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10 Household Uses for Borax

by Paul-Martin Foss

There are many simple products that can perform many functions and prove useful during crisis situations when the normal store-bought chemicals we use around the house aren’t available. One of those is borax, the salt of boric acid. It’s been used since the 19th century as a cleaning agent, can be found at just about any store in the laundry aisle, and performs many useful functions.

1. Ant Killer

Mix ½ cup sugar and 1½ tablespoons of borax together in warm water. You can make it the consistency of a paste and spread it near ant trails, or make it thinner and soak cotton balls in the solution. Ants will be attracted by the sugar and take the borax back to the colony for the others to feed on, thus killing the entire colony. Just be sure not to put the poison out where pets or children can get to it, because it is toxic to them too.

2. Cleaning Cookware

Sprinkle borax on pots and pans and rub with a damp washcloth or sponge. Rinse thoroughly.

3. Cleaning Hairbrushes, Combs, and Shaving Brushes

Mix ¼ cup of borax and 1 tablespoon of dish soap in a basin full of warm water. Soak the brushes thoroughly in the solution, rinse them off, and allow them to dry.

4. Cleaning Mattresses

To remove urine odor from mattresses, wet the mattress and rub borax in with a wet cloth. Let the mattress dry, then vacuum up the leftover residue.

5. Deter Mice

Sprinkle borax along the floor and edges of walls where mice like to run. They hate the feeling of borax on their feet and will try to avoid those areas.

6. Fertilizing Fruit Trees

Fruit trees such as apples benefit from the use of borax as a fertilizer. Not only does it provide the trace mineral boron, it can also help ward off root rot.

7. Helping Homemade Candle Wicks

Dissolve 2 tablespoons of table salt and 4 tablespoons of borax in 1½ cups of warm water. Soak your candle wick material in the water, then hang it and allow it to dry. The soaking solution will help the wicks to produce less ash and smoke.

8. Killing Pests

Mix borax well with sugar and sprinkle it anywhere you see roaches, fleas, or other insect pests.

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