No matter where or when you grew up, we bet your family had one of those iconic «mule team» borax boxes sitting in the cupboard.
Whether your parents never touched the stuff — or were borax fanatics like mine are — the powder’s cleaning power was so famous everyone kept a box handy.
The sodium borate inside the box is so effective because it does just about everything.
It’s fire-resistant, anti-fungal, and kills pests.
Which means it’s great for these 15 household jobs — and more!
1. Freshen your laundry
This is the best-known use for borax, but it’s still really handy.
Just pour half a cup of powder in with your load, and let the cleaner do the rest.
Your clothes will smell great, grease stains will disappear, and your whites will be whiter.
Borax even softens the water in your washing machine, so clothes don’t get worn out.
2. Scrub your shower tiles
Cleaning the mold that forms between shower tiles is my least favorite household chore.
It just comes back as quickly as you scrub it away.
But if you mix borax and water into a paste, then leave it over the mold overnight, it will scrub off easily the next morning.
The powder’s anti-fungal quality also keeps it from coming back so quickly.
3. Take the stink out of your mattress
Mix one part borax and three parts water in a spray bottle, then give your mattress a nice spritz.
The mixture kills bacteria and foul odors that cling to the mattress.
This hack also works for stinky pet beds.
4. Kill weeds for good
Make a weed-killing paste out of borax and water, which you can store until the next time you need it.
When you see a weed in your yard, mix the paste with water in a spray bottle and spray the weed directly.
5. Take nasty marks off your sink
Add a little lemon juice to some borax, just enough to make it soft and watery.
Rub the mixture over your sink, then scour gently and rinse away any leftover borax.
Your sink should look shiny and new again.
6. Unclog a drain
Borax is one of the most safe and natural ways to unclog a drain.
The gritty powder scrapes gunk off your drain, and the anti-bacterial effect leaves your sink smelling fresh.
Pour borax in, then flush the drain with hot water. Let the mixtures soak in for a few minutes, then run the sink to clear away any leftover powder.
7. Clean away rust
Whether you have a rusty pan, patio furniture, or almost anything else, borax can make it look good as new.
Combine one part borax and two parts warm water, then scrub the mixture directly onto the metal.
For tougher jobs, you can soak the metal overnight in the same mixture, then scrape the rust off in the morning.
8. Kill all sorts of pests
Borax has been known as a powerful bug-killer for decades, but what’s really impressive is the sheer number of pests it will kill.
A vintage borax illustration.
New York Public Library — Peter Newell
A mixture of equal parts borax and sugar will draw in and poison flies, wasps, roaches, and other small bugs.
Just be sure to keep the mixture out of reach of your kids and pets. Try putting it under your fridge, or the sink.
A sprinkle of borax will also keep ants, beetles and mice away.
You can even keep away fleas and dust mites by sprinkling some borax in your carpet.
9. Freshen a litter box
Your cat’s litter box is probably the smelliest part of your home. But it doesn’t have to be.
Keep a few spoonfuls of borax underneath the kitty litter, and your pet will dig up the fresh-smelling powder.
The same trick also works for baking soda.
10. Clean any surface in your home
Borax is a safe, natural replacement for all kinds of household cleaning
And the mixture actually works, unlike other natural recipes.
Just stir a few spoonfuls of borax into hot water, with a squirt of lemon juice for a fresh scent.
The mixture is particularly good at cleaning pencil crayons and markers off walls, and busting grease stains.
11. Cure toenail fungus
Foot fungus is irritating, but it can also be pretty serious if it’s left untreated.
For a safe, homemade cure, combine a spoonful each of borax and baking soda in water.
Mix together a paste, and apply it to the affected nail. You should notice the fungus fade away in a few days.
12. Make slime
If you have children, nieces, nephews, or grandchildren, you’ve probably already heard about slime.
This ooey, gooey craft has exploded in popularity over the last few years.
Some of the most popular recipes feature borax, so you can make some at home and spoil the kids in your life.
13. Clean your carpets
Like baking soda, you can sprinkle a little borax in your carpet and vacuum it up.
The powdered crystals seem to soak up any bad odors, and will clean dark spots in your carpet at the same time.
The powder works on «pet stains» too. Just dampen the spot with water and shake on some borax.
The smell — and the stain — will be vacuumed up with the powder.
14. Tidy your toilet bowl
This is so easy, but it leaves your toilet reliably clean.
Sprinkle a cup of the powder in your toilet bowl, and leave it overnight.
The next day, a quick scrub and a flush will reveal a shiny, white toilet bowl.
15. Deodorize your home
Break out your favorite essential oils for this hack.
Mix a few spoonfuls of borax in water, along with a few drops of the essential oil.
Put the mixture in a spray bottle for a homemade product that clears the air in any room of your house.
What’s your favorite way to clean with Borax?