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19 Clever Uses for Borax You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner

Tired of harsh chemicals taking over your home? Scrub out stains, clean your home and freshen up your favourite clothes with the power of borax.

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Bathroom toiletPhoto: Shutterstock

Clean your toilet

Want a way to disinfect your toilet bowl and leave it glistening without having to worry about dangerous or unpleasant fumes? Use a stiff brush to scrub it using a solution of 1/2 cup borax in one gallon (3.7 litres) water.

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Stainless steel sink drainPhoto: Shutterstock

Clear a clogged drain

Before you reach for a caustic drain cleaner to unclog the kitchen or bathroom drain, try this much gentler approach. Use a funnel to insert a ½ cup of borax into the drain, then slowly pour in two cups of boiling water. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes, then flush with hot water. Repeat for stubborn clogs.

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Cleaning sink with spongePhoto: Shutterstock

Rub out sink stains

Get rid of those stubborn stains—even rust—in your stainless steel or porcelain sink. Make a paste of one cup of borax and ¼ cup of lemon juice. Put some of the paste on a cloth or sponge and rub it into the stain, then rinse with running warm water. The stain should wash away with the paste.

You probably never think to clean these surprisingly dirty kitchen items!

4 / 19
Cleaning window with clothPhoto: Shutterstock

Clean windows and mirrors

To get windows and mirrors spotless and streakless, just wash them with a clean sponge dipped in two tablespoons of borax dissolved in three cups of water.

Never, ever skip these spots when spring cleaning!

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Red wine stain on carpetPhoto: Shutterstock

Rub out rug stains

Remove stubborn stains from rugs and carpets by thoroughly dampening the area, then rubbing in some borax. Let the area dry, then vacuum or blot it with a solution of equal parts of vinegar and soapy water and allow to dry. Repeat if necessary. Don’t forget to first test the procedure on an inconspicuous corner of the rug or on a carpet scrap before applying it to the stain.

Read on for eight ingenious uses for leftover wine.

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Hand-washing clothesPhoto: Shutterstock

Remove mildew from fabric

To remove mildew from upholstery and other fabrics, soak a sponge in a solution of a ½ cup of borax dissolved in two cups of hot water and rub it into the affected areas. Let it soak in for several hours until the stain disappears, then rinse well. To remove mildew from clothing, soak it in a solution of two cups of borax in two litres of water.

Check out these ways to put ammonia to work around the house.

7 / 19
Garbage disposalPhoto: Shutterstock

Sanitize your garbage disposal

A garbage disposal is a great convenience but can also be a great breeding ground for mould and bacteria. To maintain a more sanitary disposal, every couple of weeks pour three tablespoons borax down the drain and let it sit for one hour. Then turn on the disposal and flush it with hot water from the tap.

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8 / 19
Mattress on bed framePhoto: Shutterstock

Eliminate urine odour on mattresses

Toilet training can be a rough experience for all the parties involved. If your child has an “accident” in bed, here’s how to get rid of any lingering smell: Dampen the area, then rub in some borax. Let it dry, then vacuum up the powder.

Unable to unwind at night? Try these simple tips to make your bedroom a more relaxed and pleasant environment.

9 / 19
Dried bouquet of flowersPhoto: Shutterstock

Make your own dried flowers

Give your homemade dried flowers the look of a professional job. Mix one cup borax with two cups cornmeal. Place a 3/4-inch coating of the mixture in the bottom of an airtight container, like a large flat plastic food storage container. Cut the stems off the flowers you want to dry, then lay them on top of the powder, and lightly sprinkle more of the mixture on top of the flowers (be careful not to bend or crush the petals or other flower parts). Cover the container, and leave it alone for seven to 10 days. Then remove the flowers and brush off any excess powder with a soft brush.

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10 / 19
Taking out weed on lawnPhoto: Shutterstock

Keep away weeds and ants

Get the jump on those weeds that grow in the cracks of the concrete outside your house by sprinkling borax into all the crevices where you’ve seen weeds grow in the past. It will kill them off before they have a chance to take root. When applied around the foundation of your home, it will also keep ants and other six-legged intruders from entering your house. But be very careful when applying borax—it is toxic to plants. In the yard, be very careful when applying borax onto or near soil. It doesn’t take much to leach into the ground to kill off nearby plants and prevent future growth.

Check out these indoor gardening ideas from expert Carson Arthur!

11 / 19
Ground ivyPhoto: Shutterstock

Control creeping Charlie

Is your garden being overrun by that invasive perennial weed known as creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea, also known as ground ivy, creeping Jenny and gill-over-the-ground)? You may be able to conquer Charlie with borax. First, dissolve eight to 10 ounces (230-280 grams) borax in 4 ounces (120 millilitres) warm water. Then pour the solution into 2 1/2 gallons (9.5 litres) warm water—this is enough to cover 1,000 square feet (93 square metres). Apply this treatment only one time in each of two years. If you still have creeping Charlie problems, consider switching to a standard herbicide.

These simple and smart updates to everyday yard tools will make your outdoor chores a heck of a lot easier this season.

12 / 19
SlimePhoto: Taste of Home

Make slime

With just a teaspoon of borax, you can make the ooey-gooey craft your kids are always talking about.

Check out these brilliant uses for butter you’ll wish you knew sooner!

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Open dishwasher with clean dishes after cleaning process.Photo:

Refresh your dishwasher

Scrub the inside of your dishwasher with borax powder, or simply line the bottom of your dishwasher with a layer of borax, and run the dishes. Your dishwasher will be fresher and more effective.

Discover all the ways you’re shortening the life of your dishwasher.

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White sugar in wood bowl; Shutterstock ID 160507631; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHPhoto: Saichol Chandee/Shutterstock

Put pantry pests out to pasture

Pantry pests are just…ick. But we have natural ways to get rid of them. Borax is one of them. You know how you can attract flies with honey? Well, using equal parts of borax and sugar, you can attract pantry pests, but they won’t survive for another trip to your cupboards (borax is toxic to them but only toxic to humans in large amounts).

Get rid of more gross smells using these household items.

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Golden retriever dog puppy playing with toy while lying on denPhoto: Photology1971/Shutterstock

Protect your pets

Use this bug-killing powder to help get rid of those other pests—fleas—by sprinkling borax on dog beds, carpets, and other areas where you suspect the bugs might be hatching.

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spray bottle, best things to buy at a grocery store that aren't foodPhoto: Mirzamlk/Shutterstock

Freshen the air

Since commercial air fresheners may contain carcinogens and other toxins, consider borax as a green alternative: make a solution of three parts warm water to one part borax, transfer to a spray bottle, and add five to 10 drops of your favourite essential oil. Spray away!

These are the everyday items that are dirtier than a toilet seat.

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Modern bathroom in luxury house; Shutterstock ID 506313262; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHPhoto: DD Images/Shutterstock

Unclog your toilets

You can also unclog your toilet using borax. Scoop out as much water as you can from the bowl, and then add a half a cup of borax powder. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then pour two cups of boiling water in, and flush. Repeat as needed.

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Cast iron skillet on rustic wood table.Photo: Arina P Habich/Shutterstock

Clean cast iron

You can keep that precious seasoning in place longer by cleaning with borax and salt, rather than soap. Use a solution of one part borax to one part salt. Scrub, rinse, and then dry thoroughly before storing away.

Try out these uses for hand sanitizer you’ll wish you knew before.

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Basket with combs and round hair brushes. Toned image. Comb for combing raw hair in a basket in a hair salon. close up view; Shutterstock ID 1028801134; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHPhoto: Anna Berdnik/Shutterstock

Clean combs and brushes

Clean your combs and brushes by soaking them in a sink filled with warm water, a quarter cup of borax powder and a squirt of dish soap. Rinse clean!

Think vinegar is just for salad dressing? Think again! Here are dozens of brilliant new uses for vinegar all around the house.

Originally Published in Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things