Although it once was considered a staple in the laundry room, many of today's housewives wouldn't even know where to buy Borax, let alone know what to do with it. Borax is the common name for sodium borate, a natural, alkaline mineral found in the Western US and China; unbelievably, it has been in use for over 4000 years.
You can find Borax in the laundry isle of your local grocery store. It has no toxic fumes, is not flammable, is safe for the environment, and can be mixed with most other cleaners including Clorox. It cleans, deodorizes, disinfects, softens water and repels bugs such as cockroaches, fleas and others. It's cleaning and bleaching power comes from its ability to convert water molecules into hydrogen peroxide, and its high pH (9.5) increases the effectiveness of bleach and other cleaners. The boron and salt inhibit the metabolic processes of many organisms, disinfecting and killing many pests.
It can, however irritate skin and should not be ingested, or used around food. Keep out of reach of children and pets and be sure to rinse Borax out of clothes and off surfaces before use. That being said, Borax is a fantastic alternative to other "commercial" cleaners.
Here are 15 great uses for Borax.
- Laundry Booster: adding 1/2 cup Borax to wash loads to whiten whites, brighten colors soften hard water, remove soap residue from clothes, neutralize laundry odors, disinfect clothing, and boost the cleaning power of your detergent
- Dishwasher Booster: Add 1TBSP Borax to detergent cup to reduce water spots or MYO detergent by Combining 1 TBSP Borax and 1 TBSP baking soda and add to detergent compartment.
- Clean aluminum Pots in pans
- Clean and deodorize carpet: remove stains by rubbing a paste of Borax and water into the stain. Let the paste dry and vacuum. For liquid stains, make a 1:3 solution of Borax and Water and pour some onto stain and blot up liquid, repeating until stain is gone. To deodorize, spray carpet with a fine mist of water, or after using carpet cleaner, sprinkle on Borax. Let dry and vacuum.
- Kill roaches and ants: Mix a spoon of Borax with a small amount of powdered sugar and leave it anywhere you see roaches. ***(Keep pets and children our of reach!)***
- Kill Fleas: Sprinkle Borax on the carpet. Let sit about 1 hour and vacuum well.
- Drain Opener: Mix 1 C Borax with some boiling water and empty down the drain
- Clean garbage disposal: pour 3 TBSP Borax down drain and let sit 1 hours. Turn on disposal and flush with hot water.
- Litter Box Odor Control: mix a bit of Borax in with cat litter
- Remove odors from furniture and mattresses: wet affected areas, shake on Borax, let dray and vacuum
- Sprinkle some in garbage pails to keep them odorless
- Remove stains--even rust from stainless steel or porcelain: Make a 4:1 paste of Borax and lemon juice and rub into stain with a cloth or sponge. Rinse with warm water
- Wash windows with a clean sponge dipped in 2 TBSP Borax dissolved in 3 C water
- Remove mildew from fabrics and clothes: for upholstery: soak a sponge in a 1:4 solution of Borax and hot water and rub affected areas. Allow solution to soak into fabric for several hours, then rinse. For clothing: soak in a 1:4 solution of Borax and hot water; wash as normal
- Sprinkle into cracks in sidewalks and driveways to keep seedlings from taking root.