Permaculture Malaga – Borax

Once again borax…

In the spring I wanted to make my own detergent I searched and found 10.000 recipes with borax in it. I couldn’t find it at the chemist in Spain so I searched in Denmark and found that it was… well not recommended by crunchy people in Denmark in general, and very much not for grey-water systems in particular (which we will have at the finca). So I did something else (bicarbonate soda and grated soap) and my clothes are clean, but grease-stains don’t really come out… but I live with it until I find a better solution.

Then we had roaches – well not that many – but I can’t stand them, and I wanted those suckers to die! Like “that” close to going down and buying something really really poisonous. So I asked my crunchy online friends and they all said “borax”. I was confused, even more. I asked my friends and was told: It is illegal to market as a biocide in the EU, it causes fetal damages and very small amounts ingested can kill a child. A friend also said that it is used in wood protection, but that we probably wouldn’t use it in our houses – the people in Southern Europe might be a little more liberal with those kinds of considerations as the generally have more critters in their houses and they want to get rid of them. OK – I have hardly seen a roach since, so I thought who cares I’m moving to the country and wont have that problem anymore.

Fast forward, we bought a house, the roof has caved in a few places, the rafters are eaten by carpenter bees, or wood wasps (they look like wasps). So we try to find a natural solution to protect our new rafters against critters. Again – borax comes up. On they say that it is the only way to protect our rafters. We cannot keep out carpenter bees by putting up nets (I tend to agree since I’ve seen the tiny holes they make in the bamboo i use in my garden), because holes small enough will not let the roof breathe,  Using linseed oil (or any other oil) and beeswax will not keep the critters away either. The only thing that will keep the critters out is borax – well not the only thing, but it is the least toxic thing they can find and they do not have a problem recommending it. Now permies is somewhat more crunchy than your average internet forum, it actually doesn’t get much crunchier, so once again I am confused. Actually more confused than ever.

I could use black locusts to build my house… but that does not really seem feasible right now. Concrete beams would not be eaten by critters and would last “for ever” – but doesn’t really seem sustainable (please do correct me if I’m wrong).

What would you do?

One thought on “Permaculture Malaga – Borax

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  1. A friend of mine just said: If using wood is not feasible without using a pesticide, then wouldn’t it be more sustainable to use something else? And also – what did they do in the old days in Spain?

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