Uses for 20 Mule Team Borax

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Borax is a versatile natural ingredient for your household chores. It's so useful that one of the most famous brands, 20 Mule Team Borax, has been offering their product since 1891. Besides using it to boost laundry detergent, borax is also good for cleaning surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom or even to help get rid of ants that eat sugary substances.

Borax in the Kitchen

Borax and water come in handy for cleaning sinks, countertops and appliances. It is safe to use on everything from stainless steel to granite, marble, slate and porcelain. Test borax in an inconspicuous area first if you're not sure whether to use it on delicate surfaces.

Kitchen Cleaner Recipe

Step 1

Mix 1/4 cup 20 Mule Team Borax into 1/2 gallon of hot water in a bucket, stirring until the borax dissolves.

Step 2

Dip a sponge or soft cloth into the mixture while wearing rubber gloves.

Step 3

Wipe down countertops, the refrigerator door and handle, other appliances, and even the sides of the toaster with the borax solution. Rinse the sponge and wipe each area with plain water afterwards to remove any borax residue.

Borax in the Bathroom

Borax serves as a mild abrasive -- much like a cleanser -- for cleaning many surfaces in the bathroom. Always rinse off the cleaned areas with fresh water after cleaning with borax.

  • Sprinkle a little borax onto a damp sponge to clean the bathtub or shower stall walls.
  • Scrub the faucets and the sink with borax.
  • Add 1/4 cup of borax to the toilet bowl; then scrub the toilet using a toilet brush to remove stains and bacteria.

Ant Bait

Get rid of indoors ants attracted to sugary substances by making a borax ant bait and placing it along the ant trail or areas where you've noticed the most ants.

Step 1

Poke holes in the lid of a small container such as a margarine tub or small takeout soup container.

Step 2

Mix 1 part borax with 3 parts powdered sugar in the disposable container.

Step 3

Add a few drops of water to the mixture to make it more paste-like.

Step 4

Place the lid on the container and set the container in an area where you've noticed ants, such as on a countertop near a drop of spilled jelly. Ants will be attracted to the sugar and eat it, eventually dying.


Do not use borax ant baits in areas where young children or pets may get into them.

Borax for Laundry

Add 1/2 cup borax to your laundry loads along with your favorite detergent to soften hard water. It makes the detergent mix better with the water, resulting in better cleaning power. It also helps prevent staining materials from rubbing off one textile and onto another.


Kathy Adams is an award-winning writer. She is an avid DIYer that is equally at home repurposing random objects into new, useful creations as she is at supporting community gardening efforts and writing about healthy alternatives to household chemicals. She's written numerous DIY articles for paint and decor companies, as well as for Black + Decker, Hunker, SFGate, Landlordology and others.

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