Citric acid is an antioxidant that occurs naturally. It’s used as a culinary flavoring and preservative, as well as a cosmetic ingredient and a cleaning product component. Citrus fruits contain citric acid, which is a weak organic acid. It’s a natural preservative that’s also used to give meals and soft drinks a sour taste. It is a crucial step in the citric acid cycle in biochemistry, and so appears in the metabolism of practically all living things.
There is a manufactured version of citric acid since it is used as an additive. Some people may be sensitive or intolerant to this form, which could cause stomach problems and inflammatory reactions.
Read on to discover more about citric acid’s natural and synthetic sources, as well as its possible benefits and concerns.
Natural Sources of Citric Acid
Citrus fruits, particularly the juice of lemons and limes, are high in natural citric acid. Natural citric acid can also be found in other fruits and vegetables.
The following foods contain the most naturally occurring citric acid:
How to make Citric Acid at home?
Citric acid is the substance that gives fruit and confectionery their sour flavor, but it may also be used as an insect repellent and a home cleaning. You can buy citric acid solution or powder at the supermarket, but if you want to try making it at home, all you need are a few lab chemicals, some acid-proof equipment, and a basic understanding of chemical safety. To avoid injuring yourself while manufacturing citric acid, make sure to purchase safety goggles and latex gloves.
We made the methods on how to make citric acid at home. Let’s check them out!
1. Throughout the procedure, use safety goggles and gloves.
If enough sulfuric acid gets into contact with you, it can burn your skin, irritate your eyes, and cause serious damage. Sulfuric acid can be washed away, but it will still burn for a short period. If the burn is severe and breaches the skin, stop what you’re doing and go to the hospital right away after washing the area with plenty of water.
2. Test the pH of 450 milliliters (1.9 c) of lemon juice in a beaker.
Lemon or lime juices are ideal since they contain a large amount of citric acid, which makes the extraction process easier. Test the juice with a pH strip; it should be around 2 or 3 on the pH scale.
3. Test it again with an eyedropper full of sodium hydroxide at 10% strength.
The acidity of the lemon juice will be neutralized by the sodium hydroxide. Add a few drops of sodium hydroxide to a full eyedropper, test the acidity with your pH testing strips, and if it’s not at an 8 or 9 on the pH scale, add a few more drops and test again. The color of the solution should be deep orange.
4. Pour the solution into a new glass beaker via a coffee filter.
The liquid will be separated from any particulates formed by the process by the coffee filter. If the coffee filter paper becomes clogged, pour the liquid into a beaker, then replace the coffee filter and pass the solution through it again. Filtering the liquid completely may take several attempts.
5. Check for particulates in the filtered solution before transferring it to a new beaker.
Check your liquid solution in a clean beaker to see if it is cloudy or has solids floating in it. If there are any, keep filtering the solution through a coffee filter until it is clear.
6. Combine 28.5 g (1.01 oz) calcium chloride with 70 ml (0.30 c) pure water.
This should be done in a different beaker than the lemon juice solution. In a small beaker, combine the two ingredients and mix until the calcium chloride is completely dissolved.
7. Bring the two solutions together and bring to a boil.
Before getting a hot plate ready, pour the calcium chloride solution into the lemon juice solution and thoroughly mix it. Allow the solution to come to a boil in the beaker on the hot pan. Wait until the solution has reached a boil before stirring it slowly but consistently for a few minutes.
8. To separate the calcium citrate, strain the boiling solution through a coffee filter.
Calcium citrate is the solid that forms during the boiling process and should be kept separate from the liquid waste. Again, filtering the entire beaker will take several attempts. The filtered liquid can be discarded, but the calcium citrate should be kept.
9. Stir together the calcium citrate and the sulfuric acid that has been considerably diluted.
Stir vigorously with just enough sulfuric acid to cover the top of the calcium citrate. Depending on how much calcium citrate you made, the exact amount you use will vary slightly. It won’t dissolve quickly, but you’ll have a pure white solution in the end. Sulfuric acid, especially when diluted, should be handled with extreme caution.
Stop what you’re doing and wash the area with soapy water if you get sulfuric acid on your skin. It will irritate the acid, but it is far preferable to wipe it off as thoroughly as possible than risking skin burns.
If you have severe burns, use as much water as possible to rinse the area and get to the hospital right away.
10. Filter the solution through a beaker with water, driving the citric acid through.
At this stage, the calcium citrate has mostly changed to citric acid, but it still needs to be filtered to remove any contaminants. Because the solution will be thick, add distilled water to help drive the citric acid through. This will leave you with a clear liquid containing only distilled water and citric acid in your beaker.
11. To evaporate the water from the beaker, heat the solution on medium heat.
While the solution is heating up, stir it frequently but do not allow it to boil. As the volume of the solution decreases, it will begin to become opaque. Remove it from the heat once the volume has dropped to around 70 milliliters (0.30 c).
12. Remove any particles from the citric acid solution and set it aside to cool in a basin.
Fill a glass bowl halfway with this opaque solution and strain it through a coffee filter. It will be near-pure citric acid that is filtered out. To generate a more concentrated form of citric acid, leave the solution to cool for longer.
How to use Citric Acid at home?
Here are six of the most useful applications for citric acid.
Cleaning your kettle and coffee pot thoroughly
This is perhaps one of the most common domestic uses for citric acid. If your water is exceptionally hard, the most lime scale will likely develop up in your kettle. When you combine this item with hot water, though, you can make magic. That’s when the acid attacks the lime scale and dissolves it completely
Cleaning your dishwasher of filth and buildup
Detergents don’t fully dissolve in hard water, which is another issue. This can result in soap scum forming, which can serve as a breeding ground for bacteria and odors. Simply add two teaspoons citric acid and one spoon sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to your dishwasher and run it on a hot cycle to solve the problem.
Getting rid of the muck in your washing machine
Your washing machine can succumb to the same fate as your dishwasher, but the accumulation of limescale and detergent in a washing machine does more damage. For your dishwasher, the solution is the same. Every 2 to 4 weeks, take two teaspoons of this item and one teaspoon of baking soda.
Lime scale removal from faucets and sinks
Most individuals simply buy a spray bottle of lime scale remover and don’t bother to read the ingredients. They’re not only bad for the environment and possibly for your health, but they also don’t always function as well as citric acid. Simply combine a few spoons of citric acid with warm water and wipe away any lime scale from all of your home’s sinks and faucets.
Getting rid of stains from hard water in your toilet bowl
You’ll notice a steady build-up of water stains in your toilet bowl as well. They appear to be impossible to eradicate no matter how hard you scrub. To get rid of these stains, use the same solution you used to clean your faucets and spray the toilet bowl every time you clean it.
Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces in your home
Because citric acid is also an effective antibacterial, you should use it on other surfaces in your homes, such as kitchen counters, tables, and other areas where you eat or prepare food. Simply combine a few spoonfuls of it with warm water in a spray bottle, add a few drops of essential oils, and your home will smell as clean as it is.
When Using Citric Acid at Home…
You should keep this acid away from any natural stone in your home to avoid harming particular surfaces. Unsealed stone tiles, marble or quartz countertops, and any type of outdoor paving fall into this category.
If you have brass faucets, ornaments, or antiques, you should avoid getting citric acid near them. It’ll almost certainly leave a stain that you won’t be able to erase.