Is Borax Starch | Is Borax Safe To Use?

Do you often want to know whether is borax starch or not and whether it is safe to use in DIYs or you should avoid it. Get all your queries answered below!

Borax or sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate is a type of powdery white substance, widely used as a cleaning agent for households as well as a boosting agent for laundry detergent. It is an alkaline mineral salt with a pH of around 9.5. It is a go-to solution for disinfection, whitening, and fighting mold. Borax is one of the essential boron compounds.

While borax is an essential component used in cosmetics, detergents, and cleaners, it has continuously been discouraged for use. Borax has some adverse effects on health, causing nausea, vomiting, and other digestive issues if ingested and can cause severe irritation to the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract. Furthermore, it can even affect reproductive health. It has been hence banned in a few countries for use. Since borax is not safe to use, especially with kids around, liquid starch is used to replace borax in quite a few recipes, such as for making slime. This brings us to the question, whether is borax starch or something else?

Is Borax Starch?

A salt of boric acid, the active ingredient in borax, is sodium tetraborate, the same as in liquid starch. Since these have the same active ingredient, borax can be considered in close relation with starch. Knowing this, it is crucial to understand that liquid starch might also not be as safe as it has been projected for making slimes. Even though it is in close association with starch properties, borax might not be the safest ingredient to use. Keep reading to find more information.

Is Borax Safe To Use?

As mentioned above, borax is not safe to use and should not be used in DIYs, especially for kids’ activities. Borax can cause various health concerns such as:

  1. Irritation to skin and eyes
  2. Irritation in the respiratory tract if inhaled.
  3. It causes digestive issues including but not limited to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.
  4. Headache, weakness, or light-headedness if overexposed to borax
  5. Some studies have shown that exposure to borax for long periods can impact reproductive health.
  6. If consumed in large quantities, borax can also cause kidney failures.

Substitutes of Borax

Since borax is not the safest ingredient for DIYs, here are some other alternatives that you can use instead of borax.

1. Baking Soda

It is one of the most valuable substitutes for borax, replacing it as a softener of laundry detergents, cleaning porcelain dishes, trashcans, or refrigerators. Baking soda with a bit of water is a great alternative for cleaning surfaces and as a boosting agent in the laundry. Besides, sprinkling baking soda instead of borax can be an effective way of naturally repelling ants.

2. Vinegar

By mixing equal parts of vinegar with water, you can make an effective cleaning agent without borax. Vinegar is safe to use for cleaning areas where you consume food, unlike borax. You can use vinegar to clean countertops, sinks, and floors.

3. Lemon

A readily available ingredient, lemon juice helps get rid of hard water stains and soap scums. Lemon juice and baking soda are very effective in cleaning dishes and other surfaces for a shiny look. Lemon juice is also useful in making homemade furniture polish. Since lemon is also a bleaching agent, one should do a patch test before using it on surfaces or floors. 

4. Corn Starch

Corn starch is a valuable substitute, especially in the slime recipe, which uses borax as an activator. You can mix cornstarch with water or dish soap for different kinds of slime and is a safer alternative than borax for slime recipes. By using corn starch in your homemade slime, you’ll be shielding your kids from all the dangers of borax.


Since many products used in our daily life, especially cleaning agents, have borax as an ingredient, it is important that you do not ingest or over-expose yourself to these products. Furthermore, keep them away from kids and pets at all costs. If accidentally swallowed, rush to the doctor at the earliest, even if it is just a precautionary measure.


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