BORAX: 115 Years of Cleaning and Fixing Problems

What is Borax?

Good question!  It’s been around for over 115 years and I never heard of it until about 6 months ago.  I came across a homemade recipe for laundry soap and it called for Borax.  So, I went searching for some Borax.  After finding it at a local store, I used it to make the homemade laundry soap I had a recipe for.  It worked great for me.  Now I am finding all kinds uses for it every where I look.

About 4 months ago I ended up in the hospital for a mrsa infection.  I did some internet searching and I found some people said they where using it in there laundry to kill mrsa and scabies.  Some even report they bath in it to help control mrsa and scabies outbreaks.  We did a blog about scabies home remedies including Borax at: http://www.portaltaxi.net/news/2012/04/22/home-remedies-for-scabies/

But what is it?  According to wikipedia.org, Borax, also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate, is an important boron compound, a mineral, and a salt of boric acid. It is usually a white powder consisting of soft colorless crystals that dissolve easily in water.  Borax was first discovered in dry lake beds in Tibet and was imported via the Silk Road to Arabia.

Borax first came into common use in the late 19th century when Francis Marion Smith’s Pacific Coast Borax Company began to market and popularize a large variety of applications under the famous 20 Mule Team Borax trademark, named for the method by which borax was originally hauled out of the California and Nevada deserts in large enough quantities to make it cheap and commonly available.  Now it is a brand of Henkel, the name behind Dial Soap.

I have been doing some internet research to see what all the hip is about this Borax.  Its main purpose is an laundry additive, however it seems many people are finding all kinds of other uses for it.  I thought I would share some of the uses I have found via the internet.

Please be aware that the resources I am sharing are not necessarily approved by any government agencies.  You should research these for yourself.  I am just sharing what I have found.  Many of these are homemade recipes people are trying at home.  Some may be unsafe.  You should use caution if you try any of these ideas.

Can Borax be used to kill ants or roaches?

On Their Borax web site, The Dial Corporation says they cannot recommend Borax to kill ants or roaches. The EPA has not authorized 20 Mule Team as a pesticide.  However many people claim they are using it to Keep roaches, waterbugs, and ants away by sprinkling a combination of equal parts all-natural borax and sugar.  Yes, I did say sugar.  I could not believe it myself.  Here is a video I found on diylife.com that explains why: (It plays at the end of the video).  Very interesting.

 Diylife.com has an article on this topic called:  25 Household Uses For Borax.  Check it out.  It has some other pretty good ideas for Borax.  If the video above is not showing up for you try reloading your page.

Will Borax Kill Scabies?

According to a post at ehow.com  By Deb Powers: One common home remedy for treating scabies is to soak in a bathtub of water to which 1 to 2 cups of borax and 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide have been added. The treatment is repeated daily until the condition subsides. While there is no medical proof that the borax scabies treatment works, there is a great deal of anecdotal evidence to support its use.

One reason that scabies is so difficult to cure is that the insects can survive for up to 72 hours on bedding and furniture. To prevent reinfection with scabies, wash all bedding and clothing in hot water with borax. Sprinkle borax liberally on carpets, mattresses and furniture and leave for at least 1 hour before vacuuming.

Borax is poisonous if taken internally. If you choose to use borax to treat scabies, be sure to keep it away from children, pets and any food preparation surfaces. It can also irritate the eyes and mucous membranes.

Some other home remedies I have read that seam worth researching for scabies are: Tea Tree Oil, Sulfur Soap, and MSM Supplements.

You can research more about using Borax for Scabies at:

http://www.ehow.com/facts_5008255_borax-treatment-scabies.html

http://www.scabiestreatment.org/get-rid-of-scabies/

Can I use Borax around my pets?

According to their web site: 20 Mule Team® Borax can be used to deodorize pet odors. However, they recommend you keep 20 Mule Team® Borax out of reach of pets and children.  However, I have found many post through out the internet where people are claiming to use it on there dogs to control mange.  Here are a couple links to post I found on the internet where they are using it on their pets: (use at your own risk)

Borax with Hydrogen Peroxide for Mange

Cure Demodectic and Sarcoptic Dog Mange

Borax Treatment for Mange

Can I use Borax with bleach?

According to 20 Mule Team® web site: Yes, 20 Mule Team and chlorine bleach can be mixed safely.

How much Borax do I use in the wash load?

According 20 Mule Team® web site: Add ½ cup 20 Mule Team® Borax to each wash load along with the recommended amount of soap or detergent.

What is the shelf life of Borax?

According to 20 Mule Team®: The shelf life of 20 Mule Team is indefinite if stored in a dry place.

What are the ingredients in 20 Mule Team® Borax?

According to their web site, 20 Mule Team is composed of sodium, boron, oxygen, and water. (The scientific name for borax is sodium tetraborate decahydrate.) 20 Mule Team® Borax is comprised of 99.5% pure borax, a naturally occurring mineral composed of sodium, boron, oxygen, and water. The remaining 0.5% is composed of trace minerals.

Is Borax safe for septic systems?

According to 20 Mule Team web site: Yes.

Is 20 Mule Team® Borax Laundry Booster the same as boric acid?

No, Boric Acid is an acid formed from the reaction of borax with sulfuric acid or another mineral.

What else can Borax be used for?

Make an all-purpose cleaner by mixing 2 tablespoons borax and 2 cups hot water in a spray bottle.

Clean your toilet with this solution: Dissolve 1/2 cup of borax with 1 gallon of water. Scrub the toilet with a strong brush, let it sit and flush to rinse. This non-abrasive cleaner can also be used in the bathtub or on counters.

Make your own dishwasher detergent by mixing 1tablespoons borax and 1tablespoons baking soda.

Find more Borax ideas here:

 http://www.diylife.com/2010/08/12/25-household-uses-for-borax/

http://homeparents.about.com/od/miraclecleaners/tp/borax.htm

According to wikipedia.org, Borax, given the E number E285, is also used as a food additive in some countries but is banned in the United States. As a consequence, certain foods, such as caviar, produced for sale in the U.S. contain higher levels of salt to assist preservation.  Its use as a cooking ingredient is to add a firm rubbery texture to the food, or as a preservative. In oriental cooking it is mostly used for its texturing properties. In Asia, Borax (Chinese: 硼砂; pinyin: péng​ shā​) or (Chinese: 月石; pinyin: yuè shí​) was found to have been added to some Chinese foods like the hand-pulled noodles lamian and some rice noodles like Shahe fen, Kway Teow, and Chee Cheong Fun recipes.  In Indonesia it is a common, but forbidden, additive to such foods as noodles, bakso (meatballs), and steamed rice. The country’s Directorate of Consumer Protection warns of the risk of liver cancer with high consumption over a period of 5–10 years.

Source: Photo and some information about borax taken from: http://www.20muleteamlaundry.com  20 Mule Team® is a trademark and brand of Henkel / Also know as the Dial Corporation
Other resource information taken from said links with in my blog post.  Please visit links within blog post for more information.
Note: I do not know if any of these work or it they may be unsafe..  They are information I found when trying to learn about this topic.  Please do your own research before using any of these items, ideas or recipes.

Do you have more ideas for Borax?

Kewl, share it in the comment section below : )

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