Borax is a staple household item that you should be stocking up on. If you haven’t used Borax for all kinds of things, you are missing out on this powerful powder. Below, you will learn what borax is, if it is safe and the many uses for borax around the home! Note that Borax is a product name, and borax is also a chemical found in the earth.
What is Borax?
Did you know that borax is used in many different commercial applications? It is a sodium borate or sodium tetraborate that naturally occurs in a mineral mined from the evaporated lakes in California and Turkey.
It is an ingredient in many household cleaning products, a buffer in chemical laboratories, a way to help extract gold in mining operations, and is used as a component of glass and ceramics.
Since borax is in many household products and used commercially, many wonder if it is safe.
Is Borax Safe?
The short answer to this question is yes. However, borax must be used responsibly. Many chemicals used today contain carcinogens. According to the Harmful Substances Database, borax is not one of those chemicals. It has not been classifiable as a human carcinogen.
Although borax is considered safe by the HSDB, it is important to note that like other household substances, borax can have a mildly irritating effect on your skin. Items such as baking soda and washing soda will have the same effect. It can also be toxic to adults if ingested in LARGE amounts. It can be fatal to children if ingested in SMALL amounts.
This means that borax is perfectly safe as long as you don’t plan to ingest it and to keep it away from children just like any other household cleaning product.
So, what do you use borax for?
Uses for Borax Around the Home
Although many people use borax in slime and as a washing agent, it actually has a lot of practical uses around the home. Here are some of the ways you can use it and why you should keep it stored for use by your family:
One of the most well-known uses for borax is for laundry. You can add borax into your laundry to make it come out brighter and cleaner. It is also a great agent in getting those tough stains out. But, I would suggest using it to make your own laundry soap.
Because borax produces a basic solution in water, it helps to boost the effectiveness of other cleaning ingredients. Laundry soap is going to be in high demand in the event of a disaster. You can always be prepared and have clean laundry by making your own. Check out my video to learn how.
- 1 bar Fels-Naptha Soap-grated either by hand, food processor, or salad shooter
- 1 cup Borax Detergent Booster
- 1 cup Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda (not regular baking soda)
Grate the bar of soap by hand, or use an electric vegetable grater. Put these 3 ingredients in a blender to blend. After doing this, it will look just like the store-purchased detergent, but will not include all the “fillers." You will use less product per load and will have fewer “soap bubbles." Remember, just having bubbles doesn’t mean clean. I use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per load, depending on the size of the load. I have a HE-High Efficiency washer, and it works great in regular washing machines as well. Store the finished product in an airtight container, preferably glass to keep it dry. I store some in 5-gallon buckets, but I don't live where it's humid. Just giving you the heads up.
#2 Feed Your Fruit Trees
If you are into being prepared, you may have fruit trees on your property. If there is a disaster, you may not be able to find fruit tree food. Instead, you can sprinkle a cup of borax around a full-sized apple tree every 3-4 years. This will add the mineral boron to the soil which is what your fruit trees need for good cell wall growth and seed development.
#3 Get Rid of Pests
From cockroaches and ants to water bugs, borax works great at getting rid of household pests. Sprinkle equal parts of borax and sugar wherever you think the bugs are entering your home. You can also use this in your shed or garage.
If your animals have fleas, you can use it to kill them. Sprinkle borax on the animal beds, carpets, and wherever you think the fleas are hatching. Leave it to sit for an hour then vacuum.
Borax makes an effective herbicide. This means you can sprinkle it on the weeds around your home and those that come up in your sidewalk cracks to get rid of them.
#5 Household Cleaning Agent
In addition to using borax for laundry, you can use it to clean other things as well. Here are some cleaners you can make using borax:
- Shower tile cleaner: To make shower tile cleaner, mix ¼ cup of borax with one gallon of water. Spray on your shower tile and rinse.
- Scouring powder: You can make a liquid version of Comet by mixing ¼ cup of borax with ¼ cup of baking soda and 1 ½ cups of hot water.
- Floor/wall cleaner: Mix ¼ cup of borax with one gallon of water to make a great solution for washing your floors and walls. *Be sure to check your floor type before using*
- Urine cleaner: In addition to baking soda, you can use borax to clean and deodorize urine in couches and on mattresses. Dampen the mattress with water, sprinkle borax over the area, rub it in, and let it dry. When dry, vacuum.
- Disinfectant: Borax can also be a powerful disinfectant. To disinfect garbage cans and other “nasty” items, use 1 cup of borax to 1 gallon of water.
- Dish cleaner: Because borax has a gentle cleansing effect, it is perfect for porcelain and aluminum dishes. Sprinkle it onto your pots and pans and rub with a damp washcloth. Rinse well.
- Toilet cleaner: Pour ¼ cup of borax into your toilet and swish around for a sanitary toilet cleaner.
#6 Deodorize Your Fridge
Borax is a natural deodorizer like baking soda. To deodorize your fridge, mix up a solution of 1 tablespoon of borax to 1 quart of warm water. Use it to clean your fridge. Not only will it clean, but it will leave your refrigerator smelling great.
#7 Other Uses for Borax around the home: Slime
Ok, I know this isn’t really a “use,” but it’s fun. If you have no power, which means no TV, this is a great activity that will keep the kiddos occupied for a while. Here is an easy way to make slime with borax:
- 4 ounces of school glue
- 1 ½ cup water
- Food coloring
- 1 tsp borax
- Combine glue, ½ cup water, and food coloring into a bowl.
- Stir the ingredients together.
- In a separate bowl combine borax and 1 cup of warm water.
- Stir until dissolved.
- Pour the bowls together. Knead the “slime” until it feels like slime.
- Drain excess water and continue to knead.
What Borax Should I Buy?
You can buy borax from any retail store. However, I would recommend getting 20 Mule Team Borax. This is because it is 100% natural and 99.5% pure. This means it is even safer for you and the environment than regular borax.
How Much Borax Should I Store?
Because borax is so versatile, it should be something you stock up on in case of a disaster. From cleaning to feeding your fruit trees, this is something you want to have around. But, how much should you store?
Depending on your family size, I would suggest stocking at least 5 boxes of borax at any given time. If you plan to use borax for all your household cleaning, laundry, and other stuff, you may want to store more.
What do you use borax for in your home? I would love to know of anything that isn’t on the list! Share it in the comments below for others to see. Thanks for being prepared for the unexpected. May God bless this world, Linda