Borax, also known as sodium borate, is a mineral salt of boric acid. Commonly used in powder form, borax has a variety of uses. While it’s most common use is as a laundry detergent booster, borax can also work as an antifungal cleaning agent and is a common component of many cosmetics and paint products.
Only recently have I fully begun to appreciate the true versatility of borax in the home as a cleaner, deodorizer, and even a base for some fun things for the kids to play with! Following are 30 household uses for borax. Read through them and I’m sure like me, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without keeping a box handy.
For a sparkling clean toilet, just pour a cup of borax into the water, stir it thoroughly, and let it sit overnight. In the morning, scrub it with a brush and flush away stains.
For exceptionally dirty windows, try soaking a wash cloth in a mixture of 2 tablespoons of borax and 3 cups of water then wipe your windows. Repeat with a mix of water and vinegar before drying.
Mix 1/4 cup of borax and 1/2 cup of vinegar in a bucket, then fill with hot water and add a squirt of dish soap. The resulting solution is a great cleaner for mopping your floors.
Tub & Shower Cleanser:
Simply sprinkle borax on a damp sponge or cloth and use it to scrub tubs and showers. When you’re done, rinse away soap scum, hard water, and rust stains.
Sanitize Brushes and Combs:
Just fill your bathroom sink with warm water, add 1/4 cup of borax and a squirt of dish soap, then stir it up with your brushes and combs. Let them soak in the mixture for 30 minutes then rinse clean.
Sink and Counter Cleaner: In a spray bottle, mix 1 tablespoon of borax and 2 tablespoons of vinegar with a few drops of dish soap then fill with hot water. This makes a great all-purpose cleaner.
On the outside of the fridge, use the all-purpose cleaner mentioned above, but to clean food spills and messes inside the fridge, just mix one tablespoon of borax with a quart of warm water.
Mold and Mildew Eliminator:
Mix a cup of borax with a quart of hot water and pour into a spray bottle. Spray the mixture on mold and mildew until the spots are thoroughly soaked, then just rinse away after a few hours.
Homemade Dish Soap:
Mix a tablespoon of borax and a tablespoon of soap powder and add 2 cups of boiling water. Whisk the mixture until well blended and let stand until cool.
Cast Iron Cleaner:
Using soap on cast iron cookware can taint the flavor of food. A better solution is a teaspoon each of borax and salt. Spread on cookware and scrub it clean!
Mix equal parts of borax and lemon juice, then simply spread the mixture onto the rust. After 30 minutes, just wipe your metal clean! Repeat as needed.
By mixing 1/2 cup of borax with 1/4 cup of water, you will have a solution that is effective at scrubbing away sticky substances like gum, tar, grease, and tape residue.
Laundry Stain Remover:
Mix a tablespoon of borax with 2 tablespoons of water, and spread it on the stain. After 30 minutes, scrub away the stain and wash laundry as usual.
Carpet Stain Remover:
Just mix 1/2 cup of borax with 2 cups of warm water, and sponge the stain until it is saturated. Scrub thoroughly, then let sit for 30 minutes before vacuuming the area clean.
Patio Furniture Cleaner:
Stir together a tablespoon each of borax and dish soap in a gallon of hot water. Use the solution and a sponge for brilliantly clean patio furniture.
Mix equal parts of baking soda and borax and sprinkle it over carpeting. Let the powder sit for 30 minutes then simply vacuum away odors!
Mix 1/2 cup of borax with a pint of warm water and put it in a spray bottle. The resulting solution can be used to deodorize curtains, furniture, and more!
You can treat odors and stains on your mattress with the same method as your homemade carpet cleaner. For an extra boost of freshness, add a few drops of lavender oil to the mix.
Trash Can Deodorizer:
To control odors in a trash can, fill it with water, add a half cup of borax, stir and let soak for 30 minutes. Afterward, rinse the trash can, allow it to dry, then add an extra sprinkle of dry borax inside.
Litter Box Deodorizer.
1/4 cup of borax mixed with kitty litter will significantly reduce nasty odors. Perfectly safe for your cats, provided they don’t eat the litter.
Remove as much water as possible from a clogged toilet, then add 1/2 cup of borax. Let sit for 10 minutes, then add 2 cups of boiling water and flush. Repeat if necessary.
With a funnel, pour 1/2 cup of borax down the drain then slowly follow-up with 2 cups of boiling water. After 10 minutes, flush with hot water. Repeat if necessary for extra tough clogs.
For grease fires, baking soda is a recommended extinguisher, but it turns out borax is just as effective. Borax can also be used to snuff campfires or other types of small fires.
DIY Ant Poison:
By mixing equal parts of borax and sugar, you will make a sweet mix that is irresistible to ants. The ants will take the mix back to the colony and potentially wipe out the whole group!
To control cockroaches, sprinkle a little borax on shelves around your food. For fleas and bedbugs, sprinkle on your mattress or carpeting and vacuum up after 30 minutes or so.
Sprinkle borax along pathways and anywhere else you see signs of mice activity to deter them. You can also sprinkle baits with borax to kill mice, and potentially the whole nest if they feel like sharing.
Sprinkle borax on weeds in sidewalks and cracks in concrete. Use with caution on garden weeds, as borax can also kill other types of plants. Avoid use on windy or rainy days.
While large amounts of borax will kill plants, tiny amounts can increase the soil’s boron, an essential mineral for cell growth. Only use if your soil is boron deficient.
While I have not tried this method personally, this article has detailed instructions on how to preserve flowers with borax.
Borax can be used to make homemade slime, snowflakes, bouncy balls, and even color fire.