Borax is a versatile household cleaning agent and is often used as a booster for laundry detergent that is effective in disinfecting and removing stains. While bleach is commonly used for similar purposes, the official manufacturer’s website for borax does not specifically state whether it can be mixed with bleach.
However, there have been reports suggesting that mixing these two cleaning agents can enhance their efficacy, which matches our test results. That being said, it is generally not recommended to mix different types of cleaning solutions unless there are no other options or unless explicitly stated by the manufacturer.
In this article, we will explore the topic of mixing borax and bleach, what happens when you do so, and the potential side effects. We will also provide a guide on how to mix these two cleaning agents. Let’s jump right in!
What Happens When Mixing Borax With Bleach?
Chlorine is a powerful oxidizer and an active agent in many household bleaches, although some may contain alternatives like peroxide or sulfur dioxide. Nevertheless, these ingredients fall under a class of chemicals known as oxidative agents.
When in contact with certain agents, bleach can cause a chemical reaction called oxidation. However, borax, made from sodium borate is considered a stable compound that seems to only be incompatible with metallic salts, strong acids, and zirconium (PubChem).
Mixing borax with bleach can be done with caution to enhance cleaning efficacy, but it is essential to prioritize safety when attempting this combination. To be more specific, when mixed together, borax can enhance the stain-removing and whitening properties of bleach.
Caution: It's crucial to ensure proper ventilation and wear protective gear like gloves if your skin is sensitive. Remember not to mix in large quantities and always follow the manufacturer's recommended usage instructions.
What Is Borax?
Borax, also known as sodium borate, is a naturally occurring mineral compound that comes in the form of crystals or a white, crystalline powder. Its versatile properties make it a popular choice for various household tasks such as cleaning, stain removal, and deodorizing.
In addition to its cleaning abilities, borax can also enhance the effectiveness of laundry detergent by boosting its cleaning power and whitening effects. It is particularly effective in removing tough stains that may be stubborn to tackle with regular detergent alone.
However, it’s important to exercise caution when using borax as it can be irritating to the skin, eyes, and mouth. Therefore, it is advisable to keep it out of reach of children and animals to ensure their safety.
You can find some borax products listed below:
- Multi-purpose cleaners
- Pet stain and odor removers
- Dishwasher detergents
- Stain removers
- Laundry detergents
- Multi-surface cleaners
Potential Side Effects of Mixing Borax & Bleach in Large Quantities
Overexposure to borax and bleach can pose health risks. When these two substances are mixed together and exposed in large amounts, it can lead to various adverse reactions. If exposed or ingested, you may experience the following side effects.
- Skin & Eye Reactions: The mixture can cause irritation, redness, and itching on the skin. It can also lead to irritation eye irritation.
- Nose & Throat Irritation: Another possible side effect when mixing in large quantities is irritation in the nose and throat. This can result in coughing, sneezing, sore throats, or difficulty in breathing.
- Headache: Mixing borax and bleach in large quantities may also trigger headaches. The fumes emitted by the mixture can irritate the respiratory system and lead to headaches or migraines in some individuals.
- Nausea & Vomiting: Borax or bleach should never be ingested, whether individually or together as doing so will lead to a series of nausea and vomiting. If accidentally ingested, get medical attention immediately.
How to Use Bleach & Borax
When it comes to dealing with stubborn stains on clothes, floors, or other surfaces, borax and bleach are frequently used individually. However, if other approaches have failed to yield results, you can try mixing borax and bleach as a last resort.
We advise you to explore alternative stain removal methods before attempting to combine these two powerful substances. If you’ve decided to use borax and bleach together, it’s crucial to follow the correct steps to ensure safety and prevent overexposure.
Here’s how you can safely use borax and bleach to remove stains on your clothes.
- To begin, create a paste by mixing equal parts of borax and bleach, ensuring you use a small amount of each. Apply this paste directly onto the stain and allow it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Rub the paste with an old toothbrush in a circular motion until the stain is lifted. Then, place the garment into the washing machine along with your regular amount of detergent.
- Add half a cup of borax and around two tablespoons of bleach to the wash cycle to boost its effectiveness.
- Run your washing machine on its regular cycle to thoroughly clean the clothing.
- For optimal results, consider rinsing the garment twice if possible to remove any remaining residue from the bleach or borax.
For Household Stains
To safely use borax and bleach for household stains, follow the steps below.
- Mix equal parts of bleach and borax to create a paste. Similarly, use a small amount of both ingredients until you achieve the right consistency.
- Apply the paste directly onto the stain and allow it to sit for 15 to 20 minutes. This allows the mixture to penetrate the stain and break it down effectively.
- Use a microfiber cloth to gently rub the paste into the affected area until the stain is eliminated.
- Wipe away any residue left behind using a clean cloth soaked in water and mild soap.
- Then, give the area one final wipe using a damp cloth before using a clean, lint-free cloth to dry the area thoroughly.
Ways to Safely Use Borax and Bleach
Mixing borax and bleach requires some safety precautions that you must follow. That being said, here are a few things you should consider when using these two products together.
- Ventilate Your Work Space: When using borax or bleach, open windows or turn on fans for proper air circulation. This will help minimize the inhalation of fumes and reduce the risk of respiratory irritation.
- Use Protection Gear: Always use appropriate protective gear such as gloves and a face mask when handling these cleaning agents. This will protect your skin from direct contact and prevent you from inhaling any potentially harmful fumes.
- Rinse If In Contact: In the event that you come into contact with borax or bleach, especially if it gets in your eyes accidentally, it is vital to rinse immediately with clean water. Prompt rinsing can help minimize any potential damage or discomfort.
- Mix Only In Small Quantities: It is also recommended to mix only small quantities of these cleaning agents at a time. This ensures better control over the concentration and reduces the risk of accidental spills or splatters.
What Are Some Alternative Cleaning Solutions to Mixing Borax & Bleach?
If you’re looking for alternative cleaning solutions to mixing borax and bleach, there are several options that are both effective and safe to use. Let’s explore these in more detail.
Hydrogen Peroxide is effective at disinfecting surfaces and removing stubborn stains when diluted with water. Simply mix equal parts of hydrogen peroxide and water in a spray bottle, and you’re ready to tackle tough stains. You can use this on most surfaces, including countertops, tiles, and even fabrics.
Also known as oxygen bleach, sodium percarbonate is a safer alternative to chlorine bleach. It’s a powerful cleaner and stain remover that can brighten laundry and clean various surfaces. Sodium percarbonate is also biodegradable and doesn’t produce harmful fumes, ideal for those with respiratory sensitivities.
Another effective alternative to bleach and borax is baking soda, which is a gentle abrasive that is safe for use on surfaces. It can also help to deodorize and remove tough stains. Baking soda is a common ingredient in many homemade cleaning solutions, making it a versatile choice for many.
This ingredient is easily available at any local department store and contains acidic properties that make it effective in removing stains, mineral deposits, rust stains, and soap scum. Citric acid is also great at disinfecting surfaces and brightening fabrics.
Sirinan is a self-proclaimed cleanaholic and the editor-in-chief of Cleaney. Apart from coming with up creative ways to keep her living spaces clean and tidy, she loves to read on rainy days.