While it may have been a common item in your grandmother's cleaning arsenal, borax declined in popularity over the years as more modern household chemicals were introduced. Recently, thanks to the increasing attention being directed toward the dangers of these modern chemicals to both the environment and ourselves, borax has been enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Most commonly known for its uses in household cleaning and as a laundry booster, borax also has dozens of lesser-known benefits.
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Stain removal in the kitchen
Borax paste can be used to remove stains from hobs and stainless steel or porcelain sinks. Mix one cup of borax powder with ¼ cup of lemon juice and mix into a thick paste. Apply the paste to the stain with a sponge or rag and wash away with warm water. If any of the stain remains, repeat the process and allow the paste to sit on the stain for a few minutes.
Removing stains from fabrics or carpets
To remove stains from your rug or carpet, moisten the area with water and rub in some borax powder. Allow the area to dry and then vacuum away the powder. Make sure to test for colour fastness of your rug or carpet in an inconspicuous area before treating the stain with borax.
Borax can also remove mildew stains from fabrics. Soak the item in a mixture of two cups borax and a half-gallon of water until the stain disappears, up to several hours. If the mildew is on upholstery, make a mixture of ½ cup of borax and two cups of water and apply this mixture with a sponge to the fabric.
Borax is friendlier to our waterways then harsh chemical bathroom cleaners. For a chemical-free sparkle in your toilets, pour half a cup of borax powder in the toilet bowl and scrub with a stiff toilet brush.
Borax in the garden
Borax is toxic to plants and can be used to suppress weeds growing out of cracks and crevices around your home. Sprinkle borax powder in these crevices to kill weeds and prevent new ones from emerging.
To kill ant colonies in the garden, mix 2 tbsp of borax with 1 tbsp of sugar in half a cup of warm water. Soak some cotton balls in this mixture and place them near the ant hills. The ants will take small pieces of the cotton balls back to the colony where it will kill the queen. Make sure to not place the cotton balls in areas that are accessible to children or pets.
Borax is also affective at killing household pests. To kill fleas and prevent new ones from hatching, sprinkle a small amount of borax on pet bedding, carpets, or other areas where you suspect that fleas might be living.
A mixture of one part sugar to two parts borax can be sprinkled in the path of ants entering your home. The sugar causes the ants to find the mixture irresistible and it kills them. It is important to only use this mixture in areas that are out of reach of children and animals.
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