Borax is a staple of green cleaning recipes and traditional housekeeping.
While it’s considered a non-toxic ingredient, there is conflicting information about how safe it is to use (3). That because borax is closely related to boric acid, a poisonous substance that is most often used in pesticides (4).
However, the general consensus is that Borax is safe to use as long as it doesn’t come into contact with the eyes and it’s not ingested or inhaled. Borax can also be dangerous for pets and young children, so it should be stored in a safe place at all times (5).
15 Ways To Use Borax Around the House
To make sure you’re using a non-toxic product, pick an all-natural borax that doesn’t contain any additives or fragrance.
1. Remove Clothing Stains
Borax is perhaps best known as a natural alternative to bleach and other powerful stain-fighting solutions. The mineral fights grease, oil, and protein stains with ease. Borax is also slightly alkaline, so it can be used to protect clothing from slightly acidic tap water or detergents.
To use, pre-soak clothes in half a cup of water per gallon of water for 30 minutes. Add detergent and wash as usual.
2. All-Purpose Cleaner
Replace powdered cleanser with borax to clean tiles, sinks, faucets, grout, counter tops, tubs, toilets, cookware, and appliances. Sprinkle it on and scrub with a damp cloth. Rinse well with clean water and buff dry.
3. Dishwasher Detergent Boost
Clear away smudges, water spots, and soap stains on your dishware by sprinkling a cup or two of borax in your dishwasher before running the cycle as usual. The powder will also clean the machine as you run the cycle.
4. Neutralize Odors
Replace Febreze and other odor-fighting sprays by combining half cup of borax with 1 ½ cups of warm water in a glass spray bottle. You can also add a few drops of essential oil to give it a nice scent.
5. Garden Secret
To revive dull and browning plants, or help them flower, give them a kick of the micronutrient boron by sprinkling a bit of borax on the soil. You can also combine 5 tablespoons of borax, 5 gallons of water, and a few drops of dish soap and lightly mist the leaves and stems of your plants. In particular, apples, broccoli, cabbage, onions, pears, carrots, alfalfa, and corn respond well to the treatment.
6. Pest Control
Kill ants, fleas, cockroaches, silverfish, and beetles by dusting a bit of borax along the windows, door frames, and baseboards. You can also mix it with a bit or honey to make it more appealing to potential pests.
7. Rust Remover
Forget CLR and other chemical-laden products, all you need is a paste made of borax and lemon juice. Apply to rusty metal and let it sit for 30 minutes. Scrub with a brush and wipe clean with a damp brush. Buff until completely dry.
8. Unclog Drains
Clear away a stubborn clog by pouring ½ cup of borax with 2 cups of boiling water. Let it sit for 15 minutes and flush with boiling water. Repeat if necessary.
9. Clean Windows
For a streak-free shine on your windows and mirrors, dissolve two tablespoons of borax in three cups of warm water. Dip a cloth in the mixture and wipe down the surfaces you want to clean. Buff and dry with a clean towel, and voilà!
10. Kill Weeds
High concentrations of Borax kills weeds just as effectively as most pesticides. To use, combine1 ¼ cups of borax with 2 ½ gallons of water and carefully soak unwanted plants. Be careful not to spray your prized plants, as they will react negatively to the mixture.
11. Mold Killer
Kill dangerous mold and mildew by scrubbing or wiping a mixture of one cup of borax and one gallon of water on the affected area. Let it sit for 20 minutes or so and rinse away.
12. Remove Sticky Residue
To get sticker labels off glass jars and other purchases, dissolve a half cup of borax in ¼ cup of warm water and saturate the label. Wipe off the remaining grime using a damp cloth.
You can also use this mixture to remove tape or gum residue.
13. Carpet Cleaner
To get the most out of your next carpet steam cleaning, add a half cup of borax for each gallon of hot water you use. If you don’t have a steam cleaner, deodorize your carpet by sprinkling borax on the carpet, let it sit for 30 minutes, and vacuum it up. You can also treat spots and stains by mixing a half cup of borax with two cups of warm water and using a cloth to blot the stains.
14. Preserve Fresh Flowers
To perfectly dry your flowers, carefully place your flowers in an airtight container with one part borax to two parts cornmeal. Sprinkle some of the mixture over the flowers, covering them completely before closing the container. Place the container in a cool, dry place for two weeks. When removing the flowers, hold them carefully and gently blow off any residue.
15. Homemade Candle Wicks
For extra-long lasting candle wicks, make your own by dipping your twine in a solution of two tablespoons of borax, one tablespoon of salt, and one cup of boiling water. Allow it to soak for 24 hours and hang dry for 1-2 days before use. The solution will also reduce ash and smoke.