Borax might sound like a mysterious or unfamiliar chemical, but it has a number of great uses for cleaning. It also helps boost the power of other cleaners.
Technically speaking, it is sodium borate, an alkaline mineral salt that usually comes as a white powder. It is effective and inexpensive, and you can find it in the laundry aisle of any store.
It's a more powerful alternative to another common chemical used as a household cleaner - baking soda. Both baking soda and Borax are effective because they are alkaline and abrasive. But Borax has a higher PH than baking soda, making it a slightly harsher but arguably more effective cleaning agent. It inhibits fungi, mold, and bacteria.
Have a pile of clothing from your kid's sports that has taken on a stink? Borax also works great at warmer temperatures and softens water, helping your detergent go further at cleaning laundry.
Unlike baking soda, which is consumable, ingesting small amounts are harmful to adults and potentially fatal to children. So if you choose to use this chemical, use proper care to make sure a pet or child doesn't get into it.
Here are a variety of ways you can use borax in your home for cleaning.
Add 1/2 cup of borax per gallon of water to the reservoir of a wet vacuum.
Borax is perfect for porcelain and aluminum cookware. Just sprinkle it onto pots and pans and rub with a damp dishcloth to clean. Then rinse thoroughly.
Clean car upholstery
Borax removes dirt and grime from floor mats and upholstery.
Freshen up your fridge
Mix up a cleaning solution of 1 quart warm water and 1 tablespoon borax and use to clean spills and grime inside the refrigerator. It will deodorize it and leave it smelling fresher.
Scrub showers, tiles, and tubs. Just sprinkle borax on a damp sponge or soft cloth and use as you would powdered cleanser. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.
Mix up a cleaning solution of 1-2 tablespoons borax, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and enough water to make a paste. Apply the paste with scrubber or sponge to rusted items and scrub until gone. Be sure to rinse and dry the item thoroughly afterward.
Prevent humidifier odors
Dissolve 1/2 cup of borax in one gallon of water and add it to the tank. Run the humidifier for 10-15 mins, then dump out the tank and rinse well with clean water.
Erase sink stains
Remove stains from stainless steel and porcelain sinks with a paste of 1 cup borax and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Use a sponge or cloth to rub paste into stains and rinse with warm water.
Clean outdoor furniture
Mix 1 teaspoon of dish soap, 1 teaspoon borax, and 1 quart warm water in a spray bottle and spray generously over outdoor furniture. wipe it clean with a damp rag or rinse well with a garden hose.
Sanitize garbage disposal
Sprinkle 3 tablespoons into the drain. Let sit for an hour and rinse drain well with plenty of warm water.
Deodorize trash can
Fill it with water and add a big scoop of borax. Let soak for an hour or so. Then rinse clean. Dry it completely then sprinkle a bit more borax to the bottom of the can to help deter bugs and absorb odor-causing moisture.
Pour 1/2 cup of borax followed by 2 cups boiling water down the drain. Let sit for 15 minutes. Then run warm water through the drain for a few minutes to flush out borax and any loosened clogs.
Add 1/4 cup of borax and 1/2 cup vinegar into the bucket. Fill with hot water. Add a small amount of dish soap. Use the solution to mop floors.
Add half a cup to each wash load to increase power of laundry detergent.
Looking for other cleaning options? Check out the cleaning supply section of our shop.