Sustainability made simple

Citric Acid for Cleaning: Practical Household Uses

citric acid for cleaning
Photo: CC0 Public Domain/Pixabay - Monfocus

You can use citric acid for cleaning just as easily and effectively as chemical descaling agents. Its uses range from fabric softener to stain remover and toilet cleaner.

Citric acid is available in both powder and liquid form and both are fine for cleaning. In order to avoid plastic waste, we recommend going the powder route. Citric acid powder is often packed in paper and available in bulk, while its liquid form is mostly packed in plastic bottles.

Citric Acid Uses for Around the House 

When it comes to disinfecting and cleaning, citric acid is ideal because it can help to remove mold, bacteria, and mildew. It’s also great for cleaning soap scum, hard water stains, calcium deposits, lime, and rust. You’ll never need to buy plastic spray bottles filled with chemical descaling agents again!

For a general, mild citric acid cleaner, mix one teaspoon of citric acid powder with one cup of water. For a stronger version, up it to 2½ teaspoons of citric acid powder to one cup of water.

Citric Acid for Cleaning the Kitchen 

citric acid for cleaning
Citric acid can clean many kitchen appliances. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixels - Lisa Fotios)
  • Descale your kettle and coffee maker: Mix two tablespoons of citric acid with one liter of water and run the cycle. Run the machine a second time with plain water to ensure removing all the citric acid. Be careful not to heat the solution too much, sticking to cold or lukewarm water. If your coffee maker runs on the hotter side, do not clean it with citric acid — the powder may damage your appliance.
  • Clean burnt pots and pans: Add a tablespoon to a cup of warm water and leave it to soak until the burnt bits are gone.
  • Descale your dishwasher: Fill the detergent cup with three to four ounces of citric acid crystals and run the dishwasher on a normal cycle. Repeat if necessary.

Read on: 15 Ways to Clean Your Home Using Apple Cider Vinegar

Citric Acid in the Bathroom 

  • Descale faucets and shower heads: dissolve approximately 1½ tablespoons of citric acid powder in a ¼ liter of water and spray onto the affected areas, or place the hardware directly into the solution. Afterwards, wipe off and rinse well. 
  • Citric acid toilet bowl cleaner: add approximately three tablespoons of powder to the toilet bowl and leave it for a few hours, scrubbing and flushing the toilet when finished. If you don’t have citric acid at home but want clean your toilet naturally, check out our other two natural homemade toilet bowl cleaner.

Citric Acid Uses in the Laundry Room 

save water conservation washing machine
Clean your washing machine and remove stains without harmful chemicals. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - stevepb)
  • Descale your washing machine: this works very similar to cleaning a dishwasher with citric acid. Just add approximately ⅓ cup of the powder to your washing machine and run it on a normal cycle.
  • Fabric softener for white laundry: dissolve five to six tablespoons of citric acid powder in one liter of water and pour about 50 milliliters of this liquid into the fabric softener compartment with each wash cycle.
    Avoid using citric acid on colored laundry as it does have a slight bleaching effect!
  • Remove stains from white laundry: remove yellowish stains, like deodorant or sweat stains, by soaking the clothes in a citric acid solution (one tablespoon citric acid to one liter of water) for a few hours and wash them in the machine as normal. Note: This method is not suitable for sensitive materials!

Please note: While citric acid is great for cleaning most areas in your home, it should not be used on natural stone surfaces or to clean brass items. Citric acid may end up damaging those items instead of cleaning them!

Where to Buy Citric Acid for Cleaning

Citric acid in powder form is available in the baking section of most supermarkets. You can buy citric acid for cleaning on Amazon**, but you should also check out bulk online stores like Bulk Apothecary. You save on unnecessary packaging waste when you buy in bulk.

Home Remedies Can Replace Cleaning Agents

Citric acid has many uses and will clean large parts of your home. But there are plenty of other household remedies you can use as well. Most of those can (and should!) be found in household pantries, like vinegar and baking soda. Castile soap is another versatile product that can be used in a ton of different ways.

These items can replace almost all conventional cleaning agents and detergents. They are much more environmentally friendly, better for your health, and save money.

This article was translated and adapted from German by Karen Stankiewicz. You can view the original here: Zitronensäure: 5 praktische Anwendungen im Haushalt

** Links to retailers marked with ** or underlined orange are partially partner links: If you buy here, you actively support, because we will receive a small part of the sales proceeds. More info.

Do you like this post?

Thank you very much for voting!