Borax: The Safe and Effective Detergent

Apr 22, 2022 | Chemistry, BENEFITS

Using Borax Safely for Cleaning

Borax is used in cleaning products because it helps remove dirt and grime.  But it can be dangerous if ingested by children or adults. If handled with safety and care, it can be used in many applications, including unblocking drains, steam cleaning, and garbage disposal.



What is Borax?

Borax is a white powdery substance that is also known as sodium tetraborate. Although sodium tetraborate is a salt of boric acid, it is not an acid. It’s a salt that naturally occurs in evaporation lakes, having the most commercially significant deposits in Boron, California. 

Borax is an ingredient in many household products, such as soaps and detergents, because it helps remove stains. It can also be used. 

  • As an ingredient combined with glue and water to make slime for kids
  • In insecticides and mothballs.
  • As a water softener and odor neutralizer.
  • To prevent fires by preventing flammable materials from catching fire.
  • As an emulsifier or preservative for moisturizing products.
  • In ceramic glazes and paints.
  • In toothpaste and mouthwashes.

Is Borax Safe?

Borax is safe when used properly. There are many conflicting reports about the safety of using Borax in laundry detergents and household cleaners.

Borax is a natural product found in our environment. It is alkaline, with a pH of around 9, similar to baking soda. According to the Toxicology Data Network at the NLM, Borax is easily broken down by the body when inhaled or swallowed. However, it’s harmless until ingested or inhaled into the lungs. 

When ingested, it causes severe poisoning and organ damage. When inhaled, it causes respiratory irritations. Borax ingestion can also cause reproductive issues, including testicles, developing fetuses, or fertility.

Precautions To Be Taken

Borax is generally considered safe to use as a household cleaner. However, you must reduce your exposure routes.

Here are some safety guidelines to follow:

  • Avoid borax use in cosmetics.
  • Keep a safe distance from your mouth when using borax powder to avoid breathing it.
  • Wear gloves when using Borax as a cleaning agent.
  • After washing any area with Borax, clean and disinfect it with water.
  • If you get Borax on your skin, wash your hands with soap immediately.
  • Before drying and using clothing that has been washed with Borax, be sure they have been properly rinsed.
  • Whether in a box or used around the house, Borax should never be left within reach of children. When making slime with kids, avoid using Borax.
  • Borax and boric acid products should not be used around dogs. 
  • When using Borax as a cleaning product, keep it away from your eyes, nose, and mouth to reduce the danger of exposure.
  • When using Borax, make sure any open sores on your hands are covered. Because Borax is more quickly absorbed through open wounds on the skin, it is best to keep them protected.

What is Borax Used For?

1. For Cleaning Carpets

Being a natural odor neutralizer, Borax is an excellent choice for improving the carpet machine’s cleaning ability. It improves the odor of particular carpets. Before filling the machine’s reservoir, add 1/4 cup borax per gallon to whatever solution you use—even if it’s just hot water.

2. For Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning is a powerful cleaning method, but adding Borax to the solution makes it much more effective in removing dirt and debris. It’s also effective at eliminating smells. To dissolve the Borax, add 1/2 cup of Borax to 1-gallon hot water, and then fill the steam cleaner reservoir with this.

3. For Garbage Disposal

Sprinkle 4 teaspoons of Borax into the garbage disposal once a week, in between extensive garbage disposal cleanings. Allow 30 minutes to soak up grease, smells, and other nasties accumulated inside the appliance. To dislodge everything, pour a hot water kettle into the disposal and run it for a few seconds. This will keep the garbage disposal clean and avoid it becoming nasty.

4. To Unblock a Drain

1/2 cup Borax followed by 2 cups boiling water helps unclog a drain. Allow 30 minutes for this to work, then flush with warm water to remove the clog.

5. For Scrubbing Cleanser

Borax is a highly effective scrubbing powder that can be used on sinks, tubs, and stovetops.

6. To Deodorize and Freshen a Mattress

Spray water on the surface of the mattress, paying attention to stains. Sprinkle Borax over the top and rub it in with a slightly wet cloth. Let the powder dry thoroughly, then vacuum up all dried powder.

7. Car Upholstery

Make a batch of this upholstery cleaner at home:

3 drops of dishwashing liquid 

3 tbsp sodium borax

3 cups water

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and boil over high heat. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly before touching. Store the mixture in a spray bottle. You may keep it as hot as tolerable. Scrub-stained or simply dirty upholstery with a suitable scrubber like a sponge or brush. You may even use it on the floor mats. Using a clean rag, rinse with cool water. By the way, you can use this on any upholstery.

8. For Bathroom Cleaners

There are a variety of homemade bathroom cleaner recipes available, but none compare to this one.

A half-cup of white vinegar

2 teaspoons borax

1 tbsp dawn dishwashing liquid (blue)

10 drops lemon essential oil 2 cups warm water (optional, but adds a lovely clean scent)

Shake to combine all of the ingredients in a spray bottle.

This works well on ceramic tile, the outsides of toilets, sinks, counters, and floors—the entire bathroom.

9. For All-Purpose Cleaners

Fill a 16-ounce spray bottle with the following ingredients:1

1 teaspoon borax

1/2 teaspoon sodium carbonate

1 teaspoon castile soap or blue Dawn

18 drops of lemon essential oil

Fill the bottle with hot water and shake well to combine everything. This cleanser is excellent for oily stains, fingerprints, and smudges.

10. To Rust Stains

For the use of borax to clean rust stains from porcelain and stainless steel sinks, make a paste, and combine 4 parts borax and 1 part lemon juice. Rub this into the rust stain, wait a few minutes, and then rinse it.

11. To Soak Liquid Stains

Consider a spilled glass of wine or a cup of coffee on your new carpet or cat feces. Instead of wiping the liquid away with a dry cloth, sprinkle Borax on it and let it soak for a few minutes before cleaning it out. It works nicely on both carpet and hard floors. It also helps to neutralize the odor while absorbing the irritating liquid.

12. In Homemade Laundry Detergents

Homemade laundry detergents contain Borax as a crucial ingredient. Chemically, it can improve the efficiency of other substances due to its 9 pH in water.

13. For Pest Control

A 50/50 mixture of powdered sugar and Borax will keep ants and roaches away. Sprinkle it anywhere you think those bugs might be getting into your home.

Borax is well-known for its ability to destroy fleas. It has no odor and is not harmful to human skin. On the other hand, fleas become critically dehydrated when they touch it. The Borax use for flea treatment is a popular approach to flea treatment.

Borax should be sprinkled directly on pet beds, carpets, and other areas where you suspect fleas are laying eggs. Allow for an hour or two of resting time before vacuuming.

Is Borax for Pets Safe?

There are certain vital precautions to take when using Borax near pets. If you expose your pets to too much Borax, they may experience disease symptoms such as losing appetite, which is quite dangerous for them.

Keep Borax out of reach of pets, and treat any illness symptoms your pet exhibits with extreme care if exposed to Borax for an extended period.

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