Borax for Domestic Cleaning: Do you have any at home?
Borax, also known as sodium tetra-borate, is made out of water, oxygen, sodium, salt and boron mineral that’s mined directly from the ground. It does NOT cause cancer, accumulate in the body, or absorb through the skin. It is a natural mineral that is not harmful to the environment. (Do not get confused: “Borax” is not “Boric acid”. The latter is produced when borax is reacted with another acid, like sulphuric acid or other).
Borax is known to man for over 4000 years and has been used for over 100 years in many households around the globe for domestic cleaning and even as a supplement to their laundry. It also has several stain removal, rust removal, mildew removal and deodorizing applications. Most “green cleaning” sites list it as a wonder cleaner and natural beauty books suggest it as a natural hair softener. Many people around the world put it in lotions and beauty creams.
Here are several applications of borax for around the house:
1. Make yourself some Fragranced All Purpose Cleaner – Mix 3 tablespoons borax with half a litre of hot water in a spray bottle and add a few drops of essential oil. Shake well before each use as borax tends to settle.
2. Adhesive Residue Remover – Make a mild paste by mixing borax with water at ratio 2-to-1. Put some paste over the adhesive residue and rub it clean with a damp cloth.
3. Disinfecting Outdoor Furniture – Add 1 teaspoon dish detergent and 1 teaspoon borax to 1 litre of warm water. Use a spray bottle to apply the solution to the outdoor furniture and wipe clean with a cloth.
4. Cookware Cleaning – Using Borax for this purpose is a better choice as it is gentle to aluminium and porcelain, thus eliminating the chances of scratching and damaging your cookware. Just sprinkle on pots and pans and rub gently with a damp dishcloth. Make sure you rinse thoroughly afterwards.
5. Sink Cleaning –Mix a paste or 1 cup borax and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Using a sponge or cloth, rub the stainless steel or porcelain sinks with the paste. All dirt and grime will be gone making your sinks spotless clean and disinfected. Rinse with warm water.
6. Toilet Cleaning – Pour 1 cup of borax into the toilet bowl and let it stay overnight. The borax will loosen all the grime so, you can easily clean it with the toilet brush.
7. Bathroom Cleaning – As a natural cleaner borax is very effective when fighting grout, grime and scale in your bathroom. Simply use it as you would a powdered cleaning detergent. Borax can even be used on fiberglass surfaces with no fear of scratching as it has no sanding effect. Make sure you rinse thoroughly afterwards.
8. Carpet Cleaning – half a cup per gallon of water in your steam carpet cleaner
9. Drain Cleaner – To clean and deodorize your drains simply put 3-4 tablespoons borax down the drain and let it do its job for an hour or so. Then flush and voilà – Job done!
10. Drain Unclog – If your drain is clogged put 1/2 cup of borax followed by 2 cups of boiling water. Let it sit for 15-30 minutes. If needed repeat the process and then run the tap for a few minutes to flush it out. NOTE: This will not work if the drain is clogged with hair. In such cases consider using something stronger or calling a plumber.
11. Bin Cleaning and Deodorizing – Fill up your bin with a mix of hot water and borax. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes and then rinse. When dry sprinkle some borax in the bottom to keep the bugs away and absorb any other odour causing damp.
12. Fridge Deodorizing – Removing unpleasant odours from your fridge can be as easy as pie. Simply mix 1 litre warm water and 1 tablespoon of borax and wipe clean your refrigerator. Rinse thoroughly afterwards.
13. Deodorize Your Cat Litter – Mixing a few tablespoons of borax with your cat litter will significantly reduce the unpleasant odours coming from it. NOTE: More borax in the litter does NOT mean less odours. Use common sense and do NOT add too much.
14. Keep Pests Away – Keep cockroaches, water bugs, and ants away by sprinkling a combination of equal parts all-natural borax and sugar.
15. Fleas – Sprinkle borax on dog beds, carpets, and other areas where you suspect that fleas are hatching. PLEASE NOTE: Be moderate and use small amounts. Borax is as harmless as salt, but large amounts ingested by a pet or human can cause problems. So, make sure you keep it well away from children and pets.
16. Mice Repellent – Sprinkle borax on the floor along all walls and corners. That is where mice like running about. They dislike getting borax on their feet, so they are less likely to return and more likely to move somewhere else.
17. Rust Remover – Mix a tablespoon of borax with a gallon of water and then add a tablespoon of lemon juice. Scrub off the rust from the rusty surface.
18. Candles – If you make your own homemade candles, soak all wicks in a borax and salt solution. This will significantly reduce the ash and will eliminate the smoke problem.
19. Removing Mould from Fabrics – If your clothes or linen have been attacked by mildew or mould, do not worry. Just mix 2 cups of borax in 2 litres of warm water and soak them in. Let them sit for a few hours, then wash and rinse.
20. Mould Killer – Mix a thick water and borax paste and then smear over the mouldy area. Let it stay overnight and then sweep up or vacuum the powder. Rinse or wipe clean the area and voila – the mould is gone! NOTE: If the mould has spread to larger areas and deep into walls, ceilings and flooring you might consider calling a professional.
21. Remove Odours from Mattress – The DIY way of removing urine odour from mattresses is easy. Simply get it damp and thoroughly rub borax in with a damp cloth. Let the mattress dry and then thoroughly vacuum clean to get rid of any remaining residue.
22. Fruit Trees – If you mix a tablespoon of borax with a few litres of water and pour it around a full-sized apple tree (or a couple of teaspoons of borax if it is a young tree) every 3-4 years will add boron (a natural trace mineral) to the soil. It is good for cell wall growth and for fruit and seed development.
23. Weed Killer – Borax is very effective when trying to kill weeds growing in your walkways or concrete cracks. Simply sprinkle over them and let it do its job. However, be very careful around the garden as borax will kill your plants.
24. Rejuvenate Old China – Fill your sink with hot water and add half a cup of borax. Let the china soak for 15-30 minutes and then wash as you’d normally do. It will shine and sparkle like new.
25. Rejuvenate your Combs and Hairbrushes – Fill a laver with hot water and add 3 tablespoons borax and 1 tablespoon dishwashing liquid. Mix it well and then swish your combs and hairbrushes in the foamy solution. Let them soak for 15-30 minutes, wash and then dry.