What is the best substitute for borax?

Borax, also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate or disodium tetraborate, is a white mineral consisting of soft colourless crystals that dissolve in water. It is a powerful cleaning agent that is eco-friendly and an ingredient in homemade cleaning products. Borax has several different cleaning properties: It can act as a bleaching agent, enhance the cleaning power of other cleaners and is an effective grease-cutter. It is a disinfectant and an abrasive alkaline, effective for scrubbing and scouring.

Grease-Cutting Cleanser

Borax is an effective product for getting rid of grease. You can clean sinks and drains by pouring a hot solution of borax and water down drains. Washing soda is a common substitute for borax as a grease-fighter.


Borax acts similarly to hydrogen peroxide, as it has a bleaching effect when dissolved in hot water. Chlorine bleach is stronger when mixed with borax. Both hydrogen peroxide and bleach can be effective substitutes for borax when used as a bleaching agent. Oxygen cleaners, such as those found in the laundry aisle, are good substitutes as well.


A little borax on a sponge works well for scrubbing hard-to-remove stains. Effective substitutes include salt or baking soda.


Borax has antimicrobial properties that inhibit the growth of mould and fungus. When mixed with hot water, it is effective for cleaning windows, tiles and enamel surfaces, as well as painted surfaces. Ammonia, baking soda, enzyme cleaner or vinegar can work as substitutes for borax when mixed individually with hot water (do not combine multiple cleansers).

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About the Author

Sandy Kreps has more than 15 years of experience writing for books, magazines and online publications. Specializing in green living, parenting and home life, Kreps contributes regularly to "Green Child Magazine" and several websites. Her first book, "Fresh Start: 31 Days to Simplify, Declutter and Rein in the Chaos," is available on Amazon. Kreps holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and mass communication from Kansas State University.