Part of being a good steward of this platform we are given online is being able to say that I may not have given the best advice at one time or another. So here goes, I may not have given the best advice in my original post for the Powdered Laundry Detergent Recipe. For that, I apologize.
What I’ve discovered is that it may not be a good idea to use Borax in washing powder. It also isn’t so bad grating soap to make your own laundry powder. I’ll give you my new laundry soap recipe below, complete with a Borax free DIY tutorial, but first let me share the thoughts that brought this about.
During my blog break I had some time to think about it and do more research. I’ve also had lots of time and way too many loads of laundry to let it sink in. In fact, it was while doing the laundry that I realized that whatever you put in that machine is likely to end up in your body. Let me clarify what I’m talking about.
I’ve received lots of emails about the use of Borax with different studies cited as stating Borax is not safe. Let me go on record as saying that I do believe that Borax is safe for some uses. But… please research for yourself. So many people blindly follow the suggestions or opinions of others without investigating for themselves. We should never just take someone’s word for things like this.
I’ve read and seen debates on the Borax topic and with the in-depth help of two friends I trust (SIL is an environmental engineer and a dear friend is a chemistry professor) I have come to the conclusion that Borax is safe for most uses. I won’t cover all of the evidence and contributing factors that brought me to that conclusion (although I may in a future post) but I’ll hit on the main points.
The study some of you mentioned was done in Europe and the reason for it was that many Europeans were ingesting small amounts of Boron daily. That is the first misconception. Borax is not boron. Borax is a compound that contributes to boron. However, Borax, in my opinion and based on what I’ve learned, should not be consumed. I only say that because there is a minute chance that it could cause reproductive issues when orally ingested. Reproductive issues happened in rodents and rabbits that ingested the Borax but tests on humans showed no effects. However, I wouldn’t eat it just to be safe! And, it isn’t the Borax that is the problem but rather the chemical reaction that takes place once it is mixed with internal body acids.
This does not happen on the surface of the skin.
As far as the amount that is absorbed into the skin (it is not easily absorbed), more than 90% is excreted within 24 hours with the remainder soon to follow. But, study after clinical study shows that Borax is very difficult to absorb into the skin. Usually it only happens if there is an open wound.
Borax is not listed as a carcinogen and it does not accumulate in the body.
I also think it is important to note that Borax is considered just as safe table salt and baking soda. In fact, some spices and seasonings we use regularly get a higher warning than Borax. I think it is safe to use but I recommend you go with your knowledge and your gut instinct.
The reason I use Borax in my other natural cleaning recipes is because it allows me to skip a step in cleaning. You can get the same effects without the use of Borax but you will have to add a bit of time and additional product to your routine. Sprinkling an item with washing soda and then hydrogen peroxide will give the same effect as using Borax in the recipe. The difference is that you have to use the HP and WS before washing whereas the Borax can be added during. Both function the same and cause the same chemical reaction. So yes, you can substitute the Borax with hydrogen peroxide and washing soda. Just be sure to use that first and then wash or mop after using a plain water or vinegar solution.
Here is the part where I tell you why I don’t use it in my laundry detergent.
While cleaning my unmentionables that are used for that oh so not the best time of the month (cloth sanitary napkins), my son walked in and asked me what they were. First, yes, embarrassing but a great opportunity to teach him about women and hopefully he’ll have some compassion on his future wife. You’re welcome.
Then he asked why I used those instead of the throw away kind. I told him all about the toxic chemicals and plastics that are used to make the disposable ones and how it is safer to use a washable organic cotton pad instead because of how easily things are absorbed into that area of the body. *lightbulb*
That is when it hit me. Whatever I use to clean could leave residue on underwear, unmentionables, and all other things used “down there”. Why oh why take a chance with using Borax when it is not necessary?
So, I went to work putting together a recipe that not only cleans, whitens, and smells good but it is perfectly safe for unmentionables. I was even able to find a replacement for the Borax that works the same but is safer. Here it is:
- 1 bar Castile soap or 1/3 bar of Meyer’s soap
- 1 cup baking soda
- 1/2 cup natural oxygen cleaner (ignore the name, it does not contain bleach but refers to the act of bleaching/whitening)
- 1/2 cup Washing Soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoon citric acid or 3 packs Real Lemon
Measure out all of the ingredients.
In a food processor (I use a Hamilton Beach), layer the ingredients. Put 1/2 dry ingredients in then grated soap then the rest of the dry ingredients. This helps prevent the soap from sticking together and forms a dry powder instead of a goopy mess.
I do think a food processor is a necessary tool for this recipe. I’ve tried the blender and it didn’t work out so well. I’d love to hear if anyone else has found a way to do this without a food processor.
Pulse to a powder. Add 20-25 drops of essential oils if you want. I prefer Young Living essential oils. Pulse again to combine the essential oils.
You can find more recipes here: 17 Days of Natural Cleaning