What Can You Use as an Alternative to Borax?

What Can You Use as an Alternative to Borax?

If you’ve been trekking through Tesco looking for borax, and you’ve been climbing the aisles in Asda searching for this talked about product, you’ve had a wasted journey because borax isn’t available to buy in the UK.

But don’t lose hope, because here’s what you can use as an alternative to borax.


Borax Alternatives

Borax isn’t for everyone, and because you can’t actually buy it in the UK, here are some alternative products you should consider using instead…

1. Bicarbonate of soda

Bicarbonate of soda is a great backup option to borax because it’s actually readily available in the UK, and it’s quite harmless. Unlike borax, which can sometimes cause issues like skin irritation.

The perks of using bicarbonate of soda are:

  • It can cut through tough dirt
  • It can tear through grease
  • It tackles the stinkiest of odours
  • It can remove stains

What you can use bicarbonate of soda for:

And the list goes on and on…

Where can you pick up bicarbonate of soda?

Most supermarkets in the UK stock bicarbonate of soda. You can try these places:

  • Wilko
  • Tesco
  • Asda
  • The Range
  • Or online at Amazon

See our full list of where to buy bicarbonate of soda here.

Let’s check out another alternative.

Baking Soda and White Vinegar

2. White vinegar

White vinegar might not always be the most fragrant of cleaning products to use around your home, but it certainly can work wonders when it comes to getting rid of dirt.

The perks of using white vinegar are:

  • Safe to use around the home
  • Can be bought in most shops
  • Kills bacteria
  • Loosens up and gets rid of stubborn stains
  • Can cut through tough grease

What you can use white vinegar for:

And as above, the list goes on and on for white vinegar.

Where can you pick up white vinegar?

As with bicarbonate of soda, white vinegar can be bought in most shops in the UK, so try out these places first:

  • Tesco
  • Asda
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Morrisons

See our full list of where to buy white vinegar for cleaning here.

Of course, you can use both white vinegar and bicarbonate of soda to clean goods – although you don’t mix them together, you use them one at a time during a cleaning routine. This will give an even better finish to whatever you’re washing!

Check out our article here for more ways to clean by using bicarb and vinegar.

Let’s check out another alternative to borax.

Borax Substitute

3. Borax Substitute

While the two names, ‘Borax’ and ‘Borax Substitute’ sound alike, they’re actually different products.

The major difference between the two is the fact that Borax Substitute can be bought in the UK, while borax cannot.

In addition to this, Borax Substitute is actually part of the sodium sesquicarbonate mineral compound group, whereas borax is from the chemical group borate. Borax Substitute is therefore a far kinder product to use around the home.

Both products do however, have a similar pH level, and this is what makes them good for cleaning.

The perks of using Borax Substitute are:

  • Readily available
  • Not as harmful as borax
  • Not as powerful as soda crystals
  • Stronger than bicarbonate of soda
  • Can clean away tough dirt

What you can use Borax Substitute for:

  • To clean carpets
  • To soften water – prevent limescale build up
  • Cleans clothes – works well with non-bio powders in the wash
  • Multi-purpose cleaner around the home

Where can you pick up some Borax Substitute?

This product might not be stocked in every supermarket. You should look in these shops first:

  • Tesco
  • Asda
  • Wilko
  • Local hardware shops

You can also buy Borax Substitute online:

Alternatively, you could hop onto Dri-Pak’s website to find a store that sells their goods near you.


6 Awesome Uses for Borax Substitute in Cleaning & Laundry

1. Multi-Purpose Cleaner

using borax substitute as Multi-Purpose Cleaner

Like borax itself, borax substitute does a great job at tackling all those cleaning tasks that you would normally use off-the-shelf multi-purpose cleaners for.

To make a multi-purpose cleaner from borax substitute, simply mix it with water, lemon juice, or distilled white vinegar. This will create an abrasive multi-purpose cleaner that can tackle general cleaning tasks.


2. Cleaning Toilets

Another nasty task that borax substitute can be used to tackle is the toilet. Rather than spending lots of time scrubbing the bowl with a brush, simply add a handful of borax substitute to the toilet bowl and let it sit overnight.

The next morning, give the surfaces a gentle, quick scrub with the brush, and flush away the residue.


3. Laundry Booster

using borax substitute as laundry booster

Borax substitute is an effective addition to your typical laundry routine for multiple reasons. One is that it will help to remove stains from your clothing and make white garments brighter.

Another is that it actually helps to soften water, which will make your detergent more effective, even at low temperatures.

To benefit from borax substitute in the wash, simply add two teaspoons to your detergent drawer along with your regular detergent.


4. Stain Remover

using borax substitute as stain remover

Whether it is in clothing, curtains, or other machine-washable soft furnishings, borax substitute can be used to remove stubborn staining. Simply mix just enough water into borax substitute to make a paste.

Rub the paste onto the stain, and leave to soak in. Wipe the excess paste away, then wash the item as normal.


5. Carpet Cleaner

using borax substitute as carpet cleaner

In terms of a dirty carpet, mix half a cup of borax substitute with two cups of water. Work the mixture into the dirty carpet, and leave it to work for thirty minutes.

Use a damp cloth to remove most of the paste, then vacuum the carpet well once it has dried. 

Before getting started on a large area, test a small area of the carpet in an inconspicuous place to test for colour fastness.


6. Carpet Freshener

using borax substitute as carpet freshener

If your carpets just smell a little musty and you want to give them a lift, you can do so with borax substitute. Simply sprinkle it over the carpet, leave it for ten minutes, and vacuum thoroughly.



So, borax cannot be bought in the UK, but there are alternative products you could try instead. The products listed above will work wonders around your home and they’re all fairly safe to use.

But, keep in mind that sometimes cleaning can take an age if you’re dealing with old and difficult stains – so, don’t expect to see miracles, be patient and work with your chosen alternative.  

Remember to always follow the instructions on the packaging of a product before you use it. And keep cleaning goods away from kids.