What is borax powder used for?

Written by patricia deneen
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What is borax powder used for?
(bathroom image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com)

Borax powder is made from the natural mineral sodium borate, also called boric acid. It forms in white crystalline shapes. It's inexpensive and has many industrial and household uses. Borax is less likely to aggravate allergies like other cleaners that often contain strong fragrances and dyes.

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Industrial

The glass industry uses borax to help in transparency and heat resistance, the latter property making it useful in fireproofing fabric. Boric acid is an ingredient in wood preservatives and plastic. It is also used in the making of enamel, shellac and fertiliser.

Laundry

Borax is a water conditioner that helps in odour control and stain removal of heavy laundry and delicates. It is used as a laundry booster along with regular washing powder. Cloth diapers can be soaked in hot water mixed with a 1/2 cup of borax. It's best to treat laundry as soon as possible after it has been stained.

Stains and Deodorizing

The deodorising property of borax works well on carpets, too. It is used like any carpet freshener by sprinkling on the carpet, then waiting several minutes before vacuuming.

Spills and stains such as food, drinks and pet urine on carpet or fabric can be treated with borax and warm water. It is best to check a small spot with a solution of borax and water first to see if the borax will cause discolouration before treating a larger area. Mattresses can be treated with dry borax rubbed into a spot dampened with warm water. This is then vacuumed after it dries.

Dustbins can be cleaned with a borax and water solution, and can be sprinkled with dry powder for deodorising after drying.

Household Uses

Borax is an all-purpose household cleaner. Dishes rinsed in a solution of borax and warm water will come out sparkling. It also works on countertops, refrigerators and stoves. It can be used dry as a powdered cleaner for sinks and tubs without being too abrasive. It deodorises toilet bowls, especially when left in the bowl overnight. It is also used to combat insects and larvae in laundry and around the household.

Cosmetics

Borax has antiseptic and emulsifying properties. Thus, it is used in personal care products such as mouthwash, shampoos and beauty creams.

Warnings

Borax is toxic if swallowed in large doses, and medical attention should be sought immediately if this occurs. It doesn't dissolve as well in cold water as it does in warm water.

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