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Jun 14, 2010

Recently we were asked the question, "Is Borax Safe?"  We used Borax in our homemade laundry detergent and it worked well.  We had no problems with skin irritation or a strange smell.  However, we definitely took some extra time digging to check on the safety of the product.  Hope the following information helps!

Borax Decahydrate is manufactured by U.S. Borax, Inc. It is made from mining natural Borate deposits in the earth and has been used since the 1800s. It can usually be found in your local grocery store in the cleaning aisle along with the powder detergents.  There are definitely mixed messages about the safety of Borax. There are those that say that it is extremely dangerous and others claim that is a "natural" product and "safe."   Here is a quote directly from the U.S. Borax, Inc.,

 "Borates have an excellent record for safety when used as directed. Boron compounds have low acute toxicity - meaning ingesting small amounts is not likely to cause health problems. Laboratory studies show large   doses of boron compounds can cause reproductive and developmental effects in animals. However, similar effects have not been observed in humans. In short, there are no uses of borates - including mining and refining them that pose any risk to human health. When ingested, boron is readily absorbed into the blood stream by both humans and animals. However, 90 to 100 percent is excreted rapidly through urination. Boron is not metabolized by animals nor by humans. Boron compounds are poorly absorbed through intact skin in both humans and animals, although they can be absorbed through damaged skin. Boric acid and other boron compounds are approved for use in low concentrations in cosmetics and talc in the United States and Europe. Data also indicate that inhaling boron compounds does not pose a significant risk to animals or humans."

Therefore, after reading the product data sheet for Borax we believe that Borax can be hazardous if used or inhaled in VERY LARGE amounts or if it were to be swallowed in large amounts. Basically too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.  You should definitely keep it out of the reach of children and pets as you would any other cleaning materials.  As with most cleaning products that we frequently use in our homes, if used correctly you can use Borax for a variety of things without hazardous effects to you or your family.

There are actually many different ways that Borax can be used to clean in your home if used properly.  You can download a complete PDF of ways to use Borax from 20 Mule Team Borax.  Listed below are just a few:

  • We previously posted about using Borax in homemade laundry detergent.  Borax is not easily absorbed into the skin so therefore should not cause any skin irritations to you are your children if used in your laundry detergent.
  • Cloth Baby Diapers -Once you flush out the diaper, soak it in a bucket of hot water and 1 cup of Borax for 30 minutes before washing.
  • Toilet Bowl - put 1/4 cup in brush the bowl and let stand for at least 30 minutes.
  • Dishwasher - pour 1/4 into the bottom of your dishwasher along with your normal dishwasher detergent.
  • Window Cleaner - pour 2-3 tablespoons and dissolve in warm water.
  • Tiles and Grout - Pour on a little borax as you go along and add a bit of water!  For tough stains use a toothbrush.
  • Pots and Pans - sprinkle borax on tough stains and scrub with a damp cloth.


Posted by Tami on Jun 14 10 | Comments (2)
Categories: Laundry, Products,

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I've been interested in making my own laundry detergent for awhile, so I finally did some investigating & found a few recipes here.  I really wanted to use Fels Naptha soap as an ingredient--as I've used it for years for stains & thought it would be great to have it in the recipe.

The recipe I used:

1/3 bar of Fels Naptha soap

6 cups water


1/2 cup Borax

2 gallon bucket

Boil 6 cups water on top of the stove. Shave off 1/3 of the bar of Fels Naptha & put in the boiling water. Turn to low & keep stirring until dissolved. Stir in 1/2 c. washing soda & 1/2 c. Borax. Stir till thickened & remove from heat. Add 1 quart hot water to 2 gallon bucket. Add soap mixture & mix well. Fill bucket completely with additional hot water & mix well or until thickens. Cover & let sit for 24 hours. Use 1/4 - 1/2 cup per load.  The consistency is a little more gel like.  

There is quite a cost savings by making your own detergent.

 My cost :

This 2 gallons of detergent cost 71 cents.  If you use 1/2 cup per load the cost is 1.5 cents per load.   I only used 1/4 cup per load so I'm getting a great deal.  

I've been using this homemade detergent for over a week now & it's cleans the clothes the same as the store bought I was using!!

Posted by Kim on May 24 10 | Comments (7)
Categories: Laundry,

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May 16, 2010

There is one bar of soap that I do not want to live without. I call it my miracle soap. With a toddler in the house there are constantly stains all over her clothes and this little soap is my life saver. Fels-Naptha soap has been around since the mid 1800s and has been a staple in many American homes for a long time. It comes wrapped in paper with its original logo and is slightly longer than a normal bar of soap at 5.5 oz. It is now owned by the Dial. You can watch a short video on Fels-Naptha HERE.

Personally, I keep the bar in a small Ziploc bag with a toothbrush inside. Any time I have a tough stain I put some water on the toothbrush, rub it on the soap, and brush the stain with the toothbrush. You can also scrub the bar directly on the stain or use a cheese grater and grate it right into your washer! It always makes my stains disappear! You can also use the soap in your homemade laundry detergent, which we are currently experimenting with, and even on your tile showers. The bar of Fels-Naptha lasts for quite a long time. The soap can be hard to find at times although I have found it at places such as Meijer or Walmart. This SITE sells it for $1.75 a bar with low shipping rates. I would tend to pay a little more for shipping seeing as how the soap lasts quite some time.  I definitely encourage you to buy a bar of this and try it out! You maybe never want to live without it!

Shirt With Stain

Shirt without Stain

Posted by Tami on May 16 10 | Comments (6)
Categories: Laundry, Products,

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May 12, 2010

Mom and I are in the process of "concocting" homemade cleaning products.  We are hoping they will be cheaper and just as effective as the brand name product! As soon as we perfect our recipes we'll be sure to share them with all of you!

Posted by Tami on May 12 10 | Comments (0)
Categories: Laundry,

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