Homesteading is all about finding ways to be done for yourself instead of relying on outside resources. Staples are a big part of this, as in supplies that you can stock up on and use in a variety of different ways. Staples tend to be inexpensive to buy in bulk and essential for a number of DIY homesteading tasks. Flour, salt, and bolts of fabric are all classic staples. But one staple that is often overlooked and undervalued is the humble box of powdered borax. These are 6 Essential Uses for Borax Cleaning Powder.
Borax is one of the most useful (and mild) cleaning products you can stock. In fact, even experienced borax DIY-ers aren’t aware of all the things this simple scrubbing powder can do. If you want to rock your homestead and spend practically nothing on tough cleaning tasks, grab your Borax, and get ready. We’re about to explore the 15 different ways Borax is useful on the homestead.
What is Borax Powder?
Borax powder is very simple: It’s sodium borate, also known as salt from the element Boron. Boron is a simple, harmless element on the alkaline side of the scale. Not to be confused with boric acid, which is a more potent and less universally useful substance. Borax can be bought at any grocery or supply store that sells cleaning products. It is typically mixed with warm water, soap, or used as a scrubbing powder.
But it has more uses than you can imagine:
1. Non-Toxic Soap Ingredient
You probably already know that Borax makes excellent soap and detergent. It’s an essential ingredient in most homemade soap recipes for everything from laundry detergent to dog shampoo. That’s because it’s non-toxic (don’t eat it, anyway), scrubby, and increases the impact of soap. In fact, you probably have borax in your cupboard because you’ve been using it as an inexpensive soap ingredient. And if you haven’t tried DIY detergents, now is a great time to start.
2. Non-Chemical Anti-fungal Properties – Kills Mold and Mildew
One of the interesting features of Borax powder (Boron salt) is that the particles are very sharp, even when dissolved in water. These particles are so sharp that they kill organic micro-organisms like mold and fungi spores. If you’re looking for an anti-fungal agent for your laundry and home that won’t hurt the children or the pets, borax is your go-to solution.
Combine with hot water and vinegar for a powerful non-toxic anti-fungal solution without chemicals or essential oils.
3. Promotes Fruit and Seed Growth in Fruit Trees
Believe it or not, borax kills fungus but fruit trees love boron. Make a highly diluted mixture of a 1:10 borax-to-water ratio and spray it onto the dirt around your fruit trees. Do this for full-grown fruit trees once every 3 years (yes, that’s a long interval) to infuse the soil with Boron. This will slowly add little extra nutrients to your fruit trees, encouraging seed and fruit production. This is probably the least known of these 6 Essential Uses for Borax Cleaning Powder.
4. Increases the Cleaning Power of Soapy Water
Those sharp particles we mentioned serve another purpose: They suds soap. Do you know how soapy water has to be agitated to create those cleaning suds? Well borax is a super-booster to agitation because it triggers sudsing on a molecular level in the soapy water. Adding borax to your laundry, dishes, carpet cleaning, or any other cleaning task will significantly increase the effectiveness of your soap.
5. Scratch-Free Scrubbing Powder
Another use for the scrubbing element of Borax is to sprinkle it directly on a tough-to-clean surface. Instead of using a commercial cleaning powder like Comet or Barkeeper’s Friend, use Borax under your scrubbing sponge instead. Those sharp little powder particles will grind into the grit and –here’s the kicker– they don’t scratch glass or other surfaces. Borax is very fine and dissolves into micro-scrubbing particles in contact with water, so your glass-top stove and even non-stick pans are safe to scrub.
6. Soothes Sensitive Itchy Spots on Humans and Animals
Just as Borax doesn’t scratch your surfaces, it also doesn’t scratch your skin. When you, a family member, or one of your animals has an itch that has been rubbed raw (or is in a very sensitive spot), try light massage with warm water and a little borax. The fine particles can remove an irritant and gently scratch an itch without actually scraping the skin.
Be careful and do a small test first. Some people and animals find direct contact with borax to irritate the skin instead of soothing.
Thanks for checking out the 6 Essential Uses for Borax Cleaning Powder. Don’t miss these Five 5-Gallon Bucket Hacks.