bowl of borax
Sean Cate
Sean Cate
August 14, 2023 ·  3 min read

Should You Use Borax?

Borax, a powdery white mineral compound with a diverse range of applications, has been a subject of both enthusiasm and caution within the DIY community. As individuals seek eco-friendly and cost-effective solutions for various projects, it has gained popularity as a versatile ingredient in DIY recipes, from household cleaning agents to crafting materials. However, discussions around its safety and potential health risks have sparked a contentious debate. In this article, we delve into the world of borax, examining its uses, benefits, concerns, and the importance of informed decision-making.

Understanding Borax: What It Is and Its Uses

Also known as sodium borate or sodium tetraborate, is a naturally occurring mineral compound composed of boron, sodium, oxygen, and hydrogen. Extracted from dry lake beds, such as those found in California’s Death Valley, borax has historically been employed for its cleaning properties and versatile applications. It serves as a cleaning agent, laundry booster, and even as a key ingredient in DIY crafts like slime-making.

One of its primary uses is as a cleaning agent due to its alkaline nature, which helps break down dirt and grease. It’s commonly found in laundry detergents and can contribute to softening hard water, making clothes cleaner and brighter. Additionally, borax is recognized for its potential role in various DIY projects, including creating natural disinfectants, homemade cleaners, and crafting materials. Its appeal stems from the fact that it is often marketed as a “green” alternative to chemical-laden products.

The Duality of Borax: Benefits and Concerns

While it can be used in a range of benefits in DIY projects, concerns have emerged regarding its safety, particularly when it comes to skin contact, inhalation, and ingestion. It’s crucial to differentiate between borax and boric acid, which share similar properties but vary in toxicity. Boric acid, often used as a pesticide, is considerably more toxic. This distinction underscores the importance of proper handling and awareness if using it in DIY endeavors.

The Benefits of Borax in DIY Projects

Borax’s popularity in DIY projects can be attributed to its potential benefits:

Cleaning Power:

Cleaning backyard paving tiles with high pressure washer

Borax’s alkalinity makes it effective in cutting through grease and grime, making it a versatile cleaning agent for various surfaces.

Natural Disinfectant:

Cleaning home table sanitizing kitchen table surface with disinfectant spray bottle washing surfaces with towel and gloves

Its antimicrobial properties render it suitable for creating natural disinfectants for household surfaces.

Laundry Aid:

Soak a cloth before washing, white cloth

As a laundry booster, borax can enhance the effectiveness of detergents and contribute to cleaner, fresher-smelling clothes.

Crafting Material:

Step by step. Flat lay. Mother and daughter making colorful fluffy slime.

In crafting, borax is celebrated for its role in creating slime, a gooey substance enjoyed by kids. It’s also used in various DIY projects such as homemade bath bombs, detergents, and cleansers.

Navigating Safety Concerns: Proper Usage and Precautions

To ensure safe use of borax in DIY projects, it’s essential to follow recommended guidelines and precautions:

Skin Contact:

blue gloved hands holding childs hands with skin issue

Avoid direct skin contact with borax, as it can cause irritation. If it comes into contact with your skin, wash the area thoroughly.


Portrait of frightened woman with wavy hair in white jacket covering mouth with hand scared

When using borax as a powder, take care to avoid inhaling the dust. Work in a well-ventilated area and consider wearing a mask.


Woman touching stomach painful suffering from stomachache

Never consume borax or use it in recipes that may come into contact with food. Ingesting even small amounts can have adverse health effects.

Children and Pets:

Child`s hand reaches out to household chemicals. Keep away from children. Safety Hazard for kids at home.

Keep borax-containing products out of the reach of children and pets to prevent accidental ingestion.


Safety first symbol

Consider exploring safer alternatives for cleaning, disinfecting, and crafting, especially when involving children or individuals with sensitivities.

Conclusion: An Informed Approach to Borax Usage

The versatility of borax in DIY projects cannot be denied, as it offers valuable benefits in various applications. However, the potential health risks associated necessitate a cautious and informed approach. Engaging in thorough research, reading labels, and understanding proper usage guidelines are essential steps to take before incorporating into your DIY endeavors.

In the end, whether to use borax for DIYs remains a personal choice. Before embarking on any project that may use it, consider the potential benefits against the risks and exercise prudent caution. While this substance has been a beloved tool in DIY circles for its cleaning power and versatility, your health and safety should always take precedence. Remember, this article is not medical advice, and it’s important to conduct your research and consult experts when making decisions about using borax in your DIY projects.


  1. Is Borax Toxic?Healthline.  Erica Cirino. June 19, 2023.
  2. What Is Sodium Borate?Vey well Health. Lindsay Curtis. April 24, 2022.
  3. Borax.” WebMD. Matt Smith.
  4. Borax: Unlocking the Health Benefits of a Natural CompoundEarth Clinic. August 14, 2023.