Alternatives to Borax

Written by crystal huskey
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Alternatives to Borax
Plenty of natural cleaning solutions exist other than Borax. (Siri Stafford/Lifesize/Getty Images)

People have used Borax as an alternative to harsh chemical cleaners, and it has even been marketed as a green cleaning solution. In February 2011, however, that claim was disputed. Dr. Rebecca Sutton, an Environmental Working Group senior scientist, claimed that Borax could irritate skin and eyes and cause hormone disruptions in men. To become truly green without taking any risks, switch to some alternatives you probably already have lying around the house.

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All-Purpose Cleaner

People have used Borax as an all-purpose cleaner, including on things like sinks, toilets and stains. As an alternative, combine 4 tablespoons of baking soda in 1 quart of water. For a more abrasive cleaner, sprinkle the baking soda on the surface you wish to clean, then scrub with a rag or sponge. You can add any essential oil to this all-purpose cleaner and give it a fresh, pleasant smell.

Mildew Remover

To remove mildew on a shower or any other surface, create a vinegar and salt paste. This solution is also an effective copper cleaner. For grout on a bathtub or shower, dip a toothbrush into the paste and scrub the mildew off. Rinse with soap and water to counteract the vinegar smell.

Alternatives to Borax
Create a vinegar and salt paste to combat mildew. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Oven Cleaner

People have also used Borax as a cleaning ingredient in oven cleaning solutions. Instead, make a thick paste with water and baking soda. Scrub your oven with a nylon scrubbing pad or even a wet pumice stone bar. Add some dish soap to the paste if the oven is greasy.

Disinfectant Spray

For a powerful disinfectant spray, combine 2 cups of water, 1/4 cup of white vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of your favourite essential oil, like lavender or rosemary. The oil does nothing to disinfect but will mask the vinegar scent.


Borax was once considered one of the safer alternatives to harsh toilet bowl cleaners, but if you want to remove it from your cleaning supply list completely, then stick to baking soda and vinegar to clean your toilet bowl. Pour 1 cup of white vinegar into the toilet along with a handful of baking soda. Let is set for 10 minutes or so, then scrub with a toilet brush.

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