Is Citrus flammable?

This article will answer the following question: “Is Citrus flammable?”. We will discuss several kinds of citrus products, including: Citrus cosmetics, Citrus fruits, and Citrus solvents.

Is Citrus flammable?

It depends. Citrus fruits can be flammable, especially their peels. Other cleaning products and cosmetics that use the word “citrus” in their names might be flammable, but it depends on every product. Always read the label if possible.

What is citrus?

Citrus is the name of a genus of trees and shrubs, in the Rutaceae family of plants. We often input the name Citrus to a product if it has compounds that come from a tree of fruit, or has a similar smell.

The plants are native to some regions of Asia and Oceania. They have been domesticated by native folk since ancient times. Around 5.000 years ago it started being traded in places near the Asian continent. 

Around 3.000 years ago, the plants spread to the Middle East and Mediterranean regions, via the incense trade route, which we discussed in an article about incense.

The plants in this genus produce citrus fruits, including: oranges, lemons, grapefruits, pomelos, and limes.

People use many citrus fruits in cooking all around the world. 

Industries commonly use citrus oils, which are normally very flammable.

Citrus is also a scent used in many kinds of products. We will discuss some of them, but to correctly assess flammability data you must research the specific product. 

Citrus scent alone doesn’t dictate how flammable a compound is.


There are many ways to express the hazards of products. The most common ones are pictograms, which are pictures that show condensed information to help the consumer rapidly understand the dangers of a product.

NFPA 704

Many government and non-governmental organizations establish systems, codes, and categories to express the overall hazards substances have.

The NFPA 704 is a standard maintained by the National Fire Protection Association, based in the U.S.

Also known as Safe Square and Fire Diamond, it uses a diamond with four divisions and colors. Each is rated on a scale of 0 to 4, known as Degrees of Hazard.

The four divisions have one color each. The red on top indicates flammability, the blue on the left indicates the level of health hazard, and the yellow on the right is for chemical reactivity. The white at the bottom contains codes for special hazards. 



There are also simpler kinds of hazard pictograms. Below we present some of them. Their purpose is simply to expose generally the kinds of hazards a certain substance can present.


OSHA (the United States Department of Labor) classifies flammable aerosols in two categories:

  • Category 1: Extremely flammable substances.
    Substances that contain over 85% flammable components, and that the heat of combustion is bigger or equal to 30kJ/g. Spray and foam aerosols are included. There are also other properties like flame duration and height.
  • Category 2: Flammable substances.
    Substances that contain around 1% or more of flammable components, or that the heat of combustion is bigger or equal to 20kJ/g. It’s valid for spray and foam aerosols as well, each having its own criteria

Citrus Cosmetics

Overall, cosmetics don’t present high flammability.

Like any other product, for a cosmetic to become flammable, most of its ingredients must be as well.

If your cosmetic has as major constituents ingredients like alcohols, acetone, oils and other fats, waxes, and similar things, it’s probably flammable.

Most aerosol products are also flammable because they often have organic solvents like propane, alcohol and butane.

Although, cosmetics that are water-based almost certainly are not flammable, or can only become flammable if heated a lot.

Micellar Cleansing Water – Citrus Mint 

This micellar cleansing water from Sweet & True Sugaring Co is not known to be flammable, combustible, pyrophobic, or explosive.

It has some organic ingredients like glycerin and oil, but it’s water-based.

Citrus Gel

This is a solvent gel for grease, paint, and ink spot removal, by  Australia Pty Ltd.

Although it’s not considered flammable (wouldn’t generate many flames from an attempt of ignition), it can form flammable vapor-air mixtures and other products of pyrolysis. 

It can also emit poisonous and corrosive fumes.

Citrus II

Citrus II is a hospital germicidal deodorizing cleaner, designed specifically as a general, non-acid, ready-to-use cleaner and disinfectant.

It is a flammable product according to its safety data sheet.

Citrus fruits

The most common citrus fruits are citron, lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit.

Fruits don’t come with a hazard symbol, but they can be flammable. It is not something restricted to fruits. Nearly any kind of food we consume is made of organic compounds, and they are all combustible in the right conditions.


Limonene is a known dietary supplement and fragrance ingredient for many kinds of cosmetics, botanical insecticides, perfumery, and other personal care products.

There are different kinds of limonene. The most common are (d)-Limonene and (L)-Limonene.

Citrus fruits peels are composed of many things. One of them is an oil named Limonene, which is extracted from the peel to be used in many applications. 

It’s mainly used as a flavoring agent but has also applications in cleaning products, solvents, adhesive removers, and paint strippers.

Limonene can be seen when we peel an orange. It’s in those droplets that become airborne. It also mainly contributes to the characteristic odor of citric fruit peels

The compound has a considerably low flashpoint, around 50ºC/122ºF. The autoignition temperature, although, is too high so the compound can only burn if there’s a good source of ignition close by, or if it receives enough heat.

Citrus solvents

There are many kinds of solvents in the market that are citrus-based. Many of them are made from natural sources, especially d-Limonene, which we discussed above.

When it comes to toxicity or flammability, it doesn’t matter if the solvent is synthetic or not. Many natural things can cause harm to us, pets, and other animals, which normally depends on the dose.

But most natural organic solvents don’t present acute toxicity (from single heavy exposures) for us but might have chronic effects (continuous exposure through months or years).

These solvents probably won’t cause many problems in contact with our skin, but they can be harmful if spilled into our eyes or inhaled deeply, which could damage our lungs and even lead to asphyxiation.

Citrus solvents flammability

These compounds are more likely to become flammable in their pure form. If mixed with something else, it’s hard to infer simply judging by the ingredients list. We must also check specific safety data.

Here we present a few safety data sheets for specific citrus solvents. All of them are flammable, but some are more than others.

The fire

Fire is the result of a complex chemical reaction that happens between fuel, oxygen, and heat.

Fuel is normally something organic, a compound whose most of the chemical bonds are between carbon and hydrogen, and carbon-carbon. These atoms react with oxygen and produce simpler compounds. 

Energy is unleashed by the chemical reaction in the form of fire (light + heat). Before the burning, this energy was stored in the chemical bonds of the fuel’s molecules.

There are three ways in which organic matter (any kind of organic compound) can become thermally decomposed.

The first way is very familiar to us: combustion. When something burns it means that the fuel source suffered specific oxidation called combustion. The organic molecules are severely altered to produce oxides such as carbon dioxide (CO2), water (H2O), NO2, and others.

Another one is called Pyrolysis. This requires a heat that’s similar to combustion, but in the near absence of oxygen. Pyrolysis is what produces charcoal, which can come from many sources, mostly wood. The chemicals of the material are considerably altered.

The last thermal decomposition is called evaporation/ vaporization. It happens when a compound is heated enough so its volatiles eventually runs off. The structure of those molecules barely alters, they simply change from liquid to a gas or gas-like state.

When something burns in an open fire, all three kinds of decomposition happen at once, but the most prominent is combustion. 

Is what produces the fire that illuminates humanity’s path for millennia, gives us heat, and provides us with the ability to change our surroundings profoundly. Our contemporary society also depends completely on fire, in nearly any sector.


Many products can be named Citrus. Most of them use compounds that come from a citrus plant, or that have smells that resemble it. The flammability of citrus depends on its ingredients. Citrus oils and solvents are surely flammable.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS): Is Citrus flammable?

Is citrus bad for dogs?

Citrus fruits may cause digestive problems in dogs. The acid content and the essential oils are considered bad for dogs and should be avoided. They may also dislike it due to the bitter taste.

Is citrus a fruit?

Citrus is the name of a plant genus, which is most known for its trees. Such trees often produce fruits.

But as a form of speech, citrus can be considered a synonym for “citrus fruits”, but it’s also a taste, flavor, and scent.

Is citrus good for sore throat?

There’s not enough scientific evidence to support allegations that acidic fruits and juices are good for sore throat. The fruits might irritate the throat and be difficult to swallow.

Also, there’s no evidence that vitamin C in these fruits helps boost our immune system.

Even so, citrus fruits will not be so bad for the throat. You can have them if it makes you feel well.


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