What Is Borax?

Borax is the short name for sodium borate decahydrate – a white, odorless, naturally occurring salt compound that forms as residue on dry lakebeds. It’s been around for thousands of years, but borax was a rare and expensive substance until it was discovered in California’s Death Valley, not long after the gold rush of the mid-1800s. Once it was mined and hauled to market in large quantities, local households quickly appreciated its soapy, water-softening properties. Now that we’re in the 21st century, there’s no excuse to ignore this valuable and economical do-it-all powder.

BORAX POWDER

Multi-Purpose Household Detergent
How Does Borax Clean? 

When it’s mixed with water, it reacts with some H₂O molecules to form hydrogen peroxide (H₂O₂), which is an antiseptic and bleaching solution. The warmer the water, the better the reaction, and the solution maintains a stable, alkaline pH for optimal cleansing. Borax is the do-it-all compound that every home pantry should keep in stock.

How To Use Borax 

It’s often used as a water-soluble additive in many detergents and cleansers, but it also does so much more:

  • Fabric Softener: Add a ¼ cup to laundry to lift stains and soften fabrics

  • Corrosion Killer: Add a tablespoon of borax and a tablespoon of lemon juice to a damp sponge to remove rust and lime corrosion

  • Freshen Carpets: Sprinkle a light dusting of borax on carpets to deodorize them, then vacuum after 30-60 minutes

  • Carpet Cleaner: Boost carpet cleaners by adding ½ cup of borax per gallon of steam cleaning solution

  • Dishwasher Freshener: Add a tablespoon of borax to boost dishwasher detergent and deodorize the machine

  • Litter Freshener: Deodorize cat boxes with a sprinkle of borax mixed into the litter

  • Mold Remover: Remove mold with a thick paste of borax and water. Let it dry, then rinse

  • Pool Pleaser: Add a liberal amount to your swimming pool as a pH buffer

  • Weed Deterrent: Sprinkle liberally on top of weeds as an herbicide

  • Furniture Scrubber: Clean outdoor furniture by adding a teaspoon of borax in a spray bottle with soapy water

  • Flower Preserver: Preserve flowers by adding a 2-to-1 mixture of borax and dry sand to a sealed container until plants are dry

  • Drain Unclogger: Unclog drains with a 1-to-4 mixture of borax and boiling water. Flush it out with hot water after 15 minutes

  • Mattress Cleaner: Clean mattresses with a thin paste of borax and a wet cloth. Rub it in and let it dry, then vacuum it clean

  • Foot Soaker: Mix a ¼ cup of borax with a gallon of warm water for an antifungal foot soak

  • Goo Dissolver: Dissolve adhesive and sticky residue with a 2-to-1 mixture of borax and water

  • Refrigerator Freshener: Clean and deodorize refrigerators with a tablespoon of borax in a quart of water. Wipe with a sponge and rinse

  • Delicate Cleanser: Cleanse porcelain and aluminum items with a damp dishcloth sprinkled with borax

  • Fruit Fertilizer: Fertilize fruit-bearing and flowering plants with a sprinkle of borax in their soil once a year

  • Engine Cleaner: Pour ½ cup of borax into radiator cap of older vehicles to clean out rust and clogs

  • Humidifier Descaler: Deodorize and descale humidifiers with a tablespoon of borax per gallon of reservoir water, then rinse

  • And Much More!