15 Genius Tips For Using Borax At Home

For those who may not be familiar with this particular substance, who didn't grow up with a box of it lingering near their washing machine, borax — or sodium borate — is a mineral salt that comes in a powdered form, as per Real Simple. For a long time, it was used as an extra tool in a home's laundry arsenal, as the alkaline powder helps to battle stains caused by acidic foods or drinks. It's a total powerhouse when it comes to enhancing your laundry routine to this day. However, there are also a lot more uses for this once-beloved powder than you may have ever thought.

If you're a fan of the slime trend, you might just have a box kicking around your house; as Apartment Therapy explains, it's often one of the main ingredients for that sensory substance. However, even if you don't happen to have a box on hand, this budget-friendly item is widely available, and the multitude of uses makes it a solid buy. Here are 15 tips for using borax at home that you may not have known about

1. Freshen your garbage disposal

It's no secret that garbage disposals can get a little gross if you don't do any maintenance — after all, even though it's getting ground up, there are still likely some food particles lingering in there! To help deodorize and freshen things up, as Apartment Therapy suggests, you can simply put about 3 tablespoons of borax down the disposal and let it sit for a while. After some time has passed, you can flush all that out with some hot water and just let the garbage disposal run for a minute or two to finish up.

2. Clean your toilet bowl

Whether you prefer to regularly scrub it or enjoy the convenience of cleaning solutions that remain in the bowl and help with every flush, there's no denying that cleaning the toilet bowl can be one of the most unpleasant, yet important cleaning tasks on your list. However, as Taste of Home explains, borax can help you clean your toilet bowl effortlessly. Simply sprinkle about 1 cup of the powerhouse powder into your toilet and allow it to sit overnight — it'll make it so you can easily scrub away anything in the bowl and leave it sparkling clean and fresh.

3. Keep pests away

Whatever the particular type of pests you're plagued with, and whether they're inside your house or perusing your patio, borax can help by keeping them away, as Bob Vila explains. And, as an added bonus, the fact that borax absorbs water means it creates an inhospitable environment that pests don't want to live in, preventing them from finding new spots. Plus, the powdered nature means you can easily target trouble zones without making a huge mess.

4. Guarantee streak-free windows and mirrors

It can be incredibly frustrating to wipe down your windows and mirrors and end up with a streaky finish. Luckily, as Taste of Home details, borax can help with that. Try swapping out your regular cleaner with a solution that involves dissolving about 2 tablespoons of borax in 3 cups of water. This magical mixture can be used on any glass or mirrored surfaces, and will leave them gleaming without a streak in sight.

5. Get rid of rust

It's tempting to think that a rusted item is basically a lost cause, as it can be so difficult to remove it. However, as Preparedness Mama suggests, you might just have to think of a new way to get rid of it: with borax. Tackle that rust clinging to your tools, lawn furniture, or other metal items by making a cleaning paste of borax, lemon juice, and warm water. Sure, you may still need a bit of elbow grease, but the powerful paste should get the job done.

6. Freshen your carpets

Even if you regularly vacuum your carpets to get rid of any dirt or other particles, after a while, they can look and smell a little less than fresh. After all, they absorb so much, from the invisible dust floating through the air to the scents emanating from your kitchen. Luckily, as Bob Vila reports, borax makes for a fantastic way to freshen your carpets — and, as with other types of carpet powders, all you need to do is sprinkle it over your carpet, let it sit for about an hour to absorb all those trapped smells, and then vacuum it up.

7. Effortlessly eliminate weeds

Whether you have a sizable yard or a petite plot, weeds can pop up just about anywhere and everywhere, and can be incredibly frustrating to remove. While you don't want to sprinkle borax all over your flower beds and grass — it kills most plants — it can be a fantastic solution for spots where weeds sneak through the concrete, such as on your driveway or along walkways, as One Good Thing claims.

8. Deep clean your refrigerator or freezer

Not only does borax help with odors, it can also be made into everything from an all-purpose cleaning spray to a paste, depending on what you prefer. This makes it an ideal product for a refrigerator or freezer deep clean, as per New Life on a Homestead. And, as an added bonus, it works very well on sticky spills, so you can finally tackle those condiment catastrophes lurking in the recesses of your refrigerator with ease.

9. Freshen up yellowed pillows

Even if you launder your linens constantly, over time, you might notice your pillows getting a bit of an unappealing yellow tinge that you dread seeing every time you change your pillowcases. Before you toss them and buy a whole new set, try One Good Thing's trick of freshening them up with borax. You do have to combine the borax with bleach, powdered laundry detergent, and powdered dishwasher detergent, but the end result will likely leave you impressed.

10. Unclog a drain

Clogged drains happen, and often the options for unclogging them can be less than appealing; some people hate the harsh chemicals that are packed in many drain cleaners, and others simply can't stomach the idea of snaking the drain and seeing what might be lurking within. There's another solution, according to One Good Thing: borax. Simply add in 1/2 cup of the powerhouse powder, follow it with some boiling water, and allow the mixture to work its magic.

11. Put out a grease fire

Most people know that putting out a grease fire with water is a huge no no, but if you don't happen to have an extinguisher on hand, do you know that borax will also help in a pinch? If your culinary adventures end up sparking a small grease fire in your kitchen, grab that box of borax and sprinkle a bit on. According to Master Clean USA, you should be able to extinguish it with the powder.

12. Preserve fresh flowers

Perhaps you got a gorgeous bouquet of flowers for a special occasion and want to make them a permanent fixture in your home. However, before you find all your heaviest books and start pressing the individual flowers flat, try grabbing your box of borax instead. According to Apartment Therapy, a combination of 1 cup borax and 2 cups cornmeal will allow you to preserve those beautiful blooms if you sprinkle the mixture over them and wait about two weeks for the powder to get rid of the moisture in the plants.

13. Deep clean a mattress

If you're looking to freshen up your mattress, especially if you have children who may have had an accident or two over the years, borax just might be the perfect solution. According to How to Clean Things, you can just sprinkle the powder over a dampened spot on the mattress and rub to remove any stains. As an added bonus, since borax is a deodorizer, the mattress will likely also smell a whole lot fresher when you're finished.

14. Get rid of unwanted wall 'art'

Children who consider the walls of your home their own personal canvas can make things difficult when they leave crayon or pencil marks that you then need to carefully remove. However, as Offbeat Bros explains, the solution to the issue just might be borax — although as with any cleaning solution, you may want to test things out on a less visible patch of the wall first. Just mix a spoonful into a cup of water and scrub away at those illustrations.

15. Help out your fruit trees

Borax has multiple uses inside your home, but it's also a handy item to have in your garage or shed for many outdoor tasks. While you don't want to sprinkle it all over plants, there is one spot in your garden where it comes in handy: around the base of your fruit trees, if you happen to have them. According to New Life on a Homestead, the powder can promote healthy growth and assist in seed formation, allowing those trees to thrive.