in health care, daycares, fitness centers, and schools. Managers and cleaning professionals are finding them safe and, just as significantly, effective.

We’ve learned about these cleaning solutions. But is there a more significant reason facility managers and cleaning professionals should consider using citric acid-based disinfectants and cleaners?

Yes, because of what we’ve learned over the past couple of years about “hygiene theatre” – the overuse of disinfectants. During the pandemic, everything was cleaned and disinfected to help control the spread of COVID-19. It’s understandable; we were in crisis mode. But since then, we’ve learned that we may have caused more unintentional harm. Disinfectants can have adverse effects; as I mentioned earlier, using them in massive amounts amplified these detrimental impacts as we did during the pandemic.

Interview conducted by Robert Kravitz, a frequent writer for the professional cleaning industry, conducted this interview.   


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