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Borax- the unassuming name hides the many uses of the wonder product. From your bathroom to the kitchen to the garden and beyond, there are a plethora of uses for this single compound.
If you are tired of making multiple trips to the shopping centre to stock up on different cleaners, borax can single-handedly replace most of them. Borax finds its uses even beyond the basic cleaning tasks. It can eliminate those hard to erase odours while leaving behind a sterile scent that is not too harsh on sensitive nose buds.
It can keep a variety of pests away and can be used to protect a wide variety of food products. Added with other versatile elements, like lemons and vinegar, you can employ this one product to almost every cleaning related task.
A joy for broke college students and the minimalist, borax is self-sufficient and easy on the pocket. For those who are still in doubt about the efficacy of borax, we have answered some basic questions about its constitution below to ease all your worries.
What is borax?
Scientifically known by many aliases, borax can be found in the market as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate. In appearance, it occurs like a white amorphous powder.
Borax has been used for ages as a cleaning agent and in a variety of other fields. Chemists use borax as a buffer in chemical reactions. It has extensive use in metallurgy to extract gold and other precious metals. Even more commonly, borax forms a primary part in creating glass or ceramic ware.
Are borax and boric acid same?
A common misconception here is the difference between borax and boric acid. Boric acid is a salt of borax and therefore is more caustic in nature. Even with their names being similar, both of them have drastically different uses and effects. Therefore, it is not advisable to use one as a substitute for another.
Is it safe to use borax?
Borax is naturally present in nature, and even in human bodies and plants to some extent. As a short answer, one can say that borax is safe to use, but a more detailed explanation is needed if you are planning on using the chemical extensively.
Borax is a natural cleanser, and use within reason will never cause adverse reactions. It is also listed as a non-carcinogenic and is a much safer option present than heavy-duty cleaners. With minimal precaution, you can enjoy the benefits of this wonder cleaner at no cost to the health of you and your loved ones.
Be on the lookout for signs of toxic exposure. These include irritated sin and /or peeling skin, eye irritation or respiratory troubles. However, these are all risks associated with cleaners of any variety and only manifest when used in excess without protection.
The question then arises, as to how to protect one from these possible side effects. The answer is to use them in moderation, and far away from food. Keep it away from prying hands and pets. And finally, make sure to rinse borax out of surfaces at the end so that minimal traces remain.
Where can I buy borax?
Borax is easily available in most shopping centres and also on Amazon. Click here to buy borax from Amazon.
41 Amazing Uses of Borax
1. Dishwasher Detergent Superhero
After a certain time period. You will notice that the efficiency of a dishwasher decreases. Dishes come out with water stains and even the washer itself starts to emit a particular odour. To combat the growing grime, simply use a few cups of borax the next time you run the washer.
2-3 cups of borax, when used in tandem with the washer, will leave your dishes sparkling clean. To maintain maximum safety, it is advisable to rinse the entire system once again with plain water so as to remove any remaining residues.
2. Cleans Hair Combs and Brushes
The most neglected items on any vanity, the hairbrushes become a breeding ground for all kinds of germs. This in the future, can lead to a variety of scalp problems, like dandruff or hair fall. Make sure your brushes remain as good as new by cleaning them every once a month.
A simple way to achieve this is to mix equal parts of dish soap ad borax in warm water and then using it as a soak for all brushes you own. After letting them stay in the mixture for an hour or so, rinse with plain water and let dry before using them again.
3. Eliminates Moulds and Mildew
Mould and mildew can pop up in the most unexpected of places. If allowed to spread, they can become hazardous to the health of the occupants. In order to nip the mould in its bud, use a paste made from borax and water.
Apply the paste generously to the affected areas and let dry. After the paste has completely dried, flak it off and make sure to dispose of the mould off properly. Rinse the spot with water and dry it completely so that the mould does not make a reappearance
4. Makes Clothes Safe
If you’re a parent, then this hack relieves a huge worry off your cheat. Children are susceptible to a variety of injuries, which is why flame-retardant clothing sprays are so high in demand. Now you can make one in the comfort of your house without having to shell out big bucks.
Use one cup of borax and half a cup of boric acid and mix them into one gallon of water. Store the resulting solution in a spray bottle that you can spritz on whenever the clothes come out of the wash or have been dry cleaned.
5. Eases Pool Cleaning
Maintaining a pool is a huge task. from daily cleaning to making sure it does not become a breeding hub for germs, it requires a huge chunk of your time. Well, not anymore.
With borax, you can maintain the pH levels of your pool and simultaneously make sue that it is not attacked by pests of any kind. Are you looking forward to summer yet?
6. DIY Homemade Laundry Detergent
Laundry detergents can quickly become a huge cost factor if you have a big family, or kids who love to play outside all the time. To cut down on laundry costs significantly, try making your own detergent by using these ingredients that can be easily found around the house.
Mix together two parts borax and two parts washing soda. Add in grated soap of your choice, or leave it out of the process altogether if you do not want scented clothes.
Depending upon personal choices you can make certain tweaks in the additions, such as by adding lemons for a citrusy scent. Box up this mix and use up to three tablespoons per wash. If you have a high-efficiency machine, then a single tablespoon will suffice as well.
7. Removes Tree Stumps Easily
Whether by natural causes or deliberate, cutting down a tree leaves behind one stubborn stump that refuses to leave no matter what. Paying to get it ground is one out of pocket you would rather avoid, but what else can you do.
Well, you’re in luck because borax is an effective herbicide. By simply sprinkling some borax on the stump every day you can kill the root easily with no fuss at all. once the stump is dead, pulling it out of the ground becomes a child’s play.
8. Cheap Dish soap on the Go
Whether you want to cut down on your expenses, get a less harsh soap or just switch over to something better, this borax dish soap is easy to make and just as effective as any other.
Start by mixing together equal amounts of borax and finely grated soap together. Then put this powder into boiling water and stir until it mixes together to form a viscous solution.
Set it aside and pour into another bottle when cool. There you have it, a no-fuss and quick dish soap that costs a quarter of what’s there in the market.
9. Floor Cleaner
Floor cleaners are probably the most important buys on your list, and it should be the most pondered upon too. Floors become a host to all kinds of germs and bacteria, and if left unattended can gather dirt quickly.
It is especially important to make sure that your floor cleaner is nontoxic if you have kids or pets around. Which is why borax becomes the perfect substitute for the ones present.
By missing ¼ the cup borax in hot water along with a dash of vinegar, you can create a nontoxic and safer floor cleaner.
10. Removes Grass Stains
A picnic in the park sounds like a great idea until you think of all the grass stains it’s going to bring along with it. These stains are stubborn, and can almost never leave until you apply some vigorous treatment. To save you the trouble, try this solution next time.
Mix one tablespoon borax in two tablespoons of hot water to create a paste. Apply this paste to affected areas and let them work their magic for about thirty minutes. Toss the clothes in the washer next and you have sparkling clean clothes with no efforts at all.
11. Cleans Carpets Easily
Carpets can instantly brighten up any place. With constant use, however, they can lose their gleam. Further exacerbated by spills, splashes and heavy foot traffic, carpets are quite notorious to clean. Borax is adept at removing stains from carpets as well, with the same amount of strength.
Make a paste out of borax and warm water which you can dab on with a sponge on the stains, leave it to soak for 30 minutes and rinse with water after.
12. DIY Febreeze
Febreeze is a lifesaver, but at the same time can burn through your pocket if you’re not careful about its usage. Which is why this hack comes as a godsend.
To make your own equivalent of Febreze for way cheaper, mix half a cup of borax with a pint of water. To make it smell refreshing, you can add on your selection of essential oils. Pour in a spray bottle and you’re good to go.
13. Eliminates Skunk Smell
Borax has a reputation for being able to remove skunk odours from any article of clothing without being too harsh on it. Mix together some borax and hot water and use it as a soak for any offensive odour. Put the items in a normal wash cycle after and see how quickly the smell disappears.
14. Emergency Fire Extinguisher
Greases fires are a common occurrence in the kitchen. They can be panic-inducing, and often leads to one grappling for water. Rather, keep a can of borax for such situations.
Borax can easily extinguish these fires without causing excess damage. Another helpful ingredient is baking powder, which can also put out grease fires.
15. Fridge Deodorizer
Can’t find the source of the funky odour? Chances are that the culprit is hiding in your fridge. To deep clean, your fridge of such offensive smells, use a solution of borax and water to wipe down all the surfaces.
Be sure to clear out the fridge beforehand, so that the solution does not drip in the food. In addition to removing the odour, borax will also leave your fridge as clean as new by killing all the harmful germs present and scrubbing away the dirt.
16. Keep the Pests Away
A tip passed down from mothers, use borax to eliminate ants from your house. mix some borax and sugar and make a thin line to where you are certain ants will pass through, and let it remain for a day or so.
This hack cuts the ants down from their source itself, and is a tried and tested remedy. You can also add some water and soak cotton buds in the solution. Place these cotton balls on their places of attack and watch how effectively it rids your house from these peats.
17. Removes Window Fog
Cleaning windows can be a tough job. No matter how much soap you employ, it often leaves behind a fog-like appearance due to staining.
These stains are often due to the soap itself, which dries on the surface of the window. Remove soap from the equation by using a borax, vinegar and water solution which will leave your windows squeaky clean.
18. Revitalize Your Humidifier
Humidifiers are great for many reasons. They keep your house cool and make it smell heavenly. However, if your humidifier seems a bit rusty lately, it probably due to the accumulation of bacteria.
To deep clean your humidifier without much elbow grease, simply add one table borax per gallon water in your device between uses. This will keep the humidifier in top condition and make sure that your house smells clean.
19. Clean Shower Stalls
The shower stall is made from fibreglass, a see-through component that can develop stains easily from constant contact with hard water. Rather than scrubbing the panel vigorously with soap, substitute it for borax.
Sprinkle some borax on a damp sponge and gently wipe the stall down. After, use normal water to clear off any residual borax and enjoy your good as new stalls.
20. Removes Bike Rust
Bikes can easily develop rust if let out in the open for long. Rust can easily degrade the quality of iron and if left untreated can even make it brittle.
To combat rust, mix some borax with lemon juice. Take a damp sponge and use this to apply the mixture over the affected areas. You will see the rust flaking away to reveal the metal underneath. Rinse once with water and dry it completely.
21. Cleans Sinks
Whether it be porcelain sink to a steel one, borax can help you to clean them back to their former glory. To get soap stains out from your sinks, make a handy paste of one cup borax and ¼ cup of lemon juice.
Smear the paste all over your sink and let it sit for an hour or so. Turn on hot water from the tap and let it all wash away to reveal a shiny sink.
22. Eliminate litter box odour
Pet owners all dread cleaning the litter box. But it’s an inescapable duty as a pet parent and we all must own up to it. Borax can make your life easier by cutting down on the stink by a huge margin.
Mix a couple of tablespoons of borax into your litter box which keeps the odour at bay and even prevents nasty infections from taking root.
23. Clean Garbage Disposal
Garbage disposals can gather up a huge mess without you even noticing it. They are the prime spot for all kinds of moulds, odours and infections.
To keep your disposal in top form, place three tablespoons of borax in the drain and let them work their mojo for an hour before rinsing it down with warm water.
24. Makes Towels Last Longer
Towels come into contact with moisture on a daily basis. In the colder months, thy often start smelling musky and can become a prime spot for bacteria to take root. This can really hamper the hygiene of whoever uses them.
Towels if left to rot in this manner have a shorter shelf life as well. To avoid this, you can soak them in a solution of equal parts water and borax which will kill all the residing germs and the permeating stink at its core. After wash and tumble dry, your towels come out as soft as clouds.
25. Helps in Unclogging Drains
From hair to toilet paper and things left unsaid, drains can clog up quite easily. For a hands-off method to get them working again, use a few tablespoons of borax.
Pour this powder down the drain and add some hot water from the top. Let that marinate for a while before turning on your faucet to wash all the junk down.
26. Cleaning Mattresses
Whether you have small children who wet the bed, or the elderly stationed at your house, cleaning mattresses is always tough. But it is out of their hands, which is why you would want nothing but the best for them.
Borax can make this job simpler by being the only ingredient you need. wet the mattress and rub on some borax with the help of a cloth. Later leave the mattress out to dry. Once it has completely dried up, you’ll start to see dry flakes on the mattress, which are signs that the odours are being absorbed. You can simply vacuum them off later.
27. Bug Deterrent
Borax makes for an effective pesticide. Although naturally occurring in many animals, when presented in a pure form it can become a pesticide. It can deal with all sorts of bugs, from cockroaches to bedbugs and beyond.
By using it on places where bugs are rampant, you can cut down their population at the source. You can use it as a spray for keeping the bugs away or in its pure form to deal with a nasty infection. It works wonders either way.
28. Weed Killer
Used in larger quantities, borax can help you to eliminate unsavoury weeds from the toughest areas. Whether it be between cracks on your pavement or between trees, borax can work quickly without damaging other plants or rendering the soil infertile.
You would have to be extremely precise with where you place borax, as it can kill all plants without distinction.
29. Get Your China Sparkling
Chine crockery never fails to enrapture the viewer. Whether on display or in use, fine china has its own particular needs to maintain the shine.
To keep your china from turning dull or drab, mix together half a cup of borax to a prefilled sink. Let your dishes soak for a while before rinsing them off with normal water.
30. Improves Tree Health
Although a few points ago we mentioned how borax can be an effective pesticide, here we say that it can also boost the health of your plants. Confused? There’s a reason behind its behaviour.
Borax is naturally produced in all living plants. Like every other mineral, however, it can come lethal in high doses. Therefore, when used in moderation with time in between, borax can help your garden to bloom bigger without any repercussions.
Add in a cup of borax every two to three years at the base of the tree you are earing. This will enrich the soil which in turn will lead to better yields.
31. Toilet Cleaner
Toilet cleaners are heavily based on chemicals that can often irritate skin, respiratory system and even the toilet surface. These cleaners exhume a lot of fumes which are quite strong. For children and pets, they can become overpowering in nature.
Rather than irritating their delicate noses, you can employ borax to the task. Sprinkle borax generously over the toilet and let it sit overnight before flushing it all away the next morning. Borax even gets rid of yellow stains with relative ease and minimal scrubbing.
32. Makes Fleas Disappear
Fleas are a nightmare, not only for your pets but for other members of your family as well. To stay one step ahead of the pests, sprinkle a bit of borax wherever you think they might be hatching.
By regular upkeep and cleaning, you can avoid an infestation. Some common areas where fleas breed is your pet’s bed, their toys and the carpet.
33. Extends the Life of Fresh-cut Flowers
Flowers can brighten up your day, and would even be better if they could last the said day. To keep flowers blooming longer, add a little bit of borax to your water. This will give them the little boost they need to keep fresh for longer.
On the other hand, if you would like to preserve flowers from a special occasion, you can use borax to keep them from decomposing. Borax draws the water out from the flowers and keeps them from wilting.
To achieve this, you will need to mix 2 parts borax with equal parts of dry sand. If sand is unavailable, you can substitute it for double the cornmeal.
34. Preserves Your Stringed instruments
Musicians know the struggle of having to keep their strings in top order. They can rust easily and often break under the stress. Strings are quite expensive, which can cause quite a dent in your pocket as you have to keep on replacing them at the slightest show of rust.
To stretch your strings’ life span, you can instead clean them with a damp toothbrush and some borax. This will get the rust out in no time without destroying the integrity of the string.
35. Removes Residual Tape
Nothing annoys me more than having to deal with residual glue left behind by tapes and tags. They are impossible to get rid of and pick up all sorts of dust from everywhere.
A paste of borax and water is all you need to banish the sticky goo for good. Apply the paste on the places with the glue and it will remove them for you in no time at all.
36. Clean Iron-plated Cookware
Iron plated cookware can come with some pretty tough stains, that require serious intervention. Using borax and water can get those stains out with the least required scrubbing.
In addition to saving time and energy, once the vessel has been rinsed with water it leaves no dish soap like taste behind, which earns it a gold star in my book.
37. Keeps Mice Away
A mice infestation is truly something more horrifying than a Stephen King novel from ransacking the kitchen to leaving clothes in tatters, they can cause quite the havoc. Not to mention the plethora of diseases they bring.
To get them out of your house, all you need to do is to sprinkle borax along the walls of your house, where the mice travel. They hate the feeling of borax under their feet and will soon desert your home for good.
38. Get the Grease Out
Grease stains are the hardest to deal with. They never come out easily and often seem to require specialized interventions.
Borax can help you to remove these stains from any surface without having to bend over these stains for hours on end. By merely applying a paste of borax and water on the stain, it will pick it up without leaving any residue behind.
39. Clean Car Carpet
Carpets, seat covers and other equipment in your car can get fairly dirty over extended use. While you can send them to get cleaned professionally, repeated spending can rack up quite a bill. instead, you can just use borax and water to get rid of all the stains.
Soak them in the solution for a few hours and rinse them out later. You can even add in some essential oil drops if you’d like.
40. Tile Cleaner
The grout growing in between your tiles can be troublesome to get rid of. You can get in there armed with a toothbrush and a paste of borax with lemon. You can either use this as a paste that can be left on for an hour and later rinsed off.
Or you can satisfy your inner clean freak by meticulously scrubbing it in. either way, be sure to rinse off the entire place with water afterwards.
41. Refreshes Linens
Linens collect dust and allergens over time. If not washed regularly they can cause sneezes and wheezes all around. You can disinfect these linens by soaking them in a mixture of borax and warm water. After pulling them out from the wash cycle, they’ll be smelling as refreshing as they would look.
With these uses for borax in your kitty, you surely cannot resist the temptation to use this wonder ingredient. An inexpensive purchase that surely pays its dividends and more, borax is the next thing to be on the lookout for while visiting the supermarket.
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