Life’s too short to waste it doing household chores, but unfortunately, they’re not something most of us can avoid. Luckily, there are ways to blast through them faster, and plenty of them involve good old fashioned borax, a salt of boric acid. The magic powder has dozens of applications, from cleaning your laundry to removing unwanted pests.
20. Deodorize your refrigerator
If you haven’t cleaned your fridge in a while, then it could be putting out some less-than-pleasant odors. After all, food can give off all kinds of smells, whether it’s within its best-by date or not. To get your refrigerator feeling fresh again, then, try wiping it down with a solution of borax and hot water.
19. Freshen-up your mattress
Your fridge isn’t the only thing that could benefit from borax, however. Mattresses – magnets for dead skin, dust and sweat – could do with a helping hand, too. To clean a stain from a mattress, simply spray water over the offending mark and sprinkle with borax. Rub the powder into the stain and leave it for an hour, before vacuuming any leftover powder.
18. Get rid of ants
Dealing with an ant infestation using borax is as simple as mixing it with honey or powdered sugar, in order to create two baits – one solid, and one liquid. That’s because adult ants can only consume liquids, while larvae can consume solids. Then, simply drop the baits onto and around any ant trails you can see.
17. Make candle wicks
Making homemade candles seems simple – it’s just wax, after all – until you get to the wicks. Fortunately, borax can help. All you need to do is dissolve it in warm water, along with some salt, and soak strips of thick cotton or twine in the solution overnight. Once they’ve dried out, dip the strips in hot wax, and your wicks will be good to go.
16. Add it to your laundry
If adding borax to your laundry loads has never occurred to you before, then you’re missing out. Indeed, there are plenty of benefits that adding just half a cup can offer, from making your whites whiter to zapping any particularly pungent odors. And not only will it make your clothes even cleaner, it’ll even remove any leftover soap residue.
15. Unclog your drains
Store-bought chemicals can be expensive and are often powerless against clogged drains. If you’re finding yourself frustrated by their ineffectiveness, then, you could try using this magic ingredient. Simply pour a cup of borax down the offending drain, followed quickly by a pot of boiling water. An hour later, finish it off with cold water, and the drain should be completely unclogged.
14. Remove rust spots
Tackling rust as quickly as possible is imperative if you don’t want it to spread. But rather than wasting money on expensive treatments, a simple solution of borax and lemon juice, in a 2:1 ratio, should do the trick. Let the mixture sit on the rust, then scrub it in, before wiping it off with a rag soaked in warm water.
13. Use it as a weed killer
A borax solution is a great way to combat weeds in your garden, but it should be handled with care. After all, it won’t discern between weeds and any plant life that you actually want to grow. To this end, it’s a good idea to use a spray bottle to apply the solution, as this will give you a little more control over how far it spreads.
12. Clean your carpets
Spilling any liquid on a carpet is a homeowner’s worst nightmare, but there’s no need to panic if you have borax to hand. Simply lift out as much of the stain as you can using absorbent paper, before sprinkling some borax over the offending area. Next cover with a damp cloth and press the cloth into the carpet with the back of a spoon. Repeat this process until blotting with a clean cloth brings up no stains, then rinse the area with water from a spray bottle.
11. Get rid of mice
There are plenty of ways to get rid of mice, but if you don’t have any traps to hand, then borax can work in a pinch. Simply mix it with something sweet, such as sugar, and leave it where any mice tend to scamper. It will act as a poison when ingested, causing the rodents to head off to find water.
10. Preserve flowers
Dried flowers can make for beautiful home décor, and they’re far easier to maintain than regular flowers by virtue of the fact that they don’t need any maintenance. And making them couldn’t be simpler: just mix one part borax with two parts cornmeal, coat the flowers in the mixture, then leave them in an airtight box for two weeks.
9. Remove adhesive residue
Removing a sticker – say, a price tag – from a fresh purchase is right up there with life’s most frustrating tasks. After all, it never comes off in one clean swoop, leaving you to pointlessly claw at it with your fingernails. Fortunately, a dab of vegetable oil and some borax makes for a paste that’ll lift that residue right off.
8. Get rid of cockroaches
They say prevention is better than the cure, but if you’ve already got cockroaches, you may think it’s too late for that. In fact, borax can do both at once by discouraging them from returning. Just sprinkle it around in places where they turn up, such as behind kitchen appliances or underneath your fridge, making sure your kids and pets won’t stumble across it.
7. Remove hard water stains
Hard water stains in your toilet can be truly unsightly. Fortunately, borax can help. Simply pour a quarter cup into the bowl and spread it with the brush. Then, follow it up with a cup of vinegar. After 20 minutes, the stains should scrub right off. For more stubborn stains, mix the borax and vinegar beforehand to make a paste, then apply as normal.
6. Clean fine china
If you happen to own any fine china, you’ll know that cleaning it can be tricky. After all, it’s inherently delicate and often hand-painted – and you don’t want to accidentally rub away the artwork. Borax, then, is a tried-and-tested solution for cleaning stubborn stains without damaging the dishware.
5. Clean your oven
Ovens are usually the most dreaded part of the kitchen clean-up, but borax can make light work of it. Indeed, simply dissolve one part borax in two parts hot water, then wipe down the oven with the resulting solution. Leave it to rest overnight and scrub it off the next day – any stains should vanish.
4. Homemade dishwasher detergent
Instead of spending extraordinary amounts of money on store-bought dishwasher detergents, it’s incredibly easy to just make your own. All you need to do is mix equal amounts of Borax and baking soda – one tablespoon of each per cycle. Not only do they both naturally disinfect your dishes, but they’re mild abrasives, too, so will remove any dried food.
3. Make homemade flubber
It might not be the most necessary hack on this list, but it’s probably the most fun. Yes, you can make homemade flubber for your kids (and yourself) using borax dissolved in hot water. Simply add it slowly to a mixture of cold water, glue and food coloring to create the gloopy, pliable gunk.
2. Clean your garbage disposal
After a while, your garbage disposal may not be as efficient as it once was – at least, depending on what you try to cram down it. If you suspect it’s clogged, then, you can use borax to alleviate the situation. Just pour half a cup into the disposal, wait half an hour, then rinse hot water down the chute.
1. Clean your pots, pans and dishes
Tired of your old pans looking past their best? A simple solution of half a cup of borax to a gallon of hot water may be just what you need. Indeed, the mix will likely be far gentler on your dishes than harsh soaps full of chemicals. And you can even add essential oils to give it a fresh scent.
Now, wherever you keep your Borax, chances are you’ve got a bottle of hydrogen peroxide pretty close by. And if you don’t, you might want to pick some up. Why? Well, the product’s super cheap, and its oxidizing properties make it a perfect cleaning agent This means you can use it for all manner of tough stains and smells – not to mention much more besides.
20. Remove clothing stains
Even stubborn stains such as wine or grass aren’t safe from the cleaning power of hydrogen peroxide. A simple blend of non-gel toothpaste or cream of tartar, combined with a teaspoon of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, will create a paste that combats even those typically hard-to-remove marks. Do rinse your mixture off eventually, though.
19. Banish mildew
Mildew is basically your home’s worst nightmare – particularly in damp places such as the bathroom. Luckily, a splash of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide will make short work of any unsightly mold. Just remember not to dilute the liquid, as you may on other occasions.
18. Clean carpet stains
Carpet stains can be a nightmare to remove – that is, unless you have hydrogen peroxide to hand. All you need to do, then, is simply pour a combination of half a cup of peroxide and a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid onto the stain. Instead of rubbing the mixture in, however, dab it with a cloth. Then vacuum the stain and dry it with a hair dryer.
17. Sanitize your cutting board
You probably know by now that your cutting board is basically a haven for bacteria – particularly if you use it to chop up raw meat. So, if you want to make sure your board is totally clean, try using hydrogen peroxide. Just rub the surface with vinegar first, and then apply the hydrogen peroxide using a paper towel.
16. Clean makeup brushes
Keeping your makeup brushes clean is super important for healthy skin. In fact, it’s recommended that you should give them a good wash every week or so at least. And you can do just that by using a mixture of warm water, castile soap and hydrogen peroxide. Simply soak a brush in the solution, and then wipe away any excess dampness from the bristles and let the whole thing dry.
15. Treat sinus infections
The pain of a sinus infection requires fast relief, and hydrogen peroxide can help provide that too. Indeed, a solution of filtered water and hydrogen peroxide, applied to the nasal area, should assist in returning your sinuses to health in no time. However, you will need to dilute the peroxide heavily – to around ten to 20 times weaker than its usual strength of 3 percent.
14. Disinfect your toothbrush
While your toothbrush is great for getting bacteria out of your mouth, sometimes that same bacteria can then get caught in the base of the bristles – and later be transferred back to your teeth. It’s a good idea to regularly clean your toothbrush, then, by soaking it in hydrogen peroxide and subsequently dousing with water.
13. Whiten your nails
If you’re a heavy user of nail polish, you’ll be familiar with the yellow stains that are left behind after removing it. Fortunately, hydrogen peroxide can solve that issue when mixed with warm water. Simply soak your fingernails in a bowl of the solution, and then gently scrub them with a toothbrush. Three or four tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide combined with half a cup of water should do the trick.
12. Naturally lighten hair
Changing your hair color doesn’t have to be a complicated mess of chemicals and dyes. That’s because you can simply use hydrogen peroxide to lighten the shade of your mane. Just mix the hydrogen peroxide with equal parts water and add it to the area of hair you want to lighten. Leave the mixture on for 20 minutes, and then rinse and dry your locks.
11. Soften corns and calluses
By now, you should have realized that simply mixing hydrogen peroxide with water works wonders in many situations. And that goes for treating any corns and calluses on your feet, too. Simply soak your tootsies in a hydrogen peroxide-and-water bath for 15 minutes at a time and any areas of thick skin will start to soften up.
10. Clean glass surfaces without streaks
Normal glass cleaners may leave behind unsightly streaks unless you scrub away for eternity. Fortunately, the staple mix of hydrogen peroxide and water – along with a few drops of castile soap – makes for a cleaner that will evaporate naturally and leave no streaks behind.
9. Deodorize musty fabrics
If you’ve ever left your clothes in the washing machine for a while before transferring them to the dryer, you’ll know how musty they can get. Rather than throwing those stinky shirts and pants out, though, try soaking them in a tub of water with half a cup of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide first. Then run those garments through a wash cycle and air dry them straight away after that.
8. Take out bloodstains
Unless you possess a penchant for murder, or are particularly clumsy around sharp objects, we’d hope you’re not in dire need of this tip. But if you do have a bloodstain you need to get out, a direct application of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide should do the trick – on fresh stains, at least. Then simply rinse the soiled object and put it in the washing machine as normal.
7. Whiten grout
You probably don’t clean the grout between your bathroom or kitchen tiles that often. After all, it’s not the most fun chore to take on. But if the grout in your home is looking a little worse for wear, apply a paste made of one part hydrogen peroxide to two parts baking soda. Then, when a little time has passed, scrub the stains with a toothbrush and wipe the paste off with a cloth.
6. Clean your feet
Next time you give yourself a foot bath, add some hydrogen peroxide to the water along with any other salts or essential oils you may use. Indeed, soaking in this combination for a couple of times a day should resolve any ongoing issues you may have with your feet – like skin infections, for instance. Just make sure to refresh the bath every few days, though.
5. Remove algae from your aquarium
If your aquarium’s covered in seemingly immovable algae, then try using hydrogen peroxide as a last-ditch effort to save your tank. Around 25 to 35 ml of peroxide in 50 liters of water is recommended to tackle green algae; to find out what dosage your aquarium requires, then, simply divide the volume of your tank by 50. Apply the solution for a few days, and then leave it to do its job.
4. Get rid of household odors
Hydrogen peroxide isn’t just great for removing visible stains; it’s also perfect for getting rid of any strange or obnoxious odors in your home. Just mix a few drops of hydrogen peroxide with water and apply it to anything that might have a strange smell – a rug or a couch, perhaps.
3. Clear up ear infections
Terrible earache? Reach for the hydrogen peroxide. Simply use an ear-dropper to apply 3 percent hydrogen peroxide into the ear canal, and then tip the liquid out after 30 seconds and dry your ear with a towel. Repeat twice a day to kill off any bacteria or fungi that may be causing the infection.
2. Tackle sweat stains
Hot summer months – or even just regular exercise – can be ruinous on your clothes, as sweat stains are notoriously difficult to remove. Unless, that is, you have hydrogen peroxide. Simply mix two parts to one part dishwashing detergent, and then soak the offending clothes in the solution for 60 minutes, and your garments should be as good as new.
1. Purify water
Before using hydrogen peroxide to purify your water, add 50 ml of dry chlorine per gallon and leave it overnight. Then add two milliliters of hydrogen peroxide per gallon and allow the mixture to rest for around 15 minutes. After that, the chlorine should have been neutralized by the peroxide, and the water should be oxidized and safe to drink.