Borax: The Miracle Cleaner!


Borax – why don’t you have any yet?

We see it in the cleaning aisle, but most of us have no idea about how wonderful this little box of cleaning joy is. Borax is made with water, oxygen, boron and sodium, it’s really simple stuff and its been known to man for over 4000 years and used for cleaning for over 100 years! It is a popular product used in the laundry world and also has several stain removal, rust removal, mildew removal and deodorizing applications.

Sodium borate is a naturally occurring mineral which isn’t harmful to the environment, doesn’t accumulate in your body and doesn’t absorb through your skin. It mixes nicely with lemon, vinegar and water for cleaning purposes and is safe for use on any surface including tile, ceramic, porcelain, slate, marble, granite and stainless steel.

Here are 10 great ways you can use it, but don’t take my word for it, get some today and see what you can accomplish with it!

Easy toilet bowl cleaner:

I like anything that saves me time. Just sprinkle 1 cup of borax into your toilet bowl before you go to bed. I like to get the sides of the bowl, under the rim and of course inside the bowl itself (in other words, be deliberate with your sprinkling). In the morning, scrub quick with a brush and flush. The borax loosens everything up making scrub time much faster and clean up a breeze. You’ll see toilet rings, odours and stains flush away with ease. Nice!

Get rid of bugs:

A nice alternative to bug killers is a mixture of equal parts borax and powdered sugar. Sprinkle this in areas where bugs frequent, or lay some down on a piece of parchment paper and slip it under a frequented area (appliance, sofa) and you can easily pull it out at a later time. The bugs will carry the ‘food’ away and for some strange reason, won’t be back.

Easy cookware cleaning powder:

Borax is great for cleaning tough stains and baked on crustiness. Dampen the affected areas, sprinkle a touch on, and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, scrub with a soft sponge or cloth and rinse well. Voila! Borax really helps remove build up.

Remove sink stains:

Whether it’s rust, food stains or general sink build up, borax will deal with it. In either your stainless steel or porcelain sink, mix 1 cup borax with 1/4 cup lemon juice and rub the stain with this paste. Using a sponge, wipe the mixture around as you would any powdered cleanser. Rinse well and shine! If you notice the borax mixture hardens, add more lemon juice. Mine hardened pretty fast, so I don’t recommend making any more than you need because in my experience, it doesn’t store well as a mixture.

Get rid of mildew in the bathroom:

If you have yucky mildew stains in the bathroom, you’re going to love borax. Create a thick paste of borax and water, apply onto the moldy area and let it sit overnight. Then, brush away the loose powder and rinse the rest off! This could not be easier and it really makes a difference when it comes to removing mildew and discolouration from grout.

Room refresher spray:

If you like making your own products, you’ll love this! Make your own room refresher spray which helps eliminate odours and keep a room smelling fresh. Mix 1/2 cup borax into 12 oz. warm water ( to dissolve the borax), and add 10 drops of essential oil (this is optional, but you know me, I LOVE essential oils). Mix in a clean spray bottle and use anywhere you need a better smell! Shake well before each use, borax tends to settle.

Pet bed cleaner:

If you want to rid the pet bed from smelling like ‘dog’ or ‘cat’ but don’t want to launder it, then mix up mix 1/3 cup borax into 8 oz. water, mix and spray onto pet beds to remove smells. You can also spray onto eating areas or other surfaces your pet frequents and gently scrub and wipe clean. This helps kill odours and freshen up the space for your furry friend!

Delicate delicates cleaner:

Hand wash your delicates with this simple solution: mix 2 tablespoons mild laundry detergent with 1/4 cup borax and a gallon of very warm water in a bucket or sink. Once dissolved, soak delicates for 30 minutes, rinse and hang to dry! This helps remove stains, fight odours and condition the water to let the detergent do its job properly. Love this!

Plastic hairbrush and comb soak:

Stay by removing excess hair, them mix 1/4 cup borax and a tablespoon of dish soap together into a gallon of warm water in a bucket or sink. Soak for 20 minutes, rinse and lay flat to dry. Grease, dust and any other unsavoury stuff will be removed! This is not recommended for wood brushes, since wood can warp in water.

Pet accident odour eliminator:

Pet accidents smell terrible, but here’s how to deal with those odours: remove any ‘solid’ part of that stain (you know what I mean!). Then, dampen the spot if it’s not already damp, sprinkle on a generous amount of borax and pat into the stain gently, leave it to dry and then vacuum it up. The odour should be completely gone!

What are some of your favourite uses for borax?
Let me know in the comments below!!!

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.


  1. Borax IS toxic if ingested. A relatively small amount (tblspns, but unlikely to ever be consumed) is sufficient to kill a small child over a period of time. Indisputable Science about borax, otherwise known as Disodium Tetraborate Decahydrate, is widely available within the chemical industry. It is not “bureacracy” to ban a product that looks like sugar, however safe it may be for the discerning householder. Also it is very unwise to not understand the full scientific chemistry/properties of a product before using it with verve. Borax is a wonderful, useful product — when used wisely.

  2. I discovered borax years ago when I had a teenage son who was involved in wrestling at school – – borax was the only thing I ever found that got that “sweaty teenage boy funk” out of his clothes! Just added some along with detergent.

  3. I actually sprinkle the borax into the carpet and then walk it in all the way to the pad to kill fleas. I wait until it’s completely disappeared into the carpet before I vacuum, at least a week. It works!

  4. we had a flea infestation a few years ago – I bought an industrial broom and several boxes of borax – sprinkled the borax on every inch of the carpets and swept it into the fibers. Used a funnel to get it into the edges along the walls and the corners and worked it in with a toothbrush. Left it there – for 2 days before vacuuming. The fleas were gone in a jif!

  5. Help!! Went to dollar General and gotnanspray bottle for in could do the room freshner and pet bed cleaner. Even though I shake and shake it wont spray. Borax clogging sprayer. Any tips beside a different spray bottle. Maybe the type you use. Or do you recycle an old sprayer?

  6. My flooring is an unsealed tile. Whatever the tile is, it can’t be sealed. I can’t ever seem to keep it clean. This sounds like a good alternative. Can borax be used with hot water and essential oils for mopping? If so, about how much borax do you recommend?

  7. Melissa,

    I purchased some borax today. It says on the box that it is an alternative to color-safe bleach. I looked for that in your videos, but couldn’t find it. So, at the risk of ruining my clothes, I am going to forge ahead & do a load of colored laundry using the borax with my detergent. Wish me luck!

    This year my plan is to use as many natural products in my home, as possible. So I will be watching a LOT of your videos.

    • In my excitement of using all-natural products, I totally forgot the detergent. And My essential oil didn’t have a dropper. Smells really strong. But taking them out of the washer, they sure smell fresh. And nice to put in the dryer without a dryer sheet.
      Next time, I’ll try adding detergent.

  8. Great ideas! I always keep borax (and washing soda laundry soap booster) and use it for laundry -but didn’t think of these uses – thanks!

  9. I’ve been checking all over the internet looking for a way to clean my tile grout on my floors. After finding you on YouTube and this website, I’ve learned that and much more. I thank for sharing all your cleaning hints. Now I only have to go to one place for help.

  10. I have used Borax for laundry, house cleaning and, recently, for getting control of an ant problem. Great stuff! I might try the Borax and jelly combo to for those devil ants.

  11. Borax is banned here in the UK as its mildy toxic thus dangerous if kids about. Borax substitute is available I think

    • Salt is more toxic than Borax! The risk is hardly worth banning… the reason it got banned a Dr was making tablets to give to his Arthritis patients and they were CURED of pain…. the Big Pharma didn’t like that and they have worked hard to ban Borax to keep it from the public as a natural cure. Much of the osteoporosis is because the essential boron is lacking in our diet… we can supplement using borax. Yep!!!

      Borax is SAFER than bleach, SAFER than an oven spray or cleaning chemical you can buy in a bottle. Crazy bureaucrats!

  12. I can’t fine this in Europe. I’d like to know what the ingredients, scientific name is, perhaps I can find it that way.

  13. I remember the days when Borax was in all public restroom soap dispensers. Now it truly is the best and versatile cleaning product and cheapest. I purchased a new front loader two weeks ago. Within one day of using it, the foul smell was starting. I do have a good sense of smell but it was obvious what I was in for. I researched and found that the foul smell can be eliminated by making your own powdered detergent, not using any liquid detergent, and being diligent in leaving the washer door open when not in use and wiping down after use. Research told me that the enzymes in the liquid detergents, more than likely animal based as in most soaps, was the culprit for the foul smell. Why else would I start to have odor the first day of use? I changed to powder like the research said and made my own using Borax, washing soda, baking soda, and oxyclean. I avoided adding Fels Naphtha to avoid the tallow. After the first wash, no more odor and there has been none since. Vinegar and Borax are great to use when running the tub cleaning cycle. Do not waste money buying a commercial product. It is also important to start this habit early when purchasing a new machine. Try it. Your life and laundry will be more pleasant and your machine will be better maintained.

      • Marion G…we found out it best to leave your wahing machine door AND the soap dispenser open a little to ”dry out” between loads…I know as much as we pay for these front loader that seems unfair, but that’s all that will help between me using the borax or running a cycle with clear vinegar when that ”funky” smell starts.. good luck P.S we also have to slide out the soap dispenser to clean out the fabric softener section, etc.I just hold on, press down and the whole thing removes[on our KitchenAid model] to take to bathroom or kitchen sink.

    • Hi Stephanie, My first thought would have been that there was something wrong with the new washer or that there was an odor that was natural for the first use then would just go away. I would have been on the phone with the washing machine manufacturer first thing because the only thing that you did differently was buy a new washer right? Was the detergent that you used to use fine until then? Anyway, you seem to have solved the problem so that’s the important thing. 🙂

      The vinegar and borax for tub cleaning sounds good (I have both in the house). How much of each do you use and do you use them together or one right after the other?

  14. I made the air freshener but borax keeps solidifying and i cannot spray the solution. The borax powder gets stuck and it wont spray HELP

    • Actually im just letting the solution sit in a bowl and im going to put only dissolved liquid into the sprayer. But let me know if you have other solutions

  15. If have fleas in your carpet and you can’t get rid them.use borax Straight out of box sprinkle on to carpetlet it sit for 30 minute and vacuum

  16. Pssst 1tsp of borax and 12 oz of water mixed and spread out over 15′ of garden plot amps up the growth of sunflowers for all those clean space gardeners out there.

  17. Borax is the main ingredient in most pesticides. Since pesticides are sprayed on plants which your pets could eat, the chemical could easily be ingested. Even if your pet does not eat the plant itself, it could eat the insects that have already been exposed to the pesticide.

    Many people wonder, “Is Borax dangerous to pets?” and the truth is yes. Borax is a very strong chemical that can harm pets and even humans if ingested in large enough doses. Use products that do not contain this chemical if you want to ensure that your pets are not accidentally poisoned.

    • NOT TRUE…Table salt is more toxic than Borax as its LD50 is much higher! You must be confusing Borax with another product or you have unfortunately been terribly misinformed through mass media or hearsay. As said by the author, Borax is a natural…it made with water, oxygen, boron and sodium. Boron is a mineral that we as humans need and it is mainly found in soil that is used to grow Organic fruits and vegetables….As one example; there are studies that show lack of boron being the main cause of arthritis and osteoporosis. You can eat Borax as many people do to help the body also kill off Candida with is an overgrowth of yeast in the body which is the root cause of mainly all disease such as cancer. Borax used to be sold as tablets in Europe for those having a boron deficiency until Big Pharma took over and banned it as they realized you can make more money on curing symptoms instead of curing the actual cause of the disease or problem itself. Look it up online…I just had some Borax and I’m still alive! The plants in my garden have been given borax and they are beautiful and more alive than my neighbors! Borax cures!

      • Thank you so much for sharing this link, Brooke!! The information is fascinating – and the Magnesium Advocacy group on FB has many proponents of using Boron concentrate as a supplement. It’s ability to increase absorption of other necessary minerals is invaluable; and chelating heavy metals – what winner!
        One of my co-workers has arthritis/stiff joints, & when I read about the arthritis application, I immediately thought of her! I’ve already made a batch, & am beginning to take it.

  18. I use Borax and jelly to create a paste, place it on a scrap piece of cardboard. Place this in the area ants frequent. The next day ants are gone, never to return.

  19. I use Borax to make DIY cleaners for our home. One I really like has 2 tablespoons Borax, 2 tablespoons Washing Soda, 15 drops Lavender essential oil and 10 drops Lemon essential oil and 1/2 a teaspoon dish detergent. Works great in the shower and anywhere that needs a little cleaning.

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