We know what you’re thinking. Borax? Boric acid? Aren't they the same? Even if you’re not sure what they are, there’s a good chance you’ve encountered them at some point in your life. Borax and boric acid are used in a variety of ways. Keep reading to find out what they are and how they’re used.
What Are They?
Borax and boric acid and borax don’t typically come up in conversation. So, what are they? Though they sound alike, they are two different things.
Where Can Borax and Boric Acid be Found?
There are a couple of answers to this question, especially when talking about boric acid. The first answer requires a little bit of science, so hang with us. When borax is combined with a mineral acid, boric acid is produced. This is the most common source of boric acid, which Wilhelm Homberg discovered in 1702. The second answer takes us outside to nature. There are traces of boric acid in saltwater, soil, and plants. Boric acid is also found in its mineral form called sassolite. Hot spring lagoons and volcanic fumaroles—vents that release volcanic gas—serve as a home for sassolite and Italy is cited as a prime location to find the mineral.
Borax makes things a little simpler for us. This compound is taken straight from nature. When in its mineral form—called tincal—it can be mined from the ground. Borax can also be collected from evaporite deposits. These deposits form through the repetition of evaporation. The sedimentary deposits, left behind after the water has evaporated, form the minerals. Once the borax is collected, it is refined through re-crystallization. Sources of borax can be found in several places including Boron, California and Borax Lake, Oregon.
What Do Borax and Boric Acid Do?
Now that we’ve covered the basics, we can look at how boric acid and borax are used. You may be surprised to find they pop up in quite a few areas.
Remember when we said boric acid was found in plants? We weren’t kidding. Some fruit—apples and bananas—as well as almonds and peanuts, have traces of boric acid. Boric acid and borax are also both used as a preservative. They can fight off bacteria, which helps to keep food from spoiling.
These compounds have found another way to stay in our lives. The preserving capabilities of boric acid and borax carry over into cosmetics. They are used to preserve products like shampoo and lotion. Though great at preservation, they are capable of much more. These ingredients can be used to control the viscosity and pH levels of a product.
Yep, boric acid and borax can even be used to keep your house and clothes clean. Borax is known as being effective in stopping bacteria, fungus and mold in their tracks. Boric acid is also an effective deodorizer and disinfectant. With this in mind, it’s not hard to see why they are used in products. Have a tricky stain? Borax may be the answer. Borax helps to keep stains from redepositing on clothes in the washing machine.
We’re not done yet. Boric acid and borax are effective at protecting your homes from unwanted bugs. While relatively low in toxicity for humans, some bugs cannot handle being in contact with these ingredients. When consumed, boric acid and borax disrupt the digestive system of pests, which leads to their death. Boric acid and borax are also very abrasive and can weaken the exoskeleton of bugs. Ants, cockroaches and other crawling insects are no match for borax and boric acid.
For ingredients that typically go undiscussed, they do make a difference. That’s why Maggie’s Farm loves using the naturally occurring borax as an active ingredient. It’s an effective and more environmentally friendly solution for pest problems. The next time you’re fighting bugs, try our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective Pest Control products.