How To Clean Dishwasher With Citric Acid: Guidelines, Pros And Cons

As most of you know, cleaning dishes is one of the most dreaded chores in a household. Hence, most of us use a dishwasher to wash the dishes. But, like any appliance, a dishwasher must be properly maintained to function smoothly and avoid costly repairs.

Now, a question may arise in your mind, how to clean the dishwasher? Well, one of the effective ways to keep your dishwasher in top shape is to clean it regularly with citric acid. Because, with the help of citric acid, cleaning the dishwasher may become less of a chore and more of a relaxing experience.

In this post, we’ll outline the guidelines for using citric acid to clean dishwasher and go over some of the pros and cons of this cleaning agent. So, read on to learn everything you need to know about cleaning your dishwasher using citric acid.

How To Clean Dishwasher With Citric Acid: Guidelines, Pros And Cons

What is citric acid?

Citric acid is an organic compound having the chemical formula C6H8O7. It is also known as sour salt. This acid can be found in citrus fruits, including lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits. Citric acid helps give these fruits their distinctive sour taste, often associated with fruit juice or lemonade.

Citric Acid

It is a natural by-product of citrus fruits and vegetables. In fact, the citric acid solution is used in foods and beverages as a preservative, flavoring agent, and pH adjuster. Citric acid forms naturally in numerous fruits and vegetables during their ripening and maturation. The by-product of this natural process is the sour taste that makes foods and beverages a delight to consume. Interestingly, citric acid is available in many forms in grocery stores, like a citric acid solution, citric acid powder, and citric acid crystal.

What is citric acid used for?

Citric acid is a very common food additive with numerous applications in the food and chemical industries. Also, it has a taste that provides tartness, sourness, or the combination of these flavors on the tongue. Here are some common uses of Citric acid-

As a cleaner

Widely used as a cleaning agent in laundry and dish detergent. Citric acid is a natural cleaning agent used to clean dirty dishes, pots, and other surfaces that has stain and rust on them. It is also effective at removing grease and food stains from dishes.

Flavoring agent 

Citric acid is used for its sour or tangy taste and in combination with other chemicals such as tartaric acid and malic acid, it produces citric, succinic, and benzoic acids with different flavors.

Food preservative 

Citric acid is used as a specialist food preservative to prevent pickling; it also improves the texture of processed meat products.


This acid can also be a natural ingredient in skin care products. Also, it removes dead skin cells and can be used as a face mask or a scrub.

Why citric acid is so special?

Why citric acid is so special?

Citric acid is one of the most versatile cleaning products available in almost all grocery stores. It can clean almost anything in your home – from your dishes to hard-to-reach places on the wall.

In addition, citric acid has a pH of 2, making it an ideal cleaner for both acidic and alkaline spills. 

Hence, when using citric acid to clean your kitchen appliances, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:

Firstly, it can damage dishware if not used properly

Secondly, as citric acid is a natural product, it may adversely affect surfaces such as granite countertops or wood furniture if too much is used

Finally, make sure all cleaning supplies and equipment are safely stored when not in use.

Guidelines for using citric acid to clean dishwasher

Dishwashers can be a pain to clean – especially if you’re not a fan of scrubbing dishes by hand. Luckily, citric acid is a powerful cleaner that can take care of your dirty work. However, like any cleaner, it’s important to use it in the correct amount.

Guidelines for using citric acid to clean dishwasher

Also, read and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when using citric acid, as mistakes can lead to severe accidents!

Lastly, always test a small area before filling the whole dishwasher with citric acid to avoid any potential problems. 

The steps for using citric acid to clean the dishwasher are –

Step 1: Empty the dishwasher before cleaning.

Step 2: Take 3 to 4 ounces of citric acid crystals to fill the detergent cup and then seal the cup.

Step 3: Perform a regular normal wash cycle using warm or hot water on the dishwasher.

Step 4: If you are done with the first washing cycle, start a second one. But you should now take dishwashing detergent in the cup instead of citric acid crystal.

Step 5: Repeat the above process if any stain or buildup is left on the bottom of the dishwasher.

It is a good idea to add 1 spoon of citric acid to your dishwasher detergent every six months. Because it can help remove hard water build-up and restore the efficiency of your appliance.

However, be very careful when using this chemical. That’s because it is highly acidic and can damage dishes. Additionally, its scent may leave an acidic residue in your kitchen.

Precautions to take before using Citric acid in dishwasher

Citric acid is one of the most common cleaning agent that can help clean dishes. However, you need some cautions before using citric acid: 

  • Use caution when cleaning plastic and metal items, as this acid can cause them to discolor or develop a metallic taste.
  • Be sure to rinse all the dishes thoroughly before putting them in the oven or microwave – this will prevent grease and food debris from building up in those hard-to-reach spots.
  • Use only dishwasher detergent – that’s because other cleaners can damage your dishwasher.
  • Run your dishwasher with a full load and empty it often – this will reduce the chances of bacteria buildup and foul odors.
  • It may discolor some plastics and metals, so avoid using it on these items if possible.

Pros and cons of using citric acid to clean dishwasher

Using citric acid is a great option if you’re looking for an effective way to clean your dishwasher. This one is excellent for removing hard-to-reach food residue and washing dishes simultaneously.

Here are the Pros and Cons of using Citric acid to clean dishwashers –


1. It can remove tough stains and hard-to-reach food residues from dishes.

2. Citric acid can easily clean your dishwasher without damaging its interior parts.

3. Cheaper than the regular dishwasher cleaners.

4. Can be used in both dishwashers and washing machines.

5. It is safe to use.


1. This acid can damage dishes and silverware if used in excessive amounts.

2. It can also cause staining.

Is it safe to use in the dishwasher?

Is it safe to use in the dishwasher?

Using citric acid in your dishwasher is safe if you follow a few guidelines. By the way, it is an effective cleaner that can help keep your dishes and glasses stain-free. Also, note that citric acid can cause damage to some dishes if used excessively or incorrectly.

Follow these tips below to get the most out of using citric acid in the dishwasher:

1. Use a small amount of citric acid – too much will damage and stain dishes and glasses.

2. Always check the appliance’s instruction manual before cleaning with citric acid – ensure you understand all the safety precautions before starting.

3. Rinse all residue after cleaning with citric acid to avoid dish damage.

Possible side effects of using citric acid to clean dishwasher

When cleaning dishes in the dishwasher, citric acid is a common ingredient that most people use nowadays. While citric acid can effectively clean dishes and remove grease and food residue, there are some risks to using this cleaner – like skin irritation or dryness.

In case of any adverse effects after using citric acid detergent, always seek medical help as soon as possible. And remember: use only the amount of Citric Acid mentioned on the product label.

Tips for cleaning your dishwasher with citric acid

Cleaning your dishwasher with citric acid is a great way to get rid of grease and dirt build-up on dishes. It also helps remove food residue and other contaminants. However, following the manufacturer’s guidelines carefully is equally important, as using citric acid incorrectly can be dangerous.

When cleaning your dishwasher with citric acid, it’s important to use the correct proportions. Because this will help dissolve fats and residues quickly without causing any damage to your appliance or dishes.

When should you use citric acid to clean dishwasher?

Cleaning your dishwasher can be a drag, but it doesn’t have to be with Citric acid, right? Citric acid is an excellent cleaner for dishwashers that contain oily food residue. It kills bacteria, removes residue, and is effective on most types of dirt.

Just be sure to pre-treat your dishes with a cleaner beforehand, and avoid using citric acid if there are any chemicals or abrasive surfaces nearby. However, it is advisable to use citric acid to clean the dishwasher when the dishwasher is empty of utensils, kitchen cookware, or other items.

Tips for safely handling citric acid

Tips for safely handling citric acid

Cleaning dishes with citric acid is a great way to keep your kitchen looking and smelling fresh without harsh chemicals or smells. Also, Citric acid can be dangerous if you handle it incorrectly. Here are some tips for safely handling citric acid while cleaning your dishwasher:

Wear gloves 

Citric acid can irritate your skin and eyes. So, wear gloves and safety glasses or goggles when handling it. If you accidentally get citric acid in your eye, flush it with water for 15 minutes and see a doctor immediately.

Be careful when mixing citric acid with other products 

Citric acid can react with bleach or ammonia, causing toxic fumes that eventually can make you sick or damage your lungs if inhaled. So, never mix these products unless they’re specifically designed to work together.


What are the benefits of cleaning my dishwasher with citric acid?

Citric acid is a great rinse aid to use when cleaning your dishwasher as it acts as a disinfectant by killing bacteria and preventing food residue build-up. Additionally, mixing a few tablespoons of citric acid with clean water before running the dishwasher creates a detergent solution that can help clean the dishes and the washer.

Why is it important to clean my dishwasher with citric acid?

Cleaning the dishwasher with citric acid is important because citric acid breaks and removes grease, food particles,

hard water stains, and other contaminants. Additionally, citric acid can also help in reducing the build-up of mildew. It’s a safe and inexpensive alternative to using regular dishwasher cleaners.

Can I use other cleaners in place of citric acid to clean my dishwasher?

You can use other cleaning products in place of citric acid to clean your dishwasher. Although citric acid is a good natural cleaning product, you need precautions while using this to clean the dishwasher. Hence, you should use regular dishwasher cleaners and sometimes citric acid for the best results.

Is it safe to use citric acid on glassware and other delicates?

Citric acid is a safe and effective way to clean most delicate surfaces; however, there are a few things to keep in mind. Citric acid can cause stain or discoloration of glassware, stainless steel, and fabrics if used in high concentrations. Additionally, citric acid can corrode metal surfaces, so you need precaution when handling it.

Can I add a bit of citric acid or vinegar to my dishwasher?

If you’re looking for a way to clean your dishes more effectively and reduce your detergent usage, adding citric acid or vinegar to your dishwasher can help. However, it’s important to be aware that too much of either can damage your dishwasher and cause stains. Always read the instructions carefully before using any cleaning chemicals in your dishwasher.

Is there any harm in using too much citric acid?

Although citric acid is a great cleaning agent, it can also cause skin irritation and burns if used excessively. Additionally, you should avoid using citric acid as a regular dishwashing detergent as it will leave spots on your dishes. Always dilute 1 part citric acid with 10 parts clean water before using it to avoid any issues.


When it comes to cleaning your dishwasher, citric acid is a great option, no doubt. Not only is it effective at removing built-up grease and grime, but it’s also gentle on your dishwasher’s components.

So, if you’re considering cleaning your dishwasher with citric acid, you’re on the right track!

Because this cleaning method can be highly effective, it’s important to know the guidelines, pros, and cons before purchasing the acid. 

I hope now, this most comprehensive guide on how to clean a dishwasher with citric acid can help you make an informed decision.

I have also written about can You use laundry detergent to wash my dishes?

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