17 Ways To Use Borax In Your Home

It’s really this versatile.

<p>Getty Images</p>

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What doesn’t Borax do? Sometimes, it’s a disinfectant and deodorizer, while other times it breaks down oil and grease. You can rely on it just as much to remove rust and mildew as you can to do laundry. “The key thing to remember when cleaning with Borax is to always mix with warm or hot water,” advise Becca Crandall and Bentley Rosser, Owner and Director of Cleaning Operations, respectively, at cleaning and organization company Beck in Birmingham, Alabama.

Becca Crandall and Bentley Rosser are the Owner and Director of Cleaning Operations, respectively, at cleaning and organization company Beck in Birmingham, Alabama.

What is Borax?

Borax is a powdery white, alkaline mineral salt. It's a natural compound also known as sodium borate, disodium tetraborate, or sodium tetraborate. The powder easily dissolves in water and is a favorite for creating DIY solutions for green cleaning, among its many other uses. It's readily available in stores as 20-Mile Team Borax.

Ways to Use Borax

This do-it-all ingredient seemingly serves a million different purposes, but let’s start with some of our favorites.

Remove Kitchen Stains & Rust

Mixed together, one cup of Borax and ¼ cup of lemon juice will turn into a paste that can be used to get rid of stains on sinks and countertops. For rust, let the solution sit for 15 minutes before wiping it off with a damp rag.

Revitalize Chrome Fixtures

A sprinkle of Borax directly on your grimey fixtures, wiped up with a damp cloth, is all you need to restore them to their former glory.

Clean Outdoor Furniture

Combine one teaspoon of dish soap, one teaspoon of Borax, and one quart of warm water in a spray bottle, then spray it all over the outdoor furniture. Rinse the solution off with your garden hose.

Remove Mildew

Half a cup of Borax with a gallon of warm water will remove mildew spots from your ceiling and walls—just wash the problem area with a rag and let it dry. “This should remove any current stains and prevent future spots and moldy smells,” assure Crandall and Rosser.

Deodorize the Drain

This one’s super easy: just pour three tablespoons of Borax down the drain. Let it sit for 15 minutes, turn on the hot water, and run the garbage disposal for a minute or two.

Unclog the Drain

If your drain needs a little extra love, pour ½ cup of Borax and two cups of boiling water down it. Give the solution 15 minutes to sit, then run warm water.

Create a Multi-Purpose Spray

Mix one quart of warm water with one tablespoon of borax. This can be used to clean the inside of your refrigerator, countertops, backsplashes, and more.

Dry Flowers

Mix one part Borax with one part cornmeal, then sprinkle just enough to cover the bottom of an airtight container. Cut fresh flowers right below the bud and position them upright so the bottom gets covered in the mixture. After that, sprinkle more on top to cover the buds. After two weeks in a warm, dry room, you’ll find dried flowers.

Clean Toilets

“To clean a toilet, mix half a cup of Borax into the toilet, let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour, and your toilet will look good as new,” Crandall and Rosser instruct.

Clean Tile or Vinyl Floors

Two tablespoons of Borax combined with a gallon of warm water can be used to mop tile or vinyl.

Kill Weeds

Combine one cup of Borax with two gallons of water and pour it into a spray bottle. Be careful when spraying the weeds, because it can also kill the plants you want to keep around.

Freshen Shoes

Don’t give up on your smelly shoes yet. Add two tablespoons of Borax and one liter of warm water to a spray bottle and shake well. Coat the inside of your shoes, wait 15 minutes, then scrub them and rinse.

Deodorize Carpets & Fabric Surfaces

Carpets, furniture, and mattresses can all benefit from a sprinkle of Borax. “Lightly rub in a circular motion, let it sit, and vacuum away the excess powder,” Crandall and Rosser explain.

Do Laundry

Mix two cups of hot water and one tablespoon of Borax. Add ½ cup of this mixture to your laundry, along with your usual detergent, to get a deeper clean. (And you’ll still have three uses leftover!)

Treat Infestations

Sprinkling a mix of equal parts Borax and sugar can help get rid of bugs like ants and roaches (they’ll be attracted to the sugar and die after consuming the Borax). If you have kids or pets though, you need to be extra careful because it should never be ingested.

Clean Glass Shower Doors

“Mix two teaspoons of Borax, four cups of hot water, one teaspoon of Dawn Dish Soap, and four tablespoons of vinegar in a spray bottle,” share Crandall and Rosser. Shake well, spray the glass, and let sit for 3-5 minutes, then wash away with water (a squeegee will wipe away the remaining water).

Clean the Dishwasher

The dishwasher: the one thing we always forget to add to our housekeeping lists. Run it per usual, with an added ¼ cup of Borax sprinkled over the bottom.

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