Borax is a naturally occurring mineral that works as an all natural cleaning agent. A thorough review of available literature suggests that Borax is generally safe for household cleaning, although it is wise to keep it out of children’s reach. The most commonly suggested use for Borax is as a laundry booster — does it work? Does Borax brighten up dingy whites?
- Better for the Earth – Borax is mined from the earth, and boxed up with minimal processing
- Better for You – Borax is generally safe for household cleaning – just don’t eat a ton of it!
- Saves Money – Borax is generally cheaper than OxyClean (another natural-ish laundry booster)
- All natural – Borax is sodium borate, a naturally occurring mineral in the Earth’s crust
- There’s a bit of controversy surrounding the safety of Borax – most of it seems to be stemming from the known safety concerns of boric acid (or sodium tetraborate decahydrate) vs generally benign Borax (sodium tetraborate). Note that the EWG does not recommend Borax, but also does not distinguish between Borax and boric acid. This is a well-researched article discussing all the known facts.*
- SPOILER ALERT! Borax does not help whiten dingy whites.
For reasons I can’t figure out, my kid’s washclothes are seriously dingy. Like white turned to yucky grey dingy. Especially in the middle. I don’t know if my kids are just that dirty, or if the mild kid’s soap I use locks in the dirt, or somehow inhibits my laundry detergent?? Whatever it is, the kid’s washcloths are capital D – Dingy.
See what I mean?
But.. there’s always a silver lining, right? I plan to try out some all natural ideas for brightening whites and post the results for you! Today, I tackle Borax!
I never really knew what Borax was until I joined the crunchy mama community. It turns out it’s an old-school cleaner that’s been around since before our grandmothers. Much of what’s sold in the US is mined in California, my current state of residence. It’s mostly sold as a laundry booster – you add 1/2 cup of Borax powder along with your regular detergent to soften water, and increase the cleaning power of your soap.
I picked up a box of Borax at Target (got distracted for about 5 months…) and then dumped in a 1/2 cup with a standard load containing about half of my dingy washcloths. I was excited to see the boosting power of the white powder, and finally get those cloths clean.
Well…. no need to give you a before and after picture, because the Borax-washed, and not Borax-washed cloths looked exactly the same. Borax did not brighten my dingy whites.
It’s a Green Idea Fail! So disappointing. There are many other uses of Borax that I’m looking forward to trying out, but brightening whites is not one of them. Perhaps I’ll try this boiling laundry with lemons idea next?
Have you ever successfuly used Borax to destroy dinge? What’s your secret? Do you have other natural ideas for brightening whites?
*Concerning Borax safety: As always, it is up to YOU to do your own research and decide what’s best for your family. I don’t recommend doing, or not doing anything just because your favorite blogger said so on the Internet! Do your own homework, people!
Shared at Natural Living Monday