Things You'll Need
Borax, also known as sodium borate or sodium tetraborate, occurs naturally in the earth and is mined in the Mojave Desert. Borax has lots of common uses; it's best known as a laundry booster, but it is also a stain remover, disinfectant and deodorizer and a natural aid in water softening. More than 85 percent of homes in the United States have hard water, which causes clothes to look dingy and feel rough.
Purchase a box of borax in the laundry aisle of your grocery store; borax is a white powder and comes in a 1- to 2-pound box.
Add 1/2 cup of borax in with your regular detergent if you have hard water; it will help your detergent do a better job by removing hard water chemicals. Your clothes will smell fresher and tough stains will come out easier.
Put the borax into each load of laundry you do, especially for very hard water. For smaller amounts of laundry done by hand, use 1 tablespoon of borax per 1 cup of water.
Soak clothes in a solution of 1 tablespoon per 1 cup of water to rid them of stale odors; borax can be used safely with bleach.
Soften your water temporarily with the regular use of borax; if you want a permanent hard water solution you'll need to use distillation process.
Borax is safe for the environment and has no toxic fumes, but it can irritate your skin. It can be used as a scouring powder and a roach killer. It also can be used on carpets and rugs. Just dissolve 1/2 cup of Borax in 1 pint water, sponge on any carpet stain, wait for 30 minutes, rinse, let dry and vacuum.
Catherine Lugo has been a freelance writer since 1990 and has been published in her local paper, "County Line," "Poetry Gems 2000" and online at Storiesthatlift.com. Lugo earned her Bachelor of Arts in literature from the University of Texas, Dallas.