What Is Boric Acid Used For?

Medically Reviewed on 12/8/2020

Boric acid uses

Boric acid is a water-soluble white compound and occurs naturally.
Boric acid is a water-soluble white compound and occurs naturally.

Boric acid is a water-soluble white compound and occurs naturally. It consists of oxygen, boron, and hydrogen. It is claimed to have antifungal and antimicrobial properties. Always consult your healthcare provider before applying boric acid to any body part. It is irritating to the skin and may cause severe reactions.

The uses may include:

  • Boric acid is often a part of homeopathic medicines used for treating vaginal discharge and itching. This medication is a combination of friendly bacteria, vitamin E, and minute amounts of boric acid.
  • It is usually used in dilute solutions as a treatment for diaper rash, insect bites and stings, and sunburns.
  • Boric acid is an effective pesticide for cockroaches, rats, and flies.
  • Boric acid is called a swimming pool chemical because it has proved to be highly useful for maintenance. It can help stabilize the pH level of water and prevent problems with algae. This product reduces the amount of chlorine needed in the pool. The compound can help to keep the water clear and sparkling. It is also used for clearing off fungi in the pool water.
  • It is also helpful in treating various types of ear infections in both humans and pets (otitis externa, also called swimmer's ear, is an infection of the outer ear canal). The use of boric acid in children is not recommended.
  • It is also helpful in treating foul foot odor. A person suffering from excessive smelly feet can apply boric acid powder mixed with talc to the inner side of footwear.
  • Boric acid when mixed with distilled water serves as a wound spray. The solution contains antiseptic properties that help in treating minor wounds such as cuts and burns. This must not be used too frequently.
  • Urine sample bottles often contain boric acid as a preservative, which maintains the quality of the specimen as it travels to the lab. Clear bottles tend to have a small amount of boric acid powder at the bottom. Research shows that the addition of this substance lowers false-positive results. It also preserves the white blood cells in the urine for analysis.
  • Boric acid helps to get rid of tough stains on clothes by adding it to regular detergent while doing laundry.
  • They are used to remove dirt and odor from kitchens and bathrooms. 
  • Due to its flame-retardant properties, boric acid is extensively used in the manufacture of furniture, mattresses, and insulation. Boric acid is helpful in the preservation of timbers against fungal and insect attack.
  • It is used industrially for the manufacture of fiberglass, household glass products, and glass used in liquid crystal display (LCD). To produce glass with a better chemical and high-temperature resistance, boric acid is applied to glass products.
  • Boric acid serves as an excellent cleaner for all types of mold problems and insects such as ants, cockroaches, silverfish, fleas, and others.
  • Boric acid is also used in leather manufacture, and it is used in the jewelry industry in combination with denatured alcohol.
  • Boric acid is also used for welding flux by blacksmiths.
  • Its mixture with petroleum or vegetable oil works as an excellent lubricant that can be used on ceramic or metal surfaces. It can also be used to lubricate carrom boards for faster and smooth play.
  • Manufacturers use boric acid in various products such as enamels, pesticides, glazes, and paints.
  • Boric acid is widely used to treat boron deficiencies in plants.

It’s naturally present in vegetables, most fruits, grains, and nuts. However, we wouldn’t be able to tell because boric acid crystals are odorless and essentially tasteless. It’s not poisonous in very small amounts that occur in nature. However, boric acid is poisonous if swallowed or inhaled in large quantities. High concentrations of boric acid can potentially lead to reproductive problems, possible kidney damage, endocrine disruption, increased liver enzymes, abdominal pain, allergic reaction, burning sensation, irritation, central nervous system (CNS) stimulation, CNS depression, diarrhea, rash, and vomiting.

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Medically Reviewed on 12/8/2020
References
Boric acid: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/chemicals-product-safety/boric-acid.html

SAFETY DATA SHEET: http://www.nationaldiagnostics.com/msds_pdfs/sds_product10.php?cat_num=EC-609

https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/d01225a1

http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/boricgen.html