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Borax is one of those things that many people have heard of, but don’t know exactly what it is. And that’s a shame, because this chemical compound (also known as sodium borate) is incredibly useful around your home.

Before we look at the many uses for borax, a caveat: there are conflicting reports about the safety of borax. Some studies show “no signs of toxicity”, while others cite a “potential to cause developmental and reproductive health issues”. While it would seem that a majority of sources classify the compound as safe, there are those that disagree. If you’re worried, be sure to do some research of your own so you feel comfortable. 


  • If your toilet isn’t looking its shiny white best, pour a cup of borax into the bowl – focusing on any stains that might be there – and leave it overnight. Give the bowl a gentle scrub with the toilet brush the next day and watch it gleam.
  • If you run out of your favourite powdered cleanser, simply sprinkle a little borax onto a sponge and carry on.


  • Clogged drains? No Draino? Pour half a cup of borax down the offending drain, and then two cups of boiling water. After leaving it alone for 20-30 minutes, run the water for several minutes and your drains should be good as new.
  • To lift stains from your sink, mix a cup of borax with ¼ cup of lemon juice into a paste. Rub the paste around your sink – concentrating on any stains – and then rinse away with warm water. This works well in bathroom sinks, too.

General household magic

  • To get rid of sticky residue left behind by stubborn labels, price stickers, or spilt glue, mix two parts borax together with one part water. Apply this mixture and rub the mess to lift it up.
  • If you find the smell from your cat’s litter tray unbearable, simply mix a tablespoon or two of borax into the litter.


  • Every few years, sprinkle borax around the base of your apple tree (around a cup if you have a full-size tree, a few tablespoons if it’s only young). The minerals will help encourage fruit and seed development.
  • Sprinkle on those pesky weeds that grow between pavers and stepping stones. But do not use in your garden beds or lawn because it will kill your plants.

Do you know of any other uses? Share your tips in the comments below.