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What’s in Lemi Shine? – UPDATED


Lemi Shine is magical.  We must have the hardest water ever. Any harder and I’d be able to walk on it. Our dishes had the grossest white film on it that just kept getting thicker and grittier and grosser.  I thought we were going to have to wash dishes by hand or buy new dishes.  Then we tried adding Lemi Shine.  No joke, after 2 or 3 cycles, the dishes look like new.  I wish I had before and after pictures.  Imagine an opaque drinking glass next to a crystal clear drinking glass. Actually, the picture on the bottle could have been taken in our kitchen.

So I wanted to know what voodoo powder is in Lemi Shine that allows for such magical transformations to happen.  Looking on the innertubes, people making home-made dishwasing detergent often have a line like ‘add Lemi Shine or lemon Kool-Aid packets.’ So that’s weird. The label on the bottle says it contains ‘natural fruit acids and citric oils.’ Ok, so maybe the lemon Kool-Aid isn’t so weird. Here’s a list of natural fruit acids.

So I turned to the MSDS in hopes that it would divulge the ingredient list.  The Lemi Shine MSDS was really easy to find, but the composition section reads:

Well, thanks.  That could not be less informative.  So my bottle contains between 61-105% of something? (maybe the rest is chemical free. oooooh!) The only actual quantitative information the MSDS provides is a pH of 3 and some LD50 data: Compound1: 3000 mg/kg (rat, oral); Compound2: 2840 mg/kg (rat, oral), 5000 mg/kg (rabbit, dermal – what did that experiment look like?)

So I guess since I’m a chemist, I should bring some into lab and figure it out myself, eh? So I did.

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By May 18, 2012 117 comments lab technique