Wearing Boron

:: Wednesday, November 14, 2018 :: Posted By Frank Wawrzos
Do you know how many items of your clothing were manufactured or shipped using borates?


Boric acid is a key reagent in the production of dyes, which are particularly effective in permanently coloring synthetic yarns and fabrics. The borate modifies the complex chemical reaction in a unique way to give different products and effects.

Good as gold

Possibly the first—but certainly a very ancient—use of borates was as the flux in refining and crafting precious metals. Fluxes dissolve the metallic oxides that prevent the gold or silver components bonding together at high temperatures. Borax is still the favored flux of the gold and silversmith.

Stocking up

Nylon yarn—a key component in nylons and tights—is made with boric acid. It’s an important intermediate chemical in the process, controlling the yield and ratios of the oxidation reactions that produce nylons.

The fine touch of leather

Boric acid and sodium chloride protect hides stacked in transport against biodegradation. Borates also help in the tanning process by providing the necessary pH buffered alkaline medium for the tanning chemicals.


Cleaners and detergents
Metals and gold
Leather manufacturing


U.S. Borax, part of Rio Tinto, is a global leader in the supply and science of borates—naturally-occurring minerals containing boron and other elements. We are 1,000 people serving 650 customers with more than 1,800 delivery locations globally. We supply around 30% of the world’s need for refined borates from our world-class mine in Boron, California, about 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles.  Learn more about Rio Tinto.

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