By Robin Neorr

When people think of Borax they usually think that it is a chemical cleaning agent. Borax is actually a naturally occurring crystal that is found in desert regions. It can be used as more then just a laundry booster, and has a long and interesting history.

...
About Borax Crystals

History

The first borax crystals were mined from dry lake deposits in Tibet. Borax was later discovered in the United States by John A. Veatch, who found it in California in 1856. The chemical borax and the mineral borax are essentially the same. The only difference is that the water is removed from the mineral borax to create the chemical borax.

Function

Borax has numerous uses. It is known as a powerful laundry booster because it dissolves in water to form an alkaline antiseptic solution. Borax can be used as a disinfectant, detergent and water softener. Borax also has several industrial uses. It is used in the manufacturing of stain resistant porcelain glaze, ceramics, paint, glass and coated paper. Borax is also used in welding.

Identification

Borax crystals are found in dry lake beds. They are 6 to 7 inches long and can weigh as much as 1 pound. The crystals initially start off as blue, clear, green, gray or grayish white. They can be either transparent or translucent. As the crystals mineralization they turn white and fall off in a powder form. The crystal is solid with flat sides and symmetrical in shape. If you were to taste a borax crystal, which is not recommended, you would find it to have a sweet alkaline taste.

Types

The Dial corporation sells a product called 20 Mule Team Borax that can be purchased in the laundry aisle of the store. It is100 percent borax with no additives. It is a white powdery substance that is a result of the mineralization of the borax crystal.

Potential

Borax crystals (purchased as 20 Mule Team Borax) can be used to make fun science experiments with your children. Take 2 cups of boiling water and stir in 3 tablespoons of borax crystals until dissolved. Place a pipe cleaner, shaped for a more decorative effect if you wish, and allow it to sit for 24 to 48 hours. Crystals will form on the pipe cleaner.

Benefits

Borax crystals are a safe and natural product that has many uses. Borax works well to get rid of pet soiling. If your cat or dog has urinated on your carpet, mix together a solution of 1/2 cup of borax with 1 cup of hot water. Place on the soiled area. Allow to dry and vacuum up. Borax can be used in place of Comet or Ajax to clean your pots and pans without scratching them. Borax can be substituted for your regular floor cleaner; just add 1 cup of borax to 1 gallon of hot water and wash as usual. Keep your baby clothes smelling fresh by adding 1/2 cup of borax to your wash. Borax works great to keep diaper pails deodorized. Just sprinkle a little bit in the bottom of it after washing.