Borax is a key ingredient in a range of household products, including laundry detergents, stain removers, and multi-surface cleaners.
While it’s effective and versatile, borax poses serious safety risks if inhaled or ingested.
So, what products contain borax, and which ones don’t?
In this guide, I provide a list of 19 products that contain borax and offer 20 borax-free alternatives.
You’ll learn what borax is, why it poses risks, the type of products that it’s in, and how to use products containing borax in the safest possible manner.
Use the links below to navigate the guide:
- What Is Borax? Is It Safe?
- Products That Contain Borax: 19 Examples
- Products That Don’t Contain Borax: 20 Examples
- How to Determine if a Product Contains Borax
- Products Besides Cleaners and Detergents That Contain Borax
- How to Use Products That Contain Borax Safely
Borax is a chemical compound of sodium, oxygen, and boron. It’s also called sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, and disodium tetraborate.
It occurs in places like dried-up lake beds, where these elements combine naturally over time.
You’ll usually encounter borax as a fine white powder similar to baking soda in texture and appearance. You can buy it in its pure form under brands like 20 Mule Team, but you’re more likely to find it listed as an ingredient in cleaning or other household products (which I’ll review in the next section).
Borax poses several health safety concerns. Most relate to accidental ingestion or inhalation, but some studies indicate problems related to long-term or repeated skin exposure.
Symptoms of borax overexposure include headaches, dizziness, difficulty breathing, muscle tremors, rashes, and fainting. The symptoms are minor and temporary most of the time, but some people are more sensitive to borax than others.
It’s important to know when you’re using a product that contains this compound so that you can take safety precautions.
Many products contain borax, but it’s most often found in laundry detergents, stain removers, and household cleaners.
Window cleaners, multi-purpose cleaners, and toilet cleaners also contain borax.
The table below shows 19 popular products that contain borax.
Each product contains a link to access health and safety information on The Environmental Working Group Website (EWG.org).
|Product||Type of Product||View Details|
|20 Mule Team Borax||Multi-Purpose Cleaner||Details|
|LYSOL Professional Clean & Fresh Multi-Surface Cleaner||Multi-Surface Cleaner||Details|
|Pardo Naturals Toilet Tabs||Toilet Cleaner||Details|
|The Good Home Co. Stain & Odor Remover||Stain and Odor Remover||Details|
|The Good Home Co. Pet Stain & Odor Remover||Pet Stain and Odor Remover||Details|
|Pardo Naturals Automatic Dishwasher Tablets||Dishwasher Detergent||Details|
|The Laundress Home Cleaning Liquid Dish Detergent||Dishwashing Detergent||Details|
|LYSOL Clean & Fresh Multi-Surface Cleaner||Multi-Surface Cleaner||Details|
|Shout Free Laundry Stain Remover||Stain Remover||Details|
|Puracy Natural Stain Remover, Free & Clear||Stain Remover||Details|
|The Honest Co. Stain Remover||Stain Remover||Details|
|OxiClean Max Force Laundry Pre-Treater Gel Stick||Laundry Pre-Treatment||Details|
|The Laundress Signature Detergent||Laundry Detergent||Details|
|Tide Hygienic Clean Heavy Duty 10X Detergent||Laundry Detergent||Details|
|Tide Plus a Touch of Downy Liquid Detergent||Laundry Detergent||Details|
|Gain Liquid Detergent with Baking Soda||Laundry Detergent||Details|
|Tide Simply Clean & Fresh Detergent||Laundry Detergent||Details|
|Persil ProClean Power-Liquid Detergent||Laundry Detergent||Details|
|Dreft Family Friendly Detergent, Free & Gentle||Baby Laundry Detergent||Details|
Many companies seek to provide safer, “clean,” and borax-free options for household cleaning and other purposes.
If you’re looking for products that don’t contain borax, below is a list of the top options.
|Product||Type of Product||View Details|
|AspenClean All Purpose Cleaner||All-Purpose Cleaner||Details|
|SQUEAK All PERP All Purpose Cleaner||All-Purpose Cleaner||Details|
|Healthynest Cleaning Concentrate||All-Purpose Cleaner||Details|
|Earthley Cleaning Paste||Multi-Purpose Cleaner||Details|
|AspenClean Bathroom Cleaner||Bathroom Cleaner||Details|
|9 Elements Bathroom Cleaner||Bathroom Cleaner||Details|
|ECOS Shower Cleaner||Shower Cleaner||Details|
|ECOS Toilet Cleaner||Toilet Cleaner||Details|
|Kaboom Shower, Tub, and Tile Cleaner||Bathroom Cleaner||Details|
|Seventh Generation Tub & Tile Natural Cleaner||Tub and Tile Cleaner||Details|
|Fit Organic Cleaner and Degreaser||Degreaser||Details|
|Cleaning Studio Wood + Stone Natural Cleaner||Countertop Cleaner||Details|
|Aunt Fannie’s Floor Cleaner Vinegar Wash Concentrate||Floor Care||Details|
|Aussan Natural Floor Cleaner||Floor Care||Details|
|Martha Stewart Clean Carpet Stain Remover||Floor Care||Details|
|Martha Stewart Clean Wood Floor Cleaner||Floor Care||Details|
|ECOS Furniture Polish + Cleaner||Furniture Polish||Details|
|Clorox Fabric Sanitizer||Fabric and Upholstery Sanitizer||Details|
|ECOS Stain + Odor Remover||Stain and Odor Remover||Details|
|Aussan Natural Odor Eliminator||Odor Remover||Details|
There are a few simple ways to determine if a product contains borax. But first, you need to understand that it’s not always listed as borax. It’s often listed as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate.
First, check the information provided on the product’s packaging label. These are typically found on the back of the container. You can also download one of the apps specifically designed to locate ingredient lists, such as the ones listed here.
You can also find a product’s ingredient list on its company’s website. Sometimes, a specific page or section of the site is dedicated to this purpose.
On some sites, there may be a “SmartLabel” button that takes you to the list. SmartLabel is an excellent resource for finding out exactly what goes into the products and what those ingredients do.
For information specifically related to health and environmental safety, the Environmental Working Group’s website is a fantastic resource accessible and easy to navigate. This page contains a list of over 150 products that contain borax.
If you’re still unsure about a product’s ingredients, you can always call the manufacturer via the contact information provided on their website or packaging.
Apart from cleaners and detergents, there are plenty of other products that contain borax. Among these are air fresheners, herbicides, and pesticides.
Several cosmetics and personal care products contain borax, too. Here are some examples:
- Bath oil
- Bath salts
- Bubble bath
- Body lotion
- Hair gel
- Facial cleanser
- Hand cream
- Bar soap
- Shaving cream
- Makeup remover
- Hair conditioner
- Around-eye cream
- Diaper cream
Despite its known risks, borax is a common ingredient that has been used for a variety of applications. It pays to exercise caution and double-check a product’s information if you suspect it could contain borax.
Since borax is a common ingredient in products you may already have on hand, it’s essential to know how to use it safely.
First, read all of the safety information and instructions on the product packaging. That information includes proper precautions and will tell you what to do if your eyes, skin, or mouth come into contact with borax, as well as steps to take if you inhale any of the product while using it.
Wear eye and face protection when using anything with borax in it, and you should also wear gloves to protect your hands. Open windows to ensure good ventilation.
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If you have an open wound or sore, always cover it before you use a product containing borax. If possible, wait until the wound has healed before you use borax.
Finally, keep products with borax out of the reach of children and pets. If you or someone else spills any of the product on your/their skin, wash the area thoroughly and keep an eye on it. Call the Center for Poison Control if you think you may have accidentally inhaled or ingested it.
As long as you prevent the inhalation or consumption of borax, it is relatively safe. Preparation and education are the keys to accident prevention. Be safe and follow the instructions.
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