Borax’s recent rise to fame comes thanks to its use as the main ingredient in a popular homemade slime recipe for the kids.
It’s also known for its cleaning prowess. And while Borax is marketed as a ‘green’ product, many on the internet have deemed it as too toxic to clean with around the home.
Here are the facts to help you decide for yourself.
What is Borax and is it safe?
Scientific website How Stuff Works explains that Borax is a naturally occurring compound. Its chemically known as sodium tetraborate, and it is composed of oxygen, sodium and boron. It is used as a cleaner, a flame retardant, a component of porcelain and glass, a mildew remover and many other things. Borax is often confused with Boric Acid, which is a different chemical compound (hydrogen borate) that results after acidifying Borax.
So, how safe is Borax? While it is a naturally occurring mineral, its package comes with a caution that the product is an eye irritant that could be unsafe if ingested.
Provided you follow the safety advice, Borax is a great household cleaner.
Our 5 Favourite Old-School Cleaning Tips
Borax is a great cleaner because of its 9.5pH level, making it slightly alkaline. When combined with water it forms a basic solution, which can break down acidic, fatty, and oily substances. These are just some of the ways to use Borax around the home.
1Clean the Toilet
Sprinkle 1/2 cup of Borax and ½ cup of white vinegar into your toilet bowl, ensuring you reach all areas (including under the rim).
Leave for at least 8 hours (or overnight) then scrub thoroughly with a brush before flushing.
Borax loosens the accumulated grime in your toilet while the vinegar will disinfect and help the solution pack a powerful punch on the dirtiest of toilets.
Make an equal parts solution of Borax and icing sugar and leave in areas where bugs frequent. You can sprinkle some on a small piece of paper and leave it at insect entry points. This tip isn’t recommended if you have pets or small children who may consume the mixture. You can check out our steps for eliminating ants from your home using Borax here.
3Keep Cookware Clean
Borax can cut through grease effectively, so it does a great job of cleaning your most-used pots and pans.
Just lightly sponge the cookware (or stain affected section) with some water, sprinkle the Borax onto it and let it sit for around 5 minutes. Give it a scrub with a sponge or a cloth and you’re done!
I like to put the cookware through the dishwasher afterwards, to remove any Borax remnants and make the steel really shine.
Pour about half a cup of Borax down the drain (using a funnel or similar) then gradually pour a cup of boiling water as well. Let it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing with hot water. You may need to repeat this process if the drain hasn’t unclogged.
It’s worthwhile doing this process every couple of weeks to keep drains clear.
5Clothes Stain Remover
Borax is an effective stain remover because its alkalinity helps to break down acidic stains. Make a solution of warm water and 6 tablespoons of Borax. Soak the clothing for around an hour before putting it through the washing machine cycle. If it is a stubborn stain, you may need to repeat the process.
Top tips for safely using Borax around the home
Healthline advises the below.
- Do not use if pregnant or trying to conceive.
- The Borax package itself advises that product may affect fertility or an unborn child.
- Avoid using around pets; this includes placing it on the ground around the home for pest control.
- Always wear gloves when using it for cleaning.
- Cover any open wounds on your hands when using Borax.
- Wash your hands after use.
- Keep out of reach of children to minimise risk. For this reason, you shouldn’t be using Borax to make homemade slime.
It’s worth noting that every chemical cleaning product you pick up in the cleaning aisle comes with its own risks and set of safe handling instructions. Handle Borax with the same care you would any other cleaning product.
Not convinced? There are a few 100% natural cleaners tucked away in your kitchen that will do a fabulous job at most cleaning tasks around the home. Here are some great ways to use white vinegar, baking soda and lemons during your next clean.