What is Borax Used for in Laundry | Reasons to Add Borax to Laundry


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Many of our ancestors used borax as a detergent to keep clothes clean. Nowadays, also called sodium borate, it has gained increasing popularity as a natural and efficient white powder additive. Easily available in supermarkets, the common brand name is 20 mule team; lesser-known brands are also.

It provides an allergen-free experience, useful for people with resistance to detergents with chemical ingredients. However, not all the benefits and advantages it provides in the laundry are well known. For this reason, we will provide all the information to answer; what is borax used for in laundry.

What is Borax used for in Laundry?

Borax used for in Laundry

Borax contains outstanding alkaline properties that create an acidic solution, which allows repelling strong and acidic stains. Adding sodium borate to soiled linen allows it to become even whiter due to its bleaching properties. The following are the properties and advantages of borax in the laundry:

  • On its own, it is exceptional bleach; combined with other substances, it is the ideal natural detergent. Like any soap, it cannot be ingested and should be kept out of the reach of children due to its alkaline properties.
  • Nowadays, the combination of borax with castile soap and washing soda has created a powerful household detergent that leaves your clothes free of impurities and extremely clean.
  • It can be combined with common detergents; just by adding half a cup of borax, you will enhance the formula by acquiring a clean and stain-free laundry. They should be mixed before placing them in the clothes or detergent container of the washing machine; their combination will give great results.

How Borax Works as a Cleaner (sodium borate)

Borax (sodium borate decahydrate; sodium pyroborate; borax; sodium tetraborate decahydrate; sodium biborate). It is a natural mineral compound (Na 2 B 4 O 7 – 10H 2 O), cleans, and bleaches by converting some water molecules into hydrogen peroxide (H 2 O 2).

This reaction is more favourable in warmer water; the pH of borax is approximately 9.5, so it produces a basic solution in water. In this way, it increases the effectiveness of bleach and other cleaners, boron, boron salt, and boron oxygen; they inhibit the metabolic processes of many organisms. Thus, this feature allows borax to disinfect and kill unwanted pests in the expected time.

DIY Recipes with Borax

DIY recipes with borax

Nowadays, it has become a trend to create your laundry detergent where borax is the main actor. For this reason, we will provide several options for your consideration:

Recipe #1 Andrea Dekker powder laundry detergent

Yields: 2 gallons (Approx.230 loads).


  • Microplane fine grater
  • Stirring spoon (optional)
  • 5-gallon bucket with a lid or similar container with lid.


  • 76 oz. Box of borax powder.
  • One 55 oz. Box of soda washes
  • one 16 oz. box of baking soda
  • 3 lbs. OxiClean
  • one 28 oz. container of Purex Crystals
  • Three bars of Fels-Naptha soap; grated.


  • Combine all dry ingredients in the bucket or container of your choice.
  • Grind Fels-Napths soap with Microplane fine grater into the mixture.
  • Close the container and mix all ingredients thoroughly. You may prefer to use a spoon to assist in the process.

Washing recommendations: 2 tablespoons per load for front and top-loading machines

Note: This is not an eco-friendly solution for your laundry needs, although several ingredients are considered “green” products. Andrea recommends adding 3-4 tablespoons for larger or dirtier loads.

Recipe #2 (Courtesy of Granny Nutshell)

  • Homemade liquid laundry soap
  • Yields: 10 gals. (Approx.40 loads)


  • Box grater
  • Large saucepan
  • Measuring cup
  • Stirring spoon
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Clean, recycled laundry detergent container


  • 1 sticks of Fels-Naptha
  • 4 C of hot tap water, plus additional water to dilute detergent product
  • 1 C Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
  • ½ cup borax
  • 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. (Optional) Try lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil, or jasmine. Add once soap has cooled.


  • Shave Fels-Naptha bar and add to 4 cups of hot tap water in a saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat to completely dissolve the shavings.
  • Fill a 5-gallon bucket half full and combine the melted soap, washing soda, and borax. Stir well until all the powder is dissolved. Top off the mixture with more water. Stir again and allow thickening overnight. The “gelled” detergent may have the consistency of thick noodle soup.
  • You can mix in the essential oils now.
  • Stir and pour into the laundry soap dispenser. Fill the container half full with soap and then fill the rest with water. Shake before each use.

Washing Recommendations

  • 5/8 C per load for top-loading machines (approx.180 loads).
  • ¼ C per load for front-loading machines (approx. 640 loads)
  • Remember, this detergent may not be as foamy as a commercial detergent, but it will work just as well to clean your clothes.

Tip: adding vinegar to the fabric softener cup or rinse cycle will help keep things more sanitary by removing leftover wash residue.

Recipe # 3 (Courtesy of TipNut)

Homemade laundry soap powder

Yields: Approx. 3 cups


  • Measuring cup
  • Mixing bowl
  • Spoon
  • Airtight storage container


  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup of baking soda
  • Washing soda (1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup liquid castile soap
  • 10 to 15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. (Optional). Add once soap has cooled to room temperature.


Start by pouring the liquid soap into the container. Next, add the soda wash, followed by the baking soda. Now add the vinegar in small batches. The baking soda and vinegar may result in foam that will settle.

The mixture will become a thick paste at first that will break down into a thickly powdered detergent with continued agitation. Remove hard lumps by stirring. Tip: make sure the baking soda is free of lumps before adding the vinegar to reduce foaming.

Washing Recommendations

Use one gallon of water per load.

What you should know before using borax in your laundry

using borax in your laundry
  • Never ingest; in case of intoxication, it can cause; vomiting and diarrhea.
  • If the consumption is high, it can be very toxic for the organism or even fatal.
  • Chemical product, which is not currently available unless it is a compound of a processed product.

Ten practical uses of borax that you really should know

  • Carpet cleaning.
  • Keeps away common pests.
  • Excellent for toilet bowl cleaning.
  • Against fleas.
  • Keeps mice away.
  • Removes adhesive residues.
  • Kitchen utensil cleaner.
  • Deodorant for refrigerators protects against bad odors and pests.
  • Excellent tile, shower, and bathtub cleaner.
  • Drain cleaner.

6 reasons to add borax to your loads of laundry

  • Whitens whites.
  • Powerful stain remover.
  • In combination with other detergents, it optimizes your performance to 1000%.
  • The main ingredient in homemade and natural soaps.
  • Removes bad odors and strong acid stains on clothes.
  • Does not affect colored clothes; when combined with other detergents, it revives faded colors.

Uses of borax in cleaning

  • Carpet cleaner.
  • Laundry detergent.
  • Insect protection.
  • Kitchen cleaning.
  • Bathroom cleaning.
  • Removes rust.
  • Unclogs drains.

11 practical uses of borax in the home

  • Deodorizes the garbage can.
  • Unclogs drains
  • Cleans stainless steel and porcelain
  • Cleans various surfaces if mixed with hot water using a spray bottle.
  • Kills pests
  • Preserves flowers
  • Minimizes cat litter box odor.
  • Reduces musty odor in clothing
  • Ends weeds in tiles.
  • Cleans and deodorizes mattresses
  • Cleans tiles

Borax Uses in Your Garden and Backyard

  • Improve Soil. Boron can add many good components to the soil, especially if your soil is deficient in boron. 
  • Kill Weeds.
  • Pest Control.
  • Cleans and Disinfects.

Known studies on the safety of borax

The National Library of Medicine (NLM); classifies borax as safe, non-carcinogenic, presents some risks, which include:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned borax as a food additive. Borax is not safe to ingest.

Benefits of Using Borax in the Laundry

The main benefit of borax in the laundry is an additive that will clean your dirty clothes from tough stains, soils, and strong odours. Your white clothes, even whiter, and a sense of eliminating any bacteria or pests attached to your dirty clothes. With the right combination of another detergent, it will enhance the colour of your dull garments due to its natural laundry boosters.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How do you use borax powder in the laundry?

Enhance your detergent’s capacity to remove the stain: Add 1/2 cup of borax to a pre-soak cycle or prepare the washing machine for 30 minutes in a one-tablespoon borax solution per gallon of warm water. The alkaline pH of borax can decompose acidic bleaches such as tomato or mustard.

Is borax safe to use in the laundry?

Until you plan on eating or inhaling powder, borax may be a harmless yet effective natural laundry enhancer.

How much borax do I put in a load of laundry?

Just add a half cup of borax to every wash charge and increase your detergent’s cleaning power.

Where do you put borax in the washing machine?

Before adding the soiled clothing, sprinkle 1/2 cup borax in the empty washer bath. Be sure that the borax powder does not include lumps if you use cold water since they may not dissolve. Borax functions as a gentle and deodorizing agent for water.

Why has borax been banned?

After tests on mice and rats at high (abnormally high) dosages, the EU has prohibited borax on allegations of reproductive health effects.

Can I mix borax and vinegar?

Borax and vinegar are two safe chemicals that may provide an excellent cleaning solution in general. Undiluted borax and vinegar can also be used to remove mildew. It is necessary to use warm water to help it dissolve when blending borax with other components.

Is 20 Mule Team Borax the same as borax?

No, not the same thing! It’s not pure boric acid “20 mule team borax.” This product is pure, very fine soil boric acid crystals that are unsuitable for washing.

What can I use instead of borax?

Try baking soda or even coffee grinds instead of spreading borax on the bottom of your garbage container. It’s fantastic. To clean your garbage can, you may also use baking soda. Throw some vinegar to combat excess stink.

Are borax and baking soda the same?

Borax is not baked soda chemically, although both compounds have numerous applications.

How much borax should I use in my laundry?

For high-efficiency and most high-load washing machines, use 1/2 cup of borax each load when using borax to help soften or to condition your water. If a big capacity machine bump is available, the borax will reach 3/4 cup each load.

Is borax the same as laundry detergent?

Because it is alkaline, it provides many of the same laundry advantages as soda washing. It produces a basic solution in water, which makes it another desirable addition to home-produced washing detergent.

Why is borax banned?

Exposure to borax may irritate skin or eyes and, if inhaled or exposed, may also affect the body. Burns from borax exposure to their skin has been recorded. Exposure signs include skin rash. 

Does borax kill bacteria in the laundry?

Yeah. You want to fill the washer with hot water and laundry to use borax to disinfect. Then you will add to the washing cycle 1⁄2 cup of borax.

Does borax remove odors from clothes?

Borax prevents fungus and mold4 commonly found in your washing machine’s wet atmosphere and is known to provide the moose smell. In infant clothing, diapers, bed pads, and incontinent pads, the smell of ammonia is also eliminated.

Bottom Line

At this point, we have the necessary information to decipher; what borax is used for in the laundry. The proper use of this material will allow the correct handling of this acid and enjoy all its benefits.

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