19 Clever Uses for Borax You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner
Tired of harsh chemicals taking over your home? Scrub out stains, clean your home and freshen up your favourite clothes with the power of borax.
Clean your toilet
Want a way to disinfect your toilet bowl and leave it glistening without having to worry about dangerous or unpleasant fumes? Use a stiff brush to scrub it using a solution of 1/2 cup borax in one gallon (3.7 litres) water.
Clear a clogged drain
Before you reach for a caustic drain cleaner to unclog the kitchen or bathroom drain, try this much gentler approach. Use a funnel to insert a ½ cup of borax into the drain, then slowly pour in two cups of boiling water. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes, then flush with hot water. Repeat for stubborn clogs.
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Rub out sink stains
Get rid of those stubborn stains—even rust—in your stainless steel or porcelain sink. Make a paste of one cup of borax and ¼ cup of lemon juice. Put some of the paste on a cloth or sponge and rub it into the stain, then rinse with running warm water. The stain should wash away with the paste.
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Clean windows and mirrors
To get windows and mirrors spotless and streakless, just wash them with a clean sponge dipped in two tablespoons of borax dissolved in three cups of water.
Rub out rug stains
Remove stubborn stains from rugs and carpets by thoroughly dampening the area, then rubbing in some borax. Let the area dry, then vacuum or blot it with a solution of equal parts of vinegar and soapy water and allow to dry. Repeat if necessary. Don’t forget to first test the procedure on an inconspicuous corner of the rug or on a carpet scrap before applying it to the stain.
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Remove mildew from fabric
To remove mildew from upholstery and other fabrics, soak a sponge in a solution of a ½ cup of borax dissolved in two cups of hot water and rub it into the affected areas. Let it soak in for several hours until the stain disappears, then rinse well. To remove mildew from clothing, soak it in a solution of two cups of borax in two litres of water.
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Sanitize your garbage disposal
A garbage disposal is a great convenience but can also be a great breeding ground for mould and bacteria. To maintain a more sanitary disposal, every couple of weeks pour three tablespoons borax down the drain and let it sit for one hour. Then turn on the disposal and flush it with hot water from the tap.
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Eliminate urine odour on mattresses
Toilet training can be a rough experience for all the parties involved. If your child has an “accident” in bed, here’s how to get rid of any lingering smell: Dampen the area, then rub in some borax. Let it dry, then vacuum up the powder.
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Make your own dried flowers
Give your homemade dried flowers the look of a professional job. Mix one cup borax with two cups cornmeal. Place a 3/4-inch coating of the mixture in the bottom of an airtight container, like a large flat plastic food storage container. Cut the stems off the flowers you want to dry, then lay them on top of the powder, and lightly sprinkle more of the mixture on top of the flowers (be careful not to bend or crush the petals or other flower parts). Cover the container, and leave it alone for seven to 10 days. Then remove the flowers and brush off any excess powder with a soft brush.
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Keep away weeds and ants
Get the jump on those weeds that grow in the cracks of the concrete outside your house by sprinkling borax into all the crevices where you’ve seen weeds grow in the past. It will kill them off before they have a chance to take root. When applied around the foundation of your home, it will also keep ants and other six-legged intruders from entering your house. But be very careful when applying borax—it is toxic to plants. In the yard, be very careful when applying borax onto or near soil. It doesn’t take much to leach into the ground to kill off nearby plants and prevent future growth.
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Control creeping Charlie
Is your garden being overrun by that invasive perennial weed known as creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea, also known as ground ivy, creeping Jenny and gill-over-the-ground)? You may be able to conquer Charlie with borax. First, dissolve eight to 10 ounces (230-280 grams) borax in 4 ounces (120 millilitres) warm water. Then pour the solution into 2 1/2 gallons (9.5 litres) warm water—this is enough to cover 1,000 square feet (93 square metres). Apply this treatment only one time in each of two years. If you still have creeping Charlie problems, consider switching to a standard herbicide.
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Refresh your dishwasher
Scrub the inside of your dishwasher with borax powder, or simply line the bottom of your dishwasher with a layer of borax, and run the dishes. Your dishwasher will be fresher and more effective.
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Put pantry pests out to pasture
Pantry pests are just…ick. But we have natural ways to get rid of them. Borax is one of them. You know how you can attract flies with honey? Well, using equal parts of borax and sugar, you can attract pantry pests, but they won’t survive for another trip to your cupboards (borax is toxic to them but only toxic to humans in large amounts).
Protect your pets
Use this bug-killing powder to help get rid of those other pests—fleas—by sprinkling borax on dog beds, carpets, and other areas where you suspect the bugs might be hatching.
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Freshen the air
Since commercial air fresheners may contain carcinogens and other toxins, consider borax as a green alternative: make a solution of three parts warm water to one part borax, transfer to a spray bottle, and add five to 10 drops of your favourite essential oil. Spray away!
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Unclog your toilets
You can also unclog your toilet using borax. Scoop out as much water as you can from the bowl, and then add a half a cup of borax powder. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then pour two cups of boiling water in, and flush. Repeat as needed.
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Clean cast iron
You can keep that precious seasoning in place longer by cleaning with borax and salt, rather than soap. Use a solution of one part borax to one part salt. Scrub, rinse, and then dry thoroughly before storing away.
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Clean combs and brushes
Clean your combs and brushes by soaking them in a sink filled with warm water, a quarter cup of borax powder and a squirt of dish soap. Rinse clean!
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