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Borax is a mild water softener that helps to boost the power of your detergent.

Borax naturally softens hard water helping detergent work more effectively.

What is pH?


20 Mule Team® Borax is a mild water softener that conditions the water in your washing machine. Borax also acts as a buffer and raises the pH content of water to a slightly basic solution with a pH of 8.

What is pH level?

Alkalinity is measured using the pH scale. The abbreviation “pH” stands for “potential of hydrogen” and refers to the amount of hydrogen ions in a solution.


A lower pH level indicates greater acidity. Something with a higher pH is more alkaline.


The pH scale is not linear but logarithmic. That is, water with a pH of 8 is 10 times more alkaline than water with a pH of 7. Water with a pH of 6 is a hundred times more acidic than water with a pH of 8.


Curious to see a sample of where certain things sit on the pH scale? Have a look here:


Chart showing the pH of everyday household items.

How does pH impact laundry?

Overly acidic or alkaline water can damage elastics and delicate fabrics, and make clothes seem dingy.


The normal range for pH in surface water systems is 6.5 to 8.5, and for groundwater systems 6 to 8.5. Alkalinity is a measure of the capacity of water to resist a change in pH that would tend to make the water more acidic. The measurement of alkalinity and pH is needed to determine the corrosiveness of water.

Using 20 Mule Team® Borax to condition water

When using 20 Mule Team Borax to help soften or condition your water for both high efficiency and most top-loading washing machines, add a 1/2 cup of 20 Mule Team Borax per load. If you have a large-capacity machine, bump up the amount to 3/4 cup of 20 Mule Team Borax per load.


20 Mule Team Borax is added to the actual wash cycle, not the rinse cycle when used in your washing machine. When washing delicates, 20 Mule Team Borax is the way to go. 20 Mule Team Borax is recommended for fabrics that must be hand washed.