Wouldn’t it be great if there was just one product that cleaned everything in your home? While there isn’t a single magical product to tackle absolutely every chore in the house, borax comes pretty close.
Borax, also known as sodium borate, is a naturally occurring mineral that can clean, remove stains, deodorize and disinfect nearly every hard and soft surface in your home.
Imagine how much space you’d save, not to mention how much money, if you could swap out the dozens of specialized cleaning products you probably have around your house with just one box of borax.
Keep Fabrics Looking Fabulous
You’ll find borax in the laundry aisle for good reason. It is safe to use on even the most delicate fabrics, and its alkaline quality helps balance pH levels and softens water, preventing damage to fibers and increasing your clothing’s longevity.
Add a half cup of borax to every load of laundry to brighten, whiten, and deodorize smelly or musty fabrics.
You pre-soak stained items with borax for about a half hour before adding detergent, then run the wash as usual. As an added bonus, borax also removes hard water stains inside your washing machine.
2. The Most Versatile All-Purpose Cleaner You Could Ever Want
There are many so-called “all-purpose” cleaners available, but most carry warnings to avoid using them on certain surfaces. Borax can be used to safely and effectively clean just about everything in your home, including the kitchen sink.
You’ll find instructions for making a wide variety of homemade cleaning products with borax to clean floors, walls, toilets, appliances, pots and pans, and even hairbrushes and combs.
I can’t wait to try their instructions for cleaning a toaster oven. You can also watch an expert at Clean My Space demonstrate easy methods for keeping your home sparkling clean with borax.
3. Rid Your Home of Unpleasant Odors
The odor-neutralizing power of borax makes it an eco-friendly alternative to the heavy fragrances and nasty chemicals found in most commercial air fresheners. The 20 Mule Team explains how to make your own deodorizing spray to spritz on musty curtains, upholstered furniture, carpets, and stinky pet bedding.
You can also add a few tablespoons of borax to your cat’s litter box or the bottom of your trash can to help absorb moisture and odors.
4. Eliminate Unhealthy Mold and Mildew from Your Environment
In addition to being unsightly and having an unpleasant odor, mold can cause a whole host of health problems for you and your family. You can get rid of this health hazard and keep it from coming back with one cup of borax mixed in a gallon of water.
Spray or wipe this mixture onto any moldy areas in your home and don’t wipe it away – it will kill the mold and help to prevent it from returning for a long time after you’ve applied it.
5. Clear Out the Creepy Crawlies
If your home has any uninvited guests you’d like to get rid of, borax can help evict them – permanently. Get rid of many common household pests such as ants, cockroaches, silverfish and even mice by sprinkling a little borax around infested areas.
Borax, sugar and water can also be combined to make a very effective ant killer as demonstrated on YouTube by SweetPotatoPatterns.
However, use caution if you have pets or small children in the house. Please be sure to place borax well out of their reach, as it can be dangerous if ingested.
Try putting it under the stove or refrigerator, as these are commonly infested areas that your animals and kids won’t be able to access.
6. Easily Remove Rust and Rust Stains
If you’ve found rust on appliances, patio furniture or your favorite cooking pot – don’t despair! You can save any rusty metal object with a little homemade rust remover.
Check out the list of easy to make rust removing recipes provided by The Balance.
Mix a paste with two cups of water, one cup of borax and one tablespoon of lemon juice. Apply this mixture to any rusty item and let it sit for at least a half hour, then scrub away the paste and the rust with a scrub brush.
You might have to repeat the process for extremely rusty objects. You can also use this mixture to remove rust stains from carpets or clothing.
7. Get Yourself Out of a Sticky Situation
Whether you are trying to get a price sticker off a new purchase or remove labels from old jars before repurposing them, it can be almost impossible to completely remove the sticky residue left behind.
Borax comes to the rescue again with this simple formula: mix half a cup of borax with one-quarter cup of warm water. Rub this mixture onto the adhesive residue and it will suddenly be quite easy to remove.
This trick also works on other sticky stuff such as glue, gum, and even tar.
8. Unclog Drains, Garbage Disposals and Toilets Without Using Harsh Chemicals
I once spent the better part of an hour searching in vain for a drain cleaner that was safe to use with septic tanks. Even if you don’t have a septic system, why would you want to have dangerous chemicals sitting in your house, waiting to be flushed into the public water supply?
A half cup of borax followed by two cups of boiling water will unclog your drains just as well as commercial products, and it will also clean and disinfect the drain and leave it smelling fresh without harming the environment.
9. Kill Weeds and Help Your Garden Grow
Paradoxically, borax can be used as both a weed killer and as a treatment for certain stunted plants that are unable to bloom and produce fruit.
Treehugger.com provides instructions for making your own environmentally friendly herbicides with borax and other natural ingredients.
Borax can also be used to treat boron deficiency in many plants that require this trace mineral.
Apple and pear trees can benefit from a cup of borax sprinkled around their roots every three to four years, and quite a few vegetables, including broccoli, carrots and corn will improve with a spray made with one tablespoon of borax mixed with a gallon of water.
10. Preserve Flowers Forever
Cut flowers from your garden are a wonderful way to brighten up your home. Sadly, they only last a short time before they wilt. If you’d like to preserve your cut flowers to enjoy year-round, there is a simple process to keep them looking gorgeous for a very long time.
You’ll need a mixture of equal parts sand and borax and an airtight container. Follow the instructions provided by GardenGuides.com to learn how to get the best results.
Please note that this process may not work on flowers you’ve purchased from the florist due to special water solutions commonly used to preserve store-bought bouquets.
11. Clean Up Your Little One’s Accidents
We love our babies and our pets, but they both come with their share of messes. Whether you are housebreaking a puppy or looking forward to getting your child past the bed-wetting stage, cleaning up the pungent and long-lasting aroma of urine can be a huge challenge.
GetRidofThings.com explains how to get rid of urine odor from a mattress. Just mix a paste of borax and water and apply it to the affected area, then let it dry for about an hour and brush it away.
CentsAble describes a similar method, with the addition of a little salt and vinegar, to get out urine stains from carpet and upholstered furniture.
12. Keep Carpets Clean and Fresh
You can use borax as a carpet cleaner, deodorizer and spot cleaner, and it will even help to combat a flea infestation in your carpet. It’s moisture and odor absorbing properties will alleviate musty, unpleasant smells. Just sprinkle on your carpet, wait about half an hour and vacuum.
If you have a steam cleaner, add a half cup of borax to each gallon of hot water. Sophisticated Edge describes several methods for keeping your carpets like new with borax.
13. Get Sparkling Clean and Streak-Free Windows and Mirrors
You don’t need commercially made glass cleaner to keep your mirrors and windows sparkling like diamonds. Dissolve two tablespoons of borax into three cups of warm water and spray or wipe onto any glass surface for a streak-free shine.
SFGate.com offers several suggestions for homemade glass cleaner.
14. Brighten Up Vintage China that Is Showing It’s Age
If your old china is looking a little dingy or yellow, try filling your sink with warm water and half a cup of borax. Let china soak for about 30 minutes, then rinse and wash as usual.
This method works like a dream and avoids the risk of scratching delicate china with scrubbing.
15. Create Long-Lasting and Less Smoky Homemade Candles
If you make your own candles, you’ll love this easy way to make them burn longer and cleaner than ever before. WikiHow provides detailed instructions for making your own candle wicks with a little twine, table salt and borax.
Borax-treated wicks will reduce the amount of ash and smoke your candles produce, and they will also burn longer and brighter.
As you can see, borax is an extremely useful item to keep on hand. It’s a great choice for numerous household chores, and it can easily take the place of a whole cupboard full of expensive and environmentally unfriendly products.
Borax is readily available at most grocery stores, it’s safe for you and the planet, it’s relatively inexpensive, and a little goes a long way. There are very few products that offer so many different benefits in one little box.
Try a few of the suggestions listed above, and you’ll soon learn why people have been using borax for over a century. No doubt it will soon become a staple in your household.