Structural chemical formula of citric acid molecule with lemon and orange fruits. Citric acid is found in citrus fruits, used as additive in food, cleaning agents, nutritional supplements, etc.

Contributed by ProNatural Brands

Citric acid cleaning solutions are gaining more interest in the professional cleaning industry. The two main reasons for this are:

1.   They are a very safe, environmentally preferable way to clean surfaces.

2.   They promote sustainability. Citric acid cleaners are derived from lemons and limes.

However, to take advantage of the benefits of citric acid cleaning solutions, sanitizers, and disinfectants, cleaning professionals should be aware of the following do’s and don’ts.

For instance: 

  • It's best not to use citric acid cleaners to clean wood surfaces. 
  • Citric acid should not be used to clean stone surfaces such as marble and granite. 
  • Citric acid can be used to clean many types of metal, but not copper or brass.
  • Citric acid cleaning solutions should never be mixed with any other cleaning solutions.


With these precautions out of the way, Lee Chen, president and COO of ProNatural Brands, LLC, manufacturers of cleaning solutions made from citric acid, says the most common uses of citric acid in professional cleaning are the following:

Cleaning restroom fixtures. This is especially true in those areas of the country with hard water. Hard water can leave calcium and magnesium deposits, which citric acid cleaners can remove.

Sanitizing and disinfecting surfaces. At least one citric acid cleaner is now EPA-registered and on the EPA’s List-N. It eliminates the pathogen that causes COVID-19.

Locker room showers. Locker room showers often develop soap scum on walls, tiles, and floors. Citric acid cleaners break down soap scum so it can be wiped away.

Tile and grout floors. Removing grime build-up in tile and grout floors is a constant battle. Apply citric acid and use a soft brush for agitation to wipe grime away.

Greasy counter tops. Commercial kitchens use citric acid to clean equipment and remove spilled oil and greasy residue. It can also be used to remove grease build-up on stainless steel.

“For the most part, citric acid cleaners can be used wherever a traditional cleaner is used,” adds Chen. “Citric acid has a low pH, making it a very safe, sustainable, and effective cleaning solution.”