Borax, the salt of boric acid, is a powdery mineral that occurs naturally. According to TOXNET, it is non-carcinogenic, making it a popular choice for homemade cleaners. When it comes to household chores, borax comes in handy for just about everything you might want to clean. From pest control to slow drains to rusty tubs and windows, borax can help with a wide variety of chores. Read on to discover how many ways borax can simplify your cleaning routine.
Unclog Your Drain
A clogged drain is a common occurrence that can land you in a pile of unnecessary plumber bills. Rather than having someone come out or purchasing an expensive product to do the job, try pouring half a cup of borax down the drain.
Chase it down with one tablespoon of lemon juice and wait two minutes. Then, pour a quart of boiling water into the drain to clear it all out. The combination of the acid and the heat should loosen up whatever was stuck in the drain.
Clean Your Fridge
The refrigerator is one of the easier things to forget about cleaning. By the time you realize it's been a while since you last wiped down the fridge, it's often because an unpleasant smell has already formed.
To take care of crumbs, congealed liquids, and any rancid smells related to a neglected fridge, try using some borax. Just fill a bucket with half a tablespoon of borax and four cups of hot water. Use a rag to wipe down the fridge without filling it with chemicals.
Revamp Your Mattress
According to The Better Sleep Council, you should replace your mattress every decade, if not sooner. Especially if you have a young one wetting the bed, borax can help to eliminate any lingering odors.
For a boost of freshness while you sleep, spray on some water and sprinkle a light coat of borax over the mattress. Rub the powder in with a rag. For stains, be sure to let it sit for at least an hour. Afterward, vacuum up any leftover bits of borax.
Bring Back The Gleam Of Your Fine Dishes
Some dishes are nearly too beautiful to eat from, which is why some people have a china cabinet to store them for a special occasion. By the time they're needed, you may find that your old china has a coat of dust or a film of soap dulling the shine.
Since scrubbing these dishes can cause irreversible damage, it's best to soak them in warm water and half a cup of borax. It should take about half an hour for the solution to do the trick. Rinse them off with water and see how new your china looks.
Break Down Grout
If you have tile anywhere in your house, you know how difficult it can be to keep the area between the tiles clean. Rather than putting in all that elbow grease, try mixing one part borax and two parts baking soda with vinegar so that it becomes a paste.
Apply the solution to any needed areas and let it sit for 20 minutes. The properties in each ingredient should breakdown any grime in the grout, making it easier to wipe off afterward.
Wipe Away Rust
Similar to grout stains, rust is no match for borax. A good combination to tackle rust is an equal mix of borax and warm water, along with two tablespoons of lemon juice. Let the solution sit for about 20 minutes and the use a steel sponge to rub away the rust.
This technique can help revitalize many kitchen items, such as pots and pans or the stove. It can also be useful in the bathroom, around metals in the tub or the sink.
Lift Sink Stains
Next to rust, one of the more aggravating things to clean off the sink is stains. When using borax on your sink to tackle rust, you may as well get out those stains while you're at it.
For this, you can skip the water and apply two tablespoons of lemon juice directly in half a cup of borax. Apply the paste to the stains and scrub them out with a cloth. Rinse off the solution to reveal a like-new sink.
Remove Marks From The Walls
Whether it's leftover pencil marks from hanging up a photo or crayon marks from one of the kids, wall marks happen. Fortunately, borax can help with that, too. Mix one tablespoon of borax with a cup of water.
Test out the solution by rubbing it on a small part of the wall first to be sure it doesn't rub off any wall paint, then move on to the markings. So long as it doesn't react poorly with your paint, you should notice the marks not only lift, but the walls become shinier, too.
Get Out Carpet Stains
Borax doesn't just work on hard surface stains; it can also be helpful on carpet stains! Since carpets can be more difficult to penetrate, you'll need four tablespoons of borax to one cup of warm water.
Use a sponge to apply the solution to the carpet stain, and then they it soak for about half an hour. Vacuum up the area to reveal a stain-free carpet. You can also use this trick on areas of the carpet that have darkened with dirt, and to prevent further discoloration.
Make Your Windows Crystal Clear
The Today Show revealed a step-by-step process to get your windows spotless and streakless. Start with a mixture of two tablespoons of borax and three cups of water. Then use a sponge to coat the window in a layer of the solutions.
This is the crucial part: do NOT use paper towels-- they are too linty and will just smear debris around. Instead, use a squeegee to prevent streaks. Run an absorbent, lint-free cloth over the glass to dry it, or use coffee filters as an alternative.
Remove Soap Scum
Glass shower doors are a gorgeous and classy alternative to a shower curtain. The only problem is that all of their beauty goes out the window once they accumulate soap scum. To alleviate this problem, simply combine two to three tablespoons of borax and half a cup of water.
Scrub the thick paste into the glass with a cloth and then rinse it clean. The solution should loosen the scum so that you can more easily remove it from the glass.
Make Your Garbage Can Less Smelly
Trash cans and bins can be the most dreaded part of your home since they are so often neglected when it comes to cleaning. To make taking out the trash less of a nuisance, put some water and borax into it.
Let it sit for about 20 minutes and then pour it out. Be sure to rinse it through with water afterward. You can also sprinkle some borax into the can or bin to help mitigate smells.
Get Rid Of Pests
Pests in the house can be a major nuisance. Fortunately, a simple borax trick can stop ants, cockroaches, and even mice, in their tracks. Simply mix borax with sugar and place it in the areas the pests tend to roam -- near the garbage, under the fridge, by cracks in the wall, etc.
The sugar will attract whatever pests are nearby. Once they decide to give the sugar a taste, the borax will act as a poison, which will draw pests away from the area.
Make Your Laundry Extra Clean
One of the more frustrating things that can happen while doing chores is lifting out fresh laundry and discovering that it still smells bad or that the stains didn't lift. Borax can help.
For an extra boost of freshness and stain-fighting power, add five tablespoons of borax to your laundry load, along with the detergent. For stains, soak them in warm water and eight tablespoons of borax for half an hour and then toss it into the washing machine.
Get Off Sticky Residue
Odds are, you don't have as many stickers on your car as this person does. But you probably have experienced at least one sticker that was difficult to remove later and left a residue.
Next time, just mix three tablespoons of borax with half a cup of water. Scrub the paste into the area with a cloth to loosen up the sticky adhesive. This can be especially useful when removing a price tag sticker from a gift.
Clean Your Outdoor Furniture
Outdoor furniture can be more of a pain to clean than its indoor counterpart since it can become riddled with dirt and spiderwebs. To lift all of those impurities, try mixing two tablespoons of borax with one tablespoon of dishwashing soap in a quart of water.
You can mix them in a bucket and apply to the furniture with a sponge, or put it in a spray bottle. Since borax is effective against grime and rust, you should be able to restore the furniture to its former glory.
Wash Your Hair Brush
If it was a dry winter, you may notice that your brush is coated in dandruff. Alternatively, it may have some residue from hair products. If your combs and brushes need a quick clean-up, try soaking them two tablespoons of borax with warm water.
Let them soak for at least half an hour, and then wash them off. This trick can be especially handy when it comes to pet brushes, since they can become riddled with dirt.
Polish Your Oven
Ovens are easy to avoid when it comes to kitchen cleaning, but sometimes it becomes necessary. If the day has come to scrub out the oven, borax may make the job a little easier.
Dissolve one part borax into two parts hot water and then use a sponge to apply the solution throughout. Let it soak overnight to break down the cooked-on grime. By the morning, you should find it much easier to wipe the oven clean.
Before your flowers wither and die, you can preserve them using borax. Mix together one part borax with two parts cornmeal. Coat the flowers in the mixture and place them into an airtight container for a week.
The process will dry out the flowers completely, leaving you with a preserved version of the lovely plant. Now you can save flowers from special events like weddings or Valentine's day and place them around the house as long-lasting decor.
Revamp Your Humidifier
Over time, a humidifier can start to lose its freshness and emit an unpleasant smell. Rather than tossing it out and buying a new one, try using borax. Mix two parts borax with one part water and pour it into the humidifier.
Let the humidifier run for about 15 minutes, then empty it out. Afterward, rinse the tank thoroughly with hot water. Once the process is complete, you should have a humidifier that's good as new.