Wondering just how many uses for borax there are? It turns out there are lots! In fact, here are over 20 uses for borax all around the home – from cleaning your bathroom and kitchen to unblocking drains and more.
I use borax in some of the natural cleaning products I make. I’ve also seen borax pop up in a few homemade household cleaning recipes. However, I hadn’t appreciated just how many uses for borax there are until I came across this really handy infographic. It shows 21 uses for borax around the house! 21! From unclogging drains and cleaning mattresses to inhibiting mould, it seems borax does it all!
Safety First When Using Borax
Although it’s non-toxic and a completely natural substance, borax can be a bit of an irritant to sensitive skin. If you do suffer from sensitive skin, skin allergies, eczema, or anything like that then I would avoid using borax on anything that’s going to come into regular contact with your skin. Just to be on the safe side!
21 Amazing Uses for Borax
Now we’ve got the safety chat out of the way, let’s get on to the many uses for borax!
Homemade Carpet Cleaner
To make homemade carpet cleaner, simply mix 2 cups of cornmeal (also known as polenta in the UK) with 1 cup of borax in a large jar. You can optionally add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to add a little scent.
Next, sprinkle the mixture over your carpeted area and leave for one hour. Then vacuum to enjoy a fresh, odour-free carpet.
To make dishwasher tablets you will need 1 cup of borax, 1 cup of washing soda (also known as soda crystals), 1 cup of vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
Mix the borax and washing soda into a large bowl, breaking up any chunks with a spoon or whisk. Mix the vinegar and lemon juice into the dry ingredients and pour it mixture into ice cube moulds. Let the mixture dry for one hour, or until solid. Next, pop out the tablets and let them dry for another 30 minutes on wax paper. Store in a sealed glass jar, and use one tablet per load.
I’ve tried this recipe and it didn’t work for me – mixing borax or soda crystals with vinegar is a big no-no – so personally, I’d give this a miss and buy plastic-free dishwasher tablets. Read my guide to cleaning with white vinegar to learn more about why you shouldn’t mix borax with vinegar.
To clean your grout, in a bucket, mix 5 litres of hot water with 1/2 a cup of borax. Dip a scrubbing brush in the water and scrub your grout. When you are done, pour water over the grout to rinse, or leave the borax solution on to help prevent further mould and mildew. If you rinse the grout, use a towel to dry the area thoroughly.
Better Homemade Candles
For longer-lasting homemade candles, treat wicks by soaking them in a solution of salt and borax to help reduce smoke and ash.
Clean Hairbrushes & Combs Naturally With Borax
To clean hairbrushes and combs, mix 1/4 cup of borax and 1 tablespoon grease-cutting washing up liquid in a bowl of warm water. Swish the brushes and combs in water, let soak, and then rinse and dry.
Clean Mattresses With Borax
To clean your mattress, simply wet your mattress and rub in some borax with a damp cloth. Leave to dry, and then vacuum off the residue for a fresh clean mattress.
For another great use for borax, did you know you can clean cookware with it? Simply sprinkle some borax on pots and pans and rub with a dishcloth, before rinsing.
Deodorising Your Bins
Fill your bin with borax and hot water. Let soak and then rinse. Once dry, sprinkle a little borax in the bottom to absorb odour-causing moisture.
Garbage Disposal Cleaner
Clean and sanitise your garbage disposal unit by putting 3 tablespoons of borax down the drain. Leave this to sit for one hour, before flushing with warm water.
Sticky Stuff Remover
Mix borax and water in a 2-to-1 ratio. Then rub to get rid of adhesive residue, or see here for my top tips to remove labels from jars.
Use Borax to Kill Weeds
Sprinkle a little borax on weeds in concrete cracks. Avoid using it in your garden as it will kill your plants indiscriminately.
To remove mildew and mustiness from linens you can use borax. Simply mix two cups of borax with 2 litres of water. Soak your linens for a few hours in the solution, before rinsing clean.
Use Borax to Deter Mice
Sprinkle borax on the floor and along the walls (provided you don’t have any children or pets). Apparently, mice don’t like borax on their feet so they are less likely to return.
Please note, you cannot use borax in the UK or EU for pest control – you can read on for why not. Therefore this is only an option if you live outside of the UK or EU.
To inhibit the growth of mould, you can mix borax and water to create a thick paste. Smear it on the mouldy area and let it sit until it is dry. Preferably overnight or longer. The next day sweep off the powder and rinse off any remaining residue.
Use Borax to Clean Outdoor Furniture
To clean your outdoor garden furniture naturally, mix one teaspoon of washing up liquid with one teaspoon of borax, and 1 litre of warm water in a spray bottle. Spray it onto outdoor furniture and then wipe down your furniture to clean effectively and naturally.
Control Pests With Borax
Again, if you are outside of the UK or EU then you can use borax to repel ants and other creatures. Simply mix borax and sugar in a 1:1 ratio, and then sprinkle to keep away ants, roaches, and waterbugs. Again, I’d avoid this if you have pets or small children.
Deodorise Your Fridge With Borax
To deodorise your fridge, mix 1 tablespoon of borax in 1 litre of warm water. Soak a soft cloth in the solution, before wringing out. Wipe down your fridge interior, before rinsing with cold water for a clean and odour-free fridge.
Create a solution using 1 litre of warm water, 1 tablespoon of borax, and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. You can then apply the solution to any rust spots. After 15 minutes, rinse the paste and scrub off the rust with a wire brush. You may wish to spot test an inconspicuous area first, before treating a wider area.
To restore the shine on your best china, fill your sink with warm water and add half a cup of borax. Soak your china in it for a little while, before rinsing well and washing as normal.
To remove stains from both stainless steel and porcelain sinks, create a paste of 1 cup borax and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Using a sponge or cloth, rub the paste on the stain, before rinsing with warm water.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
To naturally clean your toilet bowl, pour one cup of borax into your toilet at night time. In the morning, clean with a toilet brush for a fresh clean finish.
To unclog drains, mix 1/2 a cup of borax with 2 cups of boiling water. Pour the solution down your sink, leaving it to sit for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, run the tap for a few minutes to flush the drain. Alternatively, you can try unblocking your drain with soda crystals.
Where to Buy Borax In The UK
If you’re in the UK/EU and you want to track some borax down, please note you can only buy “borax substitute”.
The reason being is that a few years ago the EU reclassified the ‘Borate’ group of chemicals that Borax belongs to as a dangerous substance. Thankfully, borax substitute still has all the same cleaning and laundry uses that the original borax had, so you can use it as a straight swap.
Whilst borax substitute is also pretty much identical, composition-wise, to regular borax, do note that it cannot be used for pest control. You’ll still need to store it securely away from children, preferably up high in a childproof cupboard, and properly labelled. This is because it’s not a substance you want young children getting their hands on.
And if you’re wondering where to buy borax substitute, the good news is it’s easily accessible. I’ve seen it for sale in cardboard boxes in pound shops (in the cleaning aisle) and hardware shops for the princely sum of £2 for a 500g box. You can also shop for borax substitute easily online.
Do note that many people wonder if soda crystals are the same as borax. Soda crystals and Borax are very different things, so always make sure you are using the correct product!
ps: if you are worried about using borax or borax substitute in your home, then I’ve researched a post on is borax safe to help answer any questions you may have on borax safety.