We’ve all experienced scrubbing a shower door or fixture for what feels like hours, only to realize that those stubborn water stains just won’t budge. In our blog post Using Citric Acid to Clean Steam Showers, we briefly went over how to use citric acid in the cleaning cup of a steam shower unit. Amazingly, citric acid can be used in most areas of the bathroom (not just the steam shower) to dissolve stains and remove calcium buildup.
Hard water and soap create stains on showers, bathtubs and sinks that can be difficult to remove. Expensive cleaning products claim to remove these stains, but many of us have spent money on these products only to bring them home, use them and realize that our bathrooms don’t look cleaner at all. Read on to learn more about using citric acid to clean bathrooms, and you may never spend money on expensive cleaning products again.
What is Citric Acid?
Citric acid, also known as sour salt, is found in citrus fruits, like lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits. Like vinegar and lemon juice, citric acid is a mild acid that can be used in everyday, household cleaning.
Citric acid has many uses. It is traditionally used in candy flavoring to give the candy a sour flavor. Citric acid may also be used as a preservative and a color dye; it’s also found in sodas, cosmetic products and cleaning products due to its cleaning properties. It is naturally antibacterial and is actually capable of removing rust and softening water. Citric acid is sometimes used in laundry detergent. Furthermore, it is gentler than most chemical products on the market.
Any time you use citric acid, be sure to follow instructions and warnings on the packaging, and wear gloves and clothing to protect your skin.
Cleaning the Bathroom with Citric Acid
Why is citric acid so effective at cleaning bathrooms? The stains that build up in showers and bathrooms are often caused by soap and hard water. Both soap and hard water are alkaline, which are broken up by acids. Citric acid is gentle enough that it can be used in the home and the bathroom.
In general, cleaning your bathroom on a regular basis will help ensure that less stains and calcium build up on your shower and in your bathtub. The following paragraphs explain how to clean separate areas of the bathroom using mixtures with citric acid:
Mirror – The mirror can quickly become the dirtiest part of the bathroom as it gets covered in water, toothpaste, etc. You can make your own mirror cleaner by mixing one part citric acid with one part vinegar. Put this mixture in a spray bottle and spray down the mirror. Wipe off the cleaner like you would wipe off Windex. Enjoy your newly clean mirrors!
Tile Floor – To mop your bathroom floor, mix one part citric acid with one-and-a-half parts hot water in a bucket. Use your mop to soak the bathroom floor in the citric acid mixture. Use a scratch pad (that won’t scratch the tile), and wear gloves while scrubbing the floor. After scrubbing, rinse the floor with clean water at least twice.
Toilet – Try the recipe for Natural Toilet Cleaning Fizzies from Wellness Mama for an easy, go-to way to clean your toilet. Throw a fizzie into the toilet, and wait for it to completely dissolve before flushing the toilet to avoid damaging the pipes. Your toilet should now be much cleaner. These fizzies are completely safe and are made up of baking soda, citric acid and essential oils (including orange oil and lemon oil). Make sure to store the fizzies in an air-tight container between uses.
Bathtub –Remember that citric acid is found in the juices of limes, lemons, oranges and grapefruits. To clean your bathtub, cut a grapefruit in half. Sprinkle the half with salt, and rub the grapefruit on the ceramic. The calcium buildup and stains on the bathtub will be dissolved by the citric acid in the grapefruit. You can use this same method with a lemon. This is a great option for cleaning the bathtub, because it avoids using harmful chemicals in your cleaning routine.
Sink – Easily clean your bathroom sink with a mixture of one part lemon juice and two parts baking soda. Scrub this mixture on the surface of the sink until the stains are rubbed away. Rinse the sink and wipe it down. You can use this same mixture on your toilet, tile floor, bathtub and shower.
Shower – For a deep cleaning, fill a spray bottle with a mixture of citric acid and hot water. Use two tablespoons of citric acid to one liter of hot water. Shake the bottle and then spray the surfaces of the shower. For hard-to-remove stains, you can soak a paper towel in the mixture and lay it on top of the stain. It should also stick to the shower wall. Let this soak into the stain and then rinse the entire shower.
There are also some tips you can try for keeping the shower cleaner in-between the deep cleanings. For example, use a squeegee on your shower door after every shower. It may sound tedious, but it will save a lot of cleaning time in the future. Lastly, make your own Daily Shower Cleaner Spray, and spray your shower with it after every shower. The Prairie Homestead has a great recipe that uses water, rubbing alcohol, white vinegar, liquid dish soap and melaleuca oil.
Cleaning a Steam Shower with Citric Acid
Steam shower units are easy to clean with citric acid and the cleaning cup in the shower. Always follow the cleaning instructions in the manual that came with your steam shower, and always follow safety precautions. Feel free to contact the Steam Showers Inc team to discuss cleaning practices for steam shower units.
First, turn off the power and make sure all of the steam shower functions are off. Dissolve citric acid in water and pour it into the cleaning cup. Do not put solids inside of the cleaning cup. Replace the lid and turn on the steam function. (Never open the cleaning cup while it is functioning.) After five to ten minutes, press the off button in the shower. The unit will automatically drain. You can drain the shower a second time if you would like; wait five minutes after each draining process. Clean your steam shower after every 20 to 30 hours of use.
Other Ways to Remove Calcium Buildup
Although citric acid is a natural water softener, you may need a water softener in your home if you notice hard water buildup in all areas of your home and not just in the bathroom. If you are experiencing this, you may want to consider investing in a water softener.
Where to Purchase Citric Acid
You can purchase citric acid online or at an organic food store like Whole Foods.
Reasons to Use Natural Cleaners
Many families choose to use natural cleaners in their homes for the safety of children and pets. The majority of chemical cleaners on the market contain toxic ingredients or dangerous ingredients, including hydrochloric acid, chlorine bleach, lye and sulfuric acid. Some of these are toxic and pose health risks to the respiratory system, skin, eyes, etc. Many of these chemicals also cause allergic reactions for many family members. Additionally, cleaning your home with natural cleaners can be less expensive than using store-bought alternatives. If you’d rather not make your own cleaners, there are many natural options on the market, including Simple Green, Method and Seventh Generation.
In addition to citric acid, vinegar is a mild acid that can be used in household cleaning. You can also use baking soda to clean, which deodorizes surfaces; essential oils, many of which are antibacterial; hydrogen peroxide, which whitens surfaces; and lemon juice. Common essential oils used in cleaning include tea tree, lavender, peppermint and lemon oil.
If you have any questions about purchasing a steam shower or how to clean a steam shower, contact Steam Showers Inc today. Steam Showers Inc is the largest online distributor of steam showers and also carries whirlpool bathtubs, bathroom vanities, shower panels, walk-in bathtubs and more.