tasha (tashabear) wrote,

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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.
Tags: cleaning
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