Boron is used as a cleaning and bleaching agent. It controls alkalinity of soaps and synthetic detergents; balances active oxygen; softens water; lowers the time and heat of the washing; and prevents the corrosion of the metal/machine. Borates are also widely used in personal care products and household or industrial cleaners for various purposes like abrasion, germicide and bleaching. The choice of boron product will depend on the other ingredients and the composition, quality and type of the final product. Borax Decahydrate, Borax Pentahydrate, Boric Acid and Anhydrous Borax can be used for cleaning and laundering formulations.
Borates stabilize enzymes; enhance stain removal; emulsify waxes and oils; provide alkalinity buffering; soften water; carry active oxygen for color-safe bleaching; boost surfactant performance; and control rheology.
Perborates such as Sodium Perborate are added to powder laundry detergents for washing machines as a bleaching agent because they are an active oxygen source. They can also be used in liquid detergents as enzyme stabilizers.
Abrasive hand cleaners have been used since early man cleaned his hands with sand and water. Scrubbers should quickly and efficiently remove any soil, not abrade the skin, not be a skin sensitizer, contribute to detergency, not clog plumbing and not be unpleasant to use. Powdered hand soaps enjoy a considerable share of the industrial hand cleaning market to remove medium to heavy soils often encountered in industrial processes. Typically, a powdered hand soap contains a high-grade soap and a ‘scrubber’ or abrasive material. Scrubbers are either soluble or insoluble and there are various options for both. Borax Decahydrate is the most widely used and efficient soluble scrubber. It scrubs and lessens the soil on the hands before it dissolves. It also adds water softening and germicidal properties. Most other borates are also resistant to microorganisms.
Borates are often found in other personal care products such as skin lotions, hair shampoos, eye drops, denture cleaners, cosmetic creams, bath salts, dyes and gels.