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The Many Applications of Borax Decahydrate
April 23, 2019

Borax Decahydrate, also known as Sodium Tetraborate Decahydrate or simply Borax, is a naturally occurring compound used widely in detergents and cleaning agents.  A salt of boric acid, its typical form is a white powder consisting of soft water-soluble crystals.  Its anti-fungal properties make it useful in treating certain skin conditions, and it is also used in pest control applications.  Borax has several industrial applications as well, including use as a flux to eliminate undesired metal oxides and use in flame retardants. 

Originally discovered in Tibet, Borax occurs naturally in the deposits of dry lake beds, where repeated seasonal evaporation produces a bed of clay and natural salts.  Today the southwest United States produces most of the world’s mined Borax, with California and Nevada having the largest natural deposits.  Other sources include Turkey, Italy, and the Atacama Desert of Chile.  While Borax is generally obtained via mining, it can be produced synthetically from other boron containing compounds. 

In addition to its use in detergents, Borax is used as an emulsifier and natural preservative and has cosmetic and pharmaceutical applications in creams, ointments, and lotions.  Its alkalinity allows it to be used as a pH buffering agent to neutralize acids.  In engine coolants and antifreeze, Borax is sometimes used as a corrosion inhibitor as it can prevent oxidation of ferrous metals.  In starch adhesives for corrugated paper, Borax additives serve to improve viscosity, wet tack, and water holding properties.  It also plays an important role in the production of ceramics and glass for lenses, car headlights, and other specialized examples where optical and physical properties must be precisely tailored.  

While used as a food additive in some countries, Borax is not permitted to be used in food products in the United States.  A mild eye and skin irritant, Borax is classified as moderately acutely toxic by the EPA.  In powder form it is also a respiratory irritant, and as with all commonly used cleaning products, it should be securely stored and kept out of reach of children. 

Independent Chemical Corporation offers Borax Decahydrate (CAS 1303-96-4) and thousands of other products for end users across multiple industries.  We specialize in crafting custom solutions for our customers and are committed to quality, safety, and exceptional service.  Contact us to inquire about current product offerings. 

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