What Is Borax & Is It Safe to Use?- The Real Facts & the Best Uses

Also known as sodium borate or sodium tetraborate, borax is a combo of sodium, boron, and oxygen.

It’s naturally found in dry lake beds in areas like Death Valley in California. There, the water which has evaporated left mineral deposits.

Boric acid is made from the same chemical compound as borax and the two look similar. However, borax is common in cleaning while boric acid is a pesticide. It destroys insects by targeting their nervous systems and stomachs. 

Both of these compounds are harmful if swollen, especially for kids. They’re also known to be skin irritants. Ingestion can also cause diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. Larger amounts have been linked with the failure of the kidneys. 

It’s also irritating to the eyes and skin and it can be harmful to the nose, lungs, and throat if we breathe it in. 

What Are the Uses of Borax?

Here are some of the best ways to use borax in your household:

  • Enhances the laundry detergent effects

Borax is often sold as a laundry additive because it can help whiten white clothes. 

Borax is also used as a laundry deodorizer, water softener, etc. Sprinkle half a cup of it in the washer tub and soak dirty clothes in it or clothes that you want to whiten. 

Then, wash the clothes as usual. Follow the instructions on the label of borax to optimize your safety. 

  • Disinfects surfaces

Borax is great for disinfection of working surfaces and destroying germs and bad bacteria. It can be used as a toilet cleaner. 

Pour one cup of it into the toilet bowl and then add half a cup of white vinegar. Leave it overnight and in the morning, thoroughly cleanse the toilet using a hard brush. This will ease the removal of deposits and grime. 

What’s more, borax makes an awesome kitchen and bathroom surface cleaner. Fill one spray bottle, halfway with hot water. 

Add a tablespoon of borax, two tablespoons of Castile soap, and ¼ cup of white vinegar. Use it as a cleaner by spraying it on surfaces and wiping them with a soft cloth. 

  • Excellent fungicidal agent

Borax can be used to remove mold. 

Mold and fungi exposure has been linked with serious health issues like respiratory problems, irritated skin, and lung infections. 

Mix a cup of borax with a gallon of water and spray it onto the affected areas. Scrub the mold away and wipe off any remaining debris. 

Ventilate the area and leave the surface to dry well. 

Are There Alternatives to Borax?

If you want to avoid using borax, these are some great alternatives:

  • Baking soda

An excellent abrasive cleaner and deodorizer for fridges, laundry, and garbage cans, baking soda is an amazing alternative to borax. It’s also a great teeth cleaner. 

  • Vinegar

Combine equal amounts of vinegar and water and use the solution to unclog sinks, clean floors, and counters, and refresh your kitchen and bathroom. 

  • Lemon

Awesome for cleaning hard stains from water and soap scum, lemon can be combined with baking soda, and you get a great paste for scrubbing surfaces and cleaning dishes. Combine lemon juice with olive oil and use it to polish hardwood furniture. 

Lemon juice is also great for cleaning copper and brass. 

How to Use Borax Safely?

If you decide to use borax for cleaning, follow these tips for maximum safety: 

  • Always wear protective gloves
  • Avoid breathing in the dust particles
  • Store the borax away from children and pets
  • Always thoroughly rinse and wash clothes after they’ve been treated with borax
  • Wash your hands after using borax