Borax: The Miracle Cleaner!

Borax. Why don’t you have any yet?

Most people have no idea about how wonderful this little box of cleaning joy is. Borax is made with water, oxygen, boron, and sodium—simple stuff that’s been known to man for more than 4000 years, and used for cleaning with borax has been going on for more than 100 years! Sodium borate is a naturally occurring mineral that 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. Borax is a great DIY cleaner and here are 10 easy ways you can use it.

Easy Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Sprinkle 1 cup of borax into your toilet bowl before you go to bed, aiming for the sides of the bowl, under the rim, and of course, inside the bowl itself. In the morning, scrub quickly with a brush, and flush. The borax loosens everything up, making scrub time much faster. Toilet rings, odors, and stains will flush away with ease. Nice!

Get Rid of Bugs

A nice alternative to toxic bug killers is to make 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 hidden area (appliances, the sofa). 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 microfiber cloth and rinse well. Voila!

Remove Sink Stains

Whether it’s rust, food stains, or general sink build-up on a stainless steel or porcelain sink, borax will deal with it.

  • Mix 1 cup borax with 1/4 cup lemon juice and apply the paste onto the staining using a sponge.
  • Rinse well, and shine with a microfiber cloth! (If the borax mixture hardens, just add more lemon juice.)

Get Rid of Mildew in the Bathroom

Create a thick paste of borax and water, apply to the mildewy 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 discoloration from grout.

Room Refresher Spray

If you notice that a room in your house starts smelling a little funky, or if you just want to add a little freshness to a room before guests arrive, try this DIY room spray.

  • Mix 1/2 cup borax into 12 ounces of warm water in a clean spray bottle.
  • Add 10 drops of your favorite essential oil (this is optional, but you know me—I LOVE essential oils) and shake well.
  • Spritz away! Note: Shake well before each use, since borax tends to settle.

Pet Bed Cleaner

If you want to shake that dog or cat aroma from the pet bed but don’t want to launder it try this pet bed odor eater.

  • Mix 1/3 cup borax in 1 cup of water in a spray bottle.
  • Spritz right onto pet beds, gently scrub and wipe clean.

Delicate Cleaner!

Easily handwash 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, add your delicates and let soak for 30 minutes.
  • Rinse well and hang to dry.

Plastic Hairbrush and Comb Cleaner

Start by removing excess hair, then mix 1/4 cup borax and a tablespoon of dish soap into a gallon of warm water in a bucket or sink. Add your brush and comb and soak for 20 minutes, then rinse and lay flat to dry. (This is not recommended for wood brushes, since wood can warp in water.)

Pet Accident Odor Eliminator

Remove any “solid” part of that stain (you know what I mean), then dampen the spot and sprinkle on a generous amount of borax. Rub it into the stain (gently), leave it to dry, and then vacuum it up. The odor should be completely gone!

If you’re looking for more tips and tricks to keep in mind when cleaning around the house check out our E-Book Bundle! It gives you access to our E-Books My 3-Wave Cleaning System, 50 DIY Cleaning Recipes, and The Complete Guide to Essential Oils!

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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. The people saying it’s Toxic are probably confusing it with Boric Acid, which is a slightly different compound and is toxic. Used largely, I believe, in anti insect preparations. However, borax itself—20 mule team or similar mineral pure borax—is immensely useful in a number of ways and is only toxic in very large doses. For those of you having issues with it solidifying, mix it first with boiling or near boiling water because it will not dissolve in cool water.

  2. I have heavy lime/mineral/rust in our water and have various filters. But my toilets are stained. I coated the sides of the toilet with borax and let it sit for awhile—-HELP!! It solidifies!! I can’t hardly break it up to flush it away. Scares me from using it again.

  3. Ive just made home made clothes detergent. Seems to work just fine but after reading comments on here I’m a little scared to use it now! Very contradicting Safe or Not? Like to see actual factual test results ‘re Borax, good and bad, not just assumptions.

  4. Flush the toilet so as the sides are still wet then sprinkle around
    You can buy a stainless steel round container with a removable lid that has homes in it. I found it in the kitchen area of my supermarket, (guess it’s used as a large salt shaker). ????

    • I poured Borax into my toilet overnight and it has crystallized!! I have been chipping away at it, pouring boiling water also, but to no avail!! It has NOT dissolved and is as hard as a rock. I loosened the sides and discarded them but the problem is in the hole that pushes the water through. I’ve tried everything from sturdy wire hangers to my weed puller!! It’s so far in there, I can’t get it loose. Please help!!!!!

      • Try Lysol toilet bowl cleaner Lime and Rust(black bottle) My son moved into a place that needed deeeep cleaning. Landlords were going to replace toilet and I said I would try this first. Squirted it all around in it and left it for probably longer than needed, went back and I don’t think I even had to scrub it! Good luck! I still use it occasionally at home due to hard water, but only like every 6-8 months or so

        • Thanks for the good advice! I am shocked to see all these comments, people pleading for help and not ONE response from the creators of this site.

  5. 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.

    • It’s toxicity levels are lower than salt… Salt (and water) can kill a small child (and an adult for that matter) as well if ingested in enough quantities at a time…

    • “Sodium borate is a naturally occurring mineral that isn’t harmful to the environment, doesn’t accumulate in your body, and doesn’t absorb through your skin…”

      Idk what Disodium Tetraborate Decahydrate is but it is NOT borax. Borax doesn’t accumulate in the body and is not toxic. It is safe to use on virtually every surface – all normal household surfaces are safe with Borax – i don’t wish to list them, we all know what is used in our home surfaces right? Great!

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

    • Flush the toilet so as the sides are still wet then sprinkle around
      You can buy a stainless steel round container with a removable lid that has homes in it. I found it in the kitchen area of my supermarket, (guess it’s used as a large salt shaker). ????

  8. 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!

  9. 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?

    • Mix the borax with very warm or hot water, it will dissolve much easier. It helps to rinse the spray tube/wand and nozzle tip after use, to prevent residue from drying and clogging the sprayer.

  10. 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?

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. 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?

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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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