You might not know it, but borax is actually a naturally occurring chemical compound of the element boron, also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate. It is a soft, white, crystal powder that dissolves easily in water and works as a stain remover, sanitizer, and even insect repellent.
The most recognizable borax product is usually 20-Mule Team Borax, which is found in most department stores and grocery stores. It is much less expensive than commercial cleaning products and can be purchased in bulk at farm supply stores, hardware stores, and online.
You can easily make your own DIY cleaning solutions, including laundry detergent, and use borax in amazing ways. Keep reading for more tips and tricks!
A Quick Note Before You Start
Borax is generally safe for humans, as the average person doesn’t come in contact with enough to be harmful. But it’s still best to handle it with care, as borax can irritate the skin and eyes and can be dangerous when inhaled or ingested.
Use Borax in the Laundry Room
Many homes around the US are found to use hard water, which can really dull the colors and leave laundry feeling stiff. Unless the hard water is treated, deposits of calcium and magnesium can attach to the fabric in a laundry load. Here are a few ways you can boost your laundry using borax:
- Create a Pre-Soak to Remove Stains or Odors
Add one-half cup of borax for every gallon of water in the washer or a large plastic tub. Add the dirty items and soak for about 30 minutes in the borax solution before laundering. Drain the solution from the laundry before washing it as usual.
- Boost Regular Detergent Cleaning
Add one-half cup of borax to the washer drum before loading in dirty laundry to boost the cleaning power of your usual laundry detergent.
- DIY Laundry Detergent
Mix one-half cup of borax, one cup of soap flakes, one cup of baking soda, and one cup of washing soda in a resealable container to make your own laundry detergent. Use one-half cup of the mixture per load of laundry in a standard top-load washer or two tablespoons in a high-efficiency top or front-load washer.
Use Borax as a Household Cleaner
- Treat Stains on Sinks & Laminate Countertops
Make a paste of one cup of borax and one-fourth cup of lemon juice or distilled white vinegar in a small bowl. Use a sponge dipped in the paste to gently scrub the stain. Rinse the area with warm water.
- Freshen & Unclog Kitchen Drains
Add three tablespoons of borax to the garbage disposal and let the powder sit for at least 15 minutes. Turn on the disposal and flush it with hot water for one minute. To unclog a slow, greasy kitchen drain, pour one-half cup of borax and two cups of boiling water into the drain. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes (30 is better) and then flush with warm water.
- Remove Pet Urine Stains & Odor From the Carpet
Mix one-fourth cup each of borax, salt, and vinegar in a small bowl. After blotting away as much of the pet urine as possible with paper towels, apply the paste to the carpet and scrub lightly with a soft-bristled brush. Let the paste remain on the carpet for 30 to 45 minutes, then vacuum it away. Use a damp sponge to remove any remaining traces of the paste.
- Clean Plastic Outdoor Furniture
In a spray bottle, mix one teaspoon of dishwashing liquid, one teaspoon of borax, and one quart of warm water. Shake to mix and label the bottle clearly. Spray the solution onto the plastic furniture and use a soft-bristled brush or cloth to gently scrub the surfaces. Rinse well and dry with a microfiber towel.
Use Borax as a Bathroom Cleaner
- Add Borax to Toilet Bowl
Pour one cup of borax into the toilet bowl at night or when the toilet will not be used for about eight hours. After eight hours, scrub the toilet bowl with a brush to remove stains.
- Remove Water Spots
The minerals in water can leave spots on fixtures, Sprinkle a damp sponge with borax powder and gently scrub chrome fixtures to remove water spots and grime.
- Remove & Inhibit Mildew Growth
Mix one-fourth cup of borax per quart of warm water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the mildew growth in the bathroom, wait 15 minutes, and use a soft-bristled nylon brush to scrub away the mildew. Rinse well and dry the area. Lightly spray the same solution on mildew-prone areas (do not rinse) and allow it to air-dry to help inhibit future mildew growth.
Use Borax in the Dishwasher
- Clean the Dishwasher
Remove the racks from the dishwasher. Sprinkle dry borax on the bottom of the dishwasher and on the inside of the door. Dampen a soft-bristled brush and scrub the inside of the appliance.
- Boost the Cleaning Power of the Dishwasher
Sprinkle one-half cup of borax in the bottom of the dishwasher before loading it with dirty dishes. Add your regular dishwasher detergent to the dispenser and complete the cleaning cycle as usual.
Use Borax as an Insecticide
- Control Roaches
Sprinkle borax in areas where you’ve seen roaches. When they walk through it, it has a poisoning and dehydrating effect.
- Repel Ants
Borax alone will often repel ants. So mix one part borax with three parts sugar to act as bait, and then sprinkle it where you have an ant problem.
- Fight Bed Bugs
Studies have shown that ingesting boric acid in even small amounts results in a high mortality rate for bed bugs. Sprinkle dry borax around the sides of a mattress, bed platform, or furniture cushions
Other Weird Uses for Borax
- For Fun: Borax is a primary ingredient for making every kid’s favorite viral DIY: slime! This viral craft can also be created using liquid starch and glue.
- For Pet Health: One of the most unusual uses for borax is to treat dog mange, a widespread skin ailment that causes rashes, hair loss, and weakened immune systems. To treat this, mix borax and hydrogen peroxide and apply the mix to your dog’s fur with a damp washcloth to tackle mites that may have burrowed deep into your pet’s skin.
For more tips and tricks for cleaning up around the house, check out our blog! You can also read up on how our Boston professional cleaning services can help around the house. Contact us today to find out more and book your services today to start your journey toward a happier and healthier home!