Natural Cleaning Products

Hi everyone,

My first time posting on the community but have been a Choice member for many years!

I have been getting into more natural cleaning products of late (eg. using vinegar, bicarb soda etc) and I’ve found some recipes on the internet that use ‘borax’. So I bought some from Woolies (Bare Essentials brand) yet there is a disclaimer on the back saying “May impair fertility. May cause harm to an unborn child”. This scares me a little for a ‘natural’ cleaning product.

Any thoughts?

Thanks so much!



Welcome to the Choice Comunity.

There is often belief that natural means safe and non-toxic. This is a myth.

There are many chemicals in the natural world which are highly toxic and detrimental to human health. These include things like ricin, cyanide and aflatoxins, through to uranium/other radioactive isotopes etc.

If a chemical is toxic or has potential health implication through contact or use, one should take necessary precautions to protect oneself. This applies for compounds which are natural or man made.

It is important to read the label (well done on doing so yourself) even if one thinks they know the product well or think that it should he safe.

The reason for reading labels is a chemical compound mixed at low concentrations may be safe, while at high concentrations could be corrosive to skin, damage eyes/lungs or damage items it is being used on. The labels or even the material safety data sheets (msds) for the product will provide information on what recommended precautions/safety measures are required for its safe use. Msds can n usually be found directly from the manufacturer (e.g. its website) or through internet searches of the product ir active ingredients.


Borax is not acutely toxic but there may be some risks due to long term high levels of exposure. Authorities do not seem to be in agreement over this. The warning over fertility and reproduction may be reasonable or over cautious. My take is that you do not allow children to eat it, as in the old ant poison borax and sugar, and do not leave it in your house long term. So if, for example, you use it to clean rugs make sure there is no detectable residue when you are finished.

I am not a toxicologist but it is common to be very cautious about any potential toxin in relation to pregnancy well beyond caution for non pregnant persons. If you are not making babies I would not be too worried, borax has been around in household use for a long time and there is no evidence of widespread poisoning.

The point about the fallacy of synthetic=risky, natural=safe is in general well made. Consider each risk on its merits not on this rather arbitrary classification.


Thanks so much for your response, I greatly appreciate it!

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Thanks very much for your response! Greatly appreciated.