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Can You Use Borax With Cold Water | 27 Brilliant Uses \U0026 Health Benefits Of Borax For Around The House 75 Most Correct Answers

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Common advice is to wash colored clothes only in cold water to prevent fading and to keep colors bright. Some delicate fabrics, whether white or colored, are labeled as cold-wash only. However, borax readily dissolves only in warm or hot water.Temperature considerations: Both vinegar and borax increase your detergent’s effectiveness by changing the pH of the water. This is independent of the temperature setting. I wouldn’t alter the amount of vinegar or borax added to the wash when using cold or hot water.Hot water helps to make the Borax more soluble so it works its way into the clothing and gets an even deeper clean.

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27 Brilliant Uses \u0026 Health Benefits of Borax For Around the House
Borax is a naturally occurring mineral that is primarily mined from evaporated lakes in California and Turkey.
Borax is used in many different commercial applications, including as an ingredient in household cleaning products, as a buffer in chemical laboratories, to help extract gold in mining operations, and as a component of glass and ceramics.
Borax is not classifiable as a human carcinogen. However, like many other household substances, borax can have a mildly irritating effect on skin. It can also be toxic to adults if ingested in large amounts, and potentially fatal to children if ingested in small amounts.
So in summary, borax is perfectly safe as long as you plan to handle it with the same care that you would use with any other household cleaning product (including keeping it away from children, using it in a well-ventilated space, wearing gloves, etc.)
Lets look at the 27 Brilliant Household Uses For Borax
1. Preserve Flowers
You can use borax to preserve many varieties of fresh-cut flowers. Using borax helps removes moisture from the blossoms and leaves to help prevent wilting while they dry. To use it, just mix one part borax with two parts cornmeal, and sprinkle the mixture into the bottom of a box. Place your flower(s) in the box, then sprinkle more of the borax and cornmeal mixture over the top. Cover the box and let it sit for about two weeks until the flowers are dry.
2. Clean Your Carpets
Boost the cleaning power of your carpet cleaning machine by adding a 1/2 cup of borax per gallon of water to the reservoir.
3. Dissolve Sticky Messes
Get rid of sticky, gooey, and gummy adhesive residue with a mixture of two parts borax and 1 part water. Rub the mixture onto the mess until the adhesive dissolves, then rinse clean.
4. Feed Fruit Trees
Sprinkle a cup of borax around a full-sized apple tree (or a couple of tablespoons around a young tree) every 3-4 years. This adds the trace mineral boron to the soil, which fruit trees need for good cell wall growth and for fruit and seed development

5. Deter Pests
Keep roaches, water bugs, and ants away by sprinkling equal parts borax and sugar anywhere you suspect they may be entering your home.
6. kill Mold
Borax is a great to kill mold in the home. All you need to do is Mix a cup of borax with a gallon of hot water and stir well, Next Pour the solution into a spray bottle and Spray generously onto the affected area and allow to settle for a few minutes.
Use a scrubber or toothbrush to tackle both lightly and heavily effected areas, and ensure all the mould is physically removed
Wipe away the excess mould
Don’t rinse the borax away, as it will continue disinfecting the area
Allow the area to naturally dry and repeat if necessary

7. Kill Weeds
Use a sprinkle of borax to kill weeds that come up through the cracks in your walkways. (That’s why borax should be kept away from most plants, because it makes a rather effective herbicide!)

8. Clean Cookware
The gentle cleaning effect of borax is perfect for use on porcelain and aluminum cookware. Sprinkle onto pots and pans and rub with a damp dishcloth to clean, then rinse thoroughly.

9. Clean Car Upholstery
Another homemade cleaning solution that benefits from borax is my homemade car upholstery cleaner. It’s the most affordable way I’ve found to remove dirt and grime from your car’s floor mats and upholstery!

10. Freshen Up Your Fridge
Mix up a cleaning solution of 1 quart warm water and 1 tablespoon borax, and use it to clean spills and grime inside your refrigerator. Not only will it clean your fridge, but it will deodorize it and leave it smelling much fresher!

11. Remove Rust
Remove rust by mixing up a simple cleaning solution of 1-2 tablespoons of borax, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and enough water to make a paste. Apply the paste with a sponge or scrubber to your rusted items, and scrub until the rust is gone. (Be sure to rinse and dry the item thoroughly afterward.)

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Using Borax for your laundry | Mothering Forum

I use the ‘wet’ laundry recipie, yes- borax does not disolve well in cold water, some will run a little hot water in the washer with the soap, …

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Cleaning With Borax – ThriftyFun

I expect to use 1/2 cup borax per load. However, we normally wash in cold. Does borax dissolve effectively in cold water? Thanks! By CJ Hinke. Read …

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How to Use Vinegar and Borax in the Laundry – Home-Ec 101

Both vinegar and borax increase your detergent’s effectiveness by changing the pH of the water. This is independent of the temperature setting. I wouldn’t alter …

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Date Published: 2/4/2021

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Vinegar and Borax Are Safe to Use In HE Washers – The Spruce

Sprinkle 1/2 cup borax into the empty washer tub before adding the dirty laundry. Be sure there are no lumps in the borax powder if you are using cold water …

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The Many, Many Uses of Borax for Laundry

Heat: Nowadays, we can choose hot, warm, and cold water to wash our clothes, but before the advent of modern detergents most laundry was …

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What Is Borax & Is It Safe For Cleaning With? – Moral Fibres

To get started, it is important to know that in the UK and EU you can no longer buy … useful in laundry because borax substitute is cold-water-soluble.

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My borax crystal experiment by Aaditya Shukla – Prezi

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Removing Tough Stains: How to Pre-Soak Laundry with Borax

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27 Brilliant Uses \u0026 Health Benefits of Borax For Around the House

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  • Author: Natural Health Remedies
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  • Date Published: Jul 7, 2019
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Does borax work better in hot or cold water?

Temperature considerations: Both vinegar and borax increase your detergent’s effectiveness by changing the pH of the water. This is independent of the temperature setting. I wouldn’t alter the amount of vinegar or borax added to the wash when using cold or hot water.

Does borax work in warm water?

Hot water helps to make the Borax more soluble so it works its way into the clothing and gets an even deeper clean.

Can you use washing powder with cold water?

Using the cold water setting on a washing machine uses less energy, but unfortunately powder detergent doesn’t dissolve easily in cold water. This can result in clumps of detergent being stuck on your clothes, forcing you to re-wash them for a second time.

Can you put borax in water?

Used as an all-purpose cleaner. This is one of the most common borax uses. Mix two tablespoons of borax with two cups of water. Mix the solution in a spray bottle, and you have your very own all-purpose cleaner.

Will borax unclog a drain?

Clear your drains

Clear clogged sinks by pouring a solution of one part borax to four parts boiling water down the drain. Let it sit for 15 minutes and then flush with hot water.

Does borax keep bugs away?

Borax is very effective in killing and controlling various types of insects, including fleas, silverfish and beetles. It is one of the most effective methods of controlling cockroaches in and around the home as long as it is applied properly, according to the University of Kentucky.

Which is stronger borax or baking soda?

Borax is significantly more alkaline than baking soda. Borax has a pH of 9.5 vs. 8 for baking soda. That might make it more effective in certain situations, but it also makes it a harsher cleaning agent.

Is borax just baking soda?

Borax (sodium tetraborate) and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) aren’t the same thing. They’re both salts, and they’re both popular as “green” household cleaning agents, but borax has a pH of 9.5, compared to baking soda’s pH of 8. This makes borax considerably more alkaline than baking soda.

How much borax should I use in my laundry?

Just add half a cup of borax to each wash load, and you’ll boost the cleaning power of your laundry detergent.

What detergents work with cold water?

Of the three cold-water formulas we tested, Tide – Coldwater Clean performed the best in cold water conditions. In terms of stain removal, it beat out six of the other detergents and tied with Wisk Deep Clean, which needed warm water to do the job.

What laundry detergent is best in cold water?

Tide Plus Coldwater Clean Liquid Laundry Detergent offers the brilliant clean you know and love, plus amazing color protection, even in cold water. It’s specially formulated for cold water conditions, giving you brilliant color protections while using 50% less energy when you switch loads from warm to cold.

Do you have to use hot water with powder detergent?

Despite the best practices of the past, modern laundry detergents are formulated to work just as well in cold water. “The new detergents use enzymes that are cold water stable,” says Gebhardt.

How long does it take for borax to dissolve in water?

When the saturated borax solution in the 150-mL beaker reaches about 10°C, stop stirring the solution and allow the borax crystals in the solution to settle. This takes about 2 minutes.

How much borax do I mix with water?

Mix 1 teaspoon of Borax into ½ cup of water in a plastic container. Slowly add the solution to the glue mixture. Stir the mixture in one direction until it starts to thicken. (You might not need all of the Borax solution.)

What can you not mix with borax?

Don’t mix it with acids or store it with acids. I’ve been using it for a few weeks now and it’s really very good indeed. It’s quite safe if used correctly, it’s effective and it’s fairly cheap.

Can Borax Be Used for a Colored Wash?

Borax can be used for washing. Image Credit: Cris Cantón/Moment/GettyImages

Borax is a naturally occurring mineral salt that’s sold as a laundry booster. It promises to fight stains, brighten whites and help laundry detergent more effectively clean all kinds of fabrics, colored fabrics included. Unlike bleach, borax is safe to use on colored fabrics without fear of dye removal or other damage. This general rule applies whether borax is used as a laundry booster in the washing machine, as part of a pre-soak solution, as a spot treatment for stains or as an ingredient in homemade laundry detergent. For the best results in using borax for a colored wash, follow the recommendations on its packaging.

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A Brief Introduction to Borax

Borax, or sodium borate, is a natural mineral salt that’s mined from dried lake beds. The white powder became popular as a cleaning and laundry product in the late 19th century, which gives the product a nostalgic vibe. Borax has seen a resurgence in contemporary times due to its all-natural credentials. Some users like to make DIY laundry detergent with borax as a key ingredient.

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Borax has endured as a laundry booster for more than a century because it is effective. It is very alkaline, with a pH of 9.5, and it forms a basic solution when mixed with water. Borax thereby acts as a water softener, helping soaps and detergents work more effectively. A borax and water solution along with detergent will emulsify and disperse oils, repel soils and lift the color out of stains without harm to white or colored fabrics.

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Borax and Hot Water Woes

Borax has one characteristic that can prove challenging when it comes to washing colored clothes: it doesn’t dissolve well in cold water. Common advice is to wash colored clothes only in cold water to prevent fading and to keep colors bright. Some delicate fabrics, whether white or colored, are labeled as cold-wash only. However, borax readily dissolves only in warm or hot water.

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To effectively use borax in a colored wash, there are a few workarounds. One is to simply wash the colored items in warm or hot water, adding borax along with the usual laundry detergent. If this is an infrequent practice, the stain-fighting power of borax might be worth the minimal risk of color fading that comes with a warm or hot wash. Another is to dissolve borax in a small amount of warm or hot water and then add the premade solution to a cold wash. Make a solution of approximately 1 tablespoon of borax dissolved in 2 cups of hot water and then add about 1/2 cup of the solution to a regular-size load of laundry.

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Ways to Use Borax for a Colored Wash

Borax is a versatile product for laundry as well as other cleaning tasks. In addition to adding a dash of borax to the washing machine, use borax in the following ways:

Pre-soak fabric to remove stains before washing. Use 1/2 cup of borax per gallon of warm water, add pre-rinsed clothes to the solution and soak them for 30 minutes to one hour before laundering as usual.

Make a spot treatment for stains with one part borax to two parts warm water. Spread the solution directly on a stain, let it sit for 30 minutes and then rinse and wash the item as usual.

Make your own DIY laundry detergent by blending borax, washing soda and Castile soap. Many recipes are available online.

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Warnings for Using Borax

Keep borax out of the reach of children and never ingest or inhale it. Borax can irritate the skin. Users with sensitive skin should avoid touching borax with bare hands. Spandex clothing can be damaged by high-pH cleaning products. Avoid using borax on fabrics that contain spandex, also known as Lycra or elastane.

How to Use Vinegar and Borax in the Laundry

Dear Home Ec 101

You mentioned using vinegar or borax to remove detergent build-up from towels. We have hard water in our area and I believe this could be a problem for us, even though I haven’t had a problem with odor. I have a few questions: How much vinegar or borax should I use in my clothes washer?

Can vinegar or borax be used on all washable fabrics?

If so, which do you think would be better for fabrics that can’t be washed in hot water?

Should the amount of vinegar or borax be increased in cooler wash water? Signed,

Washer Warrior

This is an excellent question, thank you so much for submitting it.

Vinegar

Vinegar is an acid. It can be used in a clothes washer as a laundry booster/fabric softener/water conditioner by lowering the pH of the water which increases the solubility of other compounds. In the case of laundry, you’re hoping to increase the solubility of detergent, the minerals in hard water, and dirt.

As vinegar is an acid, it can weaken the fibers of some fabrics. Do not use full strength on:

cotton

rayon

acetate

triacetate

silk fibers.

For what it’s worth, I use vinegar with cotton all the time. Cotton is a heavy-duty fabric and the vinegar is quite dilute. I do understand that I may be shortening the lifespan of the clothing article, but I find it to be a worthwhile trade-off. My jeans still last much longer than fashion trends and my kids grow out of them long before they wear out. I do NOT use vinegar on silk.

When using vinegar to strip excess detergent you’re going to use more than when you use vinegar as a fabric softener in the final rinse. For loads where stripping excess detergent is the goal, use 1 cup of white vinegar for every gallon of water. You will need to consult your owner’s manual for specific capacities as they relate to your washing machine. When stripping detergent build-up, be sure the laundry gets a plain water rinse to help bring the pH back up toward neutral -that’s 7 if you’re curious. If you’re breaking out the meter, you already knew that.

When using vinegar as a fabric softener to increase the efficacy of the rinse cycle, use 1 – 2 cups for top-loading washers and just fill the fabric softener cup in high-efficiency washers.

Borax

Borax acts as a buffer and raises the pH of the water to a slightly basic solution, right around a pH of 8. Don’t use Borax at the same time as vinegar or you’ll just create a nice little acid-base reaction and make salt.

When using Borax to help soften or condition your water, for both high efficiency and most top-loading washing machines add 1/2 cup of Borax per load. If you have a large capacity machine bump up the amount to 3/4 cup of Borax per load. Borax is added to the actual wash cycle, not the rinse cycle when used in your washing machine.

If you’re using Borax as a stain treatment, use 1 TBSP per gallon of water.

Temperature considerations:

Both vinegar and borax increase your detergent’s effectiveness by changing the pH of the water. This is independent of the temperature setting. I wouldn’t alter the amount of vinegar or borax added to the wash when using cold or hot water. None of the research I did mention the temperature of your wash water, except to note that using cold water saves energy. This is a variable I would run a few home experiments on. After you try the vinegar and borax as recommended you can try increasing their amounts slightly when washing in cold water to see if there is a noticeable difference. If not, try backing off until you do not receive the results you want. In this manner, you can find the most conservative amount of additive for your specific water hardness.

Click the picture for more tips!

Regarding delicates, Borax is the way to go. Borax is recommended for fabrics that must be hand washed.

Good luck!

Send your questions to [email protected]

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Liquid vs Powder Laundry Detergent: Which Should I Choose?

Detergent plays an important role in the washing machine’s ability to dislodge dirt and remove stains from fabric. It does this by attracting debris, pulling it out of clothes until it’s washed away in the rinse cycle. While there are dozens of different types of detergent on the market, they generally fall into one of two different categories: liquid or powder form. So, which type of detergent should you choose?

Liquid Detergent

The main advantage of washing your garments with liquid laundry detergent is its ability to dissolve in either cold or hot water. Using the cold water setting on a washing machine uses less energy, but unfortunately powder detergent doesn’t dissolve easily in cold water. This can result in clumps of detergent being stuck on your clothes, forcing you to re-wash them for a second time. Liquid detergent, on the other hand, dissolves in water of all temperature ranges, so you don’t have to worry about this occurring.

But there are some disadvantages to liquid detergent, including its potential for sticking to the cracks, sides and other hand-to-reach places in a washing machine. Depending on how your washing machine is designed, liquid detergent may seep into areas that aren’t properly drained in the rinse cycle. If it remains here, it may promote the formation of foul-smelling mold and mildew.

Powder Detergent

Powder detergent generally has a longer shelf life than its liquid counterpart. This is due to the fact that bleaching agents and soaps are more stable in powder form, which subsequently means powder detergents last longer than liquids. If you’re the type of person who prefers to buy things in bulk, you should stick with powder detergent for this reason.

Powder detergents are also more Eco-friendly than liquid detergents. According to an article published by Consumer Reports, standard liquid detergent is contains as much as 80% water content, meaning it really only has about 20% “active” ingredients. Powder detergent is more concentrated and doesn’t require a substantial amount of water to produce.

As previously mentioned, powder detergent doesn’t dissolve easily in cold water. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t wash clothes with powder detergent on the cold water setting, but you “may” notice clumps left behind in some loads. Of course, a simple solution to this problem is to wash your clothes in hot water rather than cold.

25 Unexpected Uses for Borax Around the House

If you’ve found yourself with more borax than you know what to do with, you’ve come to the right place! This old time product has many uses besides your laundry. Excitingly, the same borax that you’ve stored around the house for years has some surprising uses. It can clean your house, supplement your garden, and even treat illness! Read on to learn many unexpected uses for borax around the house.

What is Borax?

Borax, also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate, is an important boron compound, a mineral, and a salt of boric acid. Unlike boric acid, sodium tetraborate is not toxic.

Sodium borate is a soft white crystal that dissolves easily in water. If exposed to dry air, it loses its hydration and becomes sodium tetraborate pentahydrate. This can be found in the same section as laundry detergents in the supermarket.

In this article, we will discuss some lesser known uses of borax.

What is Borax Made of?

The white, powdered borax that you usually find in the grocery store consists of soft colorless crystals that dissolve easily in water. It is not boric acid, which is more acidic and might easily turn toxic if absorbed through broken skin.

I’ve been using borax as an ingredient in homemade laundry detergent for several years now. It’s inexpensive and easy to find at any grocery store.

Borax has a wide variety of uses around the house. Did you know it has many other cleaning uses besides the laundry?

Sodium borate is different from its more acidic parent, but are there any cautions? With a pH around 9.5, Borax is highly alkaline, which makes it irritating to the skin and eyes when used undiluted.

In any form – borax, sodium borate or boric acid – undiluted borax should not be used as an eyewash or skin scrub nor should you drink it, (which I’m pretty sure you already figured out.)

But for occasional indirect contact, using sodium borate in things like cleaning products is safe.

So, what are the common (and less common) uses for borax? Continue reading to learn more.

Uses for Borax

This old time product has many uses besides your laundry

Borax Cleaning Uses

Is borax safe as a cleaner? Let’s find out.

Used as an aid to your carpet cleaning machine. Just add 1/2 cup of borax sodium tetraborate per gallon of water. See a more detailed recipe in the “Other DIY Recipes Using Borax” subtopic. Borax makes a great toilet bowl cleaner . Pour one box of sodium borate powder into the toilet and leave overnight. You’ll see amazing bathroom results the next day! Clean mold and mildew. Mix one cup of borax with one quart of hot water. Pour into a spray bottle. Spray on mold and mildew until it is saturated. Wait several hours, then rinse thoroughly. Clean the floor. Put one-fourth cup of borax and one-half cup of vinegar into a bucket. Fill it up with hot water. Add a small amount of dish soap. Use the solution to mop your floors. Used as an all-purpose cleaner. This is one of the most common borax uses. Mix two tablespoons of borax with two cups of water. Mix the solution in a spray bottle, and you have your very own all-purpose cleaner. Borax cleans violin strings! Just dampen a brush then dip in borax. Then, rinse with warm water. But make sure that the water or borax does not get in contact with the body of the violin. Borax is a rust remover. Mix borax with warm water and lemon juice to create a paste. Then, apply to the area with rust. Used in cleaning outdoor furniture. Combine borax with warm water and dish soap. Place the solution in a spray bottle then start spot cleaning. Clear clogged drains. Borax is a much less toxic alternative to regular drain cleaners. Pour 3.5 oz (100 mg) of borax down the drain, then add 13.5 fl oz (around 400 ml) of boiling water. Let sit at least 15 minutes and flush with several more cups of boiling water. If necessary repeat until the obstruction is gone. Your sinks will thank you too! Get rid of urine smell. Borax is very effective at removing persistent urine odors from a mattress. So, if your kid has wet the bed, dampen the problem area, rub it with borax, and use a vacuum cleaner to remove the solution once everything has dried off. Keep windows and mirrors stain-free. Add 1 tbsp of borax to 10 fl oz (300 ml) of water, soak a clean sponge in the solution and give your mirrors and windows a nice wash. Disinfect the garbage disposal. To keep nasty bacteria and mold buildup at bay, give your garbage disposal unit some TLC every two weeks. Just pour 3 tbsp of borax down the drain, leave it there for around one hour, and flush with hot water afterward. Make (crazy cheap) DIY laundry soap. You’ll need just borax, baking soda, and a bar of Fels-Naptha. Preparedness Mama has a whole step-by-step guide to making this lifesaver. Check it out here: Stocking Up On DIY Laundry Soap.

Borax Uses in Your Garden and Backyard

These less known uses for borax include non-invasive ways to improve the health of plants and animals.

14. Used as a solution to promote fruit and seed development for fruit trees. Just spray a solution of borax powder and water (10:1) onto the soil around, say, a full-grown apple tree every 3 to 4 years. The borax solution will add boron to the soil. Click here for the tops signs of boron deficiency in plants.

15. With the help of borax, freshly-cut flowers can be preserved for an extended period of time.

16. Sprinkle sodium borate powder on the floor to get rid of mice.

17. Borax can be used to combat bugs including ants, cockroaches, and other pests. Just sprinkle equal parts of borax and sugar on the area where you think the pests are present. However be wary that borax can be very toxic to small kids and pets if ingested in large quantities. (Here are several more natural methods of pest control for your yard and garden: Natural Garden Pest Control Methods)

Warning: Don’t use borax freely in your garden as it can be toxic to plants. Use a diluted solution on some plants and see how they react. If it is too much dilute it some more.

Other DIY Recipes Using Borax

18. GooGone Remover: Mix 1/2 cup borax with 1/4 cup of water (always use this 2 to 1 ratio) until completely incorporated. Rub on hands or household items to get rid of adhesive residue.

19. Carpet Cleaner: In a pint mason jar, mix 2 cups of cornmeal with 1 cup of borax. Sprinkle the mixture over your carpets and leave for at least an hour. Add an essential oil if you choose. Vacuum it up and enjoy fresh carpets. You can use a regular jar lid into a shaker by punching nail holes through it.

For more DIY natural cleaners that are just as effective as their commercial counterparts – but much milder on your health and pocket, see our related post: Make a DIY Natural Cleaning Kit.

20. Sprinkle borax to kill weeds in the yard and in sidewalk cracks. Be sure you do not get any in your garden as it will kill any plant it lands on!

21. Flea destroyer: The humble borax can help you get rid of some of the nastiest home flea infestations. Just mix the chemical with regular table salt in equal parts and scrub the mixture onto furniture, carpet, cracks and other places fleas might have set their base. Wait 24 hours and vacuum.

Repeat the process until you get rid of all the fleas (in serious infestations, you might need to do it every 12 hours). The borax-based solution will dry out both the fleas and their eggs. Warning: Do not use this solution on your pets’ coat as it is toxic to them.

22. Old-time pink eye remedy. Before people rushed to their GP for every minor ailment, pink eye used to be treated in just a few days with a mild borax-based treatment.

Mix 1 cup of warm distilled water with 1/8 tsp Mule Team Borax. Sterilize the entire area around the eye with a cotton ball soaked in the solution and add a couple of drops of the mix in the affected eye.

23. Athlete’s foot treatment: Borax is very effective at fighting off stubborn fungal infections such as athlete’s foot. You’ll need to make a borax – hydrogen peroxide solution to soak your feet in. Borax is the key ingredient but hydrogen peroxide will help it get into the skin better.

Mix 1 part 3% hydrogen peroxide with two parts of hot tap water, not boiling, to dilute the hydrogen peroxide to 1 percent. You need to get the hydrogen peroxide down to 1% because otherwise it would be too abrasive on your skin. The human skin produces hydrogen peroxide on its own so you need to give it just one gentle boost in case of a fungal infection.

Next add 1 cup of borax to the peroxide-water solution and stir. Make sure that all the borax is dissolved then add a spoonful of borax and dissolve that too. Keep adding borax until it no longer dissolves. At that point, the solution is saturated with borax.

Use 3 quarts of the solution to soak your feet. Make sure that the solution is warm and that is covers your feet entirely. Before the soak, gently clean your feet with mild liquid soap. Don’t use too much soap as you don’t want to strip your skin of its protective natural oils when dealing with a fungal infection.

Repeat the treatment every day for about one week. Then, repeat every other day until symptoms subside.

24. Crystals: Yes, you can make borax crystals with boiling water! Just mix borax with hot water. Hot water molecules will allow the crystals to form.

25. Natural joint pain relief. Borax in minuscule doses has been used internally for decades as a natural treatment for arthritic pain and even osteoporosis. It is believed that the powdered white mineral is so effective at it that it prompted Big pharma pull some strings in Europe, Australia, and other parts of the world to get it banned.

We don’t know how much of this story is truth or fiction, but there are legions of arthritis sufferers that swear by the method.

Final Thoughts

What other ways can you use borax? Cleaning, disinfecting and pest control will most certainly be involved. Be sure to check out the infographic below (pin it for later) and learn some old-fashioned ways to use borax for more than your laundry. This is the kind I purchase at my local grocer or on Amazon: 20 Mule Team Borax.

Thanks for supporting PreparednessMama by using the Amazon affiliate links on this page!

Disclaimer: This post was not designed to diagnose, give medical advice or prescribe any kind of treatment. It is intended only for educational purposes. For any health issue and conditions consult with a healthcare professional.

You might also like: 16 Fantastic Uses for Super Washing Soda | PreparednessMama

More Uses for Borax:

Source: eReplacementParts.com

Cleaning With Borax

When they were dry, it looked like I waxed and buffed them! So simple and so cheap! No more Mop and Glo!

I have hardwood and tile floors. I tried everything to make them shine. One day I was in a hurry. I grabbed a bucket, put in about 1/2 cup of borax, filled it with hot water, and mopped all the floors.

Share on ThriftyFun This page contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!

Hi, I have seen some tips about using borax for many different things from cleaning to pest control. I looked every where for borax to no avail, but I did find a 12 oz. can (looks similar to a can of comet, just a little smaller) of Boraxo Powdered Hand Soap.

My young boys love blueberries, and one got them all over a white shirt. I decided to put the shirt in a big bowl of water with about 1/8 cup of borax and left it in the sink overnight.

Ask a Question Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

If the nurse cannot answer your question, s/he will check with the doctor and call you back. Best of luck, and I hope your daughter is doing well!

Julie, I think you should be asking your daughter’s pediatrician or specialist about this. Surely they can give you better advice than us. I imagine they have a nurse who will speak to you.

I have a 17 month old daughter who has a heart defect, allergies to wheat and dairy, and is asthmatic. My landlord is currently wishing to send Rentokil to my home to treat woodworm which is rampant throughout the timbers of my home. Rentokil wishs to use borax and boric acid in order to treat the problem (Control Fluid SB). My concern is for my daughter who, as I have listed out above, may come to harm. Can you advise please?

I’m using plain soap (grated) and washing soda as my ingredients but I feel I need a bit more boosting to the mix. Something to brighten and whiten clothes would help but i don’t know what to add. any suggestions please?P.S. I use vinegar as a fabric softener in my final rinse, too.

I had difficulty finding borax in the UK. Turns out they stopped making it in the summer and have now released a new thing called borax substitute. If you google it you should be able to buy it online. Hope that helps.

I’m pretty sure bicarbonate of soda is baking soda. I wouldn’t use it if you are also using vinegar– the chemical reaction might create a foamy mess.

Borax is a brand name for washing soda which you referred to in your post.

No, it is not the same…Borax contains sodium tetraborate decahydrate…..(I copied it off the Box I have)….I found a 800 telephone number you can call to ask questions about it….perhaps you can call that number and find out where you can get it in your area…..Tele. #…1-800-457-8739

from wat i can gather, best substitute for borax is clothes bleach. i can get that here so it wont be a problem to substitute. tks for all the suggestions.

It depends what you are wanting to use the Borax for —- ‘bi carb’ aka “baking soda” and/or washing soda are similar for softening hard water and thus allowing detergents to work better at cleaning clothes however Borax is a fabric ‘friendly’ bleach alternative – in Canada we have a product which promotes as the ‘bleach for unbleachables’ usually used on colored fabrics or those which bleach can harm! Sunlight itself also is a wonderful ‘bleach alternative’ you might try it!

You can also buy super washing soda for your laundry. just google it. It’s available online if you can’t find it at your local super market.

Can somebody tell me if I can substitute bicarbonate of soda (easily available here) instead of borax (non-existent here) when I make up my own homemade washing powder?

cettina

Bronze Request Medal for All Time! 64 Requests April 27, 2007

Can anyone tell me what borax is? I see it used for many things and it does not seem to exist in my country. is there a substitute for it or is it a brand name? i live in Malta, Europe. Is there anyone out there who can help?

Answers

Clara Huster April 27, 2007 0 found this helpful I don’t know of a brand name that is sold in Europe, but Borax is “a naturally occurring mineral composed of sodium, boron, oxygen and water.” Where I grew up, we always used it as a water softener when doing the laundry. In the US it’s sold in the laundry/cleaning supply aisle at the super markets. I hope this helps you locate Borax or an equivalent in Malta. Reply Was this helpful? Yes

By marmagmar (Guest Post) April 27, 2007 0 found this helpful From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Borax, also called sodium borate, or sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate, is an important boron compound, a mineral, and a salt of boric acid. It is usually a white powder consisting of soft colorless crystals that dissolve easily in water. Advertisement

Borax has a wide variety of uses. It is a component of many detergents, cosmetics, and enamel glazes. It is also used to make buffer solutions in biochemistry, as a fire retardant, as an anti-fungal compound for fibreglass, as an insecticide, as a flux in metallurgy, and as a precursor for other boron compounds. The term borax is used for a number of closely related minerals or chemical compounds that differ in their crystal water content, but usually refers to the decahydrate. Commercially sold borax is usually partially dehydrated. Reply Was this helpful? Yes

susan

Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 472 Feedbacks June 10, 2007 0 found this helpful I read on another site that in Australia, they call Borax “washing powder.” Reply Was this helpful? Yes

Marlene C. June 20, 2014 0 found this helpful Yes, Borax is a must to have around the house. Unfortunately it is not easily accessible in Malta. Certainly not in any laundry section or at hardware stores. I looked for it recently to get rid of an invasion of tiny black ants in my backyard which were making their way to my kitchen! Advertisement

Well, luckily I managed to get hold of it from Levi Laboratory supplies. Perhaps you can find their address on the yellow pages.

I do hope this is help full.

Marlene Reply Was this helpful? Yes Well, luckily I managed to get hold of it from Levi Laboratory supplies. Perhaps you can find their address on the yellow pages.I do hope this is help full.Marlene

branchltd December 5, 2017 0 found this helpful Borax is a natural chemical that contains the element, boron. It kills mold – and smells associated with mold – and mites, such as dust mites. It’s also an effective fabric softener and boosts the cleaning power of laundry detergents. For these reasons it is used in the wash and/or rinse cycles of automatic clothes washers. It is commonly marketed in the US under the trade name of Boraxo. It is also widely used in making pottery. If you can’t find it in a local store you might be able to get it at a pottery supply house. Reply Was this helpful? Yes

Cettina

How to Use Vinegar and Borax in the Laundry

Dear Home Ec 101

You mentioned using vinegar or borax to remove detergent build-up from towels. We have hard water in our area and I believe this could be a problem for us, even though I haven’t had a problem with odor. I have a few questions: How much vinegar or borax should I use in my clothes washer?

Can vinegar or borax be used on all washable fabrics?

If so, which do you think would be better for fabrics that can’t be washed in hot water?

Should the amount of vinegar or borax be increased in cooler wash water? Signed,

Washer Warrior

This is an excellent question, thank you so much for submitting it.

Vinegar

Vinegar is an acid. It can be used in a clothes washer as a laundry booster/fabric softener/water conditioner by lowering the pH of the water which increases the solubility of other compounds. In the case of laundry, you’re hoping to increase the solubility of detergent, the minerals in hard water, and dirt.

As vinegar is an acid, it can weaken the fibers of some fabrics. Do not use full strength on:

cotton

rayon

acetate

triacetate

silk fibers.

For what it’s worth, I use vinegar with cotton all the time. Cotton is a heavy-duty fabric and the vinegar is quite dilute. I do understand that I may be shortening the lifespan of the clothing article, but I find it to be a worthwhile trade-off. My jeans still last much longer than fashion trends and my kids grow out of them long before they wear out. I do NOT use vinegar on silk.

When using vinegar to strip excess detergent you’re going to use more than when you use vinegar as a fabric softener in the final rinse. For loads where stripping excess detergent is the goal, use 1 cup of white vinegar for every gallon of water. You will need to consult your owner’s manual for specific capacities as they relate to your washing machine. When stripping detergent build-up, be sure the laundry gets a plain water rinse to help bring the pH back up toward neutral -that’s 7 if you’re curious. If you’re breaking out the meter, you already knew that.

When using vinegar as a fabric softener to increase the efficacy of the rinse cycle, use 1 – 2 cups for top-loading washers and just fill the fabric softener cup in high-efficiency washers.

Borax

Borax acts as a buffer and raises the pH of the water to a slightly basic solution, right around a pH of 8. Don’t use Borax at the same time as vinegar or you’ll just create a nice little acid-base reaction and make salt.

When using Borax to help soften or condition your water, for both high efficiency and most top-loading washing machines add 1/2 cup of Borax per load. If you have a large capacity machine bump up the amount to 3/4 cup of Borax per load. Borax is added to the actual wash cycle, not the rinse cycle when used in your washing machine.

If you’re using Borax as a stain treatment, use 1 TBSP per gallon of water.

Temperature considerations:

Both vinegar and borax increase your detergent’s effectiveness by changing the pH of the water. This is independent of the temperature setting. I wouldn’t alter the amount of vinegar or borax added to the wash when using cold or hot water. None of the research I did mention the temperature of your wash water, except to note that using cold water saves energy. This is a variable I would run a few home experiments on. After you try the vinegar and borax as recommended you can try increasing their amounts slightly when washing in cold water to see if there is a noticeable difference. If not, try backing off until you do not receive the results you want. In this manner, you can find the most conservative amount of additive for your specific water hardness.

Click the picture for more tips!

Regarding delicates, Borax is the way to go. Borax is recommended for fabrics that must be hand washed.

Good luck!

Send your questions to [email protected]

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Vinegar and Borax Are Safe to Use In HE Washers

You can use natural, non-commercial, or unconventional laundry products like distilled white vinegar, baking soda, and borax in a high-efficiency (HE) washer. However, the directions are not listed on the packaging. Read on to learn the usage instructions and quantities you need when using these products and more in a HE washing machine.

Using Natural Products in HE Washers

While high-efficiency (HE) washers do require the use of low-sudsing HE detergent formulas due to lower water levels used in each cycle, the “old-fashioned” detergent boosters like baking soda and borax can still be used in the machines. Detergent boosters add more cleaning power to less expensive laundry detergents to help whiten whites, remove stains, and act as a water softener.

Here’s how and when to add each one whether your HE machine is a front loader or top loader:

Baking Soda

Since baking soda is dry, it should not be placed in the automatic detergent dispenser with your regular detergent. The baking soda can cause clumping and clog the dispenser. Instead, sprinkle 1/2 cup baking soda into the empty washer tub before you load the clothes. Baking soda acts as a natural brightener and deodorizer.

If you have particularly smelly clothes, using a full cup of baking soda will not harm your washer. You’ll get better results if you allow the clothes to soak in the baking soda and water for at least 30 minutes before completing the wash cycle.

Borax

Treat powdered borax the same way as dry baking soda. Sprinkle 1/2 cup borax into the empty washer tub before adding the dirty laundry. Be sure there are no lumps in the borax powder if you are using cold water because they may not dissolve properly. Borax works as a water softener and deodorizer.

Alison Czinkota / The Spruce

Distilled White Vinegar

If you dislike commercial fabric softeners, white distilled vinegar can be used instead to help soften the clothes.

The white distilled vinegar should be placed in the fabric softener dispenser so it will be added during the rinse cycle. Fill the fabric softener cup to the top level with the white vinegar. The vinegar helps remove any detergent and soil that is clinging to fabric clothes, leaving them feeling soft and clean. There will be no vinegar odor clinging to the fabric.

An added benefit of using white distilled vinegar is that your washer will be left much fresher and cleaner than if you use a commercial fabric softener. Fabric softener residue traps bacteria and encourages the growth of mold and mildew and causes an odor in front load washers.

Using Ammonia in HE Washers

Some smelly clothes like those of hog farmers, skunk encounters, and even some cat urine stains require the use of strong ammonia to remove the odors.

It is safe to use non-sudsing household ammonia in HE washers. Take extra care to read the label and make sure that there will be no excessive suds. The ammonia can be added directly to the washer drum before loading the dirty clothes and adding water.

Warning Never mix chlorine bleach with ammonia. Combining the two creates toxic fumes that are deadly.

How to Use Bluing in a Front Load Washer

Laundry bluing helps trick the eye to make white clothes look brighter and whiter. This natural product has been used for centuries and it still works today. If you have a top load HE washer, mix the bluing as directed on the packaging with at least one quart water and add to the wash cycle.

For use in a front load washer, always dilute the bluing with water. Mix 1/4 teaspoon with one quart of cool water in a glass container (it will stain plastic). If the dispensing drawers on your HE washer remain unlocked during the cycle, add through the dispenser directly into the wash cycle after it has already filled with water.

If the drawers on your front load washer lock as the cycle begins, dilute the bluing as directed on the bottle and then put as much diluted bluing as will fit into the largest available drawer, usually the bleach dispenser.

How to Use Borax in Your Laundry for a Fresh Load

If you are unhappy with how clean your laundry seems after washing, adding borax to your routine may give you the results you desire. Already an ingredient in some laundry detergents, including DIY detergents, borax has many uses in the laundry, as well as, throughout the house.

Though safe to use as directed, do not ingest borax and keep it out of the reach of children and pets. Learn how to properly use borax in your laundry room.

What Is Borax? Borax is a natural mineral, sodium tetraborate, which has been mined and used for thousands of years. A chemical compound of the element boron, also known as sodium borate or disodium tetraborate, it is a soft, white, many-sided crystal powder that dissolves readily in water. It aids in stain removal, sanitation, and helps to soften hard water.

The Many, Many Uses of Borax for Laundry

Agitation, chemical action, and heat

Agitation: The purpose of agitation is to work your laundry chemicals—usually soap, detergent, or both—into the fabric in order for them to be effective.

The purpose of agitation is to work your laundry chemicals—usually soap, detergent, or both—into the fabric in order for them to be effective. Heat: Nowadays, we can choose hot, warm, and cold water to wash our clothes, but before the advent of modern detergents most laundry was done at around 140 °F. Washing with hot water is still useful for heavily soiled items. However, anyone who has ever shrunk a wool sweater knows that caution is needed when washing with hot water.

Nowadays, we can choose hot, warm, and cold water to wash our clothes, but before the advent of modern detergents most laundry was done at around 140 °F. Washing with hot water is still useful for heavily soiled items. However, anyone who has ever shrunk a wool sweater knows that caution is needed when washing with hot water. Chemical action: What goes into laundry soap and detergent has changed drastically throughout the years, but the goal has always been the same. The chemical action in soap and detergent works by loosening soils from clothes, trapping it so it doesn’t redeposit, and taking the soil with it when it’s rinsed out.

How borax became a household product

The borax rush

The uses of borax for laundry

Improving cleaning action by aiding in the emulsification of oils and oil dispersion

Preventing dirt from redepositing by increasing particulate surface charge so that soils and cloth repel each other

Optimizing water pH levels by working as a water softener and neutralizing metals and other impurities that prevent soap and detergent effectiveness

Bleaching stains by safely and effectively releasing their available oxygen to remove their color

Laundry stripping

DIY laundry soap

Keeping clean at home

Resources

Happy World Laundry Day! April 15 is your chance to thank the people who help us stay clean and hygienic, and to learn a few things about an activity that we’re all familiar with but probably don’t think that much about.As long as people have been wearing clothes of any kind—from animal skins to wool, cotton, and polyester—they’ve needed to clean them. Over the last 125 or so years, borates have played a big part in helping people get their laundry cleaner.You’re probably already using borax (sodium tetraborate) on laundry day; it’s an ingredient in a variety of modern laundry detergents. When added as 20 Mule Team Borax™ Detergent Booster , it aids in cleaning throughout the entire process, from the start to the spin cycle.Three things are needed to get fabric clean: Agitation, heat, and chemical action. Each plays a separate part in the process, and together they synergize into an effective method for getting soils out of clothes.In the mid-19century, borax was a high-priced commodity, mostly imported for pharmaceutical and metallurgical applications. There were only a few discovered deposits on Earth abundant enough to collect from, and even fewer refineries. The chemistry used to refine these raw minerals was also largely unfamiliar and unproven.Compounding these limiting factors were cumbersome logistics, and refineries that were often far from the ore source. These circumstances kept borax production low, and the price was too expensive for everyday household use. This limited applications to niche markets that could afford and justify such a high-priced material. At that time, global consumption amounted to a few hundred tons a year.This began to change in 1856, when borax was discovered in California at Clear Lake (later named Borax Lake) by a Dr. John Veatch, who was probably using the warm water as a cure for his aching joints. He started producing borax in 1864.Subsequent discoveries in Teel’s Marsh, Nevada, and Death Valley increased active borax production. From there, American ingenuity began developing efficiencies in extraction and processing that enabled broader applications and expanded potential markets. By 1872, the domestic operations in California, Nevada, and elsewhere virtually eliminated the need to import product for the American market.As the American mines became more productive, a borax rush attracted prospectors and investors. Hundreds of entrepreneurial enterprises were suddenly in the business. But what goes up, as they say, must come down. The rush, coupled with other market dynamics, ultimately contributed to a borax market price collapse.At the same time, logistics improved dramatically with the introduction of rail access. With the speed and efficiency of trains more easily available, U.S. Borax stopped using our 20 mule teams for transport. But we were happy to keep the iconic animals on the payroll as the brand grew, and later they even became mythologized on radio and television . By 1882, the freight rate from source to refinery dropped sharply, from $80 per ton to $13 per ton.As a result, all but a handful of the companies remained. This led borax manufacturers to consolidate, and logistics to improved. When supply and demand eventually stabilized, borax was ready to reach an expanded market.By 1892, the production of refined borax in the American west reached nearly 7,000 tons. It was in this period that the popularity rose for household and consumer applications such as laundry soaps and hand cleaners. “A good laundress uses 20-Mule Team,” was a popular slogan in various U.S. Borax advertisements.Whether added to soap or detergents, the benefits of borax for laundry are:Amazingly, borax in detergents has benefits beyond getting clothes cleaner. In the 1970s, detergent manufacturers started adding a variety of enzymes to help break down specific types of stains, including tannins, proteins, and fats. These enzymes will attack and degrade each other. However, borax functions as an enzyme stabilizer, meaning your detergent stays effective longer. And, by softening the water, borates also prevent calcium build-up in appliances.Today, detergent manufacturers rely on U.S. Borax products such as Neobor and borax decahydrate for reliable, consistent sources of the refined borates that go into their products. Likewise, consumers rely on the purity of U.S. Borax borates found in Henkel’s 20 Mule Team Borax® Detergent Booster for a wide range of home uses.Laundry stripping is a method used to get clothes and linens cleaner by stripping the soil from them. Our friends at 20 Mule Team Borax have a lot of great information about laundry stripping and the easiest ways to do it at home.Laundry stripping is effective because it removes the largely unseen soil particles that remain on clothes and linens even after they’ve been washed. Even “unseen” soils begin to build up over time, so stripping is most effective for items that have started to discolor from use but are still in good condition. In this process, the cleaning properties of borax are put into overdrive, with the results being impressive enough to make laundry stripping a regular part of laundry day for a growing number of households around the world.Read this helpful guide to laundry stripping with borax to learn more.There are many reasons to make your own laundry soap. Some people like it because it lets them know exactly what is and isn’t going into their washing machine and the clothes they wear. Perfumes and dyes aren’t for everyone, so a simple recipe made of familiar ingredients—borax, soap, and washing soda—is appealing.The chance to reduce packaging and consumer waste is another benefit of DIY detergent. One tradeoff for the convenience of commercially produced laundry detergent is that it is difficult to source products that do not involve single-use plastic packaging. By contrast, all the ingredients for homemade detergent can be found with biodegradable packaging—such as the cardboard 20 Mule Team Borax Detergent Booster package seen in grocery stores throughout the land.Here’s a simple recipe for DIY laundry soap from 20 Mule Team Borax Detergent Booster The many ways that borax helps you in the laundry room also makes it an effective cleaner around the house. In your washing machine, borax helps absorb dirt. In your kitchen and bathroom, it’s great for cleaning rust, grout, and even mold and mildew. Borax helps laundry smell better and is also extremely effective at fighting pet urine odor because it combats the ammonia. And, borax works great for cleaning grout, metal sinks, crayon and pencil marks from walls, and so much more.If you did your own laundry today on World Laundry Day, we applaud your efforts at getting into the holiday spirit! And, if someone else did your laundry for you, be sure to show them you care. The way we do laundry has changed a lot over the last 125 years, but the goal has always been the same—improving our daily quality of life by having clean clothes to live in. Using borax in the laundry room helps us live a little better.

What Is Borax & Is It Safe For Cleaning With?

Today let’s talk borax. Specifically, what is borax, and is it safe for cleaning with? You see, in my green cleaning kit, I always have a box of borax to hand. It’s a handy ingredient to have. Especially when there are so many uses for borax around the house.

Yet every time I mention borax here on the blog a well-meaning person or two often comments, telling me that I shouldn’t be using it in my home or encouraging Moral Fibres readers to use it in their homes. Often claims are made that borax is dangerous, and effects on fertility are cited.

I genuinely appreciate this concern, I really do. And not wanting to risk mine or my family’s health, or the health of Moral Fibres readers, I have done quite a bit of research into if borax is safe to use around the house. I thought I’d share the results of my research here in the hope that it can be helpful to others considering using borax in their home.

Borax Banned In The UK & EU

To get started, it is important to know that in the UK and EU you can no longer buy borax. Back in 2010, the EU decided that the ‘Borate’ group of chemicals – the group that Borax belongs to – may be potentially hazardous to health.

Borax was therefore banned for sale in the EU. And even with Brexit coming into place in 2020, it is still banned in the UK. Instead, in the EU and UK, “Borax Substitute” is the only equivalent you can buy for your cleaning and laundry needs. It may be labelled as Borax in your local shop, but it will be Borax Substitute.

We’ll get on to the what is borax substitute question in a moment!

Borax: The Science Part

Let’s look at the chemical differences between Borax and Borax Substitute:

What is Borax?

The chemical name of Borax is Sodium Tetraborate. The borate at the end there signifies it’s a boron compound. All borates can be considered derivatives of boric acid. Borax occurs naturally, being produced by the repeated evaporation of seasonal lakes.

What is Borax Substitute?

The chemical name of Borax Substitute is Sodium sesquicarbonate. This is a mixed crystal of Sodium Carbonate (also known as washing soda or soda crystals) and Sodium Bicarbonate (also known as baking soda or bicarbonate of soda).

Borax substitute has similar properties and a similar pH level to borax, which is why it makes for a good substitute. It’s commonly used in cleaning because it is gentler than washing soda yet stronger than baking soda. It’s particularly useful in laundry because borax substitute is cold-water-soluble. This is unlike washing soda, which cakes with cold water.

Is Borax Substitute Safe?

Let’s look at the evidence:

Borax’s Historical Uses

Sodium sesquicarbonate is included on the INCI list of approved cosmetic ingredients. Cosmetically it has traditionally been used in bath salts and bath bombs, due to its water softening properties. It’s also found in hair care products and deodorants.

Outside of the cosmetics sphere, it’s also heavily used. From swimming pools to water treatment plants, and as a phosphate-free replacement for cleaning.

Surprisingly, it’s also used in food. Sodium sesquicarbonate, is, in small amounts, FDA approved as a food additive in the US. Here it’s used as an anti-caking agent, to regulate acidity, and as a raising agent. Interestingly, it’s not food approved in the EU or Australia.

What About The Safety of Borax Substitute?

Borax substitute’s long history aside, what about its safety?

I did link to a report here, that was probably the most comprehensive I’ve found on the safety of borax substitute. Unfortunately, it’s no longer available, so whilst I source a reputable replacement, let me summarise the main findings:

Borax substitute is not considered to be harmful to health or to the environment. It may cause slight irritation to sensitive skin. Borax substitute may irritate the eyes if the dust gets in. And, lastly, it could be harmful if ingested in large quantities. Apart from that, there are no main concerns.

To double and triple-check, I kept up with my research. I wanted to dot the i’s and cross the t’s if you will. What I found was that the Environmental Working Group has, despite gaps in their data, classified Sodium Sesquicarbonate as low risk. This means no serious issues have been identified.

Similarly, the PAN Pesticides Database has so far found no risk. Meanwhile, this scientific journal found that in high doses in rats it caused conjunctivitis and skin irritation. However, they concluded it is safe to use in cosmetics.

My Conclusion?

My conclusion? I’m perfectly happy to use Borax Substitute in my house for all my green cleaning needs. I do, of course, adhere to the general principles of storing cleaning products away from children and pets.

Is Borax Safe?

We’ve now established that Borax Substitute is safe. However, this is all well and good for my fellow UK and EU readers. But what about readers from other countries? As I’m recommending Borax Substitute, but unaware if Borax Substitute is available in your country, I feel like I’ve got a duty of care to find out if Borax (the Sodium Tetraborate stuff) is safe too.

So, is borax safe? Turns out the is borax safe question is a bit harder to answer. It’s a bit of a grey area, so if you are not in the UK or EU then I’m afraid you’ll have to make up your own mind.

Let Me Present the Facts Around The Safety of Borax

Studies cite that they have tested either sodium tetraborate or boric acid. However, if you remember from the science part at the top of this article, sodium tetraborate is not boric acid, it’s a derivative of boric acid. There’s quite a bit of a difference, chemically. However, the studies are vague.

Boron is an element essential for human health. It’s pivotal for healthy bones, joints, and dental enamel. It’s also important in regulating the absorption and metabolism of several elements – including magnesium, calcium, and phosphorous.

You can even buy boron food supplements. Excess boron tends to be excreted out of the body, suggesting that boron, and its derivatives, do not bio-accumulate in the body.

Borax is commonly used in natural laundry powders. So far I haven’t been able to find any deaths directly attributable to borax.

However, it’s a different picture when you look at conventional alternatives to natural laundry powder, such as detergent capsules. I have found reports of 1,500 cases of poisoning from detergent capsules in three years. The same article reports that one child a day had to be hospitalised in 2012 and 2013. What’s more, one child has died from detergent capsule poisoning.

Known Studies on the Safety of Borax

The EU banned borax in 2010 due to claims of impacts on reproductive health. This ban was implemented following studies on rodents who were fed high – some might say abnormally high – doses of borax.

The only study I can find looking at the potential impact of borax on human reproductive health is this study. This investigates the reproductive effects of boron exposure in workers employed in a boric acid production facility. It is a bit of a flawed study because it relates to boric acid, rather than borax itself. However, that’s all the information we have to go on.

The study found that the factory workers – representing worst-case exposure conditions to boric acid/borates – are considerably lower than exposures that have previously led to reproductive effects in experimental animals. No ill effects on the worker’s reproductive health could be found.

The study concluded that “dose levels of boron associated with developmental and reproductive toxic effects in animals are by far not reachable for humans under conditions of normal handling and use“. Therefore even if you are handling borax all day every day, like these workers are, you are highly unlikely to encounter any problems.

Other Key Borax Points

Borax is not a known carcinogen. However, like borax substitute, it can irritate sensitive skin. There are also reports of borax inhalation irritating airways. I would recommend taking care when using borax, to avoid inhalation.

Some people have reported concern about the effects of clothes washed in borax. However, borax is poorly absorbed through undamaged skin. If you use borax in your laundry, the rinse cycle on your washing machine should take care of rinsing away any excess borax.

I think it’s also important to bear in mind that many benign things we have in our homes are harmful in high concentrations. Salt, for example, is harmful in high doses – and can be lethal at high enough doses – yet we happily sprinkle it on our food. Although do note that I wouldn’t recommend eating borax at any dosage

So, What’s The Answer? Is Borax Safe?

I don’t want to tell you if it’s safe for you to use borax or not. I don’t feel it’s my place. Instead, I want to present the facts so that you can make up your mind. Personally? Is borax safe? Based on what I’ve found out, if stored out of the reach of kids and pets I would be quite happy to use borax in my house. I personally feel that conventional laundry powders and liquids and bleach-based cleaning products pose more of a risk to human health and to waterways, but that is just my opinion. I’d encourage you to do your own research to work out if using borax is best for you or not.

What are your thoughts? Is borax safe? Are you happy using borax substitute? Do you feel happy using it in place of Borax? If so, what do you use borax for?

ps: I have written a book on green cleaning – packed full of recipes for natural cleaning for all around the home. You can check it out here!

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