Homemade cleaners

Beneficial Borax

by Janean Nusz


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Borax, also known as sodium borate, is a natural mineral compound. Inexpensive, easy to find and readily available, borax can usually be found for as little as $1 per pound!

Borax's most well-know purpose is as a laundry booster. Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup to your laundry along with your regular detergent to help remove stubborn stains and odors. Borax works by conditioning the water and controlling alkalinity.

Many parents use borax to soak soiled baby diapers and garments for better removal of stubborn stains and odors. For a soaking solution, mix 1/2 cup borax with 2 to 4 gallons of hot water.

Borax can also be used as an inexpensive, but effective, floor and surface cleaner. To make the cleaner, mix 1/3 cup of borax with 1 teaspoon of dishwashing detergent and 1 gallon of warm water in a large bucket.

Borax is also known for its odor-fighting properties, especially urine odors caused by pet or child accidents. Use borax to neutralize urine odors from mattresses, carpet and upholstered furniture. Simply dampen the affected area, sprinkle with borax, rub into the stain and let dry. Brush off or vacuum to remove the borax when dried. Be sure to test an inconspicuous area when using this method, particularly when using on carpet and furniture! This method also removes stubborn sour milk odors, too.

Make an inexpensive and effective scouring compound by mixing 1/4 cup borax, 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 1/2 cups of hot water. Stir well, and then use as you would a regular scouring powder. Borax alone can also be used as a cleanser, just sprinkle on a damp sponge or a soft cloth, scrub, then rinse. Borax, alone, may even be used on sensitive surfaces, such as fiberglass and porcelain, without scratching. Try using borax as a cleanser on aluminum cookware, it works great and won't scratch!

Take advantage of borax's odor-fighting properties; use it to defeat those offensive odors in refrigerators, disposals, humidifiers, kitchen drains, toilet bowls and trashcans.

  • For disposals and drains, sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons into drain or disposal, let stand for 20 minutes, and then flush with water.

  • To deodorize refrigerators, wipe the inside of the appliance down using a sponge or soft cloth and a solution of 1 quart water mixed with 1 tablespoon of borax, then rinse with cold water.

  • Deodorize your garbage cans, bins and dumpsters by rinsing with a solution of borax (1 tablespoon borax per quart of water), allow to air dry, then sprinkle 1/2 cup (or as needed to coat evenly) into the bottom of the receptacle.

  • To freshen your humidifier, fill the unit with this same solution of borax and water, allow to sit for 20 minutes, and then rinse well before using.

  • For toilet bowls, sprinkle 1/4 cup of borax into the bowl, swish with a toilet brush, let stand for at least 20 minutes (or overnight for stubborn problems), and then flush.

Borax has other uses as well.

  • To make a simple slime that your kids will love to play with, mix 1/2 cup water and 1 cup white glue in a glass or ceramic bowl. Add 4 drops of food coloring if desired. In a separate glass or ceramic bowl, dissolve 1/2 teaspoon borax into 1/2 cup water. Slowly stir the dissolved borax mixture into the white glue mixture to make slime. Store in a tightly sealed jar when not in use. Compare this inexpensive slime to the commercial brands, and you'll see a real value!

  • To make your own dried flower arrangement, preserve your flowers using borax. Sprinkle borax into a small box, such as a shoe box, cut the flowers you wish to preserve to desired length, lay flowers (two per box) on the borax and completely cover with another layer of borax. Close the box tightly, taping closed if necessary. Allow the boxed flowers to sit at room temperature for one week, then strain off the borax and reveal your preserved flowers. Reuse the strained borax powder to dry additional flowers.

  • Kill roaches safely and effectively in your home. Mix equal parts of powdered sugar and borax, place in crevices, along walls, under appliances and in the back of cupboards. The roaches will eat this inexpensive "bait" and die. Although borax is safer than commercial poisons, always be sure to keep this mixture away from small children and pets!

Look for borax in your supermarket's laundry aisle and start saving money today!


Janean Nusz is a freelance writer, professional reviewer and computer support specialist. Visit her website, AuthorsArt.com for free guides, computer tips, reviews, and fantastic fiction.

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