A while back, my family and I decided to try to lessen our environmental impact while living more frugally. We have started our own family garden, started cooking meals from scratch as much as possible, and have been making our own cleaning products. Now, if you are anything like me, you are probably thinking to yourself, "I'll spend the $2.75 and buy something that I'm sure works. But, for just pennies, yes pennies, you can have a disinfectant spray cleaner that is not only green, but frugal as well.
Simply add the baking soda, borax, and vinegar in a spray bottle. You can either reuse an old spray bottle when through with it (making sure to clean thoroughly) or buy a cheap one at the dollar store for a buck. Slowly add 4 cups of hot water to dissolve all the ingredients. Put the spray nozzle on, and shake to mix ingredients.
I have used this recipe in the bathroom, outdoors, on glass, and in the kitchen, everywhere I would use our old spray cleaners, and have had fantastic results. I do not worry about spraying it near kids or pets, and I know that it is safe to use around food. That's it.
A good tip to ensure that ANYONE can mix up a new batch when you are running low is to write the "recipe" on the bottle. I have done this on all of my bottles of cleaning solutions, and even our nine year old is able to replace an empty bottle.
By happymissm from Omaha, NE
By lyss 05/03/2011
I was going to try it this, but I decided to research prior to using and I may be wrong but you may want to check the safety of Borax... I understand it may be diluted but when it comes to my pets, I prefer just vinager and water or water and baking soda.:
The estimated lethal dose (ingested) for adults is 15-20 grams; less than 5 grams can kill a child or pet. For this reason, borax should not be used around food. More commonly, borax is associated with skin, eye, or respiratory irritation. It is also important to point out that exposure to borax may impair fertility or cause damage to an unborn child.
Don't use borax around food, keep it out of reach of children and pets, and make sure you rinse borax out of clothes and off of surfaces before use.
By Louise B.  05/03/2011
I'd just like to point out that you probably can leave out the vinegar and baking soda and just use the borax. When you mix baking soda and vinegar together, you get salt water and carbon dioxide. You have cancelled them out by mixing them. All you have created is a salt water solution.
By Louise B.  05/03/2011
I'd just like to suggest that this would be just as effective if you used the borax by itself. When you mix baking soda and vinegar together, you get salt water and carbon dioxide, which bubbles off. There is nothing left to do the disinfecting, except the borax. dissolved in salt water.
By April  05/03/2011
As an EMT, I'd like to point out that vinegar is a disinfectant alone or diluted with water.
Borax is a poison, and is listed in my book as a poison, is also listed by the poison control center as being fatal in some cases and is NOT safe around food.
Borax is also an ingredient in many bug poisons, such as the one that is made in the chemical plant where my husband works.
"Borax, which is also known as Boric Acid and is sold under the brand name "20 Mule Team," is often touted as safe and natural. While it is a naturally occurring mineral, that doesn't mean it is without dangers.
Borax is often recommended as a "safe" pesticide, fungicide and cleaner, but it is officially classified as a poison. Government sites recommend that people who work with Borax use gloves and handle it with caution. Studies have linked it to reproductive problems in some lab animals, as well as a host of serious disorders at higher levels.
Boric acid is an acute eye and respiratory tract irritant, which is quite toxic if ingested. In addition, it is unavailable in parts of Europe because of concerns that it caused birth defects and problems with the reproductive organs of children. It is recommended that pregnant women and children in particular do not have exposure to Borax.
Here are some medical and U.S. government fact sheets about its toxicity:
By Heather 05/03/2011
IMHO Borax is safer than most chemical sprays. Don't eat it and you'll be fine! Generations of my family have used this over many decades. None have died due to borax poisoning. Treat it as you treat all chemicals & use common sense. I use it in the dishwasher, laundry, and for cleaning. I have a child who is allergic to most laundry detergents. Even the sensitive skin types, never a problem. Yes I know it's a poison-so is bleach, Lysol, 409, pine sol, etc. Research those chemicals and then get back to me. :)
By Janice C.  05/04/2011
Nice website at 20muleteamlaundry.com. The company lists all precautions to take. Also offers a free Dial newsletter with coupons.
By April  05/04/2011
Showed this to our medical director. Several years ago he ran a kid to children's mercy in kcmo to ate cleaner borax and had to have part of his stomach surgically removed, and was on dialysis for days following, and had 2nd degree burns in his throat. CDC also reports several deaths a year.
Don't be quoting its ok, unless YOU are taking personal liability for it.
Kids eat and drink everything. So do pets.
By hrat4376 07/22/2011
Oh, my. Please. If you are trying to keep a safe, healthy and happy home, steer clear of the Borax. People seem to think just because of someone put on the label "all natural" that it is ok to use any and everywhere. I am so glad that there were several of you that stepped in, said something and backed up your info with REAL documented proof how unsafe it is.
Vinegar and water is all you need to clean with in most cases. You can use baking soda in areas that you need an abrasive. But if you are using it with the vinegar, understand that they will neutralize each other and have no disinfecting compounds. I suggest if you were to clean your bathroom and you were trying to remove soap scum, for example. Spray your tub/shower area down with some water, sprinkle down some baking soda, scrub and then rinse clean. After that, spray down with the vinegar to disinfect your tub/shower area.
Please reconsider your cleaning solution and methods. AND, if you are going to post information to pass along to others, DO YOUR RESEARCH. I know you truly meant well and it looks like you received some grief for that. I do not think any of us have meant to come down too hard on you. Just sharing a little better educated information with you.
I do truly wish you a safe, happy and healthy home.
By Lizz58 10/10/2011
"Borax" and "Boric acid" are not the same.
Borax is Na2B4O7-10H2O, Hydrated sodium borate (sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate)
Boric Acid is H3BO3 (hydrogen borate or boracic acid or orthoboric acid or acidum boricu)
"Boric acid" is a poison like 'mom-from-missouri' and her website have said.
"Boxar" though it is not safe to consume like vinegar or baking soda, it is not a poison (like boric acid). It is recommended to keep out of reach of pets and children... like you would with any other cleaning product.
Yes, they both derive from the same place (Boron, I believe), but are different things.
The websites that 'mom-from-missouri' listed:
Website with the studies (http://www.epa.gov/iris/subst/0410.htm)... It states "The sub-chronic and chronic toxicity of borax and boric acid was studied in dogs administered these compounds in the diet " Meaning they gave the dogs doses of boric acid and borax in their food (very cruel by the way), so of course its going to be harm them.
I guess it safe to say not consume borax... just like you wouldn't consume bleach or ammonia.
Website (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002485.htm) is a listing for boric acid poisoning. and mention Alternate name: borax poisoning. Reason being is because both come from boron and you can all get poisoning from borax consumption.
Website(http://www.greenfootsteps.com/borax-information.htm) They seem to endorse Borax as a cleaner.
"Borax is a wonderful, powerful cleaning agent to add to your arsenal of green and eco-friendly home cleaning products. It was a trusted cleaning product back in Victorian times - it was probably a familiar to most of our great great grandmothers." "Borax needs to be stored carefully because it is toxic if ingested."
Website posted by 'lyss': You forgot this... "Now, none of these risks mean that you shouldn't use borax. If you do a bit of research, you will find risks associated with all cleaning products, natural or man-made. However, you do need to be aware of product risks so that you can use those products properly..." They mention right before the last like you posted.
I am not saying that Borax is 100% safe. It does have it risk just like other cleaners, but it is not the same as boric acid. It should go without saying but here it is... DO NOT use boric acid to clean. Boric acid is a poison.
By Lizz58 10/10/2011
Mistakes on my post:
Reference to Website about studies on dogs:
...so of course its going to be harmful to them.
... I guess it safe to say Do not consume borax; just like you wouldn't consume bleach or ammonia.
Reference to 'lyss' website:
...They mention right before the last line you posted.