The Many Uses of Borax

Chances are, even if you’re a green cleaning pro, you may never have heard of borax. Next to the colorful bottles of (chemical-laden) laundry detergents in the grocery store in its nondescript box, borax is easy to miss. Borax, or sodium tetraborate, is a natural mineral similar to baking soda. This powerful little compound works great to naturally clean problem areas around the home. Give it a try and you’ll probably wonder who’s been keeping this fab cleaner a secret.


Give your laundry a cleaning power boost by adding ½ cup of borax to each load. Borax works as a natural bleaching agent and helps remove tough stains. It will also leave your clothes smelling naturally fresh—no fake synthetic scents here.

For heavy duty stain removal (coffee drips or grease splatter anyone?) try presoaking the garment in a combination of borax and warm water for 30 minutes before washing. Borax also helps to soften hard water.

Stinky areas

Borax can naturally deodorize those smelly problem areas in the home.

Garbage disposals
Garbage disposal giving off a funky odor? Sprinkle two to three tablespoons of borax down the drain. After about 15 minutes flush it with water and turn on the disposal for a few seconds. Your disposal should smell delightfully fresh (or as fresh as a garbage disposal can get). At least the odor will be gone!

Dust the bottom of your trashcans with borax to remove leftover odors.


As a room that gets dirty all too quickly (no matter how many times I make resolutions to clean more often), I need a natural cleaner that gets the job done in the bathroom. I use borax to clean all parts of the bathroom.

Bathtub, shower and sinks
Mix borax with just enough water to form a paste. Place the mixture on a sponge or cloth and use some scrubbing action to clean tubs, shower tiles and sinks. Borax will remove soap scum, deposits and grime.

Cleaning the toilet. Always a fun job right? Make it a bit more manageable by adding ¼ cup of borax to the toilet bowl. Let it stand for about 30 minutes. Then use a toilet brush to make your porcelain throne sparkle.


Pots and pans
Easily remove caked on gunk by soaking pots and pans in warm water and a tablespoon or two of borax. After soaking for about ten minutes, baked on food should scrub away easily.

Stovetops and ovens
Remove grease and grime on stovetops and ovens by scrubbing them with a paste made from borax and a small amount of warm water.

Want more spring cleaning ideas? Check out Organic Authority’s eco-friendly kitchen cleaning guide.

Image: smysnbrg