How to Use Borax in Frugal and Effective Ways

Recipes for Frugal Cleaning and Household Help

Folded towels and bedding in wicker basket.
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Borax is a naturally occurring mineral also known as sodium borate, a chemical compound of the element boron. Borax is a soft, white, many-sided crystal that dissolves readily in water. People have been using borax for over 100 years to clean their home and for use in their laundry. It doesn’t cause cancer, accumulate in the body, or absorb through the skin. It is not harmful to the environment. 

Most of the world's supply comes from Southern California. It has been estimated that there is more than a 100 year supply of borax in Just one of California's many mines alone.

Borax – it's a laundry booster, cleaner, pesticide, preservative and so much more.

Give these Borax-based recipes a try, and they are sure to become some of your frugal favorites:

Laundry Booster

Borax will whiten your whites, soften hard water, help remove stains, and deodorize your wash. It's a traditional laundry booster. Here's how:

  • Dissolve 1/2 cup of borax for every gallon of warm water. Pre-soak your laundry items for about 30 minutes in the borax solution. For tougher stains, flush the clothes and fabrics with water first before pre-soaking in hot water. Then don’t forget to add even more borax to your wash to boost your laundry detergent’s cleaning power.

Stain Remover

Remove stains from stainless steel or porcelain sinks. Here's how:

  • Make a paste or 1 cup borax and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Using a sponge or cloth, rub the stain with the paste. Rinse with warm water. Mix 1 teaspoon dish detergent, 1 teaspoon borax and 1-quart warm water in a spray bottle and use to clean outdoor furniture.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Loosen the grime buildup. Here's how:

  • Pour 1 cup of borax into the toilet bowl at night before you go to sleep. The next morning clean out the toilet bowl with a brush.

Dishwasher Detergent Boost

Cloudy glassware, bits of food, and stain spots are all signs that your dishwasher itself needs cleaning. But borax can help with that! Increase the power of your dishwasher detergent at every cycle. Here's how:

  • Scrub the bottom and inside door of your dishwasher using borax.
  • Line the bottom of the dishwasher using borax.
  • Run your next load of dishes as normal.

Preserve Fresh-Cut Cut Flowers

Borax removes moisture from cut blossoms and leaves, thereby preventing the wilting which would normally result. Here's how:

  • Two different mixtures (by weight) are recommended: two parts 20 Borax and one part dry white sand, or one part Borax and two parts cornmeal.

Control Pests

Here's how:

  • For roaches, waterbugs and ants, sprinkle a combination of equal parts all-natural borax and sugar.  Borax does damage to these pests digestive systems and their outer skeletons. 
  • Sprinkle borax on the floor along the walls (mice like to run along the side of walls). They don’t like getting the borax on their feet, so they are less likely to return to that area of the house.
  • Sprinkle borax on dog beds, carpets, and other areas where you suspect that fleas are hatching. Borax releases boric acid, which is a poison (note that very high doses would need to be ingested to harm a pet or human).