Sour Patch Dishes

Say what?

You know the candies, the ones covered in sugar? But they’re so terribly sour that they actually erode the skin tissue in your mouth? They are coated in citric acid; that’s where the sour comes from. I hate those things. They remind me of what my mouth tastes like after I’ve had too much wine at a holiday party.  And by too much wine, I mean, I drank too much and got sick. There, it’s said. Sour candies remind me of after-vomit and I hate them.

How could I love citric acid, then? Because citric acid is a magical cleaning agent. And by magical, I mean I don’t have to do any work. The citric acid does it all!

How does someone get a hold of some citric acid, you ask? While it’s present in lots of consumables, and even recommended for cleaning in these other forms (like, pour a can of coke in your toilet, or use Alka Seltzer in your flower vases to clean the mineral deposits) I prefer to use straight, food-grade citric acid. I just bought a pound from Amazon. My previous batch, a 5 lb bag, was purchased from Snowdrift Farms, a soap making supply website. They are now, sadly, closed. Do a web-search for food-grade citric acid, but pay attention to shipping charges! I bought one pound for $5, plus I purchased other items and qualified for free shipping. Another company was selling it for $1 a pound, but the shipping was $12. No way!

What do I use it on? Dishes in the dishwasher! You know how your dishes start to get a white film that makes them dull? Maybe it happens to your silverware, too? The bottom of my dishwasher is stainless steel and it gets downright crusty, so much so that gets clogged with white mineral debris. I sprinkle about one tablespoon of citric acid in the bottom of  the dishwasher, put a little in the soap tray too, and then I run the load like usual. Here are some pictures:


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I got a set of these bowls years ago, for the kids when they were little. Now they are just abused and worn out. But look at the difference after they were washed:


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Can you see the difference in these glasses?




And the bottom of the dishwasher cleaned up GOOD:


A flower pot has been sitting on this plate, outside, for two years. The dishwasher got a good bit of the deposits off, but afterwards I soaked it in a bowl of water and 1/2 tablespoon citric acid for an additional 3 hours. It’s not perfect, but it’s a giant difference. And to think that I would have kept it outside or thrown it away!

After the Dishwasher
After soaking

As a bonus, because it’s food grade, you can also use the citric acid in recipes that need a little “pop” of tart, without adding the liquid of lemon juice. Just a pinch will perk up your tomato sauce, guacamole, or some salad dressing maybe? It’s also yummy mixed with salt and cayenne pepper and sprinkled on fresh fruit, or on the rim of a margarita or other adult fruit beverage.

What else would you use it for?

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