THE QUESTION:

Hi Alexandra,
What’s your thoughts on Borax?  The name makes it sound scary…
Thanks,
Karissa
THE ANSWER:

Karissa,
Thanks for the question.  What are you thinking of using borax for?  In Planet Home, we do suggest using it for specific tasks (excerpted below), but the Environmental Working Group has damning opinion of it and links it to hormone disruption.  I use it only when I have to, which has so far been once in the last decade or so–for unwelcome guests. Otherwise I try to avoid it. If it can kill roaches, I don’t really need that residue in my sheets.
Hope this helps.
Best,
Alexandra

LAUNDRY

You can find Borax (sodium borate, a naturally occurring mineral composed of sodium, boron, oxygen, and water) in the detergent aisle of most grocery stores.  Add 1/2 cup of Borax to your regular detergent (liquid or powder) to give it an extra boost.  Borax will help to improve the cleaning power, whiten, and remove stains and odors.  You can also soak clothes in water with Borax (1 tablespoon per gallon of water) before washing.  When using on delicates, add 1/4 cup to your regular detergent instead.  Exposure to Borax can be harmful in high amounts, so avoid inhalation and ingestion.

UNWELCOME GUESTS

If, come spring, your living room has more bugs than you’d like to see, convince them to leave in a nontoxic fashion.  Pesticides have no place in the home.  For a natural ant killer, mix 1 part Borax and 3 parts sugar (granulated or powdered) with enough water to give the mixture a soup consistency.  Pour the mixture into one of more containers with lids.  Punch eight to ten holes in the lid(s) big enough for ants to access and place containers in infested areas.  Caution: keep out of reach of children and pets.  Borax is harmful when ingested.