In case of emergency, like when there are no laundry detergents available, what can you resort to?
As an aspiring prepper, you need to be prepared for absolutely everything. That includes being equipped with the knowledge of what you can use for cleaning or even doing your laundry.
Borax, also known as sodium borate, is popularly used for laundry detergents. But do you know that borax has so many more uses? And honestly, you’ll be amazed at how useful borax can be in the household.
What Is Borax?
Borax, a naturally occurring mineral, is also known as sodium tetraborate, sodium borate, and disodium tetraborate. It is a boron compound and a salt of boric acid.
It consists of soft colorless crystals that easily dissolve in water. With a high pH of around 9.5, it’s highly alkaline in nature.
That’s why borax should be diluted before any use, as it can be irritating to the eyes and skin. Remember not to use undiluted borax as an eyewash and skin scrub. Plus, never drink it.
Always lock and keep it away from the kids and pets.
If you’ve noticed in supermarkets, borax is usually found in the laundry detergents section. It’s because sodium borate is a great component for cleaning solutions when it comes to washing clothes and even for cleaning the house.
Aside from being a great cleaning solution component, borax is also used as a pesticide. It kills pests by targeting their stomach and nervous system when the chemical is ingested.
15 Brilliant Uses for Borax
So let’s cut to the chase and talk about the main goal of this post — the other brilliant uses of borax aside from being a laundry detergent booster.
Honestly, of all the products in the laundry aisle in the supermarket, it might be the most useful product on the shelves. Why? Because of its multipurpose use.
Here are several of its brilliant uses:
1. For Cleaning Carpets with Fresh Spills
Borax is a great natural carpet cleaner. In case there are freshly spilled liquids on your carpets, such as coffee or wine, grab your borax, paper towels, and cold water.
Firstly, blot the stain with a clean cloth, never scrub as this may spread the stain. Next, spray it with ice water and sprinkle a little amount of borax over the spot. Then lay a wet cloth over the pill area, and repeat the process when necessary.
2. For Cleaning Toilet Bowls
Do you want a speak and span toilet bowl?
Sprinkle 1 cup of borax in your toilet bowl before you go to sleep to let it sit overnight. Leave it there overnight, aiming the whole bowl and under the rim. In the morning, scrub the toilet bowl quickly and flush it.
The solution loosens up the dirt on the bowl, making scrubbing and cleaning an easier and faster process.
Aside from powdered sodium borate, you can also use baking soda and washing soda to clean toilet bowls and neutralize the odor.
3. Remove Mold and Mildew
Has molds and mildew been annoying the heck out of you?
Get one quart of hot water, not boiling water, and mix it with one cup of borax. Get an empty spray bottle and use it to spray the solution to the mold or mildew until it’s saturated.
Let it sit for several hours, then rinse it thoroughly. If you want, you can scrub the mold or mildew to remove them thoroughly. If your linens have mildew or musty odors, grab 2 quarts of water and 2 cups of borax.
Let your linen soak for two hours, rinse, then clean it.
4. Clean Floors
As you know by now, borax is a great cleaning solution, so you can use it to clean the floors as well.
Other than being an effective cleaner, it’s also a great disinfectant. Plus, it’s economical. Whether you have tile or vinyl flooring, sodium borate is a great cleaning solution for your floors.
What you’ll need is ¼ cup of borax, ½ cup of vinegar, hot water, a small amount of dish soap, and a bucket. Place the solution on the bucket, grab a mop and clean the floors.
You can also use this solution as an upholstery cleaner. So to speak, a more affordable option is to remove dirt and grime from your car’s upholstery and floor mats.
5. Used as an All-Purpose Cleaner
Why not have on standby a great all-purpose cleaner? Mix two cups of water and two tablespoons of borax in a spray bottle.
Whenever you need to clean something, whether it be your kitchen top or dining table, grab your ready-made all-purpose cleaner solution and wipe down dirty surfaces.
6. To Clean Violin and Guitar Strings
Did you know that if violin and guitar strings are not kept clean, their sound may get dull?
And changing the strings, often because the sound is not as good as it used to, may seem economically impractical. So if you own any string instrument at home, make sure to keep it clean with borax.
Simply dip a brush (maybe a used toothbrush) in a diluted solution of sodium borate and give the instrument’s string a quick brushing. Then, get a cotton cloth dampened in warm water to wipe off the solution on the guitar or violin string.
Make sure that the solution does not come in contact with the body of the guitar or violin, as it may stain the instrument’s finishing.
7. Remove Rust
Rust can destroy a piece of furniture, fence, and even your home structure. That’s why rusts need to be cleaned, and borax is just the answer to that.
To remove rust, make a cleaning solution consisting of 2 tablespoons of sodium borate, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and add water as necessary until the solution becomes pasty.
Apply the paste to a scrubber or sponge on any rusted item at home, and scrub the rust off until the rust is gone. Make sure to rinse the solution with warm water and dry the item afterward.
So whether it be your kitchen pan, your handyman tools in your toolbox, or outdoor furniture, borax is guaranteed to be effective in removing rust.
8. Clean Outdoor Furniture
Is your outdoor furniture getting all dirty? You can use borax to clean outdoor furniture.
Simply combine dish soap and warm water and place them in a spray bottle. Use the solution and spray it generously on your outdoor furniture, or spot cleaning if you want, if that works best.
Wipe the outdoor furniture with a clean cloth then rinse it well on with a garden hose. Whether it be an outdoor coffee table, rattan sofa, or upholstered seats, sodium borate is a great cleaning solution to make your patio furniture ready to receive visitors anytime.
9. Unclog Drains
Does the water flow from your kitchen or bathroom drain start to reduce? The gunk and dirt may have accumulated the drain pipes and it’s time to give it some thorough cleaning.
Borax is a great drain unclogger. Just combine sodium borate (½ cup) and 2 cups of boiling water.
Then let the solution sit in the drain for at least 15 minutes. Let warm water run through the drain so the borax can be flushed out and the clogs may get loosened off all the dirt and gunk.
Other than unclogging the drain, adding the substance can also neutralize odors in nasty-smelling drains.
10. Get Rid of Urine Smells
Does your kid’s bed smell of urine because of frequent bedwetting? Perhaps your dog’s bed is starting to stink of pee?
Borax can help you with that. It is an effective solution to get rid of urine smells from mattresses, beds, or linens.
Simply dampen the stinky area on the bed, sprinkle borax, rub the area using a clean cloth, once it initially dries off, use a vacuum cleaner to completely dry up the area.
This is just a quick fix to get rid of urine smells, nothing beats the regular bed cleaning to get rid of dirt and smell on your bed.
11. To Clean Windows and Mirrors
Not so fun fact: window cleaners cost a fortune in the grocery store. So why not make your own borax solution for cleaning windows and mirrors?
Simply take 2 tablespoons of borax, and mix it in three cups of water and place it in a spray bottle.
Spray the solution to the window or mirror and wipe them clean with a damp cloth. After wiping the window or mirror with a sodium borate solution, rinse the glass clean with another homemade glass polisher.
Simply mix water and vinegar, in equal parts, and wipe it on the surface to leave the glass streak-free.
12. Disinfect Garbage Disposals
Avoid the build-up of nasty bacteria and molds on your garbage disposals by disinfecting them with a borax solution.
It’s advisable to disinfect your garbage disposal every two weeks. If not, it will be a breeding ground of bacteria.
Simply pour two tablespoons of borax into the garbage disposal. This will create a fizzy reaction that will fully disinfect your whole house.
Let the solution sit in your garbage disposal for one hour, and let cold water run for at least one minute. This simple technique will disinfect your garbage disposal in no time.
13. To Feed Fruit Trees
This may sound odd, but yes, borax can help in promoting fruit and seed development in apple trees.
Simply make a spray solution of sodium borate and water and spray it into the soil of a full-grown apple tree. Do this at least once every 3 or 4 years.
The solution will add boron to the soil. Boron is an essential nutrient that helps in the optimal growth of specific plants and trees.
Remember just to spray lightly and do not drench the soil. Heavy spraying of borax to the soil may become toxic. On the contrary, plants not having enough boron minerals in their soil may not grow healthily.
14. To Deter Pests
Do roaches, water bugs, and ants keep on entering your home? Borax is to the rescue! Sprinkle equal parts of borax and sugar in areas of your home you suspect that these pests may enter. Also, you can sprinkle borax powder on the floor to deter mice.
Just remember to keep your children and pets away from the sprinkled sodium borate powder all over your house. Borax can be very toxic to kids and pets especially when consumed in large amounts.
15. To Whiten Yellowish Pillows
Our body, especially our hair has natural oils, and they can seep into the pillow, making it all yellowish. So if you want to get rid of yellowing pillow stains, take advantage of the power of borax.
How do you exactly do this? Pour half a cup of borax and one cup of laundry detergent into the washing machine and throw your pillow covers in there.
If the pillows themselves have stains, then throw them in the washing machine as well. Just remember that only pillows filled with feathers, cotton, or fiberfill can be cleaned in the washing machine.
Also, always use warm water and set it in a gentle cycle. It indeed is a laundry booster and a great component of homemade laundry detergent.
How to Use Borax Safely
Now that you’re aware of the brilliant use of borax, don’t rush yourself into using it to clean your house. You should take precautions and be well aware of how to use borax safely. Remember these things:
- When mixing and using sodium borate solutions, always wear gloves.
- Wear a face mask to avoid accidental inhalation.
- Make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area if you’re going to clean the house using a borax solution.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning with borax solution, even if you’re wearing gloves
If in case the borax powder comes in contact with your eyes or skin, flush the contaminated area for at least 15 minutes with running water. In case of accidental inhalation and your breathing changes, immediately call emergency services or 911.
The Bottom Line
But hold on, what does borax have to do as a survival essential? Simple. If no cleaning solution is around, then sodium borate is a great option.
Also, if you’re in the wilderness and want to deter away pests, stashing some borax in a ziplock might be a good idea.
You know when there are pests on your camping grounds. This knowledge also comes in handy when there are no more stocks of detergent or cleaning solutions on the shelves of supermarkets.