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What is citric acid and how can it be used in my home?

First things first, what exactly is citric acid?

Citric acid is a weak organic acid that occurs naturally in produce, particularly citrus fruits such as limes, oranges, and lemons.

It's also a naturally occurring antioxidant that can be used as a food enhancer and preservative, an ingredient in cosmetics, and cleaning products. Its natural form looks like small, clear crystals, similar to table salt, and although it is odorless, it has an acidic taste.

There are both natural and artificial sources of citric acid. Citrus fruits such as lemons and limes have the highest naturally occurring citric acid quantities. You can also find it in tangerines, oranges, grapefruits, pineapples, tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, and berries!

The manufactured version of citric acid (MCA) is often used in processed foods and household products. MCA is one of the most common food additives. In addition, it is used in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries and in cleaning detergents and softening agents. Talk about versatility! 

Citric acid is a common additive because of its many benefits and minimal environmental impact. Yes, by using citric acid, you are essentially being environmentally friendly! And did you know that the three primary industries that use citric acid are food, cosmetics, and cleaning products? 


Citric acid is a key preservative in many processed foods, helping to keep them fresh by slowing or helping prevent the formation of bacteria, mold, yeast, and fungus. It also helps retain the food's flavor, texture, and color, increasing its shelf life. Additionally, it can help balance a food or beverage's pH level or acidity. A staple ingredient to have in any pantry!


When added to skincare products, citric acid can brighten skin, minimize fine lines and even skin tone. Individuals with dark spots, hyperpigmentation, or scars may find citric acid beneficial to their beauty routine. Manufacturers also use citric acid in hairspray, body sprays, and deodorant. Citric acid works to preserve cosmetics and personal care products by ensuring they do not grow mold, bacteria, or fungus. 

Cleaning Supplies: 

The most commonly known fact is that citric acid works wonders for cleaning your home with the power to sanitize, deodorize, clean, and revitalize your fixtures and surfaces. Citric acid kills bacteria, mildew, some fungi, and viruses. It's also effective at removing soap scum, hard water stains, calcium deposits, lime, and rust. 

Make sure to store citric acid in its original container in a cool, dry place. From the manufacturing date, it has a shelf life of three years once opened and will stay stable for at least five years unopened. 

Point blank, citric acid isn't playing around and is ready to become a staple ingredient in your home!

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