DIY Cleaners: Cleaning Clothes With Borax

by admin on April 1, 2013 · 0 comments

Did you know you could replace just about all your cleaning supplies with a few household items?

I won't lie and tell you that natural and non-toxic cleaners always clean as quickly or effectively as harsh chemicals, but a lot of the time, they really do. Keep some white vinegar, bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), borax and castile soap in your cupboard and you can clean just about anything.

Borax is a fine white powder that you can usually find in the laundry detergent section of the supermarket. It's a naturally occurring mineral salt that was used for many, many years as a natural bleach, soap booster and water softener, before proprietary cleaners came along to replace it (and make more money for the manufacturers!).

It's is particularly good at removing acid based stains from fabric, for example wine, berry and blood stains.

How do you use borax in the laundry?

You can use borax in a number of ways.

  1. Add 1/2 cup to your load of laundry to soften the water and boost the power of soap.
  2. Use borax in your natural laundry powder: 4 part soap flakes or grated pure soap, 2 parts washing soda and one part borax.
  3. For stains, mix borax with a little water to form a paste. Apply to fresh acid based stains before tossing your clothes into a normal wash. I have found this effective for removing blackberry and red wine stains that have dried but not yet been through the wash.
  4. Older stains are harder to deal with. Try soaking overnight in half a cup borax dissolved in water. However, once stains have been "washed in" they can often be tricky to move without resorting harsher chemicals - and sometimes even then!

Is borax non-toxic?

Not in the sense that you can eat it. It is mildly poisonous when swallowed and can also enter the skin via cuts, so due care should be taken in its storage and use. In high doses it has been shown to cause hormone disruption in animals. It can also be a respiratory if breathed in. However, it's mild enough that it is almost always included in books on non-toxic cleaning.

Is borax environmentally friendly?

It is toxic to some plants, and can be used as an insecticide (for instance, it has been hailed as an effective roach killer) so keep your use of borax to a minimum when you are using the grey water on your garden.

This is a guest post from freelance writer, Kirsten McCulloch. An Australian mother of three messy kids, Kirsten is addicted to making and experimenting with her own non-toxic cleaners. You can read more from Kirsten at SustainableSuburbia.net.

 

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