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extraordinary uses for borax -- now with commentary! - when you don't know what to do...
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tashabear
tashabear
extraordinary uses for borax -- now with commentary!
Courtesy of Reader's Digest.

Before you reach for a caustic drain cleaner to unclog that kitchen or bathroom drain, try this much gentler approach: Use a funnel to insert 1/2 cup borax into the drain, then slowly pour in 2 cups boiling water. Let the mixture set for 15 minutes, then flush with hot water. Repeat for stubborn clogs.
Whoever wrote this is a lot tidier than me. I'm not wasting my time finding a funnel.

Rub out heavy sink stains
Get rid of those stubborn stains -- even rust -- in your stain-less steel or porcelain sink. Make a paste of 1 cup borax and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Put some of the paste on a cloth or sponge and rub it into the stain, then rinse with running warm water. The stain should wash away with the paste.
Apparently it works on rusty armor, too.

Clean windows and mirrors
Want to get windows and mirrors spotless and streakless? Wash them with a clean sponge dipped in 2 tablespoons borax dissolved in 3 cups water.
Kim and Aggie say that using shaving cream works too. My experience says that shaving gel works less well.


Remove mildew from fabric
To remove mildew from upholstery and other fabrics, soak a sponge in a solution of 1/2 cup borax dissolved in 2 cups hot water, and rub it into the affected areas. Let it soak in for several hours until the stain disappears, then rinse well. To remove mildew from clothing, soak it in a solution of 2 cups borax in 2 quarts (2 liters) water.
Works on linens, too.


Get out rug stains
Remove stubborn stains from rugs and carpets. Thoroughly dampen the area, then rub in some borax. Let the area dry, then vacuum or blot it with a solution of equal parts vinegar and soapy water and let dry. Repeat if necessary. Don't forget to first test the procedure on an inconspicuous corner of the rug or on a carpet scrap before applying it to the stain.
Haven't tried this yet.


Sanitize your garbage disposal
A garbage disposal is a great convenience but can also be a great breeding ground for mold and bacteria. To maintain a more sanitary disposal, every couple of weeks pour 3 tablespoons borax down the drain and let it sit for 1 hour. Then turn on the disposal and flush it with hot water from the tap.
I don't have a garbage disposal, but I really want one.


Clean your toilet
Want a way to disinfect your toilet bowl and leave it glistening without having to worry about dangerous or unpleasant fumes? Use a stiff brush to scrub it using a solution of 1/2 cup borax in 1 gallon (3.7 liters) water.


Eliminate urine odor on mattresses
Toilet training can be a rough experience for all the parties involved. If your child has an "accident" in bed, here's how to get rid of any lingering smell: Dampen the area, then rub in some borax. Let it dry, then vacuum up the powder.
I don't have kids, but I have cats. Next time they have an accident, I'm all over it.

Make your own dried flowers
Give your homemade dried flowers the look of a professional job. Mix 1 cup borax with 2 cups cornmeal. Place a 3/4-inch (2-centimeter) coating of the mixture in the bottom of an airtight container, like a large flat plastic food storage container. Cut the stems off the flowers you want to dry, then lay them on top of the powder, and lightly sprinkle more of the mixture on top of the flowers (be careful not to bend or crush the petals or other flower parts). Cover the container, and leave it alone for 7-10 days. Then remove the flowers and brush off any excess powder with a soft brush.
Haven't had any flowers to try this on, either... but then, I also have no place to put dried flowers... yet.


Keep away weeds and ants
Get the jump on those weeds that grow in the cracks of the concrete outside your house by sprinkling borax into all the crevices where you've seen weeds grow in the past. It will kill them off before they have a chance to take root. When applied around the foundation of your home, it will also keep ants and other six-legged intruders from entering your house. But be very careful when applying borax -- it is toxic to plants.
Gonna try this one in the driveway -- better and cheaper than weed killer.


Control creeping Charlie
Is your garden being overrun by that invasive perennial weed known as creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea, also known as ground ivy, creeping Jenny and gill-over-the-ground)? You may be able to conquer Charlie with borax. First, dissolve 8-10 ounces (230-280 grams) borax in 4 ounces (120 milliliters) warm water. Then pour the solution into 2 1/2 gallons (9.5 liters) warm water -- this is enough to cover 1,000 square feet (93 square meters). Apply this treatment only one time in each of two years. If you still have creeping Charlie problems, consider switching to a standard herbicide.
Don't have this problem, but it might help in the front yard.

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20 trips or shoot the rapids
Comments
cvirtue From: cvirtue Date: July 26th, 2008 06:36 pm (UTC) (base camp)
Thanks -- have saved this!
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: July 26th, 2008 06:46 pm (UTC) (base camp)

Flashbacks!

Borax, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, WD-40: all you need...

Oh, yes -- Noxema and Vicks Vaporub, too!
tashabear From: tashabear Date: July 26th, 2008 06:48 pm (UTC) (base camp)

Re: Flashbacks!

Also baking soda.
ariadne1 From: ariadne1 Date: July 26th, 2008 06:59 pm (UTC) (base camp)

Re: Flashbacks!

And toothpaste. Excellent for polishing silver. :)
tashabear From: tashabear Date: July 26th, 2008 07:04 pm (UTC) (base camp)

Re: Flashbacks!

And cleaning woodwork.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 26th, 2008 07:53 pm (UTC) (base camp)

wnadered in from friends' list of sca...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borax

...be aware of the toxicity possibilities to people and animals...it's not like baking soda...
tashabear From: tashabear Date: July 26th, 2008 09:36 pm (UTC) (base camp)

Re: wnadered in from friends' list of sca...

No shit, Sherlock. I'd have to eat it by the spoonful to reach toxic levels, though.

Who are you, anyway?
emmacrew From: emmacrew Date: July 27th, 2008 12:10 am (UTC) (base camp)

Re: wnadered in from friends' list of sca...

Huh, the wikipedia article says "Borax is used as a food additive in some countries ... but is banned in the United States." Kind of creepy!
tashabear From: tashabear Date: July 27th, 2008 12:12 am (UTC) (base camp)

Re: wnadered in from friends' list of sca...

And yet, other countries still seem to have surviving populations. I think I'll be okay. :-D
emmacrew From: emmacrew Date: July 27th, 2008 12:26 am (UTC) (base camp)

Re: wnadered in from friends' list of sca...

Oh, yeah. It's just that I think of it as a soap analogue, which isn't something I'd think of as a food additive, you know?

On the other hand, salt's pretty good at cleaning, too. Mmm, salt.

(and yeah, the important bit wasn't that it's banned here but that if it's so awful, you'd hope it wouldn't be common in foods. I'd be pretty cautious using it around babies, but I really don't think the incidental exposure you're getting is a problem unless you're breathing in lots of it as a powder, and you're too smart to do that)
tashabear From: tashabear Date: July 27th, 2008 12:32 am (UTC) (base camp)

Re: wnadered in from friends' list of sca...

It's not a flavor fave, no. Sometimes I do taste it on my teeth after I've been scrubbing a lot, but I try not to ingest it or get it on my skin.
kuzu_no_ha From: kuzu_no_ha Date: July 26th, 2008 08:40 pm (UTC) (base camp)
I love borax. It's a great laundry soap extender and now I use it as part of the recipe to just make my own soap.

sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: July 26th, 2008 11:38 pm (UTC) (base camp)
Whoever wrote this is a lot tidier than me. I'm not wasting my time finding a funnel.
Funnel? We don' need no steenkin' funnel. Roll a piece of scrap paper into a cone.

Kim and Aggie say that using shaving cream works too. My experience says that shaving gel works less well.
We used to use bar soap, which will also keep mirrors from steaming up. Draw all over the mirror with it and then polish it off. With newspaper, of course!
tashabear From: tashabear Date: July 26th, 2008 11:54 pm (UTC) (base camp)
Coffee filters work well, too. Not that I have any...
porcinea From: porcinea Date: August 3rd, 2008 05:22 pm (UTC) (base camp)

borax as drain cleaner

Holy crap!! So I just went and dumped 1/2 cup of borax down my troublesome bathroom drain -- the one I can't get the stopper out of because it doesn't unscrew (!?), so I can't dig out the accumulated hair. Drain cleaner (which I *never* use, but finally caved and tried just so I could get some kind of flow down that sink) has been nearly useless. A whole bottle, and I get a teensy drip back.

Couldn't even fit a half cup of borax in it -- I had to use the funnel, and even then only about a quarter cup went into the drain itself. When I poured the boiling water on? Bubbles!!! And instant clearing. Am now waiting for it to finish setting, and I'll go flush it with hot water......

*waits*

...okay, *much* better results than drain cleaner. Still not satisfactory, wah. But more than a trickle, phew. Ah! It says "repeat for stubborn clogs". Okay!
tashabear From: tashabear Date: August 3rd, 2008 08:20 pm (UTC) (base camp)

Re: borax as drain cleaner

Huzzah!
porcinea From: porcinea Date: August 4th, 2008 01:32 am (UTC) (base camp)

Re: borax as drain cleaner

Do you think that borax / lemon juice paste is safe to use on a stovetop? I have burned on food that is driving me batty. (My last stove had a removable range top, which I could scrub in the sink with hot water and steel wool. It got me used to having a spotless stovetop, and now I can't stand the crud.)

The online recommendation seems to be borax with water, but the stovetop material seems sink-like enough to me. *dither dither*
tashabear From: tashabear Date: August 4th, 2008 01:42 am (UTC) (base camp)

Re: borax as drain cleaner

That or borax and vinegar. The acid will act as a grease-cutter.
porcinea From: porcinea Date: August 4th, 2008 02:27 am (UTC) (base camp)

Re: borax as drain cleaner

Indeed it will! Oh my, I am a happy pig. It's not completely spotless (because it's 2 in the morning, and I am insane, not obsessively compulsive), but is *ever* so much cleaner, and is obvious that the rest will come off with repeated applications of paste and elbow grease.

Though I must remember to wear gloves. Oops. I could probably commit a crime or two right now, having temporarily altered my prints.
tashabear From: tashabear Date: August 4th, 2008 02:32 am (UTC) (base camp)

Re: borax as drain cleaner

You could actually just let the paste sit overnight, if it'll stay unmolested.

+1 on the gloves. Borax will burn.
20 trips or shoot the rapids