17 Alternative Uses For Borax

alternative uses of borax

Unlike most substances on the market today, the number of alternative uses for borax is almost unlimited.  It is so versatile that it is commonly listed as a must-have item in your panty for emergency situations and events.  Albeit, there are many that believe that borax is both toxic and harmful to use.  However, I have used it for years and feel I prefer it over all the other chemicals out there.

Borax, most commonly sold under the name of 20 Mule Team, can be found in most grocery stores and online retailers.  A word of warning when purchasing online—many online dealers have a tendency to mark up the price significantly, so if possible, try to buy it locally at a grocery or discount store.

Borax is mined and is not man-made, and as a result, it will never go out of date, bad, or stale.  This makes it the perfect pantry staple as it has a long-term shelf life for storage. It is also vastly versatile in the alternative uses it offers.

Cast Iron Cleaner

When buying cast iron, the first thing to remember is that by scraping to clean the pans with a metal object, you will risk taking the seasoned finish off.  However, by mixing up equal parts of borax and salt, and using this to scrub your pans, you will get a cleaner pan without risking damaging the seasoning.

Clean Fridges And Freezers

If you find that your fridge or freezer seems to be suffering from adverse odors, then borax is the answer.  Simply mix 1 ½ teaspoon of borax to one pint of warm water, and use this to clean out the shelves, trays, and insides of your fridge and freezer.

Feed Your Fruit Trees

Using borax, you can make sure your fruit trees have the necessary boron level, which will provide a healthier, better-producing plant.  If the tree is young, sprinkle a couple of heaping tablespoons of borax around the base of the plant.  If the tree is one that is established by a few years, you can use up to a cup.

Fire Suppressant

When it comes to a fire, borax works as well as baking soda as a suppressant.  You will need to throw some borax on the flames, and they will quickly smother out.

Flea Control

By mixing up a water and borax solution and spraying it where your pets sleep and hang out, you will be able to control fleas.  You will need to vacuum the areas sprayed once they are dry to prevent your pet from inhaling any of the powder.  This is an excellent alternative to the harsh chemical-based brands, in that those pets with sensitive skin will tolerate a more natural solution.

Floor Cleaner

Borax is great for cleaning your floors.  You can either add some borax to water and clean your floors with a rag or brush.  Or simply place a couple two or three tablespoons in a gallon of warm water and mop away.  Borax is great for getting rid of everyday grime.


At one time or another, we have had to deal with pesky insects in the house.  However, those days are over!  By sprinkling borax into cracks, crevices, and anywhere that insects may enter your home, you will be able to keep them at bay.

Laundry Detergent Ingredient

Although making your own laundry detergent can prove a somewhat frugal move, there is also the added fact that for others like me, who are easily irritated by commercial brands of laundry soaps, homemade is the best option.  By simply throwing together a few ingredients, including borax, and blending your own, you will not only see your clothes getting cleaner, but you have the advantage of knowing what ingredients are in your detergent.

Mold Killer

Mold is one fierce creature to deal with.  It seems to grow in places one would not suspect.  You can clean and fight mold by making a paste, or a spray, containing borax.  A paste is more preferred, as it allows for excellent thick coverage of the area.  Once applied, allow to sit 10 minutes or longer, then wipe clean.

Refresh Mattresses And Upholstery

Borax is great for getting rid of that dreaded musty smell in bedding.  And the great thing is, it works on pet bedding as well!  You will need to finely mist the area, then sprinkle it lightly with borax.  Once everything is dry, vacuum the area with your sweeper.

Refresh Smelly Trash Cans

Is there anything quite as smelly as a trash can?  Well, the smelly days are at an end with borax.  Fill the smelly trash can with warm water and then sprinkle in a few tablespoons of borax.  Let the mixture soak for 1-2 hours, rinse it thoroughly, and allow it to dry.

Remove Yellow From Whites

Over time, if a white item is well used, it will begin to take on a dingy yellowed appearance.  The oils from our skin usually cause this, or nicotine, if you are a smoker, and more.  By soaking your yellowed white in a mixture of borax and water for a few hours, you can remove a large amount of the yellowing.

Rust Remover

Rust is a tough problem for anyone who has to deal with it.  However, by mixing borax with a little warm water and lemon juice, you will be able to remove the rust from almost any item.

Shower Stall Cleaner

With many of the shower stalls manufactured today being made of plastic, consumers are limited on what they can and can not use to clean them with causing scratching.  Borax, mixed with warm water to form a paste consistency, will remove shower grime and scum without scratching or damaging the surface.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Anyone who is anyone knows that when it comes to purchasing toilet bowl cleaner, it can be quite pricey.  However, did you know that with a combination of borax and vinegar, you will have your throne sparkling clean in no time?  And it takes care of those hard to deal with stains as well.

Unclog A Sink

Do you suffer from clogged drains in your sink?  Mix ¼ cup borax with 1 cup of boiling water for smaller sinks, such as in the bathroom, and double the amount for larger kitchen sinks.  Pour the solution down the drain and let it sit undisturbed for at least 15 minutes.

Weed Killer

When used in moderation, borax can prove beneficial.  However, when used in greater quantity, and sprinkled on the weeds that form in patios, walkways, and driveways, the weeds will not stand a chance, and will no longer grow up through the cracks.

The next time you find that you are looking for a substitute or more frugal, healthy substance around the house, make sure to try one of these alternative uses for borax.  You may have found your next go-to means of cleaning and refreshing your home.