Most of us are fond of eating citrus fruits given the sweet and refreshing sour taste. Having this in a form of juice and ice is especially popular during hot weather.
However, do you know that citrus fruits such as oranges and lemon can also be useful cleaning agents at home? In fact, if you have ever engaged any home cleaning services, then you can bet at least one of the products they use contains citric acid coming from lemon or oranges. The main substance in citrus fruit which is often used as a cleaner is basically the limonene. Here we explain why such citrus fruits can be used as a powerful cleaning agent.
What is Limonene?
This is a natural compound that is commonly found in the skin of some fruits and plants. Some examples of this would be in oranges or lemons. This is used in cleaning products for two reasons. First they have a pleasant lemon-orange aroma and both of them function as solvents to help cleanse your whole house.
This material comes from a large family of natural substances called terpenes, has no colour and is of relatively low toxicity. However, when it reacts with ozone in the air, it undergoes changes that release a small amount of other compounds, including formaldehyde.
Lemon as a Cleanser
If you have ever bitten a lemon, you will know how sour it tastes.
Chemically, what your tongue means as an acid is citric acid. Lemon is quite acidic over orange juice and black coffee and this is the key to its effectiveness as a cleaning agent.
Although many types of soap are alkaline (not acidic), acid can be more useful in cleaning. They can remove stains caused by other acids, or combine with alkaline compounds to create strong chemical reactions.
- Lemon Contains Antibacterial Substances
You may or may not know that lemon is a powerful antibacterial. Its acidity creates a hostile environment for many types of bacteria, including those that cause many diseases in humans such as salmonella and E. coli bacteria.
It is important to note, that not all pathogens or bad bacteria can be killed using this lemon substance on all pathogens or bacteria. Some of them don’t even disappear and only make this pathogen inactive.
- Lemon Can Eliminate Stains
Many things can tarnish clothing, including coffee, lipstick, paint, and acidic sweat. Just like ordinary solvents, the colour that attaches this requires acidic water-based solutions and the same principle applies to food-stained surfaces such as cutting boards, plates or bowls.
Lemon juice can also remove alkaline “stains” such as crust, calcareous white matter that often accumulate on water equipment or in sinks and bathtubs, and of course can remove rust. The acidity of lemon juice reacts with the impurities (calcium carbonate) or rust (iron oxide) to soften and dissolve deposits.
- Lemon Can Neutralize Odour
Some types of bad odours (such as the residual aroma from cooking fish or vegetables that rot in the trash) that are alkaline can be removed using lemon which can cause acidity that neutralizes even the bad smell.
If the aroma comes from one place, such as a landfill, try putting a piece of lemon there. If the smell comes from the sink, squeeze the lemon and spill the lemon juice to make your sink fragrance again and fresh.
If the whole room smells unpleasant or foul-smelling, try boiling lemon peel to get fragrant acid to get rid of the bad smell in the air. Another powerful tip to get rid of odour is to rub the lemon on your fingers after holding garlic to prevent the stench from sticking.
Other Products Produced from Lemon and Orange
In addition to its use in cleaning products, citric acid is used in various other industries, such as personal care, agriculture, food, pharmaceuticals, and the electricity coating industry.
In the food industry, citric acid serves as a preservative, flavouring, and vegetable washing. For personal care products, it is used to add effervescent quality (for example bath soap), to adjust pH, and to serve as alpha hydroxy acid usually used in anti-aging creams.
You can also find citric acid in shampoo, hair dye, antibacterial tissue, liquid soap, hair gel, conditioner, deodorant, baby tissue, nail enamel, skin, cream, and so on.
This substance is also widely used in several supplements and medicines such as vitamin powder, syrup and herbs. Finally, the agricultural industry also uses and uses it as a natural pesticide for processing plants.
Health and Safety in the Use of Materials Containing Citric Acid
Citric acid does have several problems such as those recorded by the National Institute for Safety and Health (NIOSH) International Chemical Safety Card (ICSC).
Inhaling citric acid can cause respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, shortness of breath, and sore throat. Eye contact can cause redness and pain, and excessive skin contact with citric acid can cause redness and irritation.
Swallowing citric acid directly can also cause stomach ache and sore throat. Because of this problem, NIOSH recommends preventive measures for those who work with exposure to citric acid, such as protecting the skin and eyes with special protection and good quality ventilation.
Environmental Effects Produced
Citric acid is naturally found in food and water and is easily broken down in the environment, so no significant negative effects are produced.