What is Borax?

What is Borax?


Borax, also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate or disodium tetraborate,  is one of the most important boron compounds.  It is a natural mineral with a chemical formula Na2B4O7 • 10H2O. This can be mined in dried lake beds or can be created in laboratories.

What are the uses of Borax?

Borax is one of the most useful items in your home.  It is used for arts and crafts, pets and household.

Is Borax different from Boric Acid?

Borax and boric acid are two related boron compounds. The natural mineral is called borax while the processed product is called boric acid (H3BO3). Borax is a salt of boric acid. While there are some differences between the compounds, either version of the chemical will work for pest control or slime.

Is it safe?

Borax in the usual form of sodium tetraborate decahydrate is not acutely toxic, which means a large amount would need to be inhaled or ingested to produce health effects. As far as pesticides go, it’s one of the safety chemicals available. A 2006 evaluation of the chemical by the U.S. EPA found no signs of toxicity from exposure and no evidence of cytotoxicity in humans. Unlike many salts, skin exposure to borax does not produce skin irritation.

However, this doesn’t make borax categorically safe. The most common problem with exposure is that inhaling the dust can cause respiratory irritation, particularly in children. Ingesting large amounts of borax can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Adult supervision is required when handling borax.

Storage and Handling

  • Wash hands after using
  • Should be stored in a dry location
  • Keep out of reach of children and pets

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