What’s the deal with borax?

Navigating through the sea of conflicting information can be quite daunting. I’m frequently asked whether Borax is safe. Let’s delve into this ingredient a bit further. It’s essential to make informed choices about the products we use in our homes. Borax, a naturally occurring mineral, is often used as a cleaning agent. However, it’s important to understand its potential risks and benefits, ensuring that you can confidently decide whether it aligns with your preferences for a safe and healthy living environment.

What is Borax?

Borax (also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate) is popular among DIY-ers. It is a white, powder-like mineral.

Benefits of Borax

It is often used in DIY washing powder to soften water and help remove stains. Borax can help control ant problems (by mixing with sugar and sprinkling over tracks), and like citric acid, it is great at combating mould, especially when mixed into a paste with water and clove essential oil, and smeared over affected areas. It is even prescribed to some people, as a bath soak, to alleviate psoriasis, athlete’s foot and arthritis pain (there are some convincing testimonials floating around the net).

Research Results

There is research out there linking high exposure to borax and boric acid with infertility, decreased sperm count, and endocrine disruption in animals. I refer to, and advocate for, the Environmental Working Group and they don’t rate borax very well. Because this research mostly links borax and boric acid (and they’re different), it’s difficult to draw a proper conclusion. When borax itself was found to cause issues, it seems that high doses were administered intravenously to animals.

Like many of the ingredients used in natural DIY recipes, borax may cause eye and mild skin irritation if not handled properly.

All chemicals, and natural ingredients alike, can be made toxic, depending on the levels of exposure. Just because an ingredient is natural, it doesn’t automatically mean it is safe. Salt, cinnamon and even water can affect humans at high enough doses.

Given the information I’ve mentioned above, you will need to draw your own conclusions. Something to bear in mind though, is that too many people are still resorting to toxic sprays, pastes and powders. Using an ingredient like borax in a washing powder or mould paste is a much better and less toxic option in my opinion.

Good News

The good news is, if you decide to avoid borax, it can be left out of the Washing Powder and Dishwasher Tablets – no need to replace it with anything. In fact, the dishwasher tablets set better without borax!

Based on my research and in my opinion, I believe borax is safe when used in wash-off type DIY recipes like washing powder and mould paste. Just don’t sprinkle it on your pancakes or use it as an ingredient in your face-mask or skin cream! Exercise common sense.

Krissy Ballinger

author and passionate advocate for natural living and wellness

Krissy Ballinger is an accomplished author and passionate advocate for natural living and wellness. Her mission is to gently guide individuals towards holistic wellbeing by providing a wealth of resources and services, ranging from natural living guidance and DIY recipes, to healing therapies that nurture the mind, body, spirit and space. She envisions a world where conscious choices are made that honour the self, humanity and the environment.

With her roots in education and health promotion, Krissy continually expands her expertise. Recently, she obtained certifications in Zone Healing Technique and NeurOptimal Neurofeedback (brain training), qualified as a Reiki Healer, and completed an Undergraduate Certificate in Lifestyle Coaching from Endeavour College of Natural Health.

Krissy dedicates her time to managing her wellness room, offering services in Zone and Reiki Healing, Neurofeedback brain training, and Chemical Awareness Consulting. Additionally, she educates individuals about common and avoidable toxins through her various social platforms. Krissy’s books have collectively sold over 100,000 copies, including the award-winning Naturally Inspired – Simple DIY Recipes for Body Care and Cleaning, as well as Make & Play – Natural DIY Recipes for Kids, and The Lifestyle Edit.


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