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So Long, Baking Soda: Borax Is the Deodorizing Super-Cleaner Your House Is Missing


Stumbling upon the many uses for borax was an unexpected — but welcome — blessing of the recent slime-craze that has taken over my home. For the longest time, I cursed slime-making and the mess of glue, shaving cream, glitter, and food coloring that it left in its wake. I can’t tell you how many times I said, “Sure we can make slime,” while forcing a smile and thinking, Oh god nooooooo, not again! When is this phase going to end? The patient, good mom in me allowed me to keep my negative thoughts in my head during this “fun” activity. I insincerely nodded and smiled in delight at the balls of slime that popped up throughout my home, while rolling my eyes and quietly asking, Why me?

The craft of slime-making, however, introduced me to borax, a detergent booster that costs very inexpensive for a 65-ounce box (Buy on Walmart, $4.47). As a slime connoisseur, I’ve found that it’s become a staple ingredient in my home, which I store right next to the glue and shaving cream required for the most basic slime recipe. Borax, as I discovered, is a must-have for all homes — and if you don’t have some in your cupboard right now, well, I suggest you change that.

What are the uses for borax?

As it turns out, there are so many amazing and handy household uses for borax, many of which I stumbled upon through trial and error. I realized that the common uses for it aren’t so common after all. How many items do you know that can double as a pest repellant and a cleaning ingredient? Allow me to educate you on the versatile uses of Borax around the home, so you too, can find the silver lining in the slime-making craze. Here are just a few of my favorites.

Is borax safe to use?

Generally borax is safe to use in smaller quantities, but you should take proper cleaning precautions when handling it, like wearing gloves, washing your hands after using it, and cleaning any clothes you spill it on. You may even want to wear goggles and a face mask if you’re in a small, enclosed space! Be sure to also fully rinse any area where you use borax.

Common health issues that can potentially arise include skin rashes, vomiting, nausea, and respiratory problems. Continued misuse over a longer period of time, however, can cause hormone and toxicity issues, especially if ingested or put on your skin.

Borax Uses for Bugs

Mice, ants, waterbugs, fleas and other pests do not like borax. Mix it with equal parts sugar and sprinkle wherever your unwanted friends like to hang out, or combine with cornmeal for an alternate solution to keep the bugs away. Sprinkle borax along the floor near the walls to keep the mice away. They don’t like the feel of the borax on their puny little feet and so they stay away. A quick search of borax uses for bugs led to me to, where there’s lots of helpful, detailed information on using powdered borax to de-buggify my home.

Borax Uses for Cleaning

Right up there with vinegar and baking soda, borax belongs in your arsenal of cheap and easy DIY home-cleaning agents. Did you know that it could be used in the following ways to make your home neater, brighter, and less sticky? You can use it to…

Unclog a Drain

Place half a cup cup of borax down a clogged drain, followed by about 2 cups of boiling water. Walk away and do something useful for 15 minutes. When you return, run the water for about 5 minutes, and just like that, drain de-clogged!


What mom doesn’t need a good deodorizer on hand at all times? Smelly shoes? Urine in places other than the toilet? Sweaty sports clothes stinking up the laundry room? Borax is the answer. Sprinkle it anywhere to neutralize odors, or add it to your laundry to boost the cleanliness and remove unwanted stinkiness. You can even combine a half cup of borax with warm water in a spray bottle and create your own homemade Febreze. Add a few drops of your favorite-smelling essential oil to the solution.

Un-Stick Things

If you are having a hard time removing the price tag from an item or find yourself scraping away at residual glue on a jar or container, borax is the answer. Mix half a cup of borax with a quarter cup of warm water, and glue be gone.

Remove Rust

Who knew removing rust could be so easy? When you notice your pots and pans or patio furniture turning shades of unwanted rusty-brown, reach for the borax! Create a paste-like solution of one cup of borax, two cups of warm water, and one tablespoon of lemon juice and apply to the rusted metal. Let sit for about 15 minutes, rinse and scrub. Repeat if needed and enjoy your restored pots and pans.

Borax Uses for Laundry

One day, I found myself with a dishwasher full of dirty dishes and no dishwasher detergent. It was one of those days where I just didn’t have it in me to load three kids in the car to go to the grocery store and say no you can’t have that 100 times, while just trying to buy just one item! So, I did what any normal modern mom would do and I Googled how to make your own dishwashing detergent. It turns out, you can indeed get your dishes clean with a mixture of borax, dish soap (just a drop or two), and salt. Bam! I was so excited. I ran the dishwasher with my homemade mixture and was pleasantly surprised that the dishes were sparkling clean.

There you have it — just a few of the effective and versatile uses for borax around the home. Keep in mind, it doesn’t end there; the list goes on and on. There are other great uses for borax in the garden, where it can be sprinkled to kill weeds, or in the bathrooms, where you can use it to scrub the showers and toilets. borax is the new vinegar, so get creative and have fun. Although our slime days are currently on sabbatical (yay), the borax remains a staple in our home and I am pretty sure I will continue to find more creative uses for sodium carbonate. I wonder what kind of magic it can work on the inside of my car? Big thanks to my kids, YouTube, and the slime movement in general for introducing me to the great borax!

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