Sodium perborate tetrahydrate is obtained by addition of hydrogen peroxide to a sodium metaborate solution at a temperature close to 20 °C. Sodium perborate tetrahydrate is an important ingredient of many househould laundry detergent powders, laundry bleach additive products and automatic machine dishwash powders. Unlike sodium percarbonate and sodium perphosphate, perborate is not just an addition compound of peroxide, but contains true peroxygen bonds.
White, free-flowing granule
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Iron (ii, iii), %
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Sodium perborate serves as a stable source of active oxygen in many detergents, laundry detergents, cleaning products, and laundry bleaches. It is a less aggressive bleach than sodium hypochlorite and other chlorine-based bleaches, causing less degradation to dyes and textiles. Borates also have some non-oxidative bleaching properties. Sodium perborate releases oxygen rapidly at temperatures over 60 °C. To make it active at lower temperatures (40–60 °C), it has to be mixed with a suitable activator, typically tetraacetylethylenediamine (TAED).
Sodium perborate is also present in some tooth bleaching formulas for non vital root treated teeth. The compound is inserted in the root canal and left in place for an extended period of time to allow it to diffuse into the tooth and bleach stains from the inside out.
The compound has antiseptic properties and can act as a disinfectant. It is also used as a "disappearing" preservative in some brands of eye drops. Sodium perborate is also used as an oxidizing reagent in organic synthesis. For example, it converts thioethers into sulfoxides and sulfones.
Sodium Perborate Tetrahydrate is not regulated as dangerous chemical for transportation, but Sodium Perborate Monohydarte is classified as oxidier and the newly allocated UN number as 3377 (as per IMDG CODE) from July 2003.