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

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  1. Rachel

    I’ve been trying to move toward natural bath and cleaning products, but the borax-free laundry detergent just wasn’t cutting it. I had seen all the mixed messages out there about whether or not borax was safe and had decided it was better to avoid it than to make a new detergent just as toxic as my old one. THANK YOU for the solid information!!! My conclusion from your article is that it’s fine when used with some common sense. Hopefully my detergent can get things clean now! =D

  2. When added to a laundry wash, borax makes detergents even more effective. It’s also “quite alkaline, so it kills mold and fungus and softens water,” says Robert Wolke, Ph.D., author of What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained
    Maze Hill Carpet Cleaners Ltd.

  3. Barbara

    Back in the day, it is what people used to enhance the cleaning of their clothes. My grandmother always used it. She died of old age, not a cancerous cell in her body.I hate today’s washing detergents. The eco friendly ones are too expensive. Will be making my own using Borax and natural soap that I make. I’m no chemist, but I’d rather use this. Just because some products are labeled natural, that doesn’t mean they can’t be toxic.

  4. Elis

    Thank you for the help, my friend brought home made goo to school and it had Borax in it and the science teacher said that was deadly, and she got written up! And it was concerning me.

  5. Herman Rutner

    Boric acid and sugar, 1: 10 ratio,dissolved in some water is an excellent ant poison, even used professionally by exterminators. Tastes sweet, so it may be poisonous to kids and pets. Best used in nooks and crannies used by ants.

  6. Heidi

    You mentioned it’s safe accept if it’s mixed with an acid, what about vinegar? (I apologize if this has already been answered, I didn’t read through all the posts) Thanks in advance!

  7. Mark Hartmann

    Thank you for your information on Borax. I am also wondering, is pure Borax just as safe on the packet it is also known as sodium tetri- Borate Decahydrate?

  8. Ty Bowes

    Hi.

    Thanks for your article. I like your site. 8)

    I’ve been doing a lot of research into boron/borax, and have been looking for evidence around it’s genome modifying properties (mutagenic?), but have not had any luck.

    Can you point to some research around this for me?

    Thank you. 8)

    Ty

  9. barbie Seidmann

    I used borax for the first time last week to clean my sink and bath tub. I used 1/4 cup like the box instructions said to and my hand looks and feels like I have poison ivy. It’s been a week and I’m still itchy and red. I’ll not be using it for anything ever again. I am not allergic to anything but I guess maybe this product.

  10. kahrt

    Borax was prescribed to my mother years ago for a skin condition that was dry and itchy, by a dermatologist. I just use it to exfoliate and my son uses it for poison ivy. Came here to see if it was toxic and I am still not worried. I am pretty sure they add what I use to soap powder and call it Boraxo.

  11. kroe

    Yeah, I’m taking a permaculture class utilizing grey water (legal & coded here in California). #1 thing NOT to use in laundry, etc., is borax–as the boron element is too high even for your garden plants. It will kill your fruit trees, lawn, etc. The amount of boron needed fir plants to live, is miniscule. That’s why borax works so well as an herbicide, fungicide, & pesticide!

    Also, it takes around 15-20 grams to kill a human, only 5 grams to kill a pet the size of a cat. It should be stored up and out of the reach of children, pets, or anyone mentally infirm.

    It has been known to also kill the beneficial algae in municipal water treatment facilities.

    The problem is, borax is naturally occurring, and has been used for around 4,000 years. But so has lead. So has a lot of other things, that have been used in beauty products and whatnot. Just cuz it’s natural, and can be used in a lot of things, doesn’t mean it should be.

    If using it, use with caution.

  12. ClaudeA

    ANY naysaying about using natural elements v.s. commercial synthetic products is Highly suspicious for that very reason! NEVER EVER listen to snake oil salesmen!

  13. Laura

    Thank you so much for this well reasoned, thought out, and researched info!

  14. Dev

    I was wondering the same thing as another. If the compound changes when mixed with acid then is it safe to mix with vinegar. Many people mix up a spray cleaner with both vinegar and borax.

Trackbacks

  1. […] conclusion that the material isn’t more harmful than baking soda.  One particular blog post (found here) brought up a few studies that swayed my opinion away from borax being a harmful chemical.  That […]

  2. […] 1 teaspoon borax (no borax isn’t as bad as people think it is, read more here) […]

  3. […] I don’t think it could possibly get any easier!  A few months ago, I shared a recipe I had found to make my own dishwasher pods. It was the first DIY cleaning product I made and was so much fun. Not to mention, they have done an excellent job on our dishes. They were a little tedious to make so this time around, because of time constraints, I decided to just make the powder. I definitely don’t like it as much as the pods so I will be switching back next time.   The ingredients you need for either the powder or pods are: 1 cup Borax 1 cup Washing Soda 1 cup salt  1 canister of Lemishine If you want to try out the pods, check out my post here. If you would rather stick with the powder, all you have to do is pour all of the ingredients together and stir. I strongly recommend doing this outside as mixing all the ingredients together make a pretty large and strong cloud. It also couldn’t hurt to use a mask and gloves. I stored the powder in the canister we had our pods in and reused the Lemishine container to keep out on the counter.  To some of you green cleaning veterans or those who have researched cleaning agents, you maybe asking yourself, “wait, I thought more studies were finding concerns with Borax?!?” I was actually unaware of the health concerns around Borax until it was brought up in a Facebook group I started, Creating a Greener Life.  I found some good resources and after thinking it through, decided to continue to use Borax for the moment. Most of what I read said Borax was dangerous in high quantities just like salt is. I will continue doing research and find an alternative when it’s time to make a new batch of pods.  One of the main things that lead me to this conclusion is that, even with the recipe doubled as I did the first time, 2 cups of Borax was divided into about 35 weeks. Since almost all of the Borax is washed away in dishwasher cycle, we aren’t really ingesting enough to even calculate (IMHO).  I take precautions and wear a mask, use gloves and mix everything outside. We also keep it out of reach of our pets and of course Parker. We still hand wash all of his utenciles and bottles with Dapple.  Here are some resources you may find helpful to make a decision you are comfortable with.  Borax Powder Profile – Mountain Rose Herbs Getting to the Bottom of Borax: Is it Safe or Not? – Crunchy Betty […]

  4. […] you are concerned about the safety of Borax, read this. Please note, borax is not boric […]

  5. […] rock formations or dried up hot springs. Here is a pretty good article explaining further Borax, along with some legitimate links. There are many many natural recipes that call for Borax and now […]

  6. […] going on about it but after searching long I share Crunch Betty’s view (pls read details here) + half cup cleaning soda  and some lavender oil. Some vinegar as fabric […]

  7. […] I think the big confusion is between Boric Acid and Borax which are not exactly the same. Click here to see what Crunchy Betty has to say about the subject. I believe Borax to be safe but that choice […]

  8. […] finally came across this recipe, and I love it! The scrubbing power comes from 20 Mule Team Borax, which is a naturally occurring salt mined in California. You can use any natural dish soap to […]

  9. […] Note: One of the ingredients is Borax. If you have concerns about using borax, here is a link to an informative article about borax by Crunchy Betty. […]

  10. […] not want to use it on my dishes. You can check out more about the Borax controversy for yourself at Crunchy Betty or […]

  11. […] When I was searching recipes for flubber, I found a few that talked about how borax shouldn’t be used with kids. From what I have read, borax doesn’t penetrate the skin, it is not boric acid and it is about as harmful as too much baking soda. But make up your own mind. This recipe uses borax and if you are uncomfortable with that, there are other ones out there that use other binders. Here is a link to more info about Borax. […]

  12. […] a good option.  But after doing some additional reading, including the David Suzuki foundation and Crunchy Betty (both of whom’s opinions I respect)  I have decided to use it.  If you prefer not to use […]

  13. […] Getting to the bottom of borax: is it safe or not […]

  14. […] There is Borax in my recipe but before you say NO WAY, take the time to read an awesome blog by Crunchy Betty […]

  15. […] The most affordable option (costing as low as 1-cent per load), homemade detergent requires the most work out of all options. Materials must be purchased, measured and mixed before using. Depending on which recipe you follow homemade detergent contains Borax or Fels-Naptha, both of which hold a mix of opinions on their safety. Fels Naptha contains artificial fragrances and colors (source). Some reviews see Borax as a moderate health risk, others see it as a low-risk ingredient. […]

  16. […] detergents.  Here is a great bit of info on the subject if you are of two minds about using it: http://www.crunchybetty.com/getting-to-the-bottom-of-borax-is-it-safe-or-not If you have made the personal determination that you don’t want to use Borax in your cleaning […]

  17. […] a safe ingredient in laundry detergents. –  1  1/4 cup borax powder Note: Is borax safe or not? Click here to find out. –  Essential oils of choice Note: I like to use Thieves or Purification (by Young […]

  18. […] people ask about the function and safety of borax and this article gives a good overview of its pros and cons. In washing powder, borax is added to improve the detergent’s cleaning power. It’s an […]



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