Game Changer: Borax

  • June 20, 2017
  • By Kathy@MoreCoffeeLessTalky

It usually takes a lot for products to impress me, even more to blow me away.  The last time it happened was when I stumbled upon the wonders of magnesium citrate. Not only did it cure Kayla's night wakings/anxiety and my sleep issues, it also made my back (muscle) aches disappear after 3 days of use.

And because this is blogland and bloggers share errting, I'm here to tell you about another life-changing product -- you guys need to forget about your current commercial cleaner and buy Borax.
For years, Borax has been used as a natural alternative to chemical cleaners.  I'd heard of it before but mostly as an ant repellant and when I did more research, I found out that it can be used to pretty much clean anything around the house.


A 1.84kg box will cost you $5 at Walmart and it can be used for cleaning/sanitizing your entire house, taking your laundry to the next level and getting rid of those pesky summer bugs (ants, mites etc).

DIY cleaner #1:  Mold/mildew remover.
  • 2 tbsp borax
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 2 cups warm water
-- completely dissolve borax in warm water.
-- add vinegar and pour into spray bottle.
-- spray onto affected areas, completely saturating it.  Leave for 5-10mins.
-- scrub with heavy duty brush and rinse well.
-- prepared to be blown away.

The test:  Mold on window sills.  Every spring/summer, I have to battle the mold that builds on my window sills.  We seal our windows each winter for energy efficiency which means moisture gets trapped and mold grows.  Gross.

The result:  I sprayed this solution on the window sills, let it sit for a good 10 minutes and then wiped away the mold in one easy swipe, no elbow grease needed.  I would have taken pictures to show before/after but the sills were in such bad shape that even I judged myself.

Out of sheer curiosity, I wanted to see how this would fare on porcelain so I sprayed it in the bathroom sink and soaking tub and now everything is sparkly, shiny, clean and sanitized!

In fact, I now use this as an all purpose spray for everything!

DIY cleaner #2:  (bathroom) grout/mildew remover. 
  • 1/2 cup borax
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
-- mix to form a gritty paste.
-- spread and scrub with a brush; let sit for 10-15 minutes.
-- rinse well with warm water.

The test:  Shower soap scum, grout nastiness and mildew removal.  Ladies, let's get real here -- men have a strange way of allowing their shower to reach unacceptable levels before claiming that it needs to be cleaned.  My husband and I have different bathrooms and while I clean mine each week, he's of a different ilk and let's just say that this cleaner got a run for its money.

The result:  We all know how hard it can be to remove mildew from grout so I used cleaner #1 to loosen the grime in the grout, in all those tight corners and sprayed the walls, glass and floor tiles as well....I pretty much emptied the entire bottle in the stall.  I let that sit for about 8-10 minutes.

Then I applied this paste all over the floor tiles, all along the areas where there was mildew in the grout but then decided fuck it; I'm just going to spread this shit everywhere and so I did.  I let that sit for about 10 minutes.

When I went back with the brush ready to put in some scrub time, I was blown away by how easy the mildew came off; as in just one swipe with the brush did the trick.
trust me, it was NOTHING like this before.

DIY cleaner #3:  clothing deodorizer 
  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • half fill sink with warm water
-- soak for up to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
-- squeeze out excess water and toss them in the washing machine.

The test:  deodorizing reusable kitchen cloths.  I try to reduce my carbon footprint as much as I can so I use beat up cotton towels instead of paper towels and I cut old rags to be used to wipe water from the counter/behind the sink etc.  Over time, and no matter how many times I pre-soak these things in vinegar/baking soda, that musty gross smell always came back after a few uses.

The result:  After soaking and washing, I waited a day until taking a whiff and that gross smell has not returned.  In fact, I still get a hint of the detergent smell.

The true test:  Muay Thai class.  I sweat a ton during class because we work so hard.  Usually during the warm up, I sometimes get a "whiff" when I start to sweat and it's not pleasant.  I'll be 100% honest and admit that half my sports bras stink due to constant training and no amount of washing, soaking in vinegar/baking soda, freezing etc helped.  The second I start to sweat, it comes back and it's gross.

Since the kitchen cloth deodorizing worked so well, I figured it would work with my sports bras so I soaked them before washing, threw them into my washing machine and did a normal load with my sport detergent.

I went to class last night and it was long class (1.5hrs instead of 1hr) and many drills and hard power shots.  Needless to say, I was drenched.  I wore the bra that had the worst stink factor and I WAS FLOORED - no stink, no gross musty smell, nothing!!  The stink usually lingers even after it's dried so I took a whiff the next day and nope; nothing.

This Borax stuff is voodoo magic.

DIY cleaner #4:  chrome cleaner and grease emulsifier.
  • 1/4 Borax
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
-- mix borax and lemon juice until it forms a sticky paste
-- use a damp sponge to spread paste onto affected area(s).  For stubborn stains, leave for 5-10 minutes.
-- you can store this in an airtight container for future use.

The test: splattered grease on chrome range hood.  With 3 people cooking in the house on a regular basis, it can get pretty gross.  I spread this paste on the hood and left it for about 5 minutes.  With a damp sponge, I wiped off all the gross grease with zero effort.

The result:  check out that shine!

Is it normal for a cleaning agent to give such boners?  
Have you ever used Borax before?

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  1. I use borax to get rid of ants, to clean toilets, clean off outdoor furniture, to clean out the fridge, flush the garbage disposal, kill weeds (not in beds, but in concrete cracks). And to boost laundry.

  2. Such great information here, I need to get on the BORAX train.

  3. Picking some of this up this week! My mom used to use it but I'm not sure if I ever have. This list is gold!!!

  4. Yep! My mom swore by borax so I have always had it in my life! It is the best cleaner and so good for when your laundry stinks!

  5. I'm pinning this - I want to try the grout/bathroom cleaner more than anything.

  6. Ok I've used borax to make slime....which is fun and all...but I'm going to go buy a box to clean my whole damn house. Thank you.

  7. I for sure thought you already knew about Borax, or I would have mentioned it in previous smelly laundry posts. Borax is the SHIT. I actually just add a cup of borax and "enough"/a cup of vinegar to every load of laundry I do. I probably don't need to add it to every load, but I like the freshness of my clothes and it is especially helpful with musky towels.

    Does your vinegar/borax mix leave a vinegar-y smell after you use it? If not, I am totally going to consider switching up our cleaner!

  8. I was literally thinking about buying a box of this yesterday because we have ants coming in our kitchen somehow. Now that I know it can be used for so many other things, I am totally going to get some! I think it is $3.99 here.

  9. Borax is so useful, I just have to be careful with how I use it because it does irritate my skin. I'm super sensitive though. So I can use it for cleaning, but not for laundry.

  10. Oh I need to get me some of this stuff. I hate harsh cleaners because they really bother my asthma. Will need to get this stuff asap. I love white vinegar as a cleaner, it works so well.

  11. I have a box of Borax sitting on a shelf in the basement but I never, ever use it. I was just thinking about it the other day because K's work clothes get so gross...
    Borax and apple cider vinegar. I'm going to have to find some ways to use that stuff!

  12. Ok totally sold! Don't you love how the earth provides us with what we need to heal us and for cleaning? Not sure where all the fake crap came from :-P

  13. I have never used Borax but this is inspiring me to clean the house! I'm all about using natural cleaners with our foster pups. Plus we have an older house so some things are difficult to clean... like our shower so this stuff sounds perfect for getting some the gunk off!

  14. I have Borax but to be honest, it left me a bit underwhelmed and now I know why. I needed to use it as a base. I'm definitely going to be trying many of these cleaners!

  15. Oh awesome! I have had a box for aaaageeess! and I haven't opened it. I can't wait to test some of these out now! thanks for sharing!! XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

  16. We have Borax because it is a key ingredient in slime, which my child makes compulsively and obsessively. I know I should use it for more but apparently it's toxic to cats because of course it is because cats are assholes. But I am willing to try it in the tub and possibly my clothes.