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Property Nitric Acid Citrisurf
Safety Very hazardous Very safe to use as directed
Air Breathing Emits toxic gases No toxic gases emitted
Ease of use Bulky safety equipment and extreme care required Minimum of safety equipment and caution in use
Passivation Excellent passivation of most grades of stainless Excellent passivation of nearly all grades of stainless
Cost Low cost raw material; high cost maintenance and waste disposal. High cost of safety and ventilation system Lower overall cost to use due to lower maintenance and waste disposal costs; longer lasting solutions and lower concentration necessary
Environment Environmentally hazardous Environmentally friendly
Speed 20 minutes to several hours required 4-20 minutes typical, depends on process and grade
Temperature Elevated temperature required for
many grades
Room temperature satisfactory for
many grades. Elevated
temperature improves speed and
Maintenance Regular solution replacement
required with removal of
hazardous waste.
Solutions lasts much longer and
most operations have no
hazardous waste to remove at all
Iron Oxide removal Removes iron oxide slowly Readily removes iron oxide
Equipment Long-term degradation of tanks and area equipment is expected No deleterious effects on recommended tanks and equipment, or corrosion of equipment in area
Flexibility in use Must control time/temperature
carefully and danger of
NO x  emissions is always present
No hazard of leaving product in
the tank too long for most
products, no hazardous emissions
even with poor grades of stainless
steel parts.
ASTM A-967 / A380 Meets requirements Meets requirements
AMS 2700 Meets requirements Meets requirements

CitriSurf® is a registered trademark of Stellar Solutions, Inc., McHenry, IL USA.


Further advantage of Citric Acid

  • Citric acid passivation selectively removes iron over nickel and chromium leaving a thicker corrosion resistant oxide layer than nitric acid passivation.
  • Citric acid passivation does not introduce heavy metals (hazardous waste) into the bath.
  • 302 and 316 stainless steel were more corrosion-resistant after citric acid passivation than they were after nitric acid passivation.
  • 420 stainless steel traditionally experiences problems with rust and corrosion when undergoing nitric acid passivation (surgical industry), but organic acid passivation eliminates these issues.
  • Metals that have been passivated with citric acid pass salt spray, immersion and high humidity tests.
  • The raw materials for citric acid can be stored as non-hazardous chemicals, saving companies storage and compliance costs.

Citric acid

Some argue that citric acid isn’t as effective as nitric acid. However, according to a 2011 study sponsored by NASA via the United Space Alliance, LLC, “citric acid most likely performs as well or better than nitric acid.”

Our Products

CitriSurf® Product

Citric Acid Based Cleaning and Passivation Products

CitriSurf 2250For most grades of stainless steel, including austenitic, ferritic, martensitic, precipitation hardening, and duplex.
CitriSurf 2450Designed for improved performance with very sensitive grades (e.g. 420) of stainless steel.
CitriSurf 3050For austenitic grades of stainless steel where very low foaming is required, i.e. baths with air agitators and spraying/CIP applications
CitriSurf 3250For most grades of stainless steel where very low foaming is required, i.e. baths with air agitators.
CitriSurf 77For applications where it is desired to spray the product on a local area. (May not be appropriate for sensitive grades)
CitriSurf 2210Gelled version for use on weld joints, vertical surfaces, and large items or areas.

CitriSurf® Product

Citric Acid Based Rust Removal and Passivation Products

CitriSurf 77 PlusFor applications where it is desired to spray the product on a local area. (May not be appropriate for sensitive grades)
CitriSurf 2310Gelled version for use on weld joints, vertical surfaces, and large items or areas. (May not be appropriate for sensitive grades)
CitriSurf 2325For tanks, pipe systems, and bulk quantities of parts. (May not be appropriate for sensitive grades)

Weld cleaning kit

Removal of the discolouration from stainless steel welds

Weld Wizard™ Product

Weld Discoloration Cleaning Products

Weld Wizard 9003For use as the electrolyte in electropickling.
Weld Wizard 9310Gelled version of low-haz, low-etch acid pickling.
Weld Wizard 9350Low-haz, low-etch acid pickling.
Weld Wizard 9700Abrasive suspension for removal of weld discolorations.


Copper Sulfate Passivation Test Kit

Copper Sulfate Passivation Test KitTo verify the effectiveness of the stainless steel passivation treatment.

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“Highly effective in cleaning four years’ accumulation of deposits from the interior of the sewage system piping.”

Lt. Anthony Palmer,


“Environmental friendliness of your product resulted in cost savings of $1000 in waste disposal fees”

Lt. Paul Stukus,


“We will save over $250,000 per year with the CitriSurf process of passivating our stainless steel parts, and have complete control of timing and quality.”

“I am absolutely amazed at how simple and easy it is to clean and passivate my parts with the new CitriSurf system. This year I will save over $50,000 in costs, and the quality of my parts is significantly better than I was getting with the old nitric acid system.”