Thursday, March 5, 2009

Borax 20 Mule Team | Natural Cleaning Product Reviews

20 Mule Team Borax Natural Laundry Booster and Multi-purpose Household Cleaner made by The Dial Corporation comes in powder form in a 76 ounce sized box. It has been in use in the United States since 1891, when it was first hauled out of Death Valley by 20 mule team wagons, hence the name.

Borax or sodium tetraborite decahydrate, is a naturally occurring mineral composed of sodium (salt), boron, (a primary element in almost everything), oxygen, and water. The powdered form of borax used in cleaning is the dehydrated version.


UPDATE*** Important Note: One important qualifier I just learned!! Borax or sodium borate is not recommended for use on infant skin by the The Cosmetic Ingredient Review, an independent trade association of the cosmetic industry supported by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In other words, use detergents or cosmetics without sodium borate or borax in them for your infant's care.

Although Borax is a naturally-occurring substance, it still must be used with caution, sodium borate a component of Borax when enters the human body becomes boric acid, which ingested in large amounts has been proven to cause reproductive abnormalities.

Check out their MSDS or Material Safety Data Sheet for detailed information. As with most household cleaners, keep away from children and pets and use according to the directions.

With that said, Borax is a green alternative to chemical color-fast bleaches and brighteners. It can be used as a green stain remover. Because of its high pH value it is a good detergent booster, i.e. helping detergents work better, particularly if you have "hard water".

The Borax box itself has great tips on how to use their product all around the house. The manufacturers also have a helpful booklet of uses for Borax on their website. According to this booklet they state that "Borax acts as a water conditioner, boosting the cleaning power of detergent by controlling alkalinity, deodorizing the clothes and aiding the removal of stains and soil."

Walmart often has the lowest retail price. Online Ace Hardware has a great deal where you can have free shipping to your local Ace Hardware store for a 6 pack for 34.74, that comes out to 5.79 a box which is a good price. Also, BIC Superstore has a deal for 6.14 only.

My Experience Using Borax
I have been making my own powdered laundry detergent awhile now. One of my main ingredients is Borax. It works well in conjunction with other natural soaps. I also have used it in the kitchen for cleaning, but I make sure that I rinse well, since there are some health risks with ingestion of large amounts.

I drastically limit my use of bleach and bleach products, so using Borax with Baking soda as a scouring/whitening replacement for Ajax or Comet has worked well.

I do use occasionally use some bleach for stain removal and disinfection .
FYI Borax is compatible with Bleach if you choose to use it together.

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