Chemical Info, Chemicals in Skincare, House Cleaning Recipes, Low Tox Living, Uncategorized, Your Home

What is Borax? Is Borax safe?

Borax    As you go about the business of detoxing your home you’ll come across a few questions about natural products like Borax.  I say ‘natural wonder’ as you may wonder if, as a natural product, it is completely safe or not.  If you research Borax you’ll find lots of conflicting opinions about it; some use it lots, others won’t, calling it toxic or unnecessary, while many use it for some purposes and not others.  Confusing, huh?

Some Facts About Borax

Other names for Borax include Sodium Borate, Sodium Tetraborate and Disodium Tetraborate.

Borax occurs naturally in the mineral deposits produced by the repeated evaporation of seasonal lakes.  It is a compound of Boron, a mineral and a salt of Boric Acid.  Powdered Borax looks like white powdery crystals.  Commercially it is mined out of California, Turkey,  Chile, Bolivia, Tibet and Romania.

Natural Borax crystals

It’s used as a buffering agent (for keeping pH constant), as a whitener, deodorizer, preservative and an anti-fingal in various skincare, cosmetics, detergents, and cleaning products.  It dissolves easily in water making it useful in many cleaning products.

It is not recommended to eat Borax (however in the past it has been used as a food additive and as a dietary supplement).  It is also recommended to keep away from children and pets.

In high doses Borax can irritate the skin, eyes, digestive tract and respiratory system.  Also in high doses (such as working in the Borax mine) and being used as a lab-rat it is suspected to be a hormone disruptor.  It is recommended that you avoid inhaling it, and avoid handling it if you have any cuts on your hands.

The Bottom Line?

If you’d prefer not to use Borax, simply leave it out.  Natural cleaning and skincare is all about using products that work for you and your family.  Just like certain oils don’t work for some people the same goes for other ingredients like Borax.  The best part about making your own house cleaning and skincare products is that you have total control over what you use, why you use it, and you can determine whether you think its safe or not.  I personally use Borax in my laundry powder as a whitening agent and in one of my multi-purpose spray recipes.  In my liquid laundry soap I do not use it as I simply use pure castile soap (great for delicates and precious blacks).  In my skincare I choose to avoid it as I have no use for it.  Less is best!

For Further Reading:

Getting to the Bottom of Borax

Material Safety Data Sheet

David Suzuki Is Borax Safe

EWG on Borax

I hope you found this info helpful!

♥ Kelly Lynne

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Disclaimer.  I am not paid for my reviews.  My opinions are my own based on the research that I have conducted over many years.  I use various resources to find my information.  An excellent resource is an app called ‘Chemical Maze’, other resources include the Good Guide, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), as well as the internet.  You can find lots of information if you scratch beneath the surface.  My aims are to clean up my life and home and to share what I find with you so you can do the same if it’s that you want to do.  

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