Why is borax banned in the UK?

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Do you want to try the cleaning hacks shown in YouTube videos? Many of these hacks make use of a chemical compound called borax. It is the main ingredient needed for stain removal and is even used as pesticide. However, borax isn’t available in the UK. In fact, it is banned in the UK and the EU. Do you want to know why? Keep on reading to find out.

What is Borax UK?

Borax is chemically known as Sodium Tetraborate. It occurs naturally as the salt of boric acid which is left behind after the seasonal lakes evaporate. This naturally occurring borax is in the form of a crystalline powder. Borax can also be derived from boric acid as well.

why is borax banned in uk?

In 2010 the EU banned Borax because studies had shown negative impacts on reproductive health. Rats were feed borax and over time the borax was shown to build up in some of the internal organs (1).

Borax is commercially used as a food additive in many parts of the world. However, studies have shown that consuming it in large quantities for 5-10 years can cause liver cancer. This is why the borate group of compounds were reclassified as potentially hazardous to health in 2010.

Thus, using borax as a food additive is banned in the UK. You can’t even buy it anywhere in the UK or the EU. But, you can easily find a substitute of borax UK. It can do an almost similar job as borax and won’t cost you much as well.        

Substitute for Borax In the UK

Sodium sesquicarbonate is considered a safe substitute of borax. This chemical is a combination of Sodium bicarbonate and Sodium carbonate or washing soda. The Sodium bicarbonate used in the making of this chemical is a potent natural cleaning agent when it is paired up with white vinegar.

Sodium bicarbonate is a very effective cleaner and deodorizer on its own. With the addition of Sodium carbonate, it becomes a lot stronger and can perform a variety of cleaning tasks all around the home. For instance, you can use this borax UK substitute for scrubbing down metal sinks and even kitchen tiles.

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Applications of Substitute of Borax UK

Since borax is used for cleaning purposes, its substitute (Sodium sesquicarbonate) is also used for the same tasks.

Because it is soluble in water, this borax UK substitute can be mixed with cold water to formulate a paste. You can use this paste for a whole host of cleaning tasks. For instance, you can apply it to tough stains to remove them with ease. If any stain doesn’t budge, you can add white vinegar or lemon juice to enhance this chemical’s cleaning prowess.

This borax UK substitute also acts as a water softener when added to the washing machine. You can use it to make a homemade washing powder and do your laundry with it. This will curb the formation of limescale deposits inside your washing machine and prolong its life. Also, it can help keep your laundry fresh too.        

The borax UK substitute can be a valuable addition to your cleaning supplies. You can use it on a variety of surfaces without any health risks. These surfaces include:

  • Stainless Steel
  • Marble
  • Granite
  • Slate
  • Lino
  • Porcelain
  • Ceramics
  • Tiles
  • Carpets
  • Fabrics (in the washing machine)

Fun Applications of Borax UK Substitute

The borax UK substitute isn’t just a good cleaning agent. It has other applications as well that are far more cheerful and creative than scrubbing kitchen tiles.

  • Slime Creation: This borax substitute can be used for creating slime. It isn’t as effective as borax for slime creation but it can still do a good enough job. You can use the slime it makes for doing slime experiments.
  • Homemade Bath Salts: You can make homemade bath salts by adding a few drops of perfume or essential oils to borax UK substitute. Add in some food colours if you want to make the bath salts as a gift.

Sodium sesquicarbonate is also among the ingredients used in hair care products and deodorants.

Where to Buy Borax UK Substitute

Dri-Pak is the most well-known brand that produces this borax UK substitute. They are a family-run business that is based in Derbyshire. Dri-Pak has been supplying a variety of household products to people all over the UK since 1960.

You can buy the Dri-Pak borax UK substitute from supermarkets like Wilko, Sainsbury, and Tesco and online from Big Green Smile and Amazon.    



1 – Aguilar, F. (n.d.). Scientific opinion on the re-evaluation of Boric acid (E 284) and … Research Gate. Retrieved June 1, 2022, from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ine-Waalkens-Berendsen/publication/280736910_Scientific_Opinion_on_the_re-evaluation_of_boric_acid_E_284_and_sodium_tetraborate_borax_E_285_as_food_additives_EFSA_Panel_on_Food_Additives_and_Nutrient_Sources_added_to_Food_ANS/links/5b30eee14585150d23cfe12c/Scientific-Opinion-on-the-re-evaluation-of-boric-acid-E-284-and-sodium-tetraborate-borax-E-285-as-food-additives-EFSA-Panel-on-Food-Additives-and-Nutrient-Sources-added-to-Food-ANS.pdf

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