How Borax Makes Chores Easier

Clear a clogged drain Before you reach for a caustic drain cleaner to unclog that kitchen or bathroom drain, try

Clear a clogged drain
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest