Here's What You Should Know Before Using Borax In Your Laundry

Doing the laundry can be a boring task, but it can also feel satisfying when your clothes come out super clean from the washer. There are tons of laundry detergents on the market today, and each promises great results. However, there are times that dirt and stains are just too hard to get out. Luckily, the solution is simple. Years ago, people used borax in their laundry, as they found that the laundry booster made their clothes cleaner than just using laundry detergent alone (via Real Simple).

The naturally occurring mineral salt in borax, also known as sodium borate, is a soft, white crystal usually found in Turkey and California. According to WebMD, the powdery white substance is also called sodium tetraborate and disodium tetraborate. It has a mixture of various elements, such as boron, oxygen, and sodium. But why can borax effectively clean tough stains? Well, borax has a pH level of 9.5 — which is highly alkaline and effective against various stains, especially the ones from food. There are several ways to use borax when cleaning clothes. You can use the powdered substance as a pre-treatment solution to help soften and remove stains. Simply dissolve the powder in water and apply the mixture to the targeted area. You can also mix borax with your preferred laundry detergent to boost its cleaning abilities. 

Benefits of using borax in laundry

There are various reasons why borax became widely popular in washing clothes. White clothes tend to be delicate in a sense that it can be hard to maintain the bright, white color, especially once they become stained. A quick fix to this dilemma is using borax. Mixing the powdery white substance with laundry detergent and bleach can make the garments whiter, as borax can turn part of the water molecules into hydrogen peroxide — a chemical compound well-known for its bleaching properties. Alternatively, borax without bleach will also work just fine (via The Spruce).

Borax has a pH of 9.5, but when added in water, the number goes down to 8 — an alkaline level perfect for cleaning. The substance can act as a pH buffer that can keep the water alkaline, despite the addition of detergent, fabric softener, or bleach. Furthermore, borax can also soften hard water which has high mineral content. Compared to soft water, it has a gray appearance and can make clothes appear grayish after washing. Sometimes, laundry detergent is hard to dissolve in water, leading to residue on the clothes. When using borax, the borates in the substance can help disperse the soap, thereby preventing residue. For stinky garments, borax can also help get rid of the smell. Plus, it can disinfect clothing.

Is borax safe for your laundry?

While borax is considered a green product, that does not mean it is completely safe for use. Like all cleaning solutions, borax is hazardous when ingested as it can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea, as per WebMD. In large amounts, it can cause shock and damage to the kidney. That said, the U.S. Food Drug and Administration (FDA) banned the use of borax in food. Ingesting the substance can also cause reproductive problems (via Medical News Today).

The use of borax was even extended to producing the popular slime toy for children. Kids, especially toddlers, tend to put anything in their mouth, which leads to the possibility of ingesting borax. According to Healthline, ingesting a significant amount of borax can lead to severe symptoms and even death in children. While it can be toxic, people can still utilize the substance for household chores, such as laundry. When storing borax, keep it far away from the reach of children. Never rush, and take extra care in handling the product so that you can prevent accidents from happening. You may also want to use a mask and gloves when scooping the powder from the box to prevent inhalation and direct skin contact with the substance.