Since the late 19th century, Borax was used in many chores around the household. A lot of people are using it even today and its variety of uses recommend it for preppers and people alike. In this article, I will share some of my cleaning routine which involves using borax.
To start from the beginning, we should establish what borax is and if it’s safe to use it. Some people fear that it might be toxic and unsafe to use in their households. However, most people are uninformed and they have no clue what borax is and how it works.
What is borax?
To put is simple, borax is a boron mineral that is mined directly from the ground. It is also known as sodium tetraborate and it can be found in many places, especially in volcanic areas. Few people know that borax was first used in the 1900s to extract gold from the earth. It was a much cheaper and safer alternative to mercury.
Nowadays, you can find borax in many detergents and cosmetics, but also in fire retardants and cooking texturing agents.
How safe is borax?
Although I advise my readers to always research further about an ingredient they plan to use in their household, few people actually bother to do so.
Scientists from all around the world agree that borax is safe unless ingested in high quantities. Even more, it is listed as a health hazard of 1, the same as baking soda and salt. Ingested in moderate quantities, it may cause gastrointestinal upset and nausea.
Borax is classified as noncarcinogenic and a mild skin irritant. The high alkalinity of borax is likely what causes skin irritation (just as the excessive use of baking soda would cause irritation).
Borax is toxic only at very high levels. It’s fine to use it in your household cleaning routine as long as you follow these suggestions.
How to make borax cleaning solutions
I’ve learned to make this scrub from my grandmother and I’m still using it today. Borax can remove oil, grease, and dirt, while the acidic properties of lemon can help eliminate soap scum and hard-water deposits.
To make a bathroom or kitchen scrubber, just dip a lemon half in borax and that’s pretty much it. You can use it on any type of surface in the household.
Borax window cleaner
I’ve used this solution to clean windows, but it can also be used as an all-purpose cleaner. Here is what you need to make it:
- 2 cups of water
- ¼ teaspoon borax
- 2 cups of white vinegar
Place the water and borax in a glass bowl. Heat it in the microwave for a minute or two until it gets hot. Remove it from the microwave and stir until the borax crystals are completely dissolved. Add the vinegar and stir once more. Pour the solution into a spray bottle.
This solution can be used on all glass and hard surfaces. Make sure you wipe completely the surfaces with a cotton or microfiber cloth. If you do not do so, you will have a white trace showing on the surfaces.
Homemade laundry soap
- 1/3 bar Fels Naptha Laundry soap
- ½ cup borax powder
- ½ cup washing soda
Grate the bar of soap into a sauce pan. Add 6 cups of water and heat until the soap completely melts. Now add the borax and washing soda and stir until it dissolves. The solution should start to thicken.
Get a 2-gallon bucket and pour in 4 cups of hot water. Add the soap mixture and mix. Add 1 gallon of water and stir again. While you keep stirring the mixture, add 6 more cups of water. Let the soap sit for 24 hours to allow it to gel.
You can add essential oil of your preference to add scent to your soap. I usually add two capfuls of lavender essential oil.
Homemade dishwashing detergent
Mix the washing soda with the borax and that’s pretty much it. You can use 2 tablespoons for each load. As an additional tip, use vinegar as a rinse aid.
Off-grid all-purpose cleaner
This is my heavy duty cleaner that I use for rough cleaning chores
- 1 teaspoon borax
- 2 teaspoon vinegar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon dish soap
- 2 cups of hot water
Mix all the ingredients together and put the solution in a spray bottle. Use it on dirty clothes before putting them in the washing machine.
Related reading: How To Make Homemade Vinegar
Other uses for borax
Borax for killing mold
If you don’t want to buy borax based mold cleaner, you can make your own at home. You just need to mix the borax powder with water. The ratio I recommend is one cup of borax with one gallon of water. Stir the mixture until the borax is fully dissolved. If you use hot water, the powder will dissolve faster.
Use a spray bottle if you need to apply the solution by spraying. Let it sit on the moldy area for a few minutes. You can then use a scrubbing brush to remove the mold.
To prevent the mold from returning, avoid rinsing the area after you scrubbed it.
Borax for killing weed
Borax powder can kill weeds if you sprinkle the powder on the ground. Use it only on the areas you don’t want weeds to grow and keep it away from your plants.
Borax for killing pests
If you can’t get rid of roaches and ants, borax is here to save the day! Just sprinkle a light coating of powder on the infested surfaces. Use a small brush to dust the powder so that if fills the cracks from the surfaces. Any pests who come into contact with the powder will die, as the dust dehydrates the insects.
Borax poisoning symptoms
I recommend using gloves when handling borax as some people may develop allergic reactions to it. The following symptoms are a clear indication of poisoning:
- Irritation of skin and respiratory tract
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and constant abdominal pain
- Lethargy and headache may occur before other symptoms develop
Seek medical treatment if the powder or solution is ingested.
Making your own homemade cleaning products is easy when you have a box of borax in your cupboards. This naturally occurring mineral doesn’t pose a health risk if you use it properly and I can vouch for that. I’ve been using it for years in my homemade products without any problems. We always had borax when growing up and I’ve learned to put it to good use. I just keep it out of the reach of my kids and pets and that’s pretty much all I have to worry about.