Is Borax Safe? | Better Life

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February 21, 2011

Is Borax Safe to Use for Natural Cleaning?

Many people today make their own household cleaning products, and really it's no wonder why. In fact, the frustration in making a choice between traditional toxic cleaners (not an option) or a somewhat "green" cleaner that really doesn't work very well is what brought Tim and Kevin to create Better Life in the first place. Many people are just like Tim and Kevin, and feel there is no choice but to make their own products or simply just like to whip up a batch on their own.

Unfortunately making your own cleaning products isn't the safest choice. There are several things you should consider when making your own products. These homemade cleaning products lack performance testing, safety testing and often are not safe for surfaces in your home. Additionally homemade cleaners are often mixed with commercial cleaners (like dish soap or borax) which may not be compatible and unsafe. These homemade products are unstable and need to be used immediately after making them otherwise they will spoil (grow bacteria, yeasts and mold). 

Speaking of borax we often get asked if it is safe. The answer is no. Borax is a naturally occurring mineral but it is not safe or eco-friendly.  Borax is also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate. It is a boron compound and a salt of boric acid.

Borax is listed as a poison, pesticide, and an fungicide. It is poisonous, especially to young children. Even as little as a teaspoon could prove fatal if swallowed by a young child. For this reason it is not safe to use around children or on surfaces that come in contact with food.

The infant death rate from boric acid poisonings is high. However, boric acid poisoning is considerably rarer than in the past because the substance is no longer used as a disinfectant in nurseries. It is also no longer commonly used in medical preparations.

Studies by the EPA have linked it to reproductive problems, kidney and liver problems, nervous system issues, and it is a skin and lung irritant. The other big issue with borax is that it accumulates in your body. So, the more you use it the more toxic it becomes to your body. Chronic exposure is especially harmful in children.

And as far as eco-friendly, borate is an open-pit mined mineral and borax is toxic to aquatic life. 
Environmental Working Group senior scientist Rebecca Sutton wrote a great article here.

We are very proud at Better Life to offer a completely safe and natural solution. A responsible solution. Our formulas far exceed U.S. and European biodegradability standards. Our cleaning power comes directly from plants and therefore is completely safe for people, rivers, marine life, pets and the planet at large. It was no small task to create Better Life, a natural solution that actually works, but every day we're glad we did.