10 Common Borax Uses Around the House

Borax powder is a mineral compound found in many homes.

Borax has been used for centuries, and its applications extend far beyond the laundry room.

In this guide, we will explore the top 10 common uses of borax powder around the house, its many benefits, and its practical applications.

What is Borax?

Borax is a naturally occurring mineral compound with the formula Na2B4O7·10H2O.

It is a white, odorless, and water-soluble powder that has been used for centuries for various purposes.

What are the Components of Borax?

Borax is composed of sodium, boron, oxygen, and hydrogen.

It is classified as a borate salt, meaning it contains boron in its anion form.

The structure of borax is complex and involves a series of interconnected borate ions.

Properties of Borax

Water Solubility: Borax powder readily dissolves in water, making it easy to incorporate into liquid cleaning solutions.

Alkalinity: Borax powder has a pH of around 9.3, making it mildly alkaline. This alkalinity contributes to its cleaning and disinfecting properties.

Buffering Capacity: Borax powder can act as a buffer, helping to maintain a stable pH level in solutions. This property is useful in various applications, including laundry detergents and industrial processes.

Antimicrobial Properties: Borax powder has some antimicrobial properties, making it effective against certain bacteria and fungi.

Evaporative Cooling: Borax powder has a cooling effect when dissolved in water due to the evaporation of water molecules. This cooling effect can be useful in various applications, such as fire retardants and insect repellents.

What are the Industrial Uses of Borax?

Some of the earliest usesof borax include;

Glassmaking: Borax has been used as a flux in glassmaking since ancient times. It helps to lower the melting point of silica, the main component of glass, and promotes the formation of a clear, defect-free glass.

Ceramics: Borax is used in ceramics to improve the strength, durability, and glazing properties of ceramic products. It also acts as a binder for ceramic powders.

Fire Retardants: Borax is used in fire retardants to help prevent the spread of flames. It does this by releasing water when heated, which contributes to the suppression of fires.

Leather Tanning: Borax is used in leather tanning to soften and preserve the leather. It helps to remove impurities from the leather and promote a smooth, supple finish.

Pest Control: Borax is used as an insecticidal and acaricidal agent. It is effective against ants, cockroaches, silverfish, and other pests.

Hygiene Products: Borax is used in some personal care products, such as shampoos and conditioners, to help control dandruff and scalp irritation.

Laundry Detergents: Borax is sometimes added to laundry detergents to boost its cleaning power and help remove stubborn stains.

Is Borax Edible to Humans?

No, borax is not edible for humans. It is a toxic substance that can cause serious health problems if ingested.

Symptoms of borax poisoning can include vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, and skin irritation.

In severe cases, borax poisoning can lead to seizures, coma, and even death.

What was Borax Originally used for?

Borax was originally used as a flux in soldering and brazing. It was also used in the manufacture of glass and ceramics.

Today, borax is used in a variety of household and industrial products, including laundry detergents, cleaning agents, and fire retardants.

10 Common Borax Uses Around the House

Here are some specific uses of borax:

1. Laundry Brilliance:

Borax powder is renowned for its effectiveness in laundry.

Adding a half cup of borax to your regular laundry detergent can enhance its cleaning power.

This powder acts as a water softener, helping to break down hard water minerals and boost the efficiency of your detergent. Moreover, borax aids in brightening whites, removing stains, and neutralizing odors.

2. All-Purpose Cleaner:

Say goodbye to an array of chemical-laden cleaning products cluttering your cabinets. Borax makes an excellent all-purpose cleaner, tackling surfaces from countertops to bathroom tiles.

Create a simple cleaning solution by mixing borax with water or vinegar, and use it to scrub away grime and stains.

This natural alternative not only cleans effectively but also eliminates the need for harsh chemicals in your living space.

3. Carpet Freshener:

Revive and deodorize your carpets with borax powder.

Sprinkle a thin layer of borax on your carpet, let it sit for an hour, and then vacuum it up.

This process not only helps eliminate odors but also deters pests such as fleas.

It’s an eco-friendly way to keep your carpets smelling fresh without resorting to chemical-laden carpet deodorizers.

4. Weed Killer:

Gardening enthusiasts will appreciate borax as a natural weed killer.

Mix borax with water and spray the solution on weeds that are plaguing your garden or driveway.

Exercise caution not to overspray, as borax can affect surrounding plants.

This method is a budget-friendly and environmentally conscious alternative to commercial herbicides.

5. Ant Repellent:

Tired of battling ant invasions? Borax can act as a natural ant repellent.

Create a mixture of borax and sugar, placing it in areas where ants frequent.

The sugar attracts the ants, and once ingested, the borax interferes with their digestive system, effectively eliminating the ant problem.

It’s a humane and effective solution to keep ants at bay.

6. Mold Inhibitor:

Dealing with mold in damp areas of your home? Borax is a natural mold inhibitor.

Create a paste using borax and water, apply it to mold-prone areas, and scrub. This not only removes existing mold but also helps prevent its return.

The mild abrasive nature of borax aids in scrubbing away mold and mildew, leaving surfaces clean and mold-free.

7. Dishwasher Booster:

Enhance the performance of your dishwasher by incorporating borax.

Adding a tablespoon of borax to your dishwasher along with the regular detergent can help soften hard water, improve cleaning efficiency, and prevent mineral buildup.

 This not only ensures cleaner dishes but also contributes to the longevity of your dishwasher.

8. Odor Neutralizer:

Borax’s odor-neutralizing properties extend beyond the laundry room.

Place an open box or bowl of borax in areas prone to unpleasant odors, such as refrigerators, closets, or musty basements.

Borax naturally absorbs and neutralizes odors, leaving your living spaces smelling fresh and clean.

9. Rust Remover:

Borax can be a savior when dealing with rust. Create a paste using borax and lemon juice or vinegar, and apply it to rusty surfaces.

 Let it sit for an hour before scrubbing away the rust.

 This natural solution is effective in restoring metal items to their former glory without resorting to harsh chemical rust removers.

10. Fire Retardant:

For those concerned about fire safety, borax can be used as a fire retardant.

Treat fabrics, such as curtains or upholstery, with a borax solution to reduce their flammability.

While this doesn’t make items fireproof, it adds a layer of protection and peace of mind.

How to Use Borax Safely

  • Keep borax powder out of reach of children and pets. Borax powder is a mild irritant and can cause skin irritation or gastrointestinal upset if ingested.
  • Avoid direct skin contact with borax powder. If borax powder comes into contact with your skin, wash it off with soap and water immediately.
  • Avoid inhaling borax powder dust. Borax powder can irritate the respiratory system if inhaled. If you inhale borax powder dust, move to an area with fresh air and seek medical attention if necessary.
  • Ventilate well when using borax powder. This will help to minimize the amount of airborne borax powder dust.
  • Follow usage instructions carefully. Borax powder should be used in accordance with the instructions on the product label.
  • Do not use borax powder on granite or marble countertops. Borax powder can etch or damage these surfaces.
  • Do not flush borax powder down the drain. It can clog pipes.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after using borax powder. This will help to remove any borax powder that may have come into contact with your skin.
  • Store borax powder in a cool, dry place. Borax powder can absorb moisture and clump, making it difficult to use.
  • Do not mix borax powder with bleach. Mixing borax powder with bleach can release toxic fumes.

Borax Alternatives

White Vinegar: White vinegar is a mild acid with antibacterial and antifungal properties that can be used for cleaning various surfaces, including countertops, floors, and toilets. It is a safe and effective alternative to borax powder for most household cleaning tasks.

Lemon Juice: Lemon juice is a natural disinfectant and deodorizer that can be used to clean surfaces and freshen up the air. It is a good alternative to borax powder for cleaning countertops, appliances, and carpets.

Salt: Salt is a natural abrasive that can be used to clean and disinfect surfaces. It is a good alternative to borax powder for cleaning ovens and deodorizing drains.

Baking Soda: Baking soda is a mild abrasive that can be used to clean and deodorize various surfaces. It is a good alternative to borax powder for cleaning countertops, appliances, and carpets.

Sodium Carbonate: Sodium carbonate, also known as washing soda, is a natural mineral that has similar cleaning properties to borax powder. It is a good alternative to borax powder for laundry detergents and all-purpose cleaners.

Sodium Hypochlorite: Sodium hypochlorite, also known as bleach, is a powerful disinfectant that can be used to clean and disinfect surfaces. It is a more effective alternative to borax powder for disinfecting toilets and bathroom fixtures.

Trisodium Phosphate: Trisodium phosphate (TSP) is a synthetic cleaning agent that is used in laundry detergents and household cleaners. It is a more effective alternative to borax powder for removing tough stains and grease.

What is the best Alternative to Borax Powder

The best alternative to borax powder will depend on the specific cleaning task. For general household cleaning, natural alternatives such as white vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and baking soda are often sufficient.

For more stubborn stains or disinfecting tasks, synthetic alternatives such as sodium carbonate, sodium hypochlorite, or trisodium phosphate may be necessary.


In conclusion, borax powder is a household superhero, offering an array of practical applications that go beyond the traditional laundry use.

From cleaning and deodorizing to pest control and mold prevention, borax proves to be an eco-friendly and budget-conscious solution for various household needs.

Embrace the power of borax and transform the way you approach common household tasks, making your living space cleaner, safer, and more sustainable.



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