Use of Borax in Homemade Detergent

If you don't want to use it in laundry detergent, simply leave it out.

| January/February 2009

Easy Homemade Soap 

If you don’t want to use borax, you can still make the laundry detergent – just leave it out.

Yes, borax can be nasty stuff if used improperly (as with most things). Boric acid, sodium borate and sodium perborate are estimated to have a lethal dose from 5 to 20 grams for humans (not 0.5). Borax is not flammable and is not reactive. It can be mixed with most other cleaning agents, including chlorine bleach. Borax is natural, but that does not mean it is automatically safer for you, or for the environment, than manmade chemicals. Although plants need boron, too much of it will kill them, so borax can be used as an herbicide. Borax may also be used to kill roaches, ants and fleas.

Now, none of these risks mean you shouldn’t use borax. If you do a bit of research, you will find risks associated with all cleaning products, natural or manmade. However, you do need to be aware of product risks so you can use those products properly. Don’t use borax around food, keep it out of reach of children and pets, and make sure you rinse borax out of clothes (the rinse cycle on your washer takes care of this) and off of surfaces before use.

The borax I use, 20 Mule Team® Borax, is non-toxic, but if ingested in large quantities, it has the potential to cause negative effects. If ingested, contact a doctor immediately.

Consuming large quantities of any cleaning agent will cause you, your child or your pet harm. Not long ago, a man nearly died because he ate quite a bit of baking soda in order to soothe his indigestion.

You can find out more about 20 Mule Team® Borax by visiting the Web site,, and clicking on the FAQ section.

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