Reasons to Add Borax to Your Wash Loads

Why You Should Add Borax to Your Wash Loads

Laundry detergent
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Do your clothes come out of the wash looking less than clean? Here's a frugal fix for that problem. Just add half a cup of Borax to each wash load, and you'll boost the cleaning power of your laundry detergent.

Six Benefits of Using Borax as a Laundry Booster

Borax will:

  • Whiten your whites: Borax converts some of the water molecules to hydrogen peroxide, which is a whitening agent. Borax enhances the action of bleach, whether you add it separately or it is present in your laundry detergent.
  • Softens hard water: Borax has a high pH, a measure of the acidity and alkalinity of water. It softens water to a pH of about 8. A neutral pH is 7. Borax is a buffering agent, which keeps the water at the best pH for cleaning action.
  • Removes soap residue from your clothing: The borates in Borax work to keep soap dispersed throughout the load, so it is more likely to rinse out.
  • Neutralizes laundry odors: Borax inhibits fungi, which often grow in the moist environment of your washing machine and can give it a musty odor. It also helps get rid of ammonia odor in baby fabrics, diapers, bed pads and incontinence pads. Borax can also inhibit enzymes that produce body odor that can cling to workout clothing and the underarm areas of shirts.
  • Disinfects clothing: Borax inhibits many organisms, including fungi.
  • Increases the stain-removal ability of your detergent: Pre-soak your laundry for 30 minutes in a solution of a tablespoon of borax per gallon of warm water or a 1/2 cup of borax in the washer in a pre-soak cycle. The alkaline pH of borax helps break down acidic stains, such as tomato or mustard. It works on grease and oil stains as well.

    Why Borax Works

    Borax is a natural mineral, sodium tetraborate, which has been mined and used for thousands of years. It is safe to mix with chlorine bleach and detergents, and it enhances their actions.

    Tips and Warnings for Borax

    1) Borax sells under the name 20 Mule Team Borax, and can be found in the laundry aisle of a grocery store or big box retailer such as Wal-Mart.

    The name comes from the history of surface mining it in Death Valley since the late 1800's, transporting the borax in large wagons drawn by a team of mules of and horses.

    2) Keep out of the reach of children and pets. It is natural but that doesn't mean it is non-toxic. Less than five grams of it can kill a child or pet. Keep it in a secure cabinet they cannot reach, and in a container they cannot easily open. When you use it for other purposes such as pest control, be sure you are not leaving quantities around that could be eaten by children or pets.

    3) Do not ingest. Adults could also have a lethal reaction to 15 to 20 grams of Borax. It can irritate your skin, eyes, and respiratory system.