Interior Cleaning

11 Handy Uses for Borax Around the House

Follow these recipes to get extra mileage from a cleaning agent that’s been used for generations.

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More ›

Using a Tried-and-Tested Cleaning Ingredient

Stocking specially formulated products for every room and surface in the house, from dish soap to bathroom cleaner, adds up. More than just pricey, these store-bought options can also include ingredients that are toxic for the household and environment. Reassessing your purchases and creating homemade cleaners from a few basic ingredients, however, could go a long way to save you money and exposure to harsh chemicals.

These initiatives led people to rediscover borax, which has been a reliable cleaning product for over 100 years. This alkaline mineral salt looks like a white powder and costs around $2.25 per 35 ounce box. Borax uses include cleaning solutions and other household activities because it sanitizes, fights stains, and defeats grease. Yes, one box can tackle nearly a dozen chores! Here’s how to use borax around the house.

RELATED: 15 Reliable Products That Have 100 Years of Good Reviews

Make Laundry Detergent

Borax is a popular ingredient in all-natural laundry detergent because it kills mold and mildew (i.e. the musty smell on your towels). Simply mix two parts borax with two parts washing soda and one part your favorite scented soap (grated) to create a homemade powdered laundry detergent. An eighth of a cup per load should do the trick!

Remove Old Stains

Clothes with old stains might end up in the back of your closet, but you can use borax to remove them quickly. Add borax to a bucket of water and soak the stained item for at least 30 minutes before turning on the washing machine. Borax has a pH level of 9.5, so it naturally breaks down stains and buildup without damaging fabric.

Control Pest Problems

As the weather warms up and more pests in your home and around your yard, apply a thin layer of borax around infested areas. Bugs like roaches, ants, and fleas won’t stand a chance, because borax is also a desiccant. That means it absorbs water from its environment, preventing any pests from living where you sprinkle it. You can add honey to make borax bait or sprinkle it in your yard to kill pests, although you’ll have to reapply it if any of the powder gets wet.

RELATED: A Dozen 10-Minute DIYs for a Pest-Free Home

Feed Your Fruit Trees

If you grow fruit trees in your backyard, borax may help you get the right pH balance in your soil for optimum plant growth. Any plant needs boron to successfully grow and reproduce cells, which isn’t possible if the soil pH is low. Borax has a high pH level of 9.5, so it gently raises the acidity of your soil to help your plants bloom. Cover the base of your full-sized tree with borax to add boron to the soil. It reinforces the tree’s cells and encourages healthy seed and fruit development.

RELATED: 10 Secret Ingredients to Make Your Garden Grow

Preserve Fresh Flowers

You can make a bouquet last longer by preserving it with borax. Dusting it on the leaves will remove any remaining moisture so that they dry without wilting, according to the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. After two weeks, you’ll have dried flowers that appear frozen in time.

Clean Your Cookware

Borax is great at removing dried grease and food from aluminum or porcelain cookware because of its high pH level. The alkaline that helps make borax’s acidity breaks down tough grease and stains because it’s so strong. The key to getting the best results is to rub the dry powder on the dishes with a damp washcloth before rinsing and cleaning with your preferred soap.

RELATED: 12 Smart Dish-washing Hacks No One Ever Taught You

Polish Your Bathroom

Tiled showers and floors in bathrooms often need cleaning to mitigate mildew and mold growth. Put borax to work here: Cover the tiles and grout in borax and scrub with a sponge or bristle brush. The mess will disappear, making your bathroom look good as new.

Sanitize Outdoor Furniture

Before you enjoy the outdoors from your porch or patio furniture, clean off any mold and bacteria it may be harboring. Borax will clean wood, plastic, and fabric surfaces so that your furniture is ready for use. Scrub hard surfaces with a bristle brush and borax soap mixture and clean outdoor cushions with borax soap water and a sponge. After the cushions have soaked for at least 15 minutes, you can rinse them off and air dry them before using them again.

RELATED: The Dos and Don’ts of Cleaning Patio Furniture

Unclog Your Drains

The next time your kitchen or bathroom drains clog, combine a half-cup of borax with at least 2 cups of boiling water and let the mixture sit in your drain for 15 to 20 minutes. It will break down the buildup so that liquids drain normally again, given its high acidity and ability to break down grease due to its alkalinity.

Freshen Your Carpets

One of the best borax uses is as a carpet freshener. Sprinkle it and let it sit for 45 minutes to one hour to absorb bacteria to remove odors. Vacuum thoroughly afterward, so the carpet is safe for kids and pets to play on.

RELATED: 7 Secrets to Keep Your Carpet Looking New

Get Rid of Rust

The natural 9.5 pH level of borax breaks through oxidation and removes rust from most surfaces like bikes, wrenches, and keys without the added help of powerful chemicals. Combine borax with lemon juice and scrub rust away with rags and a helpful pair of gloves.

Create a Cleaning List

Bathroom tiles, clogged drains, and moldy outdoor furniture are no match for this all-natural ingredient. There are so many borax uses to try, so it’s helpful to start with a list. Figure out how to use borax around your home by identifying what you need to repair or improve. Then, stock up accordingly! You’ll find borax online at Amazon and at most grocery stores.

Classic Cleaner

If it was good enough for grandma, it’s good enough for you.