Read This Before Cleaning Your Kitchen With Borax

It might surprise you to learn Borax is not a word Dr. Seuss made up to go along with his rhyming book, The Lorax, although you can make some pretty awesome Dr. Seuss slime with it by following Little Bins for Little Hands' recipe. Per 20 Mule Team Borax, this naturally occurring mineral has been used as an all-purpose household cleaner and laundry detergent since 1891. 

This white powder substance can help rid your clothing of stains, bathrooms of the dreaded mildew, and kitchens of those pesky ants, according to Healthline. Borax can also kill odors in your home and even soften hard water. It is often touted as a green alternative to some of the other cleaning products on the market. 

For those who eschew chemicals when cleaning the kitchen, Borax seems like the perfect alternative. Kitchn notes that it is often used to clean drains and the dishwasher and likens it to baking soda with its cleaning properties. However, before you break out the Borax to clean your kitchen, there are a few things you should know. The first being that Borax is not safe to ingest or inhale under any circumstance. 

It can not only cause harm to your organs, but it could kill you. According to Medical News Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration even banned it as a food additive. We know what you are thinking, you have no plans to ingest this stuff, just clean with it, but our Borax PSA doesn't end here.  

Borax can be extremely toxic

Kitchn shares that Borax can be toxic for your kids who run their hands and fingers over countertops and then into their mouths as well as for your pets that may be sniffing around the floor in search of food from your previous snacks and meals. And Healthline notes that it doesn't take a lot of Borax to be harmful, cause skin irritations, or worse, fatality. The site also warns that studies on Borax have shown that high exposure to it can cause problems with fertility in both men and women.

So, what are true green alternatives you can use in place of Borax? The David Suzuki Foundation thought you would never ask, and it might be surprising to learn there are actually a few natural ingredients you have in your pantry that work equally as effective as Borax with far less worry.

The David Suzuki Foundation recommends using a food-grade hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle to clean your hard surfaces. The foundation also turns to the old tried and true methods and ingredients our grandmothers and great-grandmothers used which include vinegar, lemons, and baking soda. But if you are still leaning towards using Borax to clean your kitchen, Kitchn recommends taking the proper precautions which include wearing gloves and storing your Borax safely away and out of reach of the kiddos and pets.