Is Borax Safe for Septic Tanks?

Is Borax Safe for Septic Tanks? Borax has been widely used in almost every household since the early 20th century. If you keep reading, you will find out about various its uses and is borax safe for septic tanks.

Borax: Definition and Usage


Borax is a natural mineral that usually comes in powder form. It is a compound of boron that also goes by the name sodium borate or sodium borate decahydrate. Its uses are truly numerous. You can find it in products such as:

  • Household cleaners and laundry detergent booster. The most popular is 20 Mule Team Borax, but we will get to that brand later.
  • It is commonly used to prevent bacterial growth in the products and as an emulsifier. Borax can be an ingredient in whitening toothpaste, sunscreen, lotion, hand soap, etc.
  • Slime or Flubber toy for kids is typically made of the polysaccharide guar gum and borax.
  • Food additive. Borax has been used as a popular food preservative, but after some research, it has been found that, when swallowed, it could be toxic. Since then, it has been banned in many countries.[1]

As for the toxicity, there have been different researches, and some indicate borax is not healthy. If inhaled or eaten, it can cause health risks like irritation, vomiting, skin rash, etc. That is why it is better to avoid it as an ingredient in personal care products. [2]

However, it has been proven effective as a home cleaner. Therefore, you can continue to use borax and be perfectly safe. Certainly, it would be best if you took the appropriate precautions. For example: use gloves while cleaning.

Wash your hands when finished, and also rinse borax properly with water after cleaning. Please do not leave it in the reach of children (and avoid making slime with it).

You learned the definition, but what about borax for the septic system?

Is Borax Safe for Septic Tanks?


Overall, borax is septic-safe. If you use it properly, it won’t cause any damage to your septic system. But, of course, putting a large amount of practically anything can harm the good bacteria in your tank and damage the environment.

That being said, it will be perfectly fine to use borax in your household. There are numerous homemade recipes with borax for different uses. Here are some examples:

  • Use borax as a bleach alternative. The thing is, bleach contains chlorine, which is not very healthy for the environment or your septic tank. On the other hand, borax is a laundry booster from nature, and it will help you remove stains. It is also believed to soften hard water.
  • You can disinfect your bathroom or kitchen surfaces with a mixture of borax and warm water.
  • Removing rust. Mix a cup of borax with two cups of warm water and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Apply it to the rust spots and scrub the rust after 15 minutes.
  • Unclogging drains. It is always better to use natural products for unclogging drains with a septic system than with some harsh chemicals. A good option is to pour one cup of borax down the drain, add two cups of boiling water, wait for a while, and flush the water to wash it away.
  • Cleaning the toilet bowl. Put the borax into a bowl, let it sit, preferably overnight, and rinse it off in the morning.

Is 20 Mule Team Borax Safe for Septic Tanks?

20 Mule Team Borax is almost a synonym for sodium borate. Why is this? There is a little history involved. That is to say, borax was discovered in 1881 in the Death Valley (California). [3]

To move it out from the desert to the nearest rail, people formed 20 mule teams, which worked until 1889. Two years later, the company was formed and named after this team.
One hundred thirty-one years later, the brand 20 Mule Team Borax still exists. Further, it is one of the most popular and budget-friendly solutions when buying borax.

So, is 20 Mule Team Borax safe for septic tanks? Yes, as long as you continue to use it in the aforementioned ways.

Can You Mix Borax with Other Products?


If you have borax at home, you will most likely use it as part of many household product recipes. It is accessible, not expensive, and the results are effective. Thus yes, you can mix borax with other products. Keep reading, and we will reveal some popular combinations. You will also learn if they are septic-safe.

Is Borax and Vinegar Safe for Septic Tank?

We learned that borax is septic-safe, but what about white vinegar?

Vinegar: Definition

An acetic acid aqueous solution can contain five to eight percent acetic acid by volume. Nowadays, you can find numerous types of vinegar, and most of them are used for flavoring. It is an important part of the culinary delights, but white vinegar is the number one domestic product for cleaning.

Moreover, distilled white vinegar does not have harmful properties to your septic system. On the contrary, it even has a lot of benefits, such as unclogging pipes, preventing the appearance of bad odor, dissolving the soap scum, etc.

That being said, feel free to combine vinegar and borax. There is an ultimate recipe for all-purpose cleaning spray which won’t harm your septic system or the leach field, and it will help your home shine.

All-Purpose Cleaning Spray with Borax and Vinegar

Boil two cups of water, and dissolve one teaspoon of borax. Then add in ½ cup of vinegar and let it cool. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and start cleaning! If you like, you can add a couple of drops of the essential oil for smell. We recommend lemon, lavender, or mint. When you finish cleaning, don’t forget to rinse it with water.

Borax and Baking Soda

Another champion of multipurpose household products is baking soda. Also known as bicarbonate of soda or sodium bicarbonate, it is a chemical compound with the formula NaHCO3.

Baking Soda: Usage

As borax, it can mostly be found as a fine white powder.

The usage of baking soda is maybe even wider than borax. You can use it:

  • as a food ingredient. The most common use is as a substitute for baking powder or a leavening agent.
  • for health purposes. The benefits are various:
  • It can be found as a part of whitening toothpaste. You can even make your mouthwash and teeth whitener.
  • You can use it as a heartburn relief.
  • Baking soda can be a healthy replacement for deodorants.
  • As a remedy for blepharitis, chronic inflammation of the eyelid.
  • as a part of various household products. You can mix it in almost any cleaner, freshener, stain remover, or use it as a laundry booster.
  • Baking soda can be a pesticide remover from fruits and vegetables.

So far, you are probably concluding that baking soda won’t harm your septic tank. And you are right, so feel free to include it in your household.
Even more, baking soda will give your septic system some advantages. For example, it will help preserve the good bacteria in your system, and it will be a good prevention of pipe clogging.

What Is the Difference Between Borax and Baking Soda?

As you can see, both borax and baking soda in the household products are similar. And they are both naturally-occurring salts. However, we can say there are two key differences between them.

Firstly, baking soda is significantly less alkaline than borax. Borax has a pH of 9.5. Baking soda has a pH of 8. This means that borax is a slightly harsher cleaning agent.

Another thing is that you can safely consume baking soda (after all, it has the word baking in its name). On the other hand, borax should never be eaten or inhaled. You should also use gloves when cleaning and avoid contact with your skin. Please don’t get this wrong; it doesn’t mean borax is not safe for usage. It is just somewhat harsher than baking soda.  [4]

Is Boric Acid Same as Borax?

Another important thing to remember is that borax and boric acid are commonly confused but not the same. You learned the definition of borax at the beginning of this text, but what about boric acid? It is indeed processed from borax.

However, it is often used as a pesticide and insecticide. In addition, people typically use it to get rid of ants, cockroaches, silverfish, etc. Another common usage of boric acid is as an antiseptic. As for industrial use, boric acid is used to produce fiberglass.

If you wonder whether it is septic safe, even though it has the word acid in its name, it won’t damage your septic system if you put a normal amount and do not overdo it.

Nonetheless, boric acid most probably won’t solve the eventual problems you have. For example, suppose you want to get rid of cockroaches in your pipes – boric acid will most likely dissolve in water before the bugs get a chance to eat it. In this case, you could try baking soda or vinegar. You most likely want to use borax in any other case, so don’t confuse it with boric acid.

The Bottom Line

It is always better to avoid synthetic chemicals to keep your septic system and the leach field healthy and long-lasting. Thus, since borax is a natural mineral, feel free to keep it as a part of your household cleansers.