Citric acid is a weak acid that occurs naturally in citrus fruits such as lemons and oranges. Its sour and sour taste, along with its neutralizing and preserving properties, make it a popular ingredient for use in a wide range of products, including food, beverages, medicines, cosmetics, and cleaning solutions. Although citric acid is commonly available in a solid state, as a crystalline powder, you may need it for applications where it is preferable to use it in its liquid form.
Part 1 of 2: Prepare the solution
Step 1. Buy crystalline powdered citric acid
You can find it in many supermarkets, Middle Eastern or kosher markets, grocery stores, health food stores, or wholesale food stores. You will sometimes find it in the canning and preservatives section and it is sometimes labeled "E-330 preservative." Buy at least 1 pound (454 grams) to make an adequate amount of citric acid solution.
Step 2. Buy or make distilled water
Distilled water lacks many of the original minerals and impurities, which are extracted through a process of boiling and condensation.
Step 3. Select non-metal or non-reactive items (see list below) for the process
Citric acid reacts with various metals, so it can be used to clean them. This also explains why if you put orange juice in an uncoated metal container, it takes on an unpleasant metallic taste in no time.
Make sure all implements are properly cleaned before use to avoid contamination of the solution and fungal growth
Step 4. Determine the amounts of citric acid powder and water you need to make the solution
Note that solutions with higher or lower concentrations of citric acid have differences in potency, pot life, and cost.
- A solution with a higher concentration of citric acid will keep better than one with a lower one. A recommended ratio is 454 grams (1 pound) of powdered citric acid per 470 milliliters (1 pint) of water.
However, a solution with a lower concentration, 454 grams (1 pound) per 940 milliliters (2 pints) of water, also works, is cheaper and results in a convenient percentage: 30 milliliters (1 fluid ounce) of the solution is equal to 14 grams (1/2 ounce) of powdered citric acid.
Step 5. Measure the dust
Place 1 pound (454 grams) of powdered citric acid in a non-metal container. Set the container aside.
Step 6. Boil the water
Bring your preferred amount of water to a boil, either 470 or 940 milliliters (1 or 2 pints), in a non-metal pot.
You could use a microwave container, but be very careful when boiling water in the microwave. It could overheat, keep simmering, and overflow quickly when moved. Check the water frequently, and when you remove it, use an oven mitt and gently shake the water to make sure it doesn't continue to boil and overflow. Also place a wooden chopstick or something similar into the water before heating it, this will attract the bubbles so that they do not all form at the same time.
Step 7. Pour the boiling water over the powder, stirring constantly with a non-metal spoon until all of the powder is dissolved
Please be careful with the boiling water! Consider using a non-reactive kettle.
Part 2 of 2: Store the solution
Step 1. Filter the solution
Use a paper filter or cheesecloth to filter the solution into a container other than metal to remove any solid that has not dissolved.
Step 2. Allow the solution to cool to room temperature
This will make transferring it to the container in which you will store it safer and will prevent the tightly closed plastic storage bottle from breaking or imploding when the hot liquid cools inside.
Step 3. Transfer the solution
Pour the solution into an airtight, non-metallic container. Make sure it's totally clean (boiling glass or sturdy plastic containers for 5-10 minutes is a great option). Choose a container with a tight-fitting lid. Use a funnel to pour the solution into the container (s).
Step 4. Store the solution in a cool, dark place, such as a cupboard or closet
When stored properly, the solution can last up to two years.
- While citric acid is a food product with pharmaceutical uses, this recipe for a solution of this chemical is recommended for cleaning purposes only. Dilute it more with water, if necessary, to prepare a cleaning solution that suits your needs, according to the recipes available. Do not ingest citric acid powder or citric acid solution unless it is on medical advice. Keep out of the reach of children and pets.
- Citric acid solution can develop fungus if not treated and stored properly. Make sure to use clean, non-metallic equipment during the process. Store or bottle your solution carefully to prevent fungal growth.
- Do not expose the solution to extreme temperatures or sunlight, as this could compromise the acidity levels of the solution.