40 Mule Team Borax

reader77August 23, 2011

I have used Borax for many years. The last 3 boxes (new design - coincidence?) have been filled with huge lumps that I have to pound out with my meat tenderizer.

After buying the first lumpy box, I called their toll free number. The rep said the problem was probably caused by where the store had stored the boxes - too damp, etc. She sent me some coupons.

The next 2 boxes I bought at different stores - just opened one today which I had stored in garage so it was not near any water. The lumps are even bigger!

I do use cold water mostly, but even using hot water does not dissolve these lumps. Since they don't seem to be taking care of this problem, I need to switch products. Does anyone have a suggestion - Oxyclean??

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I haven't seen Twenty (40?) Muleteam Borax on sale for years. I used to use it for scrubbing floors and as a laundry additive. Where do you find it?

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 7:56AM
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The box of Borax (don't know how many mules though...HA) that I bought was also all lumpy! I just crumble it up before I put it in the wash. I think that Oxyclean is about the same but don't hold me to it. They have Borax for sale all over the place jannie...you probably just aren't looking for it.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 8:43AM
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It is 20 Mule Team Borax (made by Henkel).

Borax and Oxyclean are not the same thing (chemically different).

Borax, also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate, is an important boron compound, a mineral, and a salt of boric acid. It is usually a white powder consisting of soft colorless crystals that dissolve easily in water.

20 MULE TEAM Borax acts as a water conditioner, boosting the cleaning power of detergent by controlling alkalinity, deodorizing the clothes and aiding the removal of stains and soil.

Humidity will also cause clumping. It doesn't have to be near water. My basement is humid and if I don't put things in sealed containers they will absorb moisture from the air.

Oxyclean contains mostly sodium percarbonate (an oxygen bleaching agent).

Sodium percarbonate is a chemical, an adduct of sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide (a perhydrate), with formula Na2CO3 � 1.5H2O2. It is a colorless, crystalline, hygroscopic and water-soluble solid.[1] It is used in some eco-friendly cleaning products and as a laboratory source of anhydrous hydrogen peroxide.

Sodium percarbonate is very neat stuff. It is a powder that releases hydrogen peroxide, and it is very concentrated.

Oxygen bleaches are materials that release oxygen for cleaning and bleaching of stains and dirt upon addition to water.

Here is a link that might be useful: Henkel - Guide to borax

1 Like    Bookmark   August 26, 2011 at 11:26AM
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Jannie, our Target stores carry it- it's usually tucked onto one of the lower shelves on the long divider aisles by the laundry area, rather than in the regular laundry aisles. There's only one row in our stores, so it's easy to miss.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 2:24PM
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livebetter: Thanks for explaining difference between Borax and bleach products. I knew the Borax didn't contain bleach.

This last box had huge lumps, and since I mostly use cold water, even small ones don't dissolve. So I spent a lot of time, breaking them up and putting the Borax into plastic containers. This box had much bigger lumps than previous ones.

I still don't understand why after so many years this problem has arisen.

1 Like    Bookmark   August 28, 2011 at 7:34PM
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It's humid where I live so I don't think I've ever seen Borax *without* lumps:-)

It's much more popular now than about 10 years ago because of the movement toward more environmentally friendly cleaners. At that time, I was more like to to find it at the really simple, old-fashioned, locally-owned grocery store (the one that doesn't carry fresh parsley, never mind cilantro or anything 'extravagant' like that!). Now most places do seem to have it (with the cleaning, usually laundry products) but as someone else said...on the bottom shelf.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 4:56PM
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Henkel no longer supports the Guide to Borax page and I can't seem to use borax without leaving clumps in the laundry tub and on my clothes. I've sifted it into the laundry tub using cold, warm, and hot water; tried dissolving the borax in a jar of water first; used a second rinse feature… Does anyone have any ideas about how to avoid clumps once it's in the laundry?.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2015 at 6:24AM
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Try putting it in a bowl and use a potato masher to break up the clumps. Also keep all powders(Borax, washing soda, baking soda) in an airtight container, powders absorb moisture in the air and clump. The plastic tub that comes with Oxi Clean is great for homemade detergents(it even comes with a scoop), you can also use a Rubbermaid container.

How To Store Borax

    Bookmark   February 13, 2015 at 7:15PM
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Thank you, @cleangeek! Will try.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2015 at 7:33AM
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Brushworks Spectacular Finishes

Our local Drug Mart stocks it. Lots of it, and it's on the top shelf next to the Super Washing Soda and Zote bars.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2015 at 4:09AM
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I use Borax in my laundry as we have hard water and the borax changes the PH. It makes the water a little softer so the detergent actually works better in water that's less hard. I also noticed the lumps. I also use Arm & Ham er Super Washing Soda. It comes in a yellow box. No lumps ever so it pours much better.

    Bookmark   19 hours ago
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It's been a few weeks, but since this popped back up I will let you know that Cleangeek is right -- storing in the opened box will mean you soon have clumps. Laundry rooms inherently have moisture in the air and the borax will absorb it. I have a wide mouth glass jar I keep mine in, but plastic or glass container that seals will work. A wide top makes it easier to pour or scoop out what you need.

    Bookmark   6 hours ago
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@livebetter - thx for description of differences between Borax and Oxyclean. Would you also pls describe Borax compared to washing soda? ThX!

    Bookmark   4 hours ago
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Cynthiamika I probably shouldn't comment to your question since I don't know for sure but I always assumed washing soda is the same as borax. I think it's just a "brand" thing. Super Washing Soda is Arm and Hammer and the other is Borax brand. Maybe someone else will know for sure. :)

    Bookmark   4 hours ago
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