Borax has been around for years and was originally discovered in Tibet in dry lake beds. It was commonly used during the 19th century for laundry and other cleaning purposes. Also known as sodium borate, Borax today is still used for many cleaning purposes as well as many other tasks. You can use it to make homemade laundry detergent, add a cleaning boost to any other detergent and even keep ants and other pests away.
Known most commonly as Mule Team Borax, you can find this powder at most grocery stores, Wal-Mart and many online shops. It is relatively inexpensive which makes it a great choice for many household jobs. The great part is that it takes very little Borax to get the job done. It has awesome cleaning properties and you can use it in so many different DIY recipes. We have a great collection of some of these cleaning purposes for you that are easy to make and will really make your life a little easier.
1 Keep Pests Away
Borax is very effective at keeping cockroaches, ants, water bugs and a few other household pests at bay. You just have to mix equal parts of borax with regular sugar. The sugar helps to draw the bugs in and the borax takes them away – permanently. Take care that you do not leave this out where pets or small children can reach it. Mule Team Borax actually recommends that you keep it away from your pets so keep the bug treatment somewhere that pets cannot reach.
Good places are under stoves, refrigerators or sinks. These are areas that are normally infested the most anyway so they are good places to begin treating your home for pests. Borax also works well on mice. You just have to sprinkle it in areas where you think mice may be hiding and it will work wonders to get rid of those bothersome pests. You can also sprinkle it on carpet and vacuum to remove fleas or sprinkle on your mattress to rid your bed of bed bugs.
2. Get Rid of Rust
Mixing 1 cup of Borax with 2 cups of warm water and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice works wonders on rust. If you have old pots and pans that are rusted, you can add this solution, which should be like a paste, and let them sit for about 15 minutes. Rinse and then just scrub the rust away.
This works well on things other than dishes, too. You can use it to remove rust from appliances and virtually anything metal. Imagine the work that you can do to old patio furniture. Just remove the rust and paint. If you find that the rust is a bit stubborn, leave a second coating on to sit for another 15 to 20 minutes and it should lift right off with a scrubbing sponge.
3. Make an All-Purpose Cleaner
Mixing just 2 tablespoons of Borax with 2 cups of hot water makes a wonderful all-purpose cleaner. Just mix the solution together in a spray bottle and use it to clean kitchens and bathrooms or just anywhere you need a little extra boost for your cleaning. This is a very inexpensive cleaner, when compared to other all-purpose cleaners on the market, and the Borax is great for getting really stubborn stains off.
You can use it to remove crayon and pencil marks from your walls – test a spot first to make sure that the paint doesn’t come off. It makes a great degreaser for stoves and countertops and your bathtub will really sparkle when you clean it with Borax.
4. Make a Floor Cleaner
1 teaspoon of dish detergent mixed with 1/3 cup of Borax, 1 tablespoon of ammonia and a gallon of hot water makes a wonderful floor cleaner. The Borax will help to get stubborn stains from the floor and you can use it on tile, linoleum or hardwood flooring.
Scuff marks from the kids’ shoes will come up easily due to the scrubbing power of Borax. Note that if you are not really a fan of ammonia, you can use lemon juice instead if you want. It gives a much better aroma and still helps you to get your floors sparkling clean. Just spray on your floors or add to your mop bucket and mop away. The mixture of cleaners along with the cleaning power of Borax will remove virtually any stain from your floors, even if they’ve been there for a while.
5. Make Your Own Liquid Plumber
Just ½ cup of Borax poured down your drain will unclog it when you follow with a couple of cups of boiling water. Add the Borax followed by the boiling water and leave for at least 15 minutes. Then just run your tap water until it is all flushed out.
The Borax helps to break down gunk and stuff that gets stuck in your drain and the boiling water helps to flush it all away. Not only will this remove that gunk and unclog your sink drain, it will also clean and disinfect it so it will smell much better when you are finished.
Who says you have to pay a fortune for drain treatments? Borax is much cheaper and works just as well as the best drain cleaners on the market. You can also add it to your garbage disposal to clean and disinfect it and to keep it from clogging.
6. Renew Your Old China
If you have an old set of china that needs a little facelift, Borax is a good choice. You just have to soak old china in a sink filled with warm water and ½ cup of Borax. Leave the dishes soaking for at least 30 minutes and then simply rinse the Borax away and wash as usual.
Even really old china can get a beautiful new look when soaked in Borax. It will remove all of the dinginess and bring the shine back to your old dishes. Even yellowing that is caused by aging can be removed with Borax, although it is not recommended that you scrub your old china. It is best to simply let the Borax do its job by soaking as opposed to risking scratches by scrubbing.
7. Preserve Fresh Flowers
Borax will naturally remove moisture from flowers and leaves which will help them to prevent wilting. You can mix one part dry white sand with two parts Borax or mix one part Borax with two parts corn meal. Either method works well.
You will need to cut your flowers and place them in a box that contains the mixture you prefer. Make sure that the entire flower is sprinkled with the mixture and then simply seal the box with tape and leave it sealed for at least seven days. Your flowers will dry out and you can then do whatever you want with them.
Remember to strain out any moisture from your mixture and keep it for later use. Note that cut flowers from florists normally have a special water solution to preserve them and this method may not work on them.
8. Make Homemade Candles Burn Better
If you love making your own candles, you can use Borax to treat the wicks to reduce ash and smoke. You just have to dissolve 1 tablespoon of regular table salt along with 3 tablespoons of Borax in a cup of lukewarm water. Soak butcher’s twine or whatever twine you prefer to use in this solution for 24 hours. Once the twine has completely dried, you can use it to make candle wicks.
Borax will help to seal the wicks so that they do not cause major smoking issues or ash. They burn cleaner and give your homemade candles a much longer burning time overall.
9. Make Your Own Floam
Kids love floam and they will love that you can make it for them. Floam is fun to play with and easy to make with Borax. You need to mix together 2 teaspoons of Borax, ¾ cup of water and ¼ cup of Elmer’s glue. Begin by mixing the Borax with ½ cup of water. In another container, mix the glue and the additional ¼ cup of water together with food coloring. Pour the glue mixture into a Ziploc bag and add 3 tablespoons of the Borax mixture. It is important that you do not mix this solution yet. Add 1 and 2/3 cup of polystyrene beads or 2/3 cup of microbeads and 1 cup of bean bag filler. You could also use grated packing peanuts or Styrofoam. Seal the bag and knead until it is mixed well. Let sit for about 15 minutes and then knead again.
10. Give Laundry a Boost
Just like it was intended, Borax is still a great laundry booster. Just add about ½ cup to your laundry to see clothes that are cleaner and stain-free. It leaves clothes smelling better with no fake scent. Borax offers a natural scent, sort of like drying your clothes outside.
If you have really stubborn laundry stains like coffee, grass or even something that you can’t identify, you can use Borax as a pretreatment for stains. Just mix ½ cup of borax with a cup of warm water and allow the clothing to soak for about half an hour before laundering. Borax will help soften your hard water and is really effective at removing hard water stains from clothing and from your washing machine. It is safe for fabrics and can even be used to wash the most fragile delicates in your dresser.