I use Borax in our laundry detergent and it works well. Yes, it is harsh, but keep it up where your child won't get into it and you should be fine. It won't hurt you in the laundry detergent. Borax is also a natural substance, so natural doesn't necessarily mean that you can eat it. Go to the website for Borax http://www.20muleteamlaundry.com/about
and read the MSDS sheet. It's not as hazardous as you've probably been lead to believe.