If you make your own cleaning products, you may be familiar with borax. Also known as sodium borate, borax is a natural mineral compound that is commonly used to wash clothes. It is a fantastic stain fighter, and works on tough stains like oil, tomato sauce and wine. It’s also used in some soap recipes, toothpaste formulas and as a preservative. It cleans by converting some water molecules to hydrogen peroxide (source).
Borax is found deep within the earth and looks like large white crystals. The large crystals are ground to create a white and odorless powder consisting of very small crystals. The use of borax can be traced to 10th century AD, when borax was used in ceramic glazes in China. In 1872, borate deposits were discovered in California’s Death Valley. Since then, this mine has grown to become one of the richest borate deposits in the world (source).