Do you watch cleaning hack videos on YouTube and keep hearing about something called borax?
Otherwise known as sodium tetraborate, this powdery substance has so many applications – from getting rid of stains, mould and mildew to killing ants! If you’re intrigued, keep reading.
What Is Borax?
Sodium tetraborate is a derivative of boric acid and it actually occurs naturally as seasonal lakes cycle and evaporate repeatedly, leaving behind a buildup of crystal/powdery deposit which is the salt of boric acid.
This is a common food additive in many countries, but it is said to be a possible cause of liver cancer if consumed in large quantities over a period of 5-10 years.
Borax is banned as a food additive here in the UK. Check out this article about borax from The Chemical Company if you would like to find out more information.
Borax is not available to buy in the UK or EU at all, due to the ‘borate’ group of chemicals being reclassified in 2010 as potentially hazardous to health. However, you can purchase a borax substitute in the UK, which does a very similar job.
What Is Borax Substitute?
This safer substitute to borax is made up of sodium carbonate (washing soda) and sodium bicarbonate (bicarbonate of soda – one of our fave natural cleaning agents, especially when used with white vinegar). The chemical name for this substance is sodium sesquicarbonate.
As we know, bicarb of soda can be amazing for carrying out cleaning and deodorising jobs around the home, but the addition of sodium carbonate in borax substitute gives is an even stronger ability to clean, making it perfect for scrubbing down surfaces like tiles or metal kitchen sinks.
What Does Borax Substitute Do?
Just like borax, it’s substitute counterpart can be used for a whole host of cleaning applications.
Since this substance has water within its crystal makeup (making it water-soluble) this means it can be mixed with cold water to form a paste. This paste can then be used for multi-purpose cleaning around the house and is particularly good for scouring tough stains. Add in lemon juice or white vinegar for added cleaning power!
When used in the washing machine, borax substitute keeps the water soft, which helps to reduce limescale buildup, meaning your washing machine will last longer and keep producing the freshest laundry. Try this recipe we found on YouTube for homemade washing powder using borax substitute:
This product will make a great addition to your cleaning supplies as Borax Substitute can be used safely on many surfaces:
- Fabrics (in the laundry)
- Stainless Steel
What Else Can I Use Borax Substitute For?
As well as the many cleaning properties of this product, it can also be used for a few other things – some which may prove quite entertaining and much more fun than scouring the bathroom.
- Making slime! – Although not quite as effective as true borax, the substitute version can be used to do slime experiments.
- DIY Bath Salts – Borax substitute can be mixed with a couple of drops of essential oil or perfume to create a relaxing bath treat. You can even add food colouring to make it look a bit more interesting if you were making this for a gift.
You’ll also find sodium sesquicarbonate is used in some hair care products and deodorants.
Where Can I Buy Borax Substitute?
One of the better-known brands which produce a borax substitute is Dri-Pak. This company is based in Derbyshire and is a family-run business which has been going since the 1960s, supplying a range of household goods to the many across the UK.
Dri-Pak Borax Substitute is available to purchase online from Amazon or Big Green Smile and will be found baring the Dri-Pak branding. You will also find this product in supermarkets, like Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Wilko, where it is sold as water softening powder and it will be branded to match the supermarkets own look.
Now you know there’s a UK substitute for Borax, will you be adding it to your cleaning supplies list?
Thirty-something lady with a penchant for flowers and anything involving crafts. I like to clean using environmentally-friendly methods where possible and love sharing my findings, tips and tricks here on In The Wash!