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Versatile Uses for Borax Around Your Home

Looking for an all-purpose cleaner that can tackle various tasks around the house? Look no further than borax! This naturally occurring mineral has been used for centuries as a cleaning and household product, and for good reason. Keep reading for some of my favorite practical and effective uses for borax around your home.

20 Mule Team Borax box on a counter.

Why I Love Using Borax

Most people learn about Borax through homemade laundry detergents. However, after experimenting with making our own homemade laundry detergent, we’ve since stopped and now only use Truly Free. You can learn more about my laundry strategies here including why we made this decision.

Don’t get me wrong, we’re all for homemade products. That’s why we’ve shared our homemade glass cleaner, our all-purpose cleaner, even our DIY ant killer (which happens to use Borax!).

That being said, Borax is definitely one of those household products you’ll want to keep on hand.

Borax being mixed with lemon juice in a bowl to make a paste.

What is Borax?

Borax is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used for centuries as a cleaning and household product. It is made up of sodium borate and has multiple uses due to its versatility.

The brands I see most often are 20 Mule Team Borax and Boroxo, which can both be found in the laundry aisle of most grocery stores.

What Not to Use Borax On?

While borax may have numerous practical and efficient uses, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution for every surface. There are substances and materials you should avoid using borax on. One such material is aluminum, which is highly susceptible to discoloration after contact with borax.

Additionally, avoid using borax directly on delicate surfaces or fabrics due to its abrasive nature.

“Borax contains boric acid, which is toxic to insects and can be harmful when ingested by humans or pets. As such, use caution when handling and storing borax.”

Vinegar being added to a bowl of borax.

Can I Use Borax and Vinegar Together?

If you’re looking for a natural and effective cleaning solution, combining borax and vinegar is a great option. By mixing a tablespoon of sodium borate (borax) with a tablespoon of vinegar in a cup of warm water, you can create a powerful cleaning spray that’s suitable for a wide range of surfaces around your home.

This borax and vinegar solution can help you tackle tough stains, remove grime, and eliminate odors, making it a great tool for your cleaning arsenal. Additionally, because it’s made from natural ingredients, you don’t have to worry about it leaving behind harsh chemical residues.

Uses for Borax Around the Home

  • Stain Remover – Borax can be used to remove stains from clothing, carpets, and upholstery. Simply mix borax with water to create a paste, apply to the stained area, and let it sit for a few minutes before blotting or rinsing. Always do an inconspicuous spot test on the area to make sure it’s not too delicate for the borax.
  • Preserve Flowers – Adding a tablespoon of borax to the water in a vase can help preserve cut flowers and extend their lifespan.
  • Deter Pests – Borax can be used as a natural pest control option. Sprinkle borax along baseboards, in cabinets, and other areas where pests are present to deter them from entering your home. This is why we love borax in our DIY ant killer.
  • Remove Rust – Borax can be combined with lemon juice to create a powerful rust remover. Apply the paste to rusty surfaces and let it sit for several hours before scrubbing away the rust.
  • Kill Weeds – Creating a borax solution that can be used to kill weeds around your yard is fantastic. However, we don’t recommend using borax in the garden, where the ingredients may interfere with crop growth. This solution is fantastic to use on weeds in gravel driveways and along the cracks in sidewalks, etc. Weed Killer Recipe: Mix a cup of borax with a gallon of water and apply it directly to weeds to kill them and prevent regrowth.
  • Mattress Cleaner – Borax can be used to clean and freshen up your mattress. Simply sprinkle borax on your mattress, let it sit for an hour or two, then vacuum it up.
  • Clean Combs and Brushes – Borax can be used to clean combs and brushes by dissolving a quarter of a cup of borax in a sink of warm water and soaking your combs and brushes for 30 minutes before rinsing them thoroughly.
  • Carpet Cleaner – Borax can be used as a carpet cleaner and deodorizer. Simply sprinkle borax on your carpet, let it sit for a few hours, then vacuum it up (for a deodorizer only, leave it for 15 minutes then vacuum up).
  • Deodorize Shoes/Boots – Just as borax deodorizes the carpet, it can deodorize stinky shoes! Sprinkle some borax directly into your shoes, let it sit for 15-30 minutes (or more for really stinky situations) then dump the powder out. Homesteading Hack: We’d recommend following up by washing or rinsing the liners, just so delicate skin doesn’t have any reactions to the remaining powder residue.

It is important to note that borax contains boric acid, which is toxic to insects and can be harmful if ingested by humans or pets. Always use caution when handling and storing borax.

A scoop of borax being poured into a dishwasher.

Uses for Borax in the Kitchen

As a versatile household cleaner, borax can be your go-to cleaning solution in the kitchen. Here are some uses for borax:

  • Kitchen Cleaning Solution – Add borax to warm water to create a natural cleaning solution to tackle stubborn grime and grease on countertops and stovetops.
  • Refrigerator Refresher – Borax can be used to clean and deodorize your refrigerator. Mix a quarter of a cup of borax with a gallon of warm water and use the solution to wipe down your refrigerator’s shelves and walls.
  • Dishwasher Cleaner – To remove buildup and grime from your dishwasher, sprinkle borax at the bottom and run an empty cycle.
  • Cookware Stain Remover – Borax paste can remove stubborn stains on cookware. Mix borax with water to create a paste and apply it to the stains. Let it sit for a few minutes and then scrub the stains away.
  • Drain Cleaner – Borax is effective at clearing drains. Pour a cup of borax followed by hot water down the drain to clear any blockages.
  • Garbage Can Cleaner – To clean and freshen up your garbage can, sprinkle borax at the bottom and let it sit for a few hours. Rinse with water and dry the can thoroughly.

With these simple cleaning solutions using borax in the kitchen, you can maintain a clean and fresh-smelling space without relying on harsh chemicals.

A scoop of borax being poured into a toilet.

Uses for Borax in the Bathroom

Borax is an all-purpose cleaner that can be used in many ways. It is especially useful in the bathroom, where it can effectively clean and freshen various surfaces. Check out these recipes and get a sparkling clean bathroom with minimal effort!

Bathroom SurfaceBorax Solution
Shower SurfacesBorax is also an effective solution for cleaning shower surfaces, removing soap scum and hard water stains. Combine 1/4 cup borax with 1/4 cup vinegar. Add to a spray bottle with hot water and use to clean shower walls and doors.
Toilet BowlAdd 1/2 cup of borax to the toilet bowl overnight. Scrub and flush away grime in the morning.
MildewMix 1/2 cup of borax with 1 gallon of hot water. Use the solution to clean mildew stains from tiles, grout, and shower curtains.
General CleaningCombine 2 tablespoons of borax with 2 cups of hot water. Apply the solution to bathroom surfaces and wipe away with a clean cloth or sponge.
Grout CleanerMix one part borax and two parts baking soda with enough water to create a paste. Apply the paste to the grout, scrub with a brush, and rinse away with water. The mixture will remove dirt and grime and leave your grout looking like new.

Overall, borax is an excellent all-purpose cleaner that can help keep your bathroom surfaces looking clean and like new.

Borax being poured into a washing machine.

Uses for Borax in the Laundry Room

Though many people will recommend using borax in a mixture of grated bar soap and washing soda to make homemade laundry soap, we don’t recommend this. This is a laundry “soap” and not a detergent, which is what we should be using on our clothing.

Soap is a natural cleansing agent made from fats or oils combined with an alkali, while detergent is a synthetic cleansing agent derived from petrochemicals or oleochemicals. Detergents are generally more effective at cleaning, especially in hard water, but soaps are typically more environmentally friendly. (Source)

However, we do think borax makes a great laundry booster, helping to remove stains and brighten whites. To create a simple and effective laundry solution, dissolve a teaspoon of borax in a quart of warm water and use it as a pre-soak for heavily soiled clothes. The borax helps to break down tough stains and dirt, leaving your clothes looking and smelling fresh.

One of the reasons borax is so effective as a laundry booster is that it contains sodium tetraborate, which helps to soften hard water and neutralize odors. This makes it ideal for use in areas with hard water, where detergent alone might not be enough to get your clothes clean.

When using borax as a laundry booster, it is important to use caution and follow the instructions carefully. Too much borax can cause your clothes to become stiff or yellowed over time (a common complaint with homemade laundry soap). Additionally, borax should not be used on delicate fabrics or items such as silk or wool.

Overall, borax is a safe and effective way to boost your laundry routine and keep your clothes looking and smelling fresh. Give it a try and see the difference it can make!

20 Mule Team Borax box on a counter.

Conclusion

As you can see, borax is a versatile and effective household cleaner that can be used in a variety of ways. By utilizing the power of borax, you can clean and freshen up your home without relying on harsh chemicals. Just remember to use caution when handling it and avoid using it on certain surfaces or items.

FAQ

What is borax?

Borax is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used for centuries as a cleaning and household product. One popular brand of borax is 20 Mule Team Borax. It is made up of sodium borate and can be found in the laundry aisle of most supermarkets.

What would you use borax for?

Borax has countless uses around the home. Some of the most common uses include making homemade laundry detergent, removing stains, preserving flowers, refreshing the refrigerator, deterring pests, removing rust, killing weeds, cleaning mattresses, combs, and brushes, making a powerful bathroom cleaner, cleaning carpets, dishwashers, and showers, deodorizing carpets, cleaning grout, and removing rust. It is important to note that borax contains boric acid, which is toxic to insects and can be harmful if ingested by humans or pets, so use caution when handling and storing borax.

What not to use borax on?

While borax has many uses, there are a few items and surfaces that you should avoid using it on. Borax is not recommended for use on aluminum, as it can cause discoloration. Additionally, due to its abrasive nature, it is not suitable for use on delicate surfaces or fabrics.

Can I use borax and vinegar together?

Yes, you can use borax and vinegar together as a powerful cleaning solution. Simply mix a cup of warm water with a tablespoon of borax and a tablespoon of vinegar in a spray bottle. This mixture can be used to clean various surfaces around your home, providing a natural and effective cleaning solution.

What are some uses for borax in the kitchen?

Borax can be especially handy in the kitchen. It can be used as a refrigerator refresher, added to homemade laundry detergent, used to clean the dishwasher, tackle tough stains on cookware, clear clogged drains, and even clean the garbage can.

What are some uses for borax in the bathroom?

Borax is an excellent cleaning solution for the bathroom. It can effectively clean grout, remove soap scum and stains from shower surfaces, and even be used as a toilet bowl cleaner. Additionally, borax can help fight against mildew and keep your bathroom fresh and clean.

What are some uses for borax around the home?

Borax has many applications around the home. You can use it as a carpet cleaner, carpet deodorizer, and to clean combs and brushes. Additionally, it can be utilized to clean and freshen mattresses, helping to remove odors and stains.

What are some uses for borax in the garden?

Borax can also be beneficial in the garden. It can be used to kill weeds by combining a gallon of water with baking soda, lemon juice, hot water, washing soda, and borax solution. Additionally, borax can act as a rust remover for outdoor furniture and other metal surfaces.

How can I use borax as a laundry booster?

Borax is commonly used as a laundry booster. You can create a simple solution by dissolving a teaspoon of borax in a quart of warm water and using it as a pre-soak for heavily soiled clothes. This helps to remove stains and brighten whites.

What are the uses of borax around the home?

Borax is a versatile and effective household cleaner that can be used for a wide range of purposes. From laundry boosters to kitchen and bathroom cleaning solutions, borax is a go-to product for many homemakers. However, it is important to use caution and avoid using it on certain surfaces or items. By harnessing the power of borax, you can keep your home clean and fresh without relying on harsh chemicals.

A jar of baking soda, half a lemon and a cleaning brush.
A man and wife smiling.

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