While you'll find it in the laundry section of most grocery stores, borax powder has been touted as an eco-friendly cleaner for the whole house. Unlike other, synthetic, cleaning products, borax is a naturally occurring product mined directly from the earth. Although extracted from nature, borax should be used with caution.

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Product of Evaporation

Borax is a commercial name for a naturally occurring salt of boric acid called sodium tetraborate. When seasonal lakes evaporate, this salt and a few other trace minerals are left behind. A lake used in California for borax extraction is fed by thermal springs that contain both sodium and borate which then combine to form sodium tetraborate. When borax is prepared for consumers, the majority of the trace minerals are removed.

Use With Caution

Although borax was once suggested as an ingredient in eco-friendly, homemade cleaning products, closer studies have shown it can be harmful to your health. The product should never be sprinkled directly onto pet bedding or in litter boxes and it should be kept out of reach of children. If you use borax, handle it with caution - use gloves when possible - and avoid breathing in the dust from the powder. After working with borax, wash your hands.