Borax didn’t really sound like something I wanted around the house, but when my brother’s dogs threw up on the new rug, it was time to try it out. Though it sounds like a Dr. Seuss character, or something you might use to eat through metal, borax is an environmentally friendly, naturally occurring mineral that ended up taking both the stain and the odor out of our carpet!
Since then, Borax has come up over and over again in recipes for frugal, homemade cleaning solutions. In combination with vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda, it’s now one of my household staples. You can find it in the laundry section of your grocery store, usually for under $5.
Here are 12 household uses for borax:
1. Carpet stains. For fresh spills, blot up as much of the liquid as possible and then sprinkle borax on the stain. Rub it in with a cloth and then use a clean cloth to blot more of the stain up. Continue until no more stain is being pulled up; rinse with water and blot to get remaining borax out then leave to dry. Use two tablespoons of borax and two tablespoons of baking soda (mixed in a quart of hot water) to wash pet urine spots, and leave overnight to remove odor.
2. Carpet shampoo. Mix 1/2 cup of borax per gallon of water in steam cleaning machines.
3. Bathrooms. I sprinkle borax on the shower or tub floor while I’m taking a shower and bring a sponge with me for scrubbing. I also make a paste with water and/or vinegar (for extra disinfecting) to scrub the sink and faucets. Sprinkle some in the toilet at night and use your toilet brush to scrub the next morning for removal of stains and mildew.
4. Flea killer. Sprinkle borax into infested carpets and upholstery, working it down in as much as possible. Leave on for up to 48 hours (it’s best to keep pets and humans away from the area to avoid inhaling the dust, since you’re covering such a large area), then vacuum up the borax and fleas. The borax dehydrates the fleas.
5. Laundry. Borax “boosts” your detergent by softening the water. Put 1/2 cup of borax in a load of laundry along with your regular detergent for improved overall stain removal and deodorizing. Or mix 1/4 cup borax with a tablespoon of mild laundry detergent and warm water for soaking delicates or treating stains.
6. Clean appliances. Throw 1/2 cup of borax into your (empty) dishwasher and run a hot cycle to remove detergent residue. Check out this Videojug tutorial on using borax to clean and deodorize your garbage disposal.
7. Clean cookware. Sprinkle borax on pots and pans and wash with a dishrag and warm water (check your pan’s cleaning instructions first if they are made out of a material that may require special handling).
8. Rust remover. Make a paste with borax and a few tablespoons of lemon juice, then apply elbow grease.
9. Repel pests. Sprinkle along walls and in corners where bugs or rodents may be hiding. Make sure it’s not in a location where your pet could eat it.
10. Kill weeds. Sprinkle on weeds coming up through cracks in the sidewalk, or non-growing areas of a flower bed. Avoid using it near food or flowers you’re growing, as it will kill all vegetation it’s near.
11. Unclog drains. Pour 1/2 cup of borax down a clogged drain, and follow with two cups of boiling water. Wait 15 minutes, then flush with water from the faucet.
12. Dry flowers.
What other uses do you have for borax?