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How To Use Citric Acid in 13 Genius Ways!

Benefits and Uses for citric acid - The  Thrifty Island Girl

Most of us know citric acid is most commonly used as a food preservative, flavour additive and nutritional additive. However we don’t have to limit the use of citric acid to food only. A small packet of citric acid powder is very cheap, yet incredibly versatile. So why not use it as an eco-friendly, chemical free cleaning product around the home. Due to its multipurpose use, citric acid can help you save money and free up space around the home.

Find out the many genius uses of Vaseline and Coconut Oil.

What is citric acid?

Citric acid is an organic acid that can be found in citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges limes etc., but can also be manufactured. It usually comes in the form of white, concentrated powder. Due to its sour taste and salt like appearance it’s also known as “sour salt”. It has a pH level between 3 to 6.

Benefits of using this citric acid powder around the home

How To Use Citric Acid in 13 Genius Ways! -The Thrifty Island Girl

Many household cleaners are full of nasty chemicals, which are harmful to your health and the health of your loved ones. Those chemical-laden products can cause skin irritation, irritate eyes and throat, cancer at a later point in life, chronic respiratory problems, headaches and other health problems. Hence it’s great to find natural ways to clean in to avoid any harm to our health as well as people, pets and animals around us. While this powder is natural, studies found the powder to be an powerful disinfectant against a variety of bacteria and viruses.

By making your own DIY cleaners using citric acid, you’ll save a lot of money and save a lot of space under the sink cupboard and bathrooms. Let’s get to the 13 environmentally friendly cleaning hacks using citric acid.

13 Clever Uses For Citric Acid

1. Natural Daily Shower Cleaning Spray

DIY Natural and eco-friendly bathroom cleaners made from citric acid. - The Thrifty Island Girl

Citric acid is very effective against soap cum and hard water stains. To make your own natural daily shower spray mix 2 table spoon of citric acid with 500ml hot water in a mixing jug. Then pour the solution into an old glass or plastic spray bottle. Or you can also purchase a glass spray bottle here. Optionally you can also add some essential oils to the solution to give it a lovely scent.

If you’ve read My favourite & best cleaning products!, you already know I love scented cleaning products. Hence I tend to use Method Daily Shower Non-Toxic Cleaner to clean my shower and bath. However when I’ve run out or need to budget for the month, I occasionally make my own daily shower spray and scent with Ylang Ylang essential oil.

2. Use As Natural Fabric Conditioner

Fabric conditioner often leaves a wax like residue on fabric to reduce static electricity and to fragrance the clothing. However this residue can irritate skin especially in people with sensitive skin or with skin conditions such as eczema. To make your own natural and gentle fabric conditioner dissolve 20g of citric acid in 500ml warm water and use it instead of fabric conditioner. The citric acid will remove any residual detergent and softens the water as well as reduces lime scale build up.

3. Powerful Kettle & Coffee Maker Descaler

How to descale kettles and coffee machines naturally with citric acid. - The Thrifty Island Girl

Who doesn’t love their morning cup of tea or coffee? Not cleaning your kettle and coffee machines regularly can have an effect on the taste of your morning brew. Especially in hard water areas like the Isle of Wight where I’m from, lime scale builds up quickly in kettles and coffee makers.

My other half Oliver, has taught me how to use citric acid as cheap and natural alternative to chemical laden descalers. I love my Nespresso coffee in the morning, but part of using a coffee machine is the maintenance. According to Nespresso the coffee maker should be descaled every 6 months with their Nespresso descaling kit. I used to buy the £9 kit which contains 2 descaling sachets. But living in a hard water area I have to descale ever 3 months, which would cost me £18 per year. Why buy expensive descaling products when you can use this wonder powder as a natural and powerful descaled? I now use this miracle powder to descale my coffee machine and kettle, which only cost me a fraction of the price of branded descaling products.

How to descale a kettle using citric acid

  1. Fill the kettle with water to the maximum filling line and add 2 teaspoons of citric acid.
  2. Turn the kettle on to boil the water and powder.
  3. Now you have a clean, limescale free kettle.

How to descale a Nespresso coffee machine using citric acid

  1. Dilute 2 teaspoons of citric acid in 500ml warm water in a jug.
  2. Pour the mixture into your Nespresso machines water reservoir.
  3. Start the descaling program as usual

Thrifty TIP: I usually descale the kettle, then let the boiling hot citric acid and water mixture cool down until it’s just warm and pour it into the water reservoir of my Nespresso machine to descale it. This way you’ll save money by using less powder.

4. DIY Non-Toxic Multipurpose Surface Cleaner

Make a great cost effective, eco-friendly, non-toxic all-purpose cleaner to clean surfaces in your home.

To make this disinfecting solution cleaning solution, dissolve 1 tablespoon of citric acid in 500ml hot water. Then let the mixture cool down before pouring it into a spray bottle. Optionally add your favourite essential oil to naturally fragrance it. Now spray and wipe the surfaces you wish too clean.

Note: This is not suitable to use on marble, stone, brass and antiques

5. Natural Stain Remover Alternative

We often use chemical stain removers to remove yellowish stains such as sweat stains from our white laundry. The chemicals in those strain can cause serious damage to our eye, skin irritation and may even be harmful to aquatic life. Citric acid on the other hand does just as good of a job as those chemical stain removers such as Vanish.

How to use citric acid as a stain remover

Mix 1 tablespoon of citric acid to 1 litre of water and soak the stained clothing in the solution for a few hours. Once soaked wash the garments as usual in the washing machine.

Note: This stain removing method is not suitable for delicate materials and coloured garments as it can fade colour.

6. Clean Burnt Pots And Pans

Mix 1 tablespoon of citric acid powder to a cup of hot water. Then let the pot or pan soak in the solution until the burnt bits easily come off.

7. Eco-friendly Washing Machine Descaler

How to descale a washing machine with citric acid. - The Thrifty Island Girl

Add 1/3 cup of citric acid powder to your washing machine via the detergent compartment and run it on a standard cycle. This will help by prolonging your washing machines life by preventing and reducing limescale built up the heating element. This the perfect sustainable alternative to washing machine softer tablets such as Calgon. Repeat once a month.

8. Descale Your Dishwasher

This works similarly to descaling the washing machine. Pour 2 tablespoons of citric acid into the detergent compartment and run a quick cycle on your dishwasher. Repeat once a month.

9. Non-Toxic Toilet Bowl Cleaner

How to clean your toilet naturally with citric acid - The Thrifty Island Girl

To get your toilet bowl sparkly clean, add 3 tablespoon of citric acid to your toilet bowl and leave it to soak for a few hours, before scrubbing and flushing the toilet. This is best done over night or in the morning before going to work. This will disinfect the toilet, remove limescale and gets rid of odours.

10. BBQ And Oven Racks

13 genius cleaning hacks using citric acid

Oven racks and BBQ racks can be a nightmare to clean, especially with all the grease and burnt on food stuck on them. Simply soak the racks in hot citric acid cleaning solution for 30-40 minutes then use a scourer to remove any burnt on food and grease.

To make the cleaning solution mix 1 tablespoon of citric acid to 1 litre of boiling water.

11. Eco-friendly Oven Cleaner

I never really liked cleaning the oven especially when having to use strong chemical cleaners that release harmful fumes. Now this is a quick and easy way to clean your oven without the nasty chemicals that could harm us and our loved ones.

Place an ovenproof pan or pyrex jug with 1 tablespoon of citric acid mixed with 500ml of hot water into the oven and set the oven to 260C. Let the solution steam for 30mins to an hour, depending how dirty the oven is. Make sure that the pan doesn’t boil dry. Once the oven has cooled down, runs out the oven with a sponge and some warm water.

12. Hello Streek- Free Mirrors & Windows!

The DIY Non-Toxic Multipurpose Surface Cleaner in point 4 above can be used as a natural glass cleaner. It makes an awesome glass cleaner, as it leaves your mirrors and windows steak-free. Simply spray the cleaning solution on your mirror or windows and let it sit for a minute before wiping it clean with a lint-free cloth.

13. Clean Your Shower Heads

Naturally clean shower heads with citric acid

Shower heads can sometimes get blocked with hard water minerals, which in turn slows the water flow. To clean and unblock the holes, dissolve 1 teaspoon of citric acid in a bowl of water. Then detach the shower head and place it into the solution, making sure the shower head is fully submerged into the solution. Leave it to soak for 15 minutes, then rinse and force water through the shower head to unblock the holes.

Please Note:

Citric acid is a very versatile, environmentally friendly and powerful cleaning agent for most areas around the home, however it should not be used on natural stone surfaces, clean brass items and clean coloured clothing. This is because citric acid made end up damaging those items instead of cleaning them and that’s the last thing we want!

Enjoyed finding the many uses for citric acid ? Find out the many genius ways you can use Vaseline and Coconut Oil!


  • Kathi Be

    hi!,I like your writing very much! share we communicate more about your post on AOL? I require a specialist on this area to solve my problem. May be that’s you! Looking forward to see you.

    • lei.hang

      Thank you so much. I’m glad you’ve found my post on citric acid was helpful. It’s amazing how one cheap and natural product has so many purposes.