To Borax or Not To Borax?

Borax may be one of the most useful eco-conscious natural non-toxic cleaning and body care products we have access to.

Or it might be toxic and dangerous and scary.

Kind of depends on whom you ask.

I’m very grateful to Crunchy Betty for finally calling out the elephant in the room where borax is concerned (well, I’m grateful to Crunchy Betty for a whole lot of things, but this is just one more)…

I’m not going to re-invent the wheel here, since her post pretty much summarizes most of what I would have to offer. I highly recommend clicking over there and checking it out.

All I have to add is this: to my thinking, borax is one of those substances that literally embodies the principle of “moderation in all things.” It is a natural substance, containing boron, an essential element for plant and animal/human growth and development.  Too much of it is harmful, dangerous, and even toxic. A little, used in moderation, may be a very good thing.

I know it’s counter-intuitive to suggest that it’s a good idea to use the same stuff you put out as ant poison in the spring as part of your “safe green” household cleaning routine. And I’m still really really leery of the idea of saturating mattresses and pillows in it as an alternative to admittedly much worse chemical flame retardants in order to meet ridiculous flame retardant standards. The question of using it in bath salts could sort of go either way, I guess, though I’d probably leave it out or only use a little…but for cleaning and laundry and such, I don’t think I’d have any problem with it. I have a box in the laundry room; the main time I use it is every spring when it’s time to kill the ants.  But Betty’s research does make me feel better about expanding its use a little…

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Posted on August 11, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Very cool! I use borax only as an occasional laundry additive and to make flubber. :) But some additional uses from Betty’s research would actually keep me from using more harsh things. Thanks!

  2. I had to google “flubber”–my kids made it in school once, it’s such bizarre stuff!!

  3. I have a box of borax over my laundry area that has gone unused since I read an EWG blog post about how non-green borax is. I’ll have to check out Crunchy Betty’s rundown. I did opt out of having it added to our cotton/latex futons — one of my small green victories: mattresses made of all natural materials with no flame retardant treatment. The mattress business is a yet another rabbit’s hole…

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