Borax. You know the name, you know the iconic box cover with the little girl sitting in a desert, but you might not necessarily know what it is actually best used for throughout the home.

A Few Notes About Borax

A couple of quick notes off the top before we get into the uses of Borax. First off, you’ll want to keep this strong product away from pets and kids. It is indeed toxic if ingested so always keep that in mind. This is also a product where you’ll definitely want to grab yourself some good rubber gloves, as borax can be toxic for the skin.

Laundry Booster

You will find your trusty box of Borax in the laundry aisle and that’s because it’s predominantly used as a laundry-boosting product. The packaging even says, “It’s a natural deodorizer, a detergent booster and it helps remove stains.”

Now, one of the simplest ways that you can use this as a laundry booster is to dissolve a tablespoon of Borax into 2 cups of hot water, pour the mixture into the washing machine, add your laundry and do a regular load. Doing this will boost your laundry detergent and help it work more efficiently. I can’t necessarily explain the science behind it, we would have to talk to a chemist about that, but I assure you a tablespoon of this stuff does wonders for removing stains and improving your wash cycle. This is a really inexpensive way to get a better performance out of your washing machine and cleaner clothing.

Now, on the side of the package, they talk about just adding a half a cup of Borax to your load of laundry, but this only works if you are already using hot water in your machines. If you prefer to wash with cold water, make sure to dissolve the product first in warm water to ensure the best results.

Clean & Deodorize Your Toilet

This is one of those “lazy” cleaning tricks that works great and that I absolutely love. If you want to clean and deodorize your toilet overnight, then Borax does the trick! Let’s say you notice some of that pink moldy mildewy stuff building up around the toilet or you just feel it needs a really good cleaning, then try this trick.

Take some Borax and sprinkle it around the toilet bowl, making sure to get some good coverage on all of the dirty spots. If you want to clean parts of the bowl that are below the water line then you can empty your toilet of water or just use your brush to push the water down a bit, and sprinkle on some product.

It’s best if the bowl is already wet so that you can sprinkle on the Borax and just let it sit overnight, pre-treating and doing its thing. Then in the morning, take your bowl brush out and scrub well, making sure to incorporate all of the Borax around the bowl. Then, give it a flush and you’ll notice that it’s clean and sparkly again!

Window Sill Cleaner

If you see that your window sills are a little bit moldy or have a little bit of buildup, and you’re not quite sure how to tackle it, Borax can be your new best friend. First, wipe as much of the buildup off as you can, using a cleaning toothbrush or vacuum with a bristle brush attachment. Then, make up a paste of Borax and white vinegar and apply it to the windowsill. Take the same cleaning toothbrush or any scrubbing material and agitate the windowsill covered in paste.

After wiping it all with a wet microfiber cloth, you’ll notice that it is not only clean of any mold or buildup, but it’s actually whiter than before. This is because Borax also whitens and brightens surfaces, leaving them sparkling clean.

The Most Amazing Sink Cleaner Ever

If you’re looking to level up your sink cleaning game and you don’t want to spend a lot of money on specialty cleaning products, then you can use Borax to get the job done. Similar to the toilet bowl, we are going to sprinkle the Borax around the inside of the sink. Then, take a wet, non-scratchy sponge, pump a little bit of dish soap onto it and start rubbing the Borax into the sink. Finish by rinsing the sink with warm water and you’ll notice it will be free of grime, slime, and buildup, leaving you with beautiful results!

Grout Cleaner

When cleaning grout, mix up a solution of 4 parts Borax to 1 part vinegar. You can also use warm water for this, but vinegar gives it that extra little punch that you sometimes need with stained or dirty grout.

Apply the mixture to the grout surface and let it sit for about 15 to 20 minutes, before scrubbing, and wiping away. Now, I would say this is a bit much to do on the whole floor, but it works particularly well for the grime that builds on tile grout in the bathroom. I will also mention that because this is a high-alkaline recipe, you definitely want to make sure that you’re not using it on any natural stone surfaces.

Baking Sheet Cleaner

Now, we tackle the baking sheet, a kitchen item that is often stained even after it gets a good scrubbing. I am going to try and tackle this by sprinkling Borax all over the baking sheet, baking pan, cookie pan, or whatever really needs a good cleaning. Then, boil some water and pour it over the Borax, letting it soak for 20 minutes or so, while we tackle some other cleaning jobs.

After 20 minutes of sitting and some scrubbing with a sponge, you’ll notice that this method cleans the grime off the sheet. It doesn’t quite get the pan shining bright, but some of the stains will come off. It certainly isn’t a bulletproof method of getting a pan looking like new but it will get you part of the way there.

Garbage Can Cleaner

To take full advantage of Borax’s deodorizing properties, try using it to get rid of smells in any of your garbage receptacles. You can use it for garbage bins in your kitchen and garage, along with recycling bins and compost bins. Now, there’s no real recipe here, since all of these containers are different sizes, but here’s the best method for getting those stinky bins nice and clean.

Spray or hose down the container first, with water or an all-purpose cleaner. Check out this All-Purpose Cleaners & Disinfectants article for more ideas and tips on how to use these solutions in all your cleaning routines. Then sprinkle Borax around the inside of the bin, letting it sit for a little, before scrubbing at it with a non-abrasive scrubber, and finally washing it out with water. For bigger containers, I suggest using a hose as it will give better coverage for the larger surface area. I recommend gloving up for this activity as borax can be harsh on skin. Not only will your bins look clean but they won’t smell of stinky garbage anymore!

Baking Soda Vs. Borax

Now we will talk about the differences between baking soda and Borax. Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and sodium borate or sodium tetra-borate (Borax) are both good products for cleaning and deodorizing stuff around the house, with Borax being slightly less ubiquitous than baking soda.

They whiten, brighten, they deodorize, and they can also provide mild abrasion when cleaning, but the difference between the two lies in where they are on the pH scale. Baking soda clocks in at an 8, whereas Borax comes in at a 9.5, making it significantly more alkaline than baking soda. For example, baking soda can be put in your birthday cake but Borax, on the other hand, cannot. You have to be much more careful when using Borax and as I’ve mentioned before, be sure to use gloves!

Hopefully, you’ve learned a few uses for Borax and can start upping your cleaning game! If you like making your own DIY cleaning products make sure to check out our eBook 50 DIY Cleaning Recipes!

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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.


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