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

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  1. KarinSDCA

    I love how you research! Seriously.

    As for Borax, I use it in my homemade laundry detergent and it works. It works WELL!

    I have read many recipes with Borax listed in the ingredients. Thus far, I have skipped any recipe with it. I don’t know why exactly. Maybe because I didn’t have any? Maybe because I had read somewhere it was bad for you? Perhaps just because any recipe with Borax also required heating and combining several ingredients and I tend to prefer simpler recipes?

    I had slowly begun researching Borax and the more complicated recipes using it and I ran across similar information as you have above. At that point, I decided IF I was going to use Borax, THEN I was going to buy the most healthy (and environmentally-friendly) version I could find in the smallest amount to test first. Baking soda irritates my skin if left on it for longer than a few minutes and I spent many hours searching for homemade deodorant recipes WITHOUT baking soda. My immediate concerns regarding Borax were as simple as that. I have sensitive skin. Period.

    But, all that other stuff I started reading… OY! Ultimately, I have decided almost the same as you have. Fine for laundry detergent. Never would consider it internally. Never considered it for dishwasher detergent, but that was a different issue. I am looking for it locally in bulk at a health food store to try a little to see if my skin can tolerate it (in the healthiest form I can find it). Haven’t found any yet and was considering just using the stuff I use for laundry detergent. It doesn’t irritate my skin in that manner, but it is all washed out by the time my clothes touch my skin.

    Thank you for finishing my research for me!!! I sincerely appreciate it. I am going to try making something using the stuff I have and, if all goes well, then buy a pound from MRH for future body care products.

    • Rupunzlemom

      Thanks for the research.  Hulda Clark, who wrote a book about the cure for cancer, recommends Borax water as a substitute for shampoo.  She is firm on removing ALL petroleum products  from your home.  I don’t think she would recommend something that was harmful.  

      I have been using it for years, as cleaner and diluted with water as shampoo.  I love it.

      • mhikl

        You are wise Rup. Research before you take anything internally or put on your skin. Thankfully we have the internet and do not have to rely upon ‘experts’ (hamstrung by the pressures of peer review and peer acceptance) and the commercial media where self-interest reigns supreme. Do your research well and you will be rewarded.

        PS I suspect you have an iconoclast lurking inside. Knowledge will help set her free. :)

  2. Oh, thank goodness, I can still put some in my mop juice! I’m a little weary about using it in something that I will put on my body in some manner though.

  3. Susan

    I agree! Before I read your comment….I was going to post even salt and water can be toxic to the human body if taken in excessive quantities…..truth be told I was never worried about whether it was dangerous or not….I mean seriously if you want a natural cleaner when and where does the madness end? Sometimes even going “natural” has its limits…..as far as Im concerned.

  4. Thanks for your research!

  5. Annette

    Thanks Crunchy Betty! I have been using a homemade laundry detergent that includes Borax for years. The “am-I-doing-the-right-thing” fairies have been floating around inside my head all that time. I think I can finally shoo the fairies away! Your research is thorough and sound and just what I needed. As for using it in the dishwasher… well, I’m still looking for an alternative. Keep on Crunching! You’re helping to save the planet one soap bubble at a time!

  6. Brenda W.

    My box of 20 Mule Team says the ingredient is Sodium Tetraborate. The Mtn Rose Herbs catalog sells Borax “cosmetic grade sodium borate”.

    Are they different products? I don’t know.

    Would I consider using 20 Mule Team in my personal care products? Hell no!

    Would I consider using cosmetic grade sodium borate? Probably. Something labeled as ‘cosmetic grade’ sounds a lot safer to me than using the stuff I make laundry soap out of.

    I watched a video on You Tube of a woman making “wonderful homemade facial cream” using her frickin’ box of 20 Mule Team – yikes! Not for me!!

  7. Aimee

    I used it once to wash my hair, like a bs wash when no ‘pooing and lemme tell you, my hair was FABULOUS. I read on some natural living board, a woman used it all the time, and so I tried it and was like omg my hair is great! Of course, then, AFTER the fact, I started reading all the OMG YOU’RE GONNA DIE stuff and worried, and haven’t used it since. But maybe, since I’m rinsing it off, not *eating* it or anything…

  8. Christina

    I bought a box of 20 Mule Team, and a box of Arm & Hammer washing soda when I saw them mentioned on your site, and put them in the laundry room, while waiting for inspiration on what to do with them.
    When laundry seems like soap nuts won’t do it alone, I shake some of one or the other directly in the washing machine. (I hope it isn’t destroying the Soap Nuts?!?).
    No problem so far, and I’m intrigued regarding the dish detergent idea. Whatever it is, I will verify, but it seems it must be better that the old Cascade, etc.? Isn’t it?!?

  9. Great article! Thanks for writing this. The safety of borax is something I’ve wondered about, but hadn’t yet gotten around to looking into. It really helps clear up the confusion (mine included) about borax vs. boric acid.

  10. Becky

    Thank you. This one has been bugging me since I read some of the horror stuff out there. It seemed over hyped, but still… I don’t want to hurt my kids! This seems reasonable! I’m not scared of the borax monster anymore.

  11. Yay Borax! I love that you do all the work for me. I use it in a mixture with vinegar and a tiny bit of castille soap, and water. I love it and I’m not going to stop.

  12. Margie

    Hey, lookie there. Reading my mind again. I was in the store the other day, eyeing up a box of Borax and pondering it’s healthiness and thinking there was a bit of research ahead of me. And lo and behold, what do I find in my inbox this morning? All the research done for me and confusion clarified. So I think I will be trying my hand at laundry detergent, because, quite frankly, I’ve tried three natural, non-toxic, blah blah blah detergents and none get my husband’s eau de soccer game out of his clothes.

    Still waiting for MRH to notify me that they have soap nuts in, so a borax detergent is the next step.

  13. I was one of those under the impression that borax was bad stuff and since I was too lazy to research it, I simply avoided using it. Thank you, thank you, for doing what I didn’t!

    I’ve been using homemade laundry soap without borax for a couple of months now and I love it. So, I don’t know if I’ll change or not, but it’s good to know that if my homemade stuff isn’t up to the challenge of my husband’s grubby work clothes, I can always up the cleaning power with some added borax occasionally.

    • martin wu

      Hi Stephanie, Borax make food, inside the food, I have eaten for years, before I don’t know much about it ! now maybe? I am 55 years old healthy normal, Borax is good, Martin

  14. Daisy

    Crunchy B, you have done it again. Thank you for being awesomesauce. I love your thoughfulness into your research and the way you roll it around in your mind in front of us for us to think about it too.

    But!

    You just toss out there “Oh, you know, just some dishwasher stuff I made up, ho hum, no link here, you know…” Um, deets! Tell us! (Or maybe you did give us the deets on the dishwasher ditty but I airheadded right past it. If so, ahem…sorry.)

    And hooray, rock on, Borax!

  15. Brenda W, I think you are right pointing out there are actually different “grades” of borax. My box – very old box, I just used it occasionally along with my laundry detergent – says sodium tetraborate decahydrate… I wish I had taken more chemistry classes. I know my kids reacted to it when they were young and I could not use it for their laundry, still don’t.
    Is it like baking soda, I use the regular king for cleaning and the baking kind – aluminium free – for baking and all my crunchy needs. I have a very sensitive skin and I never reacted to it even though I use it daily as a deodorant.

  16. Good to know, and thanks for doing all that research! I’ve seen Borax listed in some lotion recipes, and I didn’t really know what to think. The only thing I’ve used it for is to get rid of ants. I felt terrible, but they just wouldn’t stop coming into my kitchen.

    • bea

      How did you get rid of ants with borax?  I am having that problem.

      •  http://www.stacymakescents.com/homemade-ant-bait

      • I think what you want is boric acid, not Borax. Boric acid cannot be processed by the ants, and will eventually kill them. Create some kind of sweet bait, like sugar water, and add some boric acid to it. You want just enough so that the ants will live long enough to bring the sugar water back to the whole brood and queen, so by the time they’re all sick, it’s too late. Too much boric acid will kill them before they bring it back to the nest. Sorry I don’t have an exact recipe, but hope this helps.

        • Lois

          I read that it needs to be sprinkled onto the ants directly. it affects creatures with exoskeletons, which means it is safe for people and animals. it punctures them through the joints in the exoskeleton and dehydrates them. they will not ingest it.

        • HaneD

          Recipe is 1 teaspoon borax, 6 tablespoons sugar, 2 cups water. Mix well. Put a little of the mixture on cotton ball and keep the ball moist till ant problem is gone. If you see dead ants near cotton ball your mixture is to strong.

          • Jessie - Rabid Little Hippy

            Or just use a sprinkle of polenta. I tried it and no ants for well over a year! They take it back and feed the queen. She can’t digest it, dies and then the colony dies along with her.

        • Eliza

          Here is what I used to get rid of an ant problem and it seriously WORKS — and fast. These were the tiny ants that come into the house in the Spring. I had them infesting my kitchen AND my bathroom (right behind the kitchen): equal parts borax and strawberry jam. Put a teaspoon on an index card and place these where you see the ants. (watch out if you have pets tho). In one day — ONE DAY — the ant infestation that had plagued us for months was GONE.

      • guest

        Borax is used because the tiny crystals make cuts in the insect’s abdomen and thorax as they run across it. They eventually die either from the damage or from drying out.

        Boric acid is not necessary to kill insects.

    • BarlowGirl

      Garlic gets rid of ants.

  17. jill

    Oh I’ve used it for all kinds of things. Dishwasher, my laundry soap, cleaning, and here’s the big one, mites. I somehow contracted mites/scabies. On my arm. It was so itchy I couldn’t sleep, I wanted to cut my arm off. With tons of research, since I knew the med’s from the doctor were not the safest thing I came up with a hydrogen peroxide/borax recipe. I added in tea tree and lavender. Yes, in the concentration I used, it did cause a little bit of irritation, thank goodness for coconut and all the other wonderful oils I used. It worked, but I had to do it just like it was med’s and oh how I hated that, but, like I said, IT WORKED!
    I’ve seen on Earth Clinic that some people do take by mouth, very scant amount and recommend it for pets. I haven’t done that.
    My take on it, I would avoid breathing the powder as much as possible since breathing any kind of dust is not good. For anything beyond cleaning I recommend research and safety.
    And oh yeah, if you go to Macy’s and try on clothes, you have no idea who might have tried it on ahead of you. LOL! Okay, maybe it wasn’t Macy’s, but I don’t shop too often, and that was one of the places on our list of where I might have contracted such a horrible thing, so horrible I couldn’t think about it or I’d freak.

    • Cheryl Rector

      Oh my gosh. I have literally NEVER thought about contracting scabies from TRYING ON CLOTHES, but you are SO RIGHT.
      My daughter came home from church camp with LICE, but I didn’t know it for WEEKS. She had never had it before, and we had never really known anyone who had it, so we didn’t recognize what was going on. Before we knew what had happened, she gave it to me too!! GAAAAH!!!!
      You better believe I will be uber careful about ever trying on clothes at a store again. ICK.

      • jill

        Yep, I went my whole life not knowing anything about that stuff. Then the kids got lice from other kids, and 3 of my kids were girls, with long hair. I feel horrible now since I didn’t know any better and bought the store shampoo. I remember searching for alternatives at the time. Thank goodness for todays internet, and people willing to share their much safer cures, despite the embarrassment of the whole situation. I got over being embarrassed much quicker than I did with the thought of something alive being on my body. And I totally understand that you went weeks without knowing. It starts out with just a little itch, (in your mind your thinking, dry skin or whatnot) Look at it this way, knowledge is power, we now can spot these horrible things a little bit sooner, and a quicker reaction leads to a quicker cure.

        • mhikl

          Jill, you are a true thinker. There is so much to learn and so many good places to find knowledge since the advent of the internet. Embarrassment blinds some to knowledge but you are beyond such trifles. Creepy feelings over crawly things on our skin is part of our survival instinct. Keep up your research, an empowering instinct in some.

  18. saffron

    You are the bomb! thanks for your awesome articles!

  19. Wonderful article…seriously taking on all the research for those of us aspiring to be super crunchy like yourself.

    I’ll admit, the question has sat there in the back of my mind, but as many above have stated, I haven’t taken the time to do the research. Now that you have, I feel fine using it in cleaning as I have. As we don’t have a dishwasher, I haven’t used it there or anywhere near my dinnerware, so nothing for me to worry about there.

    Seriously I cannot imagine ingesting it – good for those people who swear by it above, I’ll take their word for it, but for myself, there are a lot of other natural health ideas out there I think I’ll try (and stick to) first.

    • jill

      LOL! So true huh? I’m still working my way through elderberry, chamomile and other natural items that seem a lot more pleasant than borax. Okay, maybe we can put that on our list of things to try, way at the bottom with newer more important things always written above that.

  20. Thank for the info. I use it as a cleaner and for laundry.

  21. Betty

    30 years ago, when all the rage was disposable diapers, I insisted on cloth diapers for my kids and soaked them in Borax. It did a marvelous job of removing any ammonia odor and the diapers were super white without using bleach. Rarely had a case of diaper rash. Don’t know what I would have done without it. Must admit that I haven’t used Borax for much else since then. Time to rethink my old friend.

    • shelly

      OOh, that was helpful!  I was just thinking that if Borax was a skin irritant, I shouldn’t use it for cloth diapers, so thanks for letting us know how it worked for you!

      • Crisa

        some research from the rumparoos company has shown rockin’ green diaper detergent to deteriorate the elastics in cloth diapers at an accelerated rate.  They believe it is the borax.  It is safe on flats and any diapers not containing elastics, though.  I use borax in my homade laundry soap, but econuts/ soapnut berries for the diaper laundry.  It has been the best, laundry decision I have made yet.  Also, you can get them cheaper on ebay (as long as you watch out for the whole berries)  Only buy seed free berries. 

        • Catherine

          I wonder if it would have a negative affect on clothing with spandex in it. So many of the knits these days have around 2-5% in them.

          • Over time, it will. When Borax mixes with water it creates Hydrogen Peroxide, which is why it is such an effective cleaner and why it is great for killing bacteria and viruses. The chemical reaction will have an effect on spandex which is why the diaper covers do not recommend it and it will void their warranty. However, it is AWESOME for the cloth diaper inserts. Old diaper covers were made with rubber and rubber does not break down from the H202 reaction which is why people could use it without worry.

        • PeanutMommy

          Thirsties brand goes so far a to say that if you use borax in their products it invalidates the warranty. I found a baking soda recipe that does wonders on the ammonia smell. I do love Borax for lots of other things! Only kid/environmentally friendly was to keep pesky Box Elder Beetles out of your house!!

      • Holly

        same here .. used it in the diaper pail and my nappies always came out white and fluffy, no issues with rash,etc …

      • Ruth

        I used cloth diapers with all three of my children, 1974-1982. I used Borax for soaking all of the diapers, and only one of the children got a bad rash from it. I think it may be that she had more sensitive skin. I stopped using it for her and her rash cleared up. She is now married and has 3 healthy children of her own.

  22. carrie

    The best tip with homemade cleaning products, whatever they are, is moderation. Essential oils are safe to use in dilution, but not full strength. The nice thing about borax is that you don’t have to worry about it being a carcinogen in case there’s a residue, and you can touch it with your hands (and then wash them) without the same nasty effects as, say, bleach.

    • Holly

      another debatable thought ….. eo’s are safe full strength if you have therapeutic grade oils we use them all the time …

  23. TJ

    There is some information missing here. The EPA has reassessed Borax and found that there is a developmental issue with testes, and that in solution can cause serious eye problems to infants–consider borax being on a little one’s clothes which get wet (as always happens) and then rub against the eyes. Also, the European Diagnostics Manufacturing Association has changed the classification of Sodium Tetraborate to “toxic for reproduction.”

    • mhikl

      Research is good, TJ, but one must do a lot of it to weed through the nonsense. Money interests talk and if they can sell more of their chemical products by building fear over natural products they will do so. A heavy salt or baking soda solution in the eyes will sting. A light solution will not. Of course you would rinse out your child’s clothes and a sprinkle of vinegar in the rinse cycle does this well. Remember, the medical profession and commercial sellers make no money off health. The make it by providing solutions that mask the problems and bring you back for more. I would be more fearful of the swiffer products on my floors, the chemical cleaning solutions on my counters and the bleaches in my toilets. Where are the studies and warnings for the examples here? But warnings about a natural product that saves you money? Be suspect and research further.

  24. Wendi

    thank you…i needed that

  25. Lochnessnessie

    My uncle worked for 40-some years at the borax mine in Boron — some of those years he worked underground (before it was an open pit mine) — and he hasn’t had any health or respiratory issues. Which is amazing, when you think about how much of that stuff he inhaled.

    • mhikl

      Can’t say that about a coal mine, eh? Good point Louchnessnessie. Yup, Borax is a salt of a kind and Boron is a natural element used by the body.

  26. Freshpickedbeauty

    I handcraft lotions and creams all the time and never have to use borax with the water phase of my formula.  I use lecithin and lanolin instead and my product has never separated.  I don’t think we need to use borax in creating lotions and creams which is often common when using beeswax.  Cheers! Thanks for the great article!!

  27. This is very helpful, thank you. I think it’s also really important to look at what you might be using Borax in place of.  At home I’m trying to minimize commercial cleaners which I suspect, although have done no research, are far more lethal than Borax.

    • mhikl

      Borax, Vinegar, Baking Soda, ammonia are good, and nixing the bleach and chemical cleaners are the only cleaners (other than soap) we use in our home. Water is the true cleansing element and the others just help hurry the moment. Of course you must be careful of breathing in ammonia but it is interesting that the body make ammonia and it is expelled through the kidneys and the skin. Sometimes you can even smell it in socks after heavy exercise. So though I wouldn’t drink it, we are not afraid to use it in our cleaning as apposed to chlorine bleach and man made chemicals. But remember always: never, never mix bleach with ammonia as it burns the lungs and I don’t believe the tissues can be repaired from the assault.

  28. Great post, thanks for all the info!   I too have got rid of all our plastic except my food processor and my bullet. :O) Won’t part with those. But I don’t use them for hot ingredients. I tell myself this makes it better :O)

  29. Anonymous

    i run natural cleaning workshops and my view is similar to yours. It’s fine except you shouldn’t put it near pets (eg clean the floor with it) or use it on the garden.

    • mhikl

      Why? It doesn’t harm mammals. My dogs have for years had Borax added to their BARF meals (Bones And Raw Foods or Biologically Approved Raw Foods). They have always had extraordinarily strong white teeth and kept their choppers their whole long lives.

  30. Anonymous

    In regard to the garden, I meant the grey water, but more so if you use grey water on seedlings in the first place (a whole another discussion there, I remember mentioning using shower grey water on the garden and this woman started shouting about the risk of poo in the garden. err ok )

  31. Nikki

    Thank you so much for this post! I’ve read a lot of other blogs condemning Borax or highly praising it and I feel yours is the only one that’s looked at all sides. :)

    • Luvcouponing

      I always raked 20 Mule Borax into carpet, left on at least 1-2 wks before vacuuming so you will never have a flea problem.  I even had a little Yorkie and it didn’t bother her. I’ve told others this trick if moving into where there is carpet, and no one ever had a problem with their pets or had a flea in the home. Other places sell it as flea fix at crazy high $$ and its ingredient is Borax.

  32. megmom

     What a great article!! Thank you!! Although I had not heard the controversy (excuse my ignorance *_*@mscate:disqus …..From my own experience….   I LOVE Borax! 
    I have 8 kids, 5 cat’s, a dog and no side effects. (obviously, I have 8 kids :) My hubby’s mom used it for years in her own home…so I don’t know about the reproduction issues…obviously insert 8 kid’s…. ;) In my own home, I’ve used it for years in my laundry routine. It makes our clothes so much brighter in general. And my whites….well I used to use bleach in the early years of my marriage…when everything began to fall apart I began looking for alternatives. About 3 years into my marriage I noticed my mom-in-law’s box of Borax on her washing machine. Years later though, she divulge she used it to kill the ants…. ?     So, obviously it’s great at getting rid of things that pester…mice, ants, stains…..hmmm. My cat’s show no interest in it. My son who has cracky hands because his Ph’s get out of balance in the winter with all the hand washing. Well, I have him use it on his hands…clears ‘em right up.  I’ve also used it to soften my own hands. Because I’m not totally crunchy, and still by hand soap from the store, occasionally I have a bad reaction with hand soap and it’ll make my hands like sand paper. So I’ll put a lil’ borax in my hands and get them wet and use it like an exfoliant. Smooths out the sand paper! 

  33. Petersahn

    Thank you so much for this post!  I have used Borax for years for a variety of reasons (soaking diapers, cleaning the toilet, laundry detergents, etc).  When I heard it “was unsafe” I stopped, but was never quite able to figure out why.  I appreciate the time and effort you went to to clarify this.

  34. I love your site! I came across it while doing research for my blog and referred to you in the post! http://www.mymerrymessylife.com/2012/03/diy-household-cleaning-products-100_06.html. Thank you for sharing!

  35. Christine

    Thank you for giving me all sides to the Borax debate. Now I can use it and still sleep at night. :)

  36. Awesome article! Thank you. I’m going to post a link on our FB page and tweet it. I am grateful for the research you’ve done and relieved. I love Borax!

  37. Willpower

    Love your listed out study. And I would really like to link it to my info about how to use it on my little blog. If you don’t like that tell me and I will unlink. Thanks.

  38. Skye

    Thank you for this! I’ve been using borax in my homemade laundry detergent for over a year now and I’ve heard some bad things so I keep meaning to look into it. You have put my mind at ease.

  39. Mamammalia

    Thank you so much for this informative post! I’ve been experimenting with homemade lotions and was thinking about using Borax to help with emulsification. As it turns out, the amount needed is pretty darn miniscule. The info you’ve provided here has helped me decide to give it a shot despite some of my reservations. Here’s another useful article that comes to the same conclusion as you (also from a natural product aficionada!):
    http://www.monave.com/blog/teporahs_corner/campaign-safe-cosmetics-ingredients-discussion-sodium-borate/ 

    • June

      I personally use bee wax only although there might be less consistency than mixing with borax because borax is under dispute, and we can not afford to take the risk waiting for the results from science decades later. i make my own face cream small amount each time and keep it in fridge, its 100% healthy and safe and last around one month. But the amount of bee wax depends on the amount of other indifference, you will find out by yourself from time to time.

  40. Diva_of_denial

    I just heard that borax is now supposed to be bad for you and did a search which lead me to your article. I’m 63 years old. All my own baby clothes were washed in Borax (20 Mule Team, thank you) as were all my childrens (8 of them) clothing when they were babies. Common sense told me that it was not dangerous, nor something that caused infertility (7 grand-babies so far) but I just wanted to check further. I do know that it is used as a pesticide (ant, roaches, spiders) when small children and pets are not an issue. I am sure it never occurred to my mother to feed it to us as it never occurred to me to feed it to my children so I think the poison issue is kind of covered.Thanks for the affirmation!

    • Guest

      As far as I know, the reason people suggest to use Borax for killing insects like that is because the fine crystals cause tiny cuts in the skin/exoskeleton of the insects which eventually leads to them drying out and dying. Or something to that effect. I’m pretty sure the insects don’t eat it, so it’s just a mechanical use of the chemical structure to get rid of these insects. Either way, I wouldn’t consider Borax a poison. lol

      • HaneD

        The ants do eat the borax and if you make your dose low enough they will carry it to their nest and the whole colony will die. The reason I found was that borax makes them gassy and since they cant pass gas they die.

      • PeanutMommy

        Exoskeletons have tiny holes called spiracles. Insects breath through these holes. The fine dust blocks the holes.

      • AnitaS

        That would be the same way diatomaceous earth works. It kills flea larva, but the food grade can be ingested by both humans and animals and will kill internal parasites.

    • Cyncha

      I think the pesticide use is for boric acid. Correct me if I’m wrong, please…

  41. Antigoneluce

    Apparently, the accusations of borax being unsafe came from pharmaceutical companies who were informed that borax is an effective treatment at 30mg/day for osteoarthritis.   
    http://www.health-science-spirit.com/borax.htm

    btw, that is for ingestion.

  42. Kristin

    Thank you for this!!!!! Seriously, I have been perplexed by this very question for ages. Now, on to make my laundry detergent! :)

  43. memere

    Thank you very much for doing the legwork on this. I recently rediscovered borax & have been very pleased with how it helps my environmentally-correct laundry habits result in actually clean clothes.

  44. John

    Walter Last just wrote an article on Borax in Nexus Magazine also…

  45. Dawnmarie Oyler

    Thanks for a great post. I just found this in my search for a non-borax laundry detergent. I agree with everything you posted. My main issue with borax doesn’t affect everyone – I have eczema and extremely reactive skin. I’m afraid that I’ll have a skin irritation from the borax, and for me it usually takes a few weeks to months to know for sure and then I have to rewash everything in my wardrobe. Ugh. So, I’m looking for something with ingredients that are very low on the skin irritant scale. If you don’t have skin issues, I don’t see the reason to not use Borax.

  46. John Eagle

    I read several reports by the FDA & U.S. government that recommended reducing Vitamin D levels in milk and supplements because they “might cause health problems”. Several months later the reports from independent sources began coming out on the immense benefits of Vitamin D. I never saw any FDA or U.S. government recommendations on reducing Vitamin D levels after that. Now when I see This and other governments and their minions suddenly demonizing Borax I immediate bought some and started taking small and sane amounts orally. I can tell the difference in many beneficial ways as I am an old white guy that likes to be VERY physically and mentally active. It seems to help me not be sore after a couple hundred pushups or after doing intense mental exercises (brain sore!).. no kidding. Anyone who depends mostly upon the FDA or government or corporate reports on health information is a lost mental zombie. A soul-less apathetic doomed robotic tape recorder of propaganda. I shouldn’t be too hard on the zombies. I was one once. It takes a lot of work to wake up, but it’s worth it. It just takes a preference for the Truth over convenience, popularity, and easy habits. Good luck to all you Truth seekers and non-zombies! John Eagle

  47. Annie

    Thank you SO much for posting some reliable, scientific material to clarify this matter!!

  48. Terry Journey

    I would like to know if you consider products such as Fleabusters (which are made from a “Borax derivitave” safe for pets when used on carpets in large quantities, as it is when they apply it? Also, if borax is different than boric acid, how do you know if a borax product “has” boric acid in it, or not? Thank you!

  49. Tabatha

    Hi, I’m inclined to agree with you about borax not being all that toxic but I read something recently that contradicts that. I realize that borax and boric acid are different, and that boric acid is the really toxic of the two. But boric acid is made by combining hydrochloric or sulfuric acid with borax. Well gastric (stomach) acid contains hydrochloric acid. I’m not sure what the concentration of it is, so I don’t really know what effect that has on the toxicity of it. Like many others, I’m just confused and trying to get answers. I’m inclined to think it can’t be all that toxic because people in the olden days used to ingest small amounts of it for (supposed) health benefits. And some people still do that, so I’m not sure how poisonous it really is.

    • Jerry Post

      Confused is putting it mildly . Too bad our schools don’t teach chemistry anymore. Wikipedia is one site which tries to be balanced. Read it first.

      Some Chemistry : Actually, boric acid is not all that toxic. Dilute solutions are used as an eyewash and the powder has been used for athletes foot. The salt, ‘Borax’ is a very weak alkali, which means it readily turns into the acid under pretty mild conditions. The PKa of Boric acid is 9.2, which means that at body pH (~7.0) borax WILL be in the acid form . The quantities you soak in will be
      converted to boric acid by your own body .
      You like to be scared ? Not to worry, the EU has recently decided
      Boric acid IS hazardous “H360FD (May damage fertility. May damage the unborn child .)”
      ……………………………………. So it’s safe to panic if you like to panic..
      Borax does have the advantage that it is not made by Dow Chemical ;
      on the other hand maybe the revolt against chemistry has been a bit overdone …. otherwise we would have banned fire back in the
      stone age ( Fire IS a lot more dangerous than your detergent,
      and it’s carcinogenic as well ….)
      My recommendation? Get some perspective. Use Borax or any other ‘Chemical’ that has a reasonable safety record. Use them as tools for their intended purpose, Follow the instructions on the package
      ….. oh yes, and don’t sweat over internet cancer warnings . The internet
      is a perfect megaphone for every lost soul with a cause . That is why I suggest starting with Wikipedia.

      • Hate to burst your bubble, but Wikipedia is so unreliable when it comes to any product that competes with Big Pharma or Big Chem. Just beware. I have seen information from published, peer-reviewed, double blind studies removed on Wikipedia because they did not support the drug or the chemical. So just beware, Big Pharma, Big Chem are everywhere and they do give large donations to Wikipedia.

      • Liam Graves

        If you think Wikipedia gives honest advise/information on alternative cures or medicine think again and do some research. The likes of quackwatch have people actively dissing alternatives to drugs and what is considered mainstream medicine, they work hard at ensuring the information posted on Wikipedia is biased towards drugs and big pharm.

      • Earl

        “on the other hand maybe the revolt against chemistry has been a bit
        overdone …. otherwise we would have banned fire back in the
        stone age” . . . Yeah, really. I came across this site looking for reports on using granular borax (NOT boric acid; saying borax is boric acid is like saying salt is hydrochloric acid) as a safer alternative to conventional pesticides, and you’d think by hearing some of these people that it’ll render you sterile and give your cat tumors. Frankly, the stuff has a lower LD50 in mice than table salt.

        And yes, for a general primer Wikipedia is an invaluable resource. Most people who whinge on about (editorially independent) Wikipedia being manipulated by certain interests (hell, those who whinge on about scientific conspiracy theories in general) either don’t understand how research works (“It’s peer-reviewed”, or my current favorite, “contains a clinically studied ingredient”), create false equivalencies between positions (“Well, 20 well-executed studies say this, but one with questionable methodology says that, so there’s equal proof!”) , or look for boogeymen behind every shadow (Really, Quackwatch is an arm of Big Pharma? A single doctor working out of his home in his spare time?).

        In fact, I think QuackWatch explained my position fairly well in a quote from the AMA:

        “There is no alternative medicine. There is only scientifically
        proven, evidence-based medicine supported by solid data or unproven
        medicine, for which scientific evidence is lacking. Whether a
        therapeutic practice is “Eastern” or “Western,”
        is unconventional or mainstream, or involves mind-body techniques
        or molecular genetics is largely irrelevant except for historical
        purposes and cultural interest.”

        I’ll be the first to try an unconventional (I hate “alternative”; alternative to what?) remedy, but science is science.

        Sorry for the threadjack. Excellent article; I’m glad somebody is putting things in perspective and doing a bit of research instead of just stating opinions and feelings.

      • As an engineer and professional researcher and writer, I have to agree that Wikipedia is a very poor source for research. Biased and propaganda-based. Its on the same level as snopes or factcheck. Worthless. Look at the studies themselves and don’t look to others to spoon-feed you your opinions.

  50. tmclogan

    thank you! best info i’ve come across after being in the same boat as you!

Trackbacks

  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: http://www.crunchybetty.com/getting-to-the-bottom-of-borax-is-it-safe-or-not, http://educate-yourself.org/cn/boraxconspiracy03jul12.shtml [...]

  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 […]

  45. […] Borax- I have heard both mixed articles about borax being toxic or non toxic. I would stray away from Borax because of the bad rep it had gotten until I understand what is was, how it was derived, and what all the confusion was about.  While I could set here and explain why it isn’t, here is an article that pretty much sums it all up and explains it far better than I could. Is borax safe? […]

  46. […] like my time spent researching borax and olive oil, it really wasn’t all that easy to get to the bottom of this baking soda […]

  47. […] There is some debate about borax and if it safe to use in homemade cleaners or not. I personally feel it is safe to use and much safer than most cleaning products, but this article has a good breakdown of the information. […]

  48. […] is an ongoing debate about whether or not borax is a good thing to use.  I found this post on getting to the bottom of borax very informative. If you are still on the fence, then just leave it out! No […]

  49. […] risks. If you’re in a quandary about whether or not to use borax in household cleaning, this may be a good article to […]

  50. […] a lot of natural laundry products use Borax and, though it’s wholly natural, there is some debate over just how healthy and safe it is to use. I still haven’t made up my own mind about this […]



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