357 Responses to “Getting to the Bottom of Borax: Is it Safe or Not?”


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  1. Audra Marsh

    Great info!! Thank you!!

  2. maria

    Please; everybody have to say THANKS to TED(earth clinic) about borax………

  3. My mother runs her own organic community farm. She was having some issues with ants in the soil so she started using borax to get rid of them and it has worked. Our veggies taste absolutely fine and no one is dying or getting sick. She has been using it for the past 5 years. It works better than pestiside.

    • Kathy Moll

      Can you tell us how your mom uses it, quantity, etc.? I am an organic home gardener in Alabama, and have horrible problems with ants in the raised beds. They LOVE that loose soil!

      • Holly

        Hi there, I can’t tell you how Berlyn’s mom uses it, but I can tell you how we use it to keep ants and caterpillars out of our raised beds: I just make a line of borax about the width of a drinking straw all around the base of anywhere I don’t want the crawlers. If it rains hard, I replace any areas that got washed away. It’s super easy to work it into any mulch you have, as it is a fertilizer for deficient soils as well. It won’t stop weeds or grasshoppers, mind you, but can anything do that really?

        • Tom Swift

          Use a hose-end sprayer. Keep increasing, starting at 1 tablespoon in reservoir. If the ants don’t leave in a week, add more until you’re happy. (Every once and a while; Bugs Win.) Doesn’t take much, and keeps our Organic rating at the packers.

  4. SamE

    Hey thank you so much, both informative and funny. Yay!


    thanks for the info it was very useful it will surly help my science fair project’s grade

  6. Bridget

    using Borax to clean mattress is new to me, never saw this product sold in my country, is this still save if people have allergy already?

  7. Lily

    I’m wondering if borax home made laundry detergent will be ok for energy efficient laundry machines? I’m assuming yes, but just wanted to check. Anyone has a thought on this?

    • Kathy

      I have been using it in my HE washer for several months with great results.

    • Kim

      Have used homemade liquid laundry soap with borax in it for a year now in my HE machine with no problems. Just changed to Econuts to be more green – maybe it wasn’t necessary after all!

  8. Renee

    Betty, I am a chemistry teacher. Anything you ever want to find about a chemical you can look up its material safety data sheet (MSDS). Borax has never been fully studied so they don’t know effects….other than some irritants….the studies at high doses caused kidney problems and male sperm infertility. But that is high doses…. Just remember just because we have it and need it in our bodies does not mean it is not toxic. Sodium in our bodies is safe in that form…..sodium in water is explosive. But use the MSDS for all substances….there is one for all compounds!

  9. shroppolopolis

    Would it be toxic if used on the outside of a spoon or fork and then licked a lot?

  10. Linda

    Thank you for your extensive research! I, too have researched it, especially in regards to cosmetic chemistry safety and have come to a similar conclusion. I will continue to use it at a less than 1% concentration as an emulsifier in skin lotions with beeswax for my own personal use-on non-broken skin. I imagine that the borax issue will continue to be an on going concern, as more peoples become interested in making their own what-ever.

  11. csidegal

    Wanted to add that borax is toxic to insects as their digestive systems lack the ability to eliminate it, as result it they die as it accumulates to poisonous levels.

    I use it regularly in laundry and use “Boraxo” hand cleaner which is great for deep cleaning, leaves the skin soft, too.

  12. JAMES R.

    Now this is just my personal opinion, so it needs to be taken as such.

    These educated people that keep confusing Borax with Boric Acid, are the kind that have so much education, they no longer have any common sense…or just plain idiots if you prefer.

    Webster’s definition of boric acid:
    Definition of BORIC ACID

    : a white crystalline acid B(OH)3 obtained from its salts and used especially as a weak antiseptic and fire-retardant

    Origin of BORIC ACID

    First Known Use: 1869

    Webster’s definition of Borax:
    a white crystalline compound that consists of a hydrated sodium borate Na2B4O7·10H2O, that occurs as a mineral or is prepared from other minerals, and that is used especially as a flux, cleansing agent, and water softener, as a preservative, and as a fireproofing agent
    Origin of BORAX

    Middle English boras, from Anglo-French boreis, from Medieval Latin borac-, borax, from Arabic būraq, from Persian būrah
    First Known Use: 14th century
    As you can see by by the chemical make up, Boric Acid & Borax, are completely different…
    Yes they are similar in some ways, but the 2 are totally different.

    In the end, it is my personal opinion, that to be afraid to use Borax as a cleaning ingredient, is way off base & total nonsense.
    I believe that Borax should be a key ingredient in AT LEAST 80% of one’s green cleaning arsenal, and should be added to the other 10% according to the recipe for that which you will use it.

    Again, these are just my personal thoughts on this matter.

    • Vicki

      I do know the difference between the horrible boric acid and borax or sodium borate. It is listed as having developmental, reproductive and endocrine concerns. It’s also listed as having some concern over allergic reactions to the product, skin irritation and respiratory problems. Since I just had a lung collapse on me, it’s something I worry about.

      Omitting the borax and making a natural laundry soap without it is easy to do. I use vinegar, baking soda, washing soda, and natural sea salt. I do add a bit of Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap (just a squirt) and everything turns out great. The sea salt does the same thing the borax does and works wonders for clothing. It will prevent bleeding of colors too and I don’t need to worry about the problems that borax may or may not cause.

      • Esther

        Hi Vicki would you please send me ypur washing detergent recipe very very interested as I currently use Borax in mine
        Thank you for putting your reply up
        Esther from Australia

        • Vicki

          I went on to the Environmental Working Group website ( and found some ingredients that were rated ‘A’ in terms of the environment, humans and pets. I also grabbed a box of Seventh Generation Laundry soap to find out what ingredients they use. Seventh Generation lavender and citrus is rated ‘A’ although the lavender can cause some concern. It’s not the healthiest for the environment or us. Between the two sources, I came up with this:

          Baking Soda
          Citric acid
          Epsom salt
          Washing soda
          Coconut oil
          orange peel oil
          grapefruit peel oil

          There are some Oxi Clean solutions that are rated fairly high on the EWG site for safety. I don’t typically use it in mine, but some do. The citric acid you can purchase online. The oils I buy in the health food stores, along with the other essential oils available. I use the oils for cleaning power, not for scent.

          At times I will put vinegar in the bleach dispenser and will crumple up a ball of aluminum foil for static cling in the dryer. Both work well. Hope this helps.

        • Taylor

          Vicki, I too am very interested in your washing detergent recipe!

  13. Mark

    Ingesting Borax for health…

    An interesting article here.

    Health Effects of Boron
    Borax and boric acid have basically the same health effects with good
    antiseptic, antifungal and antiviral properties but only mild antibacterial
    action. Boron is essential for the integrity and function of cell walls and for the
    way signals are transmitted across membranes. Boron is distributed
    throughout the body, with the highest concentration in the parathyroid glands
    followed by bones and dental enamel. It is essential for healthy bone and joint
    function, regulating the absorption and metabolism of calcium, magnesium
    and phosphorus through its influence on the parathyroid gland…

  14. Louise

    I read in Wikipedia that Borax is supposed to be a tremendous anti-fungal agent and would be wonderful if used in foot soaks. That’s a plus right there. What a value that would be for stinky feet and athlete’s foot too.

    • For toenail fungus and foot fungus apply vicks vaporub the nails will turn black as the fungus dies but once they naturally grow out the fungus will be gone for good no harsh anti-fungals needed though it is a side product of petrolium production you all do put gas in your cars right? vaporub is vaseline with added medicinals

  15. Wonɗеrful blog! I found it while searhing on Yahoo News.
    Do you have any tips on how to get listeԀ
    in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying ffor a while but I never seem to gget there!
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  16. lorrie

    borax and sugar or honey gets rid of ant infestations .. it kills cockroaches and termites but not other insects. bit powdered under the dishwasher or fridge is great and does no harm

  17. Miriam

    Borax is great at repealing ants in the home and for washing and deodoriziing exercise clothing (under armor, etc).
    For ants I used it under furniture and rubbed into carpet around infestation areas- I live in farm land country and when it rains or is excessively dry ants Ito looking for high ground. Make a pste and rub into clothing for deodorizing clothes.

  18. frugalmomofmany

    Thanks for this info. I have been wondering too since I’ve been switching everything over to homemade, green cleaners. My homemade bathroom cleaner works great, but it doesn’t get off the freezing hairspray that lands all over my cabinets. I decided to use the icky cleaner that makes me cough and my sinuses and lungs hurt to try and get it off. (I believe I used 409 or Mr. Clean) Even the store bought chemicals didn’t get it off, but I did feel sick the rest of the day from using them. So, I decided to do an internet search and found that just 2 Tbsp. of Borax in 2-3 cups of warm water could be used as a cleaner. I sprayed it on my cabinets and immediately wiped it off. It took every bit of hairspray off with no elbow grease. I couldn’t believe how easy it was. I had extra left over, so I’m hoping I can just store it and it work just as well. That way I won’t need to mix up a new batch every week. That was so cheap and easy. I’m hoping to just clean the whole bathroom with it next time. You make me feel better about using it! It had no fumes to make me feel bad, so that alone is a reason for me to use it over store bought.

  19. Hello,

    I just want to say I’ve been using this product for my laundry and it has helped me rid it of the micro miasis of Morgellon’s Disease. I’ve also used in my home enviroment, without any issues.

    After reading this blog post, I seen a cure remedy that someone else was using mixing baking soda and borax. I’m going to give this a try as it helps with the external, that has to help with the internal.

    Thank you again!

    Kent C.

  20. TULANI

    To whom it may concern:
    My comment was NOT directed to, nor at, anyone involved in the publishing or owners of this site.

    There are people in this world, that are afraid of their own shadow & consistently try to push those fears of on everyone around them. THESE, are the ones my comment was aimed at.

    In no way shape or form, did I ever intend to belittle, put down and/or insult anyone on this website or its patrons.
    I offer my humble apologies to everyone/anyone who was offended.
    James ‘TULANI’ Reynolds

  21. sharon

    I just read of a “recipe” for a mix of borax, distilled water, and hydrogen peroxide to spray on cat mange. I found myself here because I was getting concerned that borax would be harmful to my cat. Would it be?

  22. Zandra Price

    I looked at your site because I am trying to get rid of scabies without resorting to neurotoxins like permethrin (spelled wrong, sorry). Several postings suggested using a peroxide and borax mixture in a hot bath or applied. Have you heard of this use of borax? If it doesn’t work I’ll use it in the laundry.

  23. joanna

    Thank you for the info! I have one question though; through your research did you find that using a lab grade sodium borate was better for beauty/skin care products then the borax brand you find in the grocery store? I recently started making lotions and it is (from my research) one of the best natural emulsifiers when used with beeswax, but I can’t convince myself to buy the regular Borax for fear that it has other chemicals in it..

  24. Ronda

    Thank you! This info is very helpful. Compared to store bought cleaners I think Borax sounds like a reasonable and safe alternative. Seems fine as long as you aren’t eating it in large quantities and/or working in a factory with it every single day.

  25. name

    thank you, i need this info for school :)

  26. Michelle Chadwick

    Just found your article while searching for information on the ingredients of my new totally natural pain relief. I have used borax for a while for cleaning and had not heard of it being used as a natural remedy before. The product I am using is sold in chemists so I presume by that that it is safe to be taken. thanks for the interesting article.

  27. I seldom comment, but i did a few searching and wound
    up here Gettingg to the Bottom of Borax: Is it Safe or Not?

    | Crunchy Betty. And I actually do have a couple of questions for you if it’s
    allright. Is it just me or does it appear like some of these comments lokok
    as if they are coming from brain dead people?
    :-P And, if you are posting att other online social sites, I would like to follow everything fresh you have to post.
    Would you list of the complete urls of your public pages like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin

  28. Austin

    Good Afternoon,

    This article is very interesting, I was recently reading that Borax was a good cure for scalp folliculities. Has anyone heard of this or any other good remedies to get rid of scalp folliculits?

    Thank You

  29. Sweet Mother Earth! I have been in ‘making my own soap products hell!’ To Borax or not to Borax, To Washing Soda or not to Washing Soda! I going to walk around stinking of Ivory…why am I using soap to make?…really, the madness was endless.
    Crunchy, you saved the day because I had reached the throw in the towel point.


  30. Christina

    I grew up in Boron. Never had any issues being near the mine at all. Decide for yourself…

  31. Reia

    Hi, just wanted to share my personal experience with borax. I am a regenerative farmer and soil consultant. Boron is VERY important for the soil and our bodies. The amount of aluminum that is in the soil currently is at an all time high and is very dangerous. Boron is an essential mineral for plants, and is needed in the soil to keep too much aluminum from being absorbed into plants we may consume. Borax, is a safe and natural mineral. I actuall y eat 1/8 of a teaspoon of it in juice every two days to keep my joint pain away and chelate unwanted toxins in my body and I am just fine. However, I am not saying one should just run out and start using huge amounts of it, because in large doses it can have a salting effect on the soil, and toxic effects in the human body. It is a TRACE mineral for a reason. Everything in moderation folks! I do highly recommend it for arthritic pain though. It does wonders!

  32. SharonAnnie

    Thanks CrunchyBetty! I really appreciate your concise well researched info. Your site has so many answers to my questions on the journey to healthier (crunchier) living.

  33. Vicki

    Thanks for the hours of research on this topic and sharing with the rest of us! I am going to put a little borax in my homemade moisturizing lotion as it keeps the oil and water from separating. Again, thanks for the info!!

  34. Allison

    My dad has a pest control and insullation company , the insulation they use contains borax it is used to keep the bugs out but only self grooming bugs so ants box elder and other critters of the sort . The reason it works is becaus they cannot process it . I wanna say its because they don’t have a liver but don’t qoute me on that ha . Anyway its pretty cool how it works to keep the bugs out . That being said ,we have livers and borax does not build up in our systems so as long as we are not eating it for breakfast I think we should be ok . I make my own laundry soap that works great and don’t use borax , but that’s only becaue Iuse it for my kids cloth diapers and it can cause rashes if any is left behind . Cheers :)

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  36. Nancy

    Very interesting information, Thank you!

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  38. Thanks for a really informative article. I read a brilliant suggestion for a natural laundry detergent but had never heard of Borax. Now you have put my mind at rest…I will be making it very soon.

  39. Richard

    The EU and FDA have banned it because it had been used as an arthritis cure,taking vast amounts of money from the pharmaceutical and health care industry. It can also be used to kill bacteria, instead of using an antibiotic.

  40. pots

    Question? Can I use Three Elephant Borax (brand) instead of 20 Mule team borax? Please i’ll be waiting for the reply. Thank you kind mam/sir.

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  43. Cheryl natural home blends

    Thank you so much for writing about your findings and your opinion on borax. I completely feel the same way and get a little angry when I read someone saying its toxic!!!

    Thanks again ;)))


  1. [...] Curious about the safety of Borax, or maybe you’re wondering “Borax? What the heck is that?” Click here! [...]

  2. [...] So, I did many searches on various methods of making dishwasher detergent and came to the recipe below.  There are some people who are concerned about Borax being a natural ingredient. I did a bunch of research on it and found that for me, I am comfortable using it. One helpful article that gives information both ways is here. [...]

  3. [...] Now, maybe it can but I also know it’s a great cleaner.  Here is a great article about the pros and cons of Borax – this blogger did a lot more research than I did!  I was too lazy to go and buy some but [...]

  4. [...] Borax toxic? Yes, and no. In high levels, yes, just as salt and baking soda is.  Click here, for further reading about [...]

  5. [...] is all natural with no harmful chemicals. If you are worried about the use of Borax, I found this article to be very [...]

  6. [...] {For those who are concerned about borax being sprinkled in your household, feel free to check out this article by Crunchy Betty. I feel safe using borax in my home, but you can make that decision on your [...]

  7. [...] If you have concerns about borax, please see Crunchy Betty’s extremely well-researched and extensive article Getting to the Bottom of Borax: Is it Safe or Not? [...]

  8. [...] Borax toxic? Yes, and no. In high levels, yes, just as salt and baking soda is.  Click here, for further reading about [...]

  9. [...] oz. borax (sodium borate) – This is NOT the same as boric acid! .4 oz. lime peel essential oil (or try lemon or orange peel essentials oils which help cut [...]

  10. [...] my family.  Please do some research and decide if this recipe is right for you and your family, Crunchy Betty has a great article about Borax.  Also, make sure to keep infants and children away from these [...]

  11. [...] Borax is completely safe to clean with. I’ve done a good amount of research on it and it’s an excellent cleaning agent (like baking soda). It’s actually just a slightly different composition than baking soda. Borax is sodium tetraborate and baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. It’s a boron mineral and salt that’s mined directly from the ground. A lot of the studies that people are getting their borax as toxic information from are actually talking about boric acid or sodium borate (none of which are the pure borax). Borax is as toxic as regular salt, baking soda and even water. If you ingest a crazy amount of it, it will give you gastrointestinal upset. Below are are a couple of links to articles if you want to read more about the research. It’s an interesting read:, [...]

  12. [...] Borax safe? I googled that too. This post was helpful. But really, how much worse can it be than that scary can of whatever-it-is [...]

  13. […] of it. As I was looking more and more into borax, I became more comfortable with trying it. This post was great when looking into […]

  14. […] is a naturally occurring mineral that works as an all natural cleaning agent.  A thorough review of available literature suggests that Borax is generally safe for household cleaning, although it is wise to keep it out of […]

  15. […] This is a good article about the safety of Borax by Crunchy Betty. As always please do your own research, and determine what will be healthiest for your family. Sunflower soap has homemade laundry detergent solutions, and also ideas for “traditional detergent extender” (click Thrifty Laundry Solutions to see PDF). […]

  16. […] claiming that Borax isn’t as natural and safe as we might think. Well, I will direct you to Crunchy Betty, it is a blog I read from time to time about natural living. The article linked above does a great […]

  17. […] online about whether Borax is safe to handle. The best thing I’ve read on the subject is here at Crunchy Betty. My personal feeling is that if you use it once in a while to make slime, and you’re not […]

  18. […] in depth about Baking Soda:  What is baking soda? Here’s a link more in depth about Borax: Is Borax Safe or Not? (I feel like there’s a lot of corporations that would want you to think it wasn’t safe- […]

  19. […] the low end of the scale when it comes to the potential toxicity of chemicals in cleaning products. Crunchy betty provides a good summary here, but in the end, this is one you’ll have to decide if you are comfortable […]

  20. […] do your research and decide what is best for you and your family. Here are some articles that was helpful for me when deciding whether to use borax in […]

  21. […] and borax (sodium tetraborate). [If you are unsure about the safety of borax please read this article and the related links on the Crunchy Betty's page, so you can make your own informed […]

  22. […] have also heard different reports about the safety of borax. I did some research, left reassured that as long as I didn’t eat it I was fine, I carried […]

  23. […] If you have any concerns as to whether Borax is safe to use in your homemade cleaners, this post is one of the most well written that I’ve found on that. I’ll continue to use […]

  24. […] there has been controversy surrounding the use of Borax. After reading some info about its safety here and here (as well as other places), I decided that the use of a small amount of Borax in this […]

  25. […] those whom are going to state that Borax is hazardous to one’s health (Click here) and (Click here) before progressing further in this […]

  26. […] something you want to use in your home.   Crunchy Betty has an excellent article about Borax here.  It’s usually found in the laundry aisle of grocery stores or big box stores, right next to […]

  27. […] in commercial detergent. However, you may choose to do some research first. I have found this article to be amazingly […]

  28. […] Borax as a green cleaner is debatable, and those links will take you to two different articles with different slants. It’s […]

  29. […] CRUNCHY BETTY: Getting to the Bottom of Borax: Is it Safe or Not? […]

  30. […] this really is a great almost non-toxic laundry option, Borax can be considered mildly toxic (as in don’t let your kids eat handfuls of it but otherwise it’s safe kind of toxic) […]

  31. […] cleaner. As to all the other stuff, I was surprised at the idea of using it as toothpaste, but apparently it’s not a completely outrageous […]

  32. […] alcohol — afterall, it’s used in many green home cleaning soap recipes. But, there is some controversy surrounding borax and its potentially toxic effects towards reproductive […]

  33. […] *Both Borax and Hydrogen Peroxide are safer alternatives to chlorine bleach. Read more about it here and here. […]

  34. […] an argument whether or not Borax is as safe and non-toxic as everyone thinks.   Here is a link from Crunchy Betty addressing the […]

  35. […] Let me know if you make your own laundry soap or if you try this recipe and what you think!  This laundry soap is NOT SUDSY, but it cleans just as great and is especially great if you have sensitive skin in your family, like we do!  (If you are concerned about whether borax is a safe product to use, check out this article.) […]

  36. […] equivalents.  But, if you are concerned, you might like to head over to Crunchy Betty’s excellent and sensible analysis of Borax and have a read.Some users suggest that you can leave Borax out of the mixture, although they note […]

  37. […] that convinced me that it is not so bad, so now I do use it. You can find the borax article here. I like this article because it explains both sides pretty well, and the sources are pretty well […]

  38. […] side because they are not petroleum based cleaning products. You can read some links/reviews here and here. The second links to David Suzuki who doesn’t really tout borax/washing soda as the […]

  39. […]  Although there is some debate over the merits of Borax, most DIY experts will contest that it is relatively safe, non-toxic and cheap.  It can be found in the cleaning aisle at most hardware […]

  40. […] reinigt, licht bleekt, desinfecteert, water verzacht en het is een krachtige vetoplosser. Er is enige controverse over het feit of het wel volkomen veilig is, het zou matig giftig zijn. Niet gebruiken bij kleine […]

  41. […] in case you’ve heard other rumblings of controversy over the safety of borax, you can read this excellent article to learn more. Personally, I conclude the same thing as the author of that article: I’m […]

  42. […] is a naturally occurring mineral that is mined more sustainably than most. (source) Borax is not carcinogenic, but if ingested in high amounts it can cause nausea and vomiting and […]

  43. […] If you’re wondering what borax is and if it is safe, here’s a thorough blog post that explains more and can help you make your own decision. I feel okay with using it, […]

  44. […] as much information as possible before making a decision. To help you along, there is a post on Crunchy Betty that may offer you some […]

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