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Myths Around Benefits of Borax; and its Side-Effects

Last Updated: Jul 28, 2023

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There are several misconceptions around the benefits offered by Borax, which include prevention of arthritis, healing of swollen throat and tongue sores, relief from painful and swollen red eye, solves menstrual problems, cures urinary infections, enhances testosterone levels, enhancement of female libido, cures womb inflammation, and many more.

Before busting the myths around the benefits of Borax, let’s understand what it is. Have a look:


Borax, also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate, is an important boron compound, a mineral, and a salt of boric acid. Powdered borax is white, consisting of soft colorless crystals that dissolve easily in water.

It is believed that it improves the natural ability of the human body to absorb calcium and magnesium. Borax is commonly used as a natural cleaning agent. Fruits like apples, oranges, red grapes, pears, plums, kiwis, sultanas, dates, as well as certain vegetables, avocado, soybeans, and nuts are rich sources of boron.

Other notable sources of Boron are chickpeas, hazelnuts, currants, peanut butter, red kidney beans, tomato, lentils, olive, onion, potato wine, and beer.

Uses of Borax

  • Borax is used in various household laundry and cleaning products, including the '20 Mule Team Borax' laundry booster, 'Boraxo' powdered hand soap, and some tooth-bleaching formulas.
  • Borate ions (commonly supplied as boric acid) are used in biochemical and chemical laboratories to make buffers, e.g. for gel electrophoresis of DNA and RNA, such as TBE buffer or the newer SB buffer or BBS buffer in coating procedures.
  • Borate buffers are also used as a preferential equilibration solution in dimethyl pimelimidate (DMP) based crosslinking reactions. Borax alone does not have a high affinity for hardness cations, although it has been used for water-softening.
  • A mixture of borax and ammonium chloride is used as a flux when welding iron and steel. It lowers the melting point of the unwanted iron oxide, allowing it to run off.
  • Borax is also used mixed with water as a flux when soldering jewelry metals such as gold or silver. It allows the molten solder to flow evenly over the joint in question.
  • Borax is also a good flux for 'pre-tinning' tungsten with zinc – making the tungsten soft-solderable. Borax is often used as a flux for forge welding.
  • Borax is replacing mercury as the preferred method for extracting gold in small-scale mining facilities. A rubbery polymer sometimes called Slime, can be made by cross-linking polyvinyl alcohol with borax.
  • Borax is used as an ingredient in enamel glazes. It is used as a component of glass, pottery, and ceramics.
  • Borax is Pulverized for the prevention of stubborn pests in closets, pipe and cable inlets, wall paneling gaps, and inaccessible locations where ordinary pesticides are undesirable.
  • Other uses of Borax includes; curing agent for snake skins, curing agent for salmon eggs, for use in sport fishing for salmon, as a micronutrient fertilizer to correct boron-deficient soils. Borax is also used for stopping car radiator and engine block leaks and are used by blacksmiths in forge welding.

Side-Effects & Allergies of Borax

Borax, also known as sodium borate or sodium tetraborate, is a naturally occurring mineral often used in various household cleaning products, pesticides, and as a laundry detergent booster. When taken properly and in moderation, it is widely regarded as safe, however there is little evidence to back up this assertion.

However, excessive or improper use of borax can lead to severe side-effects. Some potential side effects of borax exposure include:

  • Skin irritation: Borax can irritate the skin and produce redness and itching, especially in people with sensitive skin.
  • Eye irritation: Borax dust or solution exposure can cause eye discomfort and redness.
  • Respiratory issues: Borax dust can aggravate the respiratory system, resulting in coughing, throat irritation, and breathing difficulties.
  • Gastrointestinal effects: Borax can cause gastrointestinal problems such nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and diarrhea when consumed in large doses.
  • Allergic reactions: Borax can cause allergic responses in certain people, leading to signs including rash, hives, and swelling.
  • Hormonal disruption: Borax contains boron, and excessive exposure to boron may lead to hormonal imbalances in the body.
  • Reproductive and developmental concerns: Studies on animals have suggested that high doses of borax can be harmful to reproduction and fetal development. As a result, pregnant women should avoid unnecessary exposure to borax.
  • Environmental impact: Borax can have negative effects on the environment, particularly aquatic life, if used excessively or disposed of improperly.

It's important to note that most reported side effects are associated with high levels of exposure or misuse. The broad consensus is that borax is safe for use in typical household applications when used correctly and in compliance with safety requirements.

However, it is essential to keep borax products away from children and pets and avoid excessive contact or ingestion. Get medical help right away if using borax causes any negative side effects. Always follow product instructions and take necessary precautions to minimize potential risks.


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    Written ByDrx Hina FirdousPhD (Pharmacology) Pursuing, M.Pharma (Pharmacology), B.Pharma - Certificate in Nutrition and Child CarePharmacology
    Reviewed By
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    Reviewed ByDt. Ms. Shilpa MarwahB.Sc (Home Science), Post Graduation Diploma in Dietetics and Public Health NutritionDietitian/Nutritionist

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