Within the past couple of years, I’ve had the privilege of teaching a couple of classes at Pinner’s Conference in Salt Lake City. In one of those classes, I talked about my “love affair” with making my own homemade cleaning products, and taught how to make the 10 of the most popular cleaning recipes on my website. As I looked at my demonstration table during that class, it was obvious that borax played a big part in many of these recipes. These days I rarely am without a box or two in my laundry and cleaning cupboards! So recently I got to thinking about just how many uses there are for borax, and that’s what I’ll be sharing with you today!
Before I proceed however, I want to take a second to comment on the safety of using borax. It’s a subject that comes up every time I write a post that mentions borax, so here are my thoughts on the matter…
Borax is a naturally occurring mineral also known as sodium borate. It doesn’t cause cancer, accumulate in the body, or absorb through the skin. It is not harmful to the environment. People have been using borax for over 100 years to clean their home and for use in their laundry. I personally have no problem using it for cleaning or in my homemade products.
So now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get down to business, shall we? :-)
31 Household Uses For Borax
1. Carpet Cleaning
Boost the cleaning power of your carpet cleaning machine by adding a 1/2 cup of borax per gallon of water in your reservoir.
2. Fruit Trees
Sprinkle a cup of borax around a full-sized apple tree (or a couple of tablespoons around a young tree) every 3-4 years to add boron, a trace mineral, to the soil. It is needed for good cell wall growth and for fruit and seed development.
Keep roaches, waterbugs, and ants away by sprinkling equal parts of borax and sugar anywhere you suspect they may be entering your home.
4. Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Pour 1 cup of borax into the toilet bowl at night before you go to sleep. In the morning, give the toilet a good scrub with your toilet brush. The borax will loosen any grime or deposits and make it easier to scrub away!
5. Flea Killer
Sprinkle borax on dog beds, carpets, and other areas where you suspect that fleas are hatching.
6. Mice Deterrent
Sprinkle borax on the floor along the walls. Mice like to run along the side of walls, but they don’t like getting borax on their feet, so they are less likely to return to that area of the house.
7. Preserving Flowers
Fresh-cut flowers of many varieties can be preserved with the help of borax! Borax removes moisture from blossoms and leaves, preventing the wilting that would normally occur. Mix one part borax with two parts cornmeal, and sprinkle the mixture into the bottom of a box. Place your flower(s) in the box, then sprinkle more of the borax and cornmeal mixture over the top. Cover the box and let it sit for about 2 weeks to let the flowers dry.
8. Violin String Saver
If you play violin or an instrument with a bow, you can clean the bow hairs when they get gummed up with rosin. Just dampen an old toothbrush, dip it in borax, and gently scrub the bow hair in small sections. Avoid getting the any water or borax on the wood. When you’re done, wipe the bow hairs clean and re-rosin.
9. Better Homemade Candles
If you make your own candles, treat the wicks by soaking them in a solution of salt and borax to help reduce ash and eliminate smoke problems.
10. “Goo Gone” Remover
Get rid of sticky, gooey, and gummy adhesive residue. Simply mix together borax and water in a 2-to-1 ratio, then rub the mixture onto the residue.
11. Cleaning Cookware
Borax is a mild and gentle cleaner that’s great for porcelain and aluminum cookware. Sprinkle on pots and pans and rub with a damp dishcloth. Rinse thoroughly.
12. Refrigerator Deodorizer
Spilled food can be washed away with a sponge or soft cloth using a solution of 1 quart warm water and 1 tablespoon of borax. Rinse with cold water.
13. Shower, Tub & Tile
Sprinkle borax on a damp sponge or soft cloth and use as you would a powdered cleanser. This can even be used on fiberglass surfaces without scratching the finish. Rinse thoroughly.
14. Remove Rust
Remove rust by mixing up a simple cleaning solution. Start with a tablespoon or two of borax, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and enough water to make a paste. Apply the paste with a sponge or scrubber to your rusted items.
To help keep your humidifier free of odor, dissolve 1/2 cup of borax in a gallon of water and add it to the tank. Run your humidifier for 10-15 minutes, then dump out the tank and rinse well with clean water.
16. Sink Cleaner
Remove stains from stainless steel or porcelain sinks with a paste of 1 cup borax and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Using a sponge or cloth, rub the stain with the paste. Rinse with warm water.
17. Outdoor Furniture
Mix 1 teaspoon dish soap, 1 teaspoon borax and 1 quart warm water in a spray bottle and use to clean outdoor furniture.
18. Cat Litter Deodorizer
Minimize odor in your cat’s litter box by mixing a few tablespoons of borax in with the litter.
19. Garbage Disposal Cleaner
Clean and sanitize your garbage disposal by putting 3 tablespoons of borax down the drain. Let it sit for an hour and flush it with warm water.
20. Unclog Drains
Unclog drains with 1/2 cup of borax followed by 2 cups of boiling water. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then run your water for a few minutes to flush out the borax and any clogs.
21. Clean Mattresses
Remove urine odor from a mattress. Wet the mattress, rub in borax with a damp cloth. Let dry, then vacuum up the remaining residue.
22. Garbage Can Deodorizer
Deodorize your garbage pail by filling it with borax and water. Let it soak then rinse it out. Sprinkle some borax in the bottom once it’s clean. This will keep the bugs away and absorb any odor-causing moisture.
23. Kill Weeds
Use a sprinkle of borax to kill weeds that surface in concrete cracks and on walkways. (Borax shouldn’t be used in the garden because it will also kill your plants!)
24. Shine China
Make your worn china sparkle again by soaking in a sink full of warm water and a 1/2 cup of borax. Rinse well and wash a second time as usual.
25. Clean Hairbrushes and Combs
Mix a 1/4 cup of borax and 1 tablespoon of dish soap in a basin of warm water. Swish brushes in the sudsy water, let soak, and rinse clean. Allow the brushes to air dry completely.
26. Mold Inhibitor
Make a thick paste of borax and water, and smear it on the moldy area. Let the paste sit until it dries, or at least overnight. Sweep up the powder, and rinse the area clean.
27. Make Clothing Flame Retardant
Many fire departments recommend a solution containing borax to make clothing more flame retardant. Mix together a cup of borax and 1/2 a cup of boric acid in 1 gallon of water. If the article is washable, soak in the solution after final rinsing, then dry. If the garment is not washable, spray with the solution and air dry. This solution will wash out of clothing and should be applied after each washing or dry cleaning to remain effective.
28. Refresh Linens
Remove mildew and mustiness from linens by soaking them in 2 quarts of water mixed with 2 cups of borax. Let the linens sit for a few hours, then rinse clean.
And finally, here are a few kid-friendly projects I’ve seen around the web that use borax! Enjoy!
29. Homemade Floam
from Growing A Jeweled Rose
from Twig and Toadstool
31. Homemade Flubber
from Live Craft Eat