Borax can often be a component in cleaning products, detergents, as well as be a preservative in cosmetic products. You will find borax in the all-purpose cleaning recipe as well as in the homemade laundry detergent. Due to the debate whether or not borax is safe, it was decided to do more research and give an opinion.
What is Borax?
Borax in its chemical term means sodium borate, sodium tetraborate or disodium tetraborate. Borax is not boric acid which is a common misconception. Borax is mineral and a salt of boric acid but its not the same thing as the chemical boric acid. Powdered borax is white consisting of soft crystals that can be dissolved in water. Commercial borax is considered partly dehydrated.
Borax vs. Boric Acid
Both borax and boric acid are considered natural pesticides and are usually found together in many places such as volcanic areas or seawater. If accidently ingested, boric acid will be much more toxic to your body than borax. Borax is added to the making of boric acid but that doesn’t mean they are chemically the same compound. Borax is a natural occurring mineral mined from the ground but that doesn’t make it safer either. Natural doesn’t always mean safe.
The warning that stands out relating to borax and boric acid is skin and eye irritant if directly is in contact and if digested in high amounts can be toxic. But do you know what else causes skin, eye and digestive irritants at high doses? Vinegar, cayenne pepper, citrus fruits, and a high sugary diet.
This doesn’t mean that theses items aren’t safe, minus the high sugary diet of course. Borax is considered to be alkaline which can make it an irritant if undiluted. This is why we use water to dilute borax in all of the DIY recipes. It also makes sense that borax or boric acid is not an ingredient in eye wash, beverages, or skin products.
Is Borax Toxic?
Here are some main key points about borax toxicity.
- Warnings relating to avoiding eye contact, using on skin with substance being undiluted, and ingestion by mouth.
- Borax is banned as a food additive by the FDA (Food Drug Administration) as well as banned by the ECA (European Chemicals Agency). There is a concern on soil level dangers by using borax in high concentrations.
- There are no studies proving that using diluted borax in DIY natural cleaning products was dangerous. Don’t directly digest or get into your eyes.
- Borax is considered non-carcinogenic and a mild skin irritant. The high alkalinity is the likely reasoning for a skin irritation. That’s why it should be diluted in your solutions.
- In the ToxNet Database, borax shows up as a mild lung irritant that doesn’t cause long-term damage.
The Bottom Line and With A Personal Opinion
Borax is natural from the ground. The largest borax or borate mine is in Baron, California and is said to be the most sustainable and environmentally safe mine in the United States.
A personal opinion about this substance after researching information is that borax is safe to use in household cleaning products. It’s used in the DIY laundry detergent and have not heard or seen any concerns while using this formula. You should never use it to clean dishes or anywhere need your food.
Borax is an effective cleaner and is safer to use than most conventional store- bought cleaners. Mule Team Borax is a pure and natural form of borax. Borax will be continued to be used in certain DIY cleaning products.
What are your thoughts about using borax? Have you used borax in your cleaning products before? Please share below.