Mixing Borax and Bleach (Benefits and How to Safely Mix it)

Removing stubborn stains and odors can be quite a challenge. Sometimes, it seems no one product seems to do the trick!

Luckily, you can mix Borax and bleach to help you clean and sanitize various items and surfaces without the fear of releasing harmful fumes.

Because both products are alkaline, Borax and bleach do not react with each other making it safe to combine them.

However, overexposure to each product can potentially cause adverse effects. Let’s take a look at how to safely mix Borax and bleach for optimum results.

The Chemical Reaction When Mixing Borax and Bleach

Borax, also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate, is a naturally occurring, colorless mineral available in powder and granular form. When this salt is dissolved in water, it makes a basic solution.

Composed of sodium, oxygen, and boron, its chemical formula is Na2B4O7·10H2O and should not be confused with boric acid, B(OH)3

While Borax and boric acid both fall under the umbrella of ‘borates,’ boric acid is a weak acid and is the result of processing borax for other applications, such as pesticides. 

Although household chlorine bleach, sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl), is a highly reactive chemical that when mixed with acids produces chlorine gas, it does not react with Borax due to its alkaline pH of 12.

Non-chlorine bleach, also called calcium hypochlorite, Ca(ClO)2 is also alkaline, with a pH of 10.8.

Therefore, mixing Borax and chlorine or non-chlorine bleach does not produce any toxic fumes or heat, making the resulting solution non-toxic. 

Read also: Can You Mix Borax and Vinegar?

Mixing Borax and Bleach

How to Safely Mix Borax and Bleach

While Borax and bleach do not produce an adverse reaction when mixed due to their basic properties, overexposure to either product can have negative health impacts. Therefore, care should be taken when handling and mixing them.

Health Risks

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), sodium borate is not acutely toxic, meaning it would require a large amount of it to be ingested or inhaled to cause harm. Thus, it is generally safe for humans.

Nevertheless, overexposure to it can have harmful effects on a person’s health, such as:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Kidney failure
  • Skin, eyes, nose, throat, and lung irritation
  • Headache
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Tremors
  • Fainting

Additionally, overexposure and repeated use can cause skin rashes and could affect male reproductive organs. 

In general, exposure to bleach, whether it is by ingestion, skin contact, or inhalation of fumes can cause:

  • Damage to the esophagus and stomach
  • Skin and eye irritation, drying, and burns
  • Lung damage

Excessive exposure without ventilation or ingestion could lead to death.

Safe Handling

Never use or mix any cleaning products, especially bleach, in an enclosed space. Always ensure there is proper ventilation before using or mixing. 

Wear long rubber gloves and protect your eyes with a pair of wraparound safety glasses.

If you spill bleach, Borax, or the mixed solution on your clothing, remove it immediately and rinse skin that touched the solution thoroughly.

If you get any of the solutions in your eyes or skin, flush the area with water for at least 15 minutes.

Contact your local emergency services or your local poison control center in case of exposure or difficulty breathing. 

Additionally, never mix bleach with hot water or boil the products individually or as a mixture. Heating bleach, for example, can release chlorine gas and other chlorates into the air.

When mixing borax and bleach, always keep pets and small children away from the area to keep them safe. 

Mixing Borax and Bleach

To use in your laundry routine, simply add ½ cup of Borax to the wash cycle with your regular laundry detergent and bleach.

Making a paste by mixing equal parts of Borax and bleach can be an excellent pre-treatment to remove tough stains as well as for cleaning around your home. 

The Borax-chlorine bleach mixture can be excellent for whitening whites. For colors or dark clothing, you may opt for non-chlorine bleach.

Benefits of Using Borax and Bleach in the Laundry

There are several benefits to using Borax and bleach together. 

In the laundry room, mixing Borax and bleach can help eliminate stubborn stains, including mold stains and odors, from textiles, especially towels.

The solution can also be a brilliant pre-treatment stain remover, effortlessly removing sweat, grease, mustard, and tomato stains from your clothing.

Furthermore, mixing Borax and bleach can whiten your whites.

Benefits of Using Borax and Bleach as a Cleaning Solution

An additional benefit of mixing Borax and bleach is that it can be used as a cleaning solution in the bathroom, kitchen, and outdoors.

In the bathroom, the solution can be used to sanitize non-porous surfaces, including your shower, toilet bowl, floors, and counters.

It can effectively remove toilet bowl stains and built-up mildew.

In the kitchen, a Borax-bleach solution can help restore your dishwasher’s cleaning power and sanitize your non-porous countertops.

Finally, plastic outdoor furniture can benefit from mixing Borax and bleach to clean and sanitize.

Uses for This Solution

Let’s take a look at some of the mixture’s uses as a laundry and general household cleaner.

In the Laundry Room

We all know how difficult it is to remove pesky mold stains and odors from clothing and towels. No matter how many times I ask my little guy not to bunch up wet towels, he somehow seems to forget. 

The result is wet, crusty, moldy-smelling towels that never seem to get clean enough, even when I wash them with hot water.

Combining Borax and bleach can be a powerfully effective solution to this challenging problem.

Additionally, making a Borax-bleach paste can be an excellent pre-treatment stain remover. Borax can fade dark or delicate items, so even if you combine it with non-chlorine bleach, you want to be cautious when using the mixture and not overexpose your delicate garments to it. 

And of course, mixing Borax and bleach can whiten your whites, effectively removing stubborn sweat, grease, mustard, and tomato stains from your clothing.

In the Bathroom

Borax and bleach make an excellent cleaning and sanitizing solution for your bathroom.

Use it on non-porous surfaces, such as the toilet bowl to remove stains and sanitize. Allow the mixture to sit for a few hours, then scrub and watch the stains disappear. 

The mixture can also help clean and disinfect your shower, especially the floor and corners where mildew can accumulate.

To remove mildew, spray some of the solution onto the growth. Allow it to sit for about 15 minutes, then scrub it with a soft bristle brush or old toothbrush. Rinse the area thoroughly and dry. 

To keep mildew away, apply the solution regularly and allow it to air dry. 

Bathroom countertops can also benefit from the Borox-bleach cleaning and sanitizing properties.

In the Kitchen

If your dishes and glassware don’t seem to be quite as clean after a run through the dishwasher, it may be an indication it needs a thorough cleaning. 

A Borax and bleach solution could help restore your dishwasher’s cleaning power. Use it to wash the dishwasher racks and clean the inside of the machine. 

Make a Borox-bleach paste and sprinkle some of it to the bottom of the dishwasher before adding dirty dishes. Add your regular dishwasher detergent to the dispenser and run a complete cycle. 

Concerned about potential residue? Simply run an extra rinse cycle.

A mixture of Borox and bleach can also be excellent for cleaning non-porous countertops. Rinse with clean water and wipe dry any surfaces that might come into contact with food. 

Outdoors

To clean outdoor plastic furniture, spray the Borax and bleach solution onto it and use a soft-bristled brush or rag to carefully clean the surface. Rinse well and dry.

To Wrap Up

Although overexposure to Borax and bleach can potentially cause harmful effects, mixing Borax and bleach is considered safe due to their alkaline properties.

By taking the proper precautions when handling the products, you can ensure your safety while tackling your most challenging household cleaning issues.

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