Borax is a mineral that has been used for decades as a cleaning gent. If you are of an older generation, you may be surprised to see that it is no longer available to buy – let’s find out why!
Where Can I Buy Borax?
While Borax is banned in the UK for health reasons, it is still widely available in other countries and can be obtained easily.
If you are in the UK, you’ll have to buy your Borax online, from another country. The UK does not sell Borax over the counter, and no English website will be able to provide you with Borax.
If you live in another country that is not the UK or part of the EU, you should be able to buy Borax relatively easily, from a hardware store or even from larger supermarkets.
If you are desperate for it and not wiling to try any substitutes, you can always resort to international selling sites – just be prepared for the postage costs!
Why Is Borax Banned In UK?
Borax is a common cleaning agent in many countries, but, because it has been discovered to be a liver toxin if consumed in large quantities, it is banned in the UK.
It is also considered to be potentially harmful to fertility, and carries warnings that it may harm unborn children.
It was banned in the UK (and EU) in 2010, along with a group of other, similar, Borate chemicals, and substitutes are now used instead.
The chemicals in Borax are called Sodium Tetraborate, and it has a great many applications in cleaning.
However, a sparkling clean house or pool is no substitute for a fully functioning liver, a working reproductive system, and good health!
If you are in the UK, or any other country in the EU (let’s not discuss Brexit at this point!) you will not be able to find Borax in its natural form.
Liver toxicity is a big problem, as the liver is our largest filtering organ, responsible for getting rid of toxins, so you don’t really want to be using any products that can adversely affect it.
You really want the liver to be functioning at its best at all times, so you shouldn’t be too worried about having a product that can affect it removed from the market!
What Is Borax In The UK Called?
In the UK, Borax is known by the rather large mouthful Sodium Tetraborate Decahydrate. This product is now not sold anywhere in the UK, so don’t bother trying to search for it!
There is a substitute for Borax available, which is used for the same purposes as Borax itself (cleaning, water softening, pest control), which has a similarly long name.
This substance is called Sodium Sesquicarbonate, or Sodium Monohydrogendicarbonate. You might struggle to fit that on your shopping list!
This product has been designed to have the same cleaning properties as Borax, but it carries none of the health warnings – so a win win situation!
Helpfully, the substitute is packaged in an almost identical way to Borax,with the word “substitute” written on it, so you know instantly what you are buying.
This product is very easy to find – you can get it in supermarkets, hardware stores, as well as a huge variety of different selling sites.
Is Borax The Same As Baking Soda?
These two substances, although they are used for many of the same purposes, are actually very different compounds.
Borax was discovered many years ago, as far back as the 8th century, and has been commercially available as a cleaning product since the 1800s.
Baking soda has been around for about the same amount of time, so it is not surprising that the two products are sometimes seen as interchangeable.
Despite the fact that there are many differences between them, they are used for very similar purposes. Let’s have a look at the differences between them:
- Borax is much more alkaline than baking soda.
- Both Borax and baking soda can be used for cleaning the house, the swimming pool, and many other applications – and they give similar results.
- Baking soda can safely be consumed, while Borax not.
- Borax has been used as an insecticide and a fire retardant, as well as a cleaning agent.
- Baking soda is used for cleaning, and for cooking applications.
- Borax has been used in some foodstuffs, but it is banned for this use in many countries.
- While both of these products can be used for cleaning, baking soda is considerably safer to use around the house, for you, your family and your pets.
If you want to learn about the differences and similarities between Borax and baking soda, have a look at this helpful video which tells you everything you need to know:
What Is A Substitute For Borax?
- You can use the over the counter substitute for Borax – the one with the long tongue twisting name shown above, or you can use a store cupboard staple.
- Baking soda is a great substitute for Borax; it contains many of the same properties that makes Borax such a good cleaning agent – without any of the health concerns!
- Washing soda and Bicarb make a great substitute for Borax – these compounds contain similar cleaning agents, without the added health risks associated with Borax itself.
- The chemical compound of Borax’s common substitute, Sodium Sesquicarbonate, is very similar to that of Borax itself, which makes it a great cleaning product.
- Borax, although it is banned in the UK for good reason, can be substituted for other things. You can get your home clean, without having to worry about harmful side effects!
Borax is an excellent cleaner, there is no doubt about that. But, if you have any doubt about its safety then it’s best not to use it! There are great substitutes out there, as you hopefully now know.