Borax is a relatively cheap cleaning formula that can be found in most households. Its chemical properties allow it to take part in many uses around the house and the garden.
This article outlines 17 ways to use Borax around the house. It also lays out the main properties and benefits that make this chemical an essential part of the cleaning supplies in every household.
What Is Borax?
Also known as sodium tetraborate, Borax is a natural substance that has long been used to clean different surfaces, loosen stains, and remove dirt.
Borax was first discovered in dry lakes in Tibet. Tincal, found in Persia, Tibet, and other parts of Asia, was traded to the Arabian Peninsula using the Silk Road around the 8th century AD.
Borax became popular in the late 1800s when Francis Marion Smith’s – Pacific Borax Company began to market and popularize the applications of Borax. Francis was supplying timber for several ore mills in Columbus, Nevada, when he discovered a rich supply of Borax and soon after began mining. His borax mining operation was so successful that he was able to build a business empire and later would be remembered as “The Borax King of Death Valley”.
Borax is a mineral and a salt of boric acid with rich boron content. However, unlike boric acid, Borax isn’t toxic if ingested in considerable doses.
On top of that, Borax is a soft white powder that easily dissolves in water. It turns into sodium tetraborate pentahydrate when it gets dehydrated due to exposure to dry air.
Since Borax has an excellent reputation for cleaning laundry, it’s usually found in the laundry detergent section of the supermarket.
A word of caution, dealing with Borax requires great carefulness as it can irritate the eyes and the skin if used before dilution. This is primarily due to its highly alkaline nature, with a pH of about 9.5.
17 Household Uses of Borax
Borax is very safe to use for different purposes, from cleaning laundry to deodorizing carpets. Here is a list of 17 ways to use Borax around the house:
1. Getting Rid of Rust
Rust happens when an acidic substance comes in contact with a metallic item. Therefore, Borax can solve the problem due to its highly alkaline nature.
You can use Borax to remove rust from old sports equipment, stainless steel cooking utensils, bikes, and anything rusty.
To make a rust removal formula:
- Mix a tablespoon of Borax and an equal amount of vinegar or lemon oil to form a paste.
- With gloves on, apply the paste over the rusty area and let it sit.
- After an hour, use a damp cloth to wipe the paste away.
2. Cleaning Toilets
Borax can be very beneficial when cleaning your toilet. Due to its strong stain-removing powers, it can easily clean your toilet without the need to scrub.
All you need to do is leave half a cup of Borax in the toilet bowl for an hour. Then, you can use a damp brush to clean the toilet and flush it away. If you are dealing with old stubborn stains, leave the Borax overnight.
Alternatively, when tackling mild stains, you can dilute half a cup of borax powder into 12 oz of warm water in a spray bottle. Then, spray the inner and outer parts of the toilet, and scrub the toilet with a sponge or a brush.
3. Scrubbing Tile Floors
Borax can remove stubborn stains and dirt from linoleum, wood floors, and tiles. A little bit of Borax on your cleaning solution can improve its cleaning power and soften water.
Therefore, Borax can clean all types of floors. All you need to do is add two tablespoons of Borax and four tablespoons of vinegar to your regular cleaning solution and use it as usual.
4. Deodorizing Surfaces
Borax can remove odors by removing the particles that cause smells in the first place. This can come in handy with smelly carpets, furniture, and mattresses. After they get stained, these surfaces can develop pungent smells, which Borax can remove.
Here’s how to do it:
First, spray vinegar or water to make the carpet or mattress lightly damp. Then, sprinkle a little borax on the surface and scrub lightly in a circular motion.
Leave the Borax on the mattress or the carpet until it fully dries. Finally, vacuum the remnants away.
5. Cleaning Grout
Borax can move stubborn discoloration stains on the grout on your floors or tiled walls.
To create the necessary cleaning solution, combine one tablespoon of Borax, two tablespoons of baking soda, and some vinegar to make a paste.
With gloves on, apply the paste to the grout using a toothbrush or your fingers. Press lightly on the stains. Leave the mixture on the grout for about 20 to 30 minutes before you clear it away with a damp cloth.
6. Combating Bugs and Mice
Borax can get rid of mice and bugs such as cockroaches and ants.
For mice, sprinkle Borax on the floor and in corners.
On the other hand, to get rid of insects, sprinkle equal amounts of powdered sugar and Borax where insects gather. However, you must be cautious as it can harm pets and children.
If you have pets or children, mix two tablespoons of Borax and two cups of powdered sugar in three cups of water. Then, pour the mixture onto cotton balls and put them in a glass jar.
Fasten the lead and make a few nail holes in it. You can put this trap near the bugs’ gathering area.
7. Treating Pink Eye
Back in the day, people used to treat pink eye by applying a mild mixture of Borax for a few days.
You can create the necessary treatment by adding 1/8 tablespoon borax to a cup of warm distilled water.
Now that you have your treatment soak a cotton ball and apply it to the entire eye area to sterilize it. You may also put a couple of drops of the solution into the infected eye for faster results.
8. Clearing Crayon and Pen Markings From the Wall
If your child turns your wall into a huge canvas, Borax is here to rescue you, as it can get through ink and crayon wax.
To clean your walls:
- Add a tablespoon of Borax to a cup of warm water.
- Saturate the stain with the solution.
- Let it sit for ten minutes before you wipe it with a damp cloth. This should leave your walls spotless.
Generally speaking, it’s safe to use Borax on most surfaces. However, before applying it to your walls, perform a spot test to ensure it works safely.
9. Treating Athlete’s Foot
Borax can be effective at getting rid of strong fungal infections. Therefore, it can be beneficial in treating athlete’s foot.
Soak your feet in a solution of borax and hydrogen peroxide to remedy athlete’s foot. While Borax does its magic, hydrogen peroxide enables it to penetrate the skin easily.
To make this solution, add half a cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide to a cup of hot tap water. This will help dilute the hydrogen peroxide to 1%, which makes it less abrasive on the skin.
Then, add a cup of Borax to the diluted solution and stir. Keep adding Borax until it doesn’t dissolve anymore, which means that the solution is saturated with Borax.
Now, you can use this borax solution to eliminate the fungi causing the athlete’s foot.
10. Enhancing Laundry Detergent
Borax is well known for its ability to clean laundry and remove stubborn stains. A small amount of Borax can enhance the power of your laundry detergent.
This can be especially beneficial for washing discolored whites or clearing acidic stains like rust and tomato sauce.
All you have to do is add one tablespoon of Borax to your regular amount of laundry detergent. However, if you wash with hard water, you should add half a cup with each cycle.
11. Combating Mildew
Mold and mildew generate a musty smell that gives a sense of dirtiness to your house. They’re common in basements and some bathrooms, especially in warm and humid weather.
Since high borax concentrations can be toxic to plants, a borax solution can remove mold and mildew and prevent their recurrence.
You can make a borax solution for this purpose. Add half a cup of Borax to a gallon of warm water. Then, spray it on the mold or mildew until the entire area is saturated.
When the borax solution dries, wipe it with a damp cloth. If you think the problem might reappear, don’t wipe the solution after it dries out.
12. Disinfecting Your Garbage Disposal
Generally speaking, waste disposal units can get dirty with plenty of germs. Here appears the disinfecting power of Borax, which can remove built-up soot, dirt, and strong odors.
Sprinkle a tablespoon of Borax down the disposal, and let it sit for an hour. Then, allow hot water to run for about two minutes to wash it away.
You can repeat this process every two to three weeks to keep your disposal always fresh.
13. Deep-Cleaning Your Clothes
No matter how clean your laundry looks, it might still have some unseen minerals, dirt, or other built-up material. Don’t worry; Borax allows you to deep clean your laundry and removes any unwanted contamination.
All you should do is soak your clothes in a mixture of water, detergent, and Borax. To create this mixture, mix half a cup of Borax, 3/4 a cup of laundry detergent, and half a cup of washing soda in a gallon of water.
Fill a washing bowl or even your bathtub with the solution. Then, add your laundry and leave it to soak for five or six hours. For best results, stir your laundry every hour.
Afterward, you can wash your clothes as you normally do.
14. Promoting Seed and Fruit Development
Interestingly, you can use Borax around your garden or backyard. It can help fruit trees by promoting their seed and fruit development.
All you should do is spray a borax solution on the soil around a fully-grown fruit tree every couple of years. This solution should be 10:1 Borax to water in order to add the necessary boron to the soil.
15. Unclogging the Drains
You can use Borax to clear clogged drains. Even better, it can be less toxic than other drain cleaners. Borax can easily clean the drains and clear away obstructions.
Just sprinkle half a cup of Borax down the drain. Then, pour two cups of boiling water. Wait for 15 minutes before flushing with more boiling water. You may repeat the process until the drains are clear and clean.
16. Getting Rid of Fleas
Borax can also help you eliminate flea infestations in about 24 hours. To do so, mix equal amounts of borax and table salt. Then, scrub that mixture onto almost anything.
For instance, you may apply it to carpets, furniture, and cracks. After 24 hours, vacuum to remove residue.
You should repeat the entire process until there’s no trace of fleas. In the case of a severe flea infestation, you may need to perform the process every 12 hours.
Interestingly, Borax is so effective that it dries out the fleas and their eggs to get rid of them altogether. However, you shouldn’t use it to eliminate the fleas on your pet’s coat, for it can be toxic.
17. Making an All-Purpose Cleaner
For instance, you may use it to clean windows, mirrors, microwaves, violin strings, and more.
There are three methods to create a powerful homemade all-purpose cleaner with Borax. The first entails mixing two teaspoons of Borax, a teaspoon of dish soap, four tablespoons of vinegar, and four cups of hot water.
The second method relies on a store-purchased all-purpose cleaner. Dissolve two tablespoons of Borax into two cups of water, and add the mixture to your all-purpose cleaner.
The third way is to use a teaspoon of castile soap, a teaspoon of Borax, two tablespoons of vinegar, and two cups of hot water.
Borax is a convenient tool around the house. The chemical can help you perform many tasks, from gardening to cleaning to unclogging the drains.
There are at least 17 ways to use Borax around the house. For instance, you can use Borax to make an all-purpose cleaner, clean tiles, and get rid of bugs, fleas, and mice.