Friday, March 13, 2020

**SIFO** Citric Acid Is Multi-Use

This SIFO is another one that shows how a little bit of easy research can save money. Whenever I am tempted to buy a product, I try to find out what the main ingredient is. Oftentimes, I can just "go to the source" and skip paying for all the branding and hype. Keep reading and use your own judgment.

I have a Keurig that I got a few years ago on a deep sale and when I had some left-over gift certificate money. The thing is, the pods are so dang expensive. I finally got one of the really good universal filters and now I use the machine constantly. That means, of course, that I have to clean it all the time.

The water here is so hard that I can knock on it. I need to clean out the Keurig at least every other month so that it keeps running well. The problem with that is that the cleaning solutions are expensive. But you know me by now. I will always find a way to save some money.

This is what I got to clean the coffee machine:

That is a big old bag of Milliard brand citric acid. It cost $9 for the 2-pound bag. To clean my Classic model Keurig, I need to use around 1 to 2 tablespoons every other month. This is much cheaper than buying a ten-dollar bottle of "machine cleaner" that will give 2 uses per bottle. I was using white vinegar but that's around two dollars a gallon. The Milliards is a better buy for other reasons:
  1. It doesn't have the strong odor of vinegar
  2. It seems to rinse out of the machine better
  3. It's better at softening the water - which should help with cleaning
  4. I can use the Milliard on clothing stains (again, without the strong odor)
  5. I can use it to keep produce fresher for longer
  6. The Milliard is easier to store and use.
By the way, you can do your own research into other ways citric acid is used, but here are some uses I've seen mentioned online:

  • In pharmaceuticals
  • For cosmetic purposes (similar to retinol and vitamin C products)
  • In hair treatments
  • As a treatment for sore throats (don't ask me)
  • To treat skin problems (I did use some with coconut oil as a quick lip scrub)
  • To clean hard water spots
  • In the dishwasher for hard water problems
  • To preserve the freshness of produce
  • Added to the wash or rinse cycle to soften clothes and assist detergent

My main use for it is to deal with the problems hard water causes for my coffee machine and dishwasher. The main ingredients in most of those expensive coffee machine cleaning products include citric acid and baking soda and maybe some hydrogen peroxide. I almost always have the baking soda and peroxide around. All I need to do is make sure to be careful I'm not mixing up any dangerous concoctions!

Anyway. I did clean my coffee machine and it was easy. I also mixed some of the Milliard with water in a spray bottle to clean the hard water spots around the faucets. I added some at the start of the wash cycle (I always forget to catch the rinse cycle) and I didn't need to use a fabric softener sheet. My clothes seemed cleaner and they were most certainly softer - especially my dish towels.

The bottom line is, I don't have money to pay for unnecessary products. Remember when Dawn dish soap came out with its bleach-added version? Listen, I had been adding bleach to my dishwater for years because that's what my mama and her contemporaries did. The Dawn version just came in a cuter bottle and with lots of marketing. Whatever. It was the same thing with those pricey bottle teas that had fruit flavors added. I had always added some kind of fruit nectar or fresh fruit to my tea.

So, yeah, this citric acid is something that can be useful in all sorts of ways. Just use your common sense, do your research, and take your own risks. I'm no chemist or anything professional. I just try to be smart as I can on a thin wallet. Creativity is the broke man's best friend.

By the way, this is how I cleaned my Keurig.

1. Mix in 1 to 2 Tablespoons (per liter) right into the water reservoir of the Keurig (I have the Classic) and stir until dissolved. (I used 2 tablespoons this first time and will use 1 from now on.)
2. Turn off the Auto-Off feature. You're going to be running a lot of water in the next hour.
3. Make sure to take out any old Kcups before you start brewing the citric acid/water. You want to set the machine to brew a large amount of liquid.
4. Brew out the first couple of cups of liquid but on the third cup, don't let the liquid brew to completion. Stop the machine (I just unplugged mine) after the first little bit starts to flow into the cup.
5. Wait for about 10 or 15 minutes, then let the rest of the liquid brew out.
6. Now repeat until you have emptied the water reservoir. Refill it with fresh, clean water (no citric acid) and brew out that water until you get no more taste of the citric acid. It took another entire liter of clean water for mine to run clear.

And for anyone who has wondered about those universal coffee filters, I personally think the Keurig brand has the best one. I have used ones like this:

That was fine and I really liked it until I got the one from Keurig and this is one time I have to say I prefer the brand name item.

Now, I won't go back to the other kind. This one gives a much cleaner brew - without all the residue my cheap one let through. It also has a larger capacity for when I want to brew the largest cup size.

The bottom line here is that there are a lot of uses for citric acid. I might be a little slow sometimes but I know to use my brain instead of my wallet when I can.


UPDATE: I wanted to see an actual product before I added this little tidbit. The popular LemiShine Booster product you see in the stores? Read the ingredient label next time you see a container. The one ingredient on the bottle that was selling for over 5 bucks at my local store was CITRIC ACID.and fragrance. That's it, folks.

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