DIY Natural All-Purpose Kitchen Cleaner with Borax

This DIY kitchen cleaner uses Borax, and it can be used as a deep cleaning agent for scouring away not only germs, but grease residue. If any residue remains after scrubbing, use a cloth lightly dampened with only distilled white vinegar to remove any unwanted streaking.

Why Borax? Well, because it offers more thorough scrubbing and grease cutting power than baking soda and witch hazel.

What Is Borax and Is It Safe?

There is a common misconception that borax and boric acid are the same thing, but they are definitely not. Boric acid is hydrogen borate. Borax is sodium borate – sodium tetraborate. While sodium tetraborate is a salt from boric acid, it does not share the same chemical makeup.

Sodium borate, boric acid, and borax are all commonly used as natural pesticides. Perhaps that is why there continues to be so much confusion about the differences and similarities between them. But boric acid has a substantially higher toxicity risk at a lower dosage rate than borax, if consumed.

Borax is a natural mineral that is used in the boric acid making process, but a significant chemical composition difference still remains between the two.

It is important to note that simply because something is naturally occurring that doesn’t necessarily make it safe (like arsenic, for example), or eliminate the risk of allergic reactions.

Borax is not meant to be consumed or ingested in any manner, even though it is a natural substance. Because borax is often an ingredient in homemade slime recipes for children to play with, any blog and Pinterest posts warn against using against it for young children who might get the DIY slime in their mouths.

If you have crawling babies or little ones who spend a lot of time on the floor or who might be sat upon a damp kitchen counter, you might want to err on the side of caution and use one of the alternate recipes to eliminate any chance borax could end up in their mouths.

Because the little product safety data that is out there often conflates boric acid with borax, it becomes extremely difficult to determine which warnings actually apply to each separately.

Like many substances, borax can cause irritation to the eyes if it comes into contact with them. How much borax gets into the eye and how long it remains typically plays a primary role in how severe the irritation will become.

Eye irritation could range from redness, swelling, and blurred vision to potential corneal injury. Baking soda, rubbing alcohol, many essential oils and distilled white vinegar (among other common low-tox cleaning and beauty agents) can bring about the same results when making contact with eyes.

So what is the bottom line on borax safety? That is something you will have to determine for yourself. My clan and I have used it for decades, and because we do not ingest it or rub it into our eyes, we have had absolutely no negative results.

Ants on the other hand, quickly die when I use borax as an all purpose kitchen scrub, when mixing it with distilled white vinegar and using it as a spray around the sink and trash can.

DIY Kitchen Cleaner Recipe with Borax


  • 1 ½ cup Borax
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • ¼ cup rubbing alcohol or vodka
  • 5 drops tea tree essential oil


  • Combine the borax and the distilled white vinegar in a bowl or in a similar storage container and stir thoroughly to combine.
  • Pour in the rubbing alcohol or vodka, and stir again to combine completely.
  • Add in the drops of tea tree essential oil, and stir yet again.
  • You should have a paste that is neither too dry to spread, nor too runny. If the all natural multi-purpose cleaner is to runny, add in 1 teaspoon more of borax and stir. If the mixture is too dry, add in ½ of a teaspoon more of the vinegar and stir to combine.
  • Use a clean cloth or a sponge to apply the natural kitchen scrubbing agent to surfaces that are not made of natural stone and to appliances.


When stored in a container with a tight fitting lid, this DIY low tox kitchen cleaner should last for several weeks to two months without losing potency.

Have you used Borax to clean your kitchen and appliances? What are your thoughts on it?

1 thought on “DIY Natural All-Purpose Kitchen Cleaner with Borax”

  1. I did a little research and I do see where you are coming from, but Borax is banned in the E.U. and the U.K. as it is deemed toxic enough and they use substitutes. There are also several other bans for particular uses of borax across the globe, including the FDA, though I haven’t chased that one up to check the particulars.

    It is, as you said, widely viewed as “less toxic” than boric acid… but that is LESS toxic… that still means it’s toxic. It is usually used for cleaning by virtue of it being able to change pH to something more alkaline, but there are other ways of doing that. If baking soda will work as well, why not use baking soda instead? I did not really see where you argued that Borax could offer anything additional that the other options could not also offer.

    As for, “Borax is a natural material…” so is radon, arsenic, and mercury. That’s hardly an argument for considering anything to be safe. I am very concerned about people using borax more often, and it entering our waterways, as there is evidence it causes damage and we don’t know the impact of accumulation. Again, if there are alternatives, why use this particular product? Baking soda you can even use in your garden. Borax you can’t because it will kill.

    As for skin irritant issue, I can tell you that it can cause skin irritations even if used as directed on the box for laundry… as it happened to all of my family. Granted, my family is light skinned and red headed, and they tend to be a little more sensitive to skin irritants, but so are many people, not just children.

    Might i suggest that people try a product or home recipe WITHOUT borax first, and see if it does the job satisfactorily, before they go out and buy borax?


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