Borax (Sodium Borate)
Borax is an ancient & wonderful mineral that has been harvested for centuries. It does come with some unfounded controversy - which is perhaps due to confusion between Borax & Boric Acid which are not the same thing.
Like any ingredient you plan to use, do your research & only ever use what you are comfortable with.
Borax is white, soft colourless crystals
WHAT IS THE CHEMICAL FORMULA?
Na = Sodium B = Boron H = hydrogen O = Oxygen
WHAT IS THE pH LEVEL?
Borax has a pH level around 9.5 which is slightly alkaline and very similar to Bicarb.
WHAT ELSE IS IT KNOWN BY?
Sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate
Borax, just like it cousins Washing & Bicarb Soda, is also formed naturally in ancient underground deposits. Borates are natural compounds containing Boron, which are crystallized & refined to product pure Borax.
There a number of methods for the crystallization of Borax, from which the process, tools, equipment & raw materials all contribute to the purity of the end product.
Here are a range of uses for the amazing ingredient, confirming how versatile it is.
DISH WASHING: Replace synthetic detergents & add make your own dishwashing powder using Washing Soda, Coconut Soap Flakes & Borax. You can use this in the sink or in an automatic dishwasher.
OVEN CLEANER: Make a paste with Bicarb, Borax, Coconut Soap Flakes & Essential Oils. Spread mix inside oven & on trays. Let sit until dry & then wipe clean with a damp cloth.
LAUNDRY POWDER: Combine with Borax, Bicarb & Coconut Soap Flakes for a natural laundry powder.
NATURAL BLEACH: Soak whites in a solution of Borax & hot water. The hotter the water & longer the soak, the better!
STAIN REMOVER: Make a paste with Borax & Bicarb & apply to stain, soak overnight then wash as normal.
TOILET CLEANER: Flush some washing soda down the toilet to clean, freshen & help prevent blockage.
TILE & GROUT: Use with hot water to clean ceramic or vinyl tiles. Make a paste to clean grout.
ANTIFUNGAL FOOT SOAK: Soak feet in a solution of Borax to relive symptoms of Athletes foot
BUFFERING AGENT: For managing the pH levels in swimming pools
FERTILIZER: to correct boron-deficient soils
MECHANICS: stops car radiator and engine block leaks
NEUTRON ABSORBER: used in nuclear reactors and spent fuel pools to control reactivity and to shut down a nuclear chain reaction (ok may not be used around the home, but very interesting to know!)
MAKE CRAFTS: makes slime and crystals
For those that are concerned about the safety of Borax, listen to Steve a real Scientist :-)
A very short & sweet video by the 20 Mules team about why Borax is used in Laundry Powders
This video has some mind numbing music, but shows how the element Boron is created from Borax - it also shows how Borax needs to be treated to create Boric Acid. Now you can think about it in reverse, and see that Borax is derived from compounds with the Boron element in it.