Cooktop Cove: Cleaning with borax is great but here are some things you should know
Borax is one of those products that seems to have an infinite number of uses. You can use it for cleaning, gardening, basic home maintenance and so many other things. This is a product you should definitely keep on hand.
But there are also instances where borax is the last thing you should reach for. Borax has a low level of toxicity, making it dangerous if used for certain purposes. If you're unsure when to use borax and when to bypass it, check out this list as a quick guide.
1. DO remove rust
Borax can be used to remove rust. Mix 1 cup of borax with 2 cups of water and warm up the mixture. Add a tablespoon of lemon juice and apply the combination to the rust spots. After 15 minutes, rinse the paste and scrub off the rust with a wire brush.
2. DO NOT use with personal care products
While not dangerous in small amounts, too much exposure to borax can cause skin irritation, especially if it touches any cuts or skin prone to eczema. To avoid this, unless it's applied sparingly, you shouldn't use borax to clean or make personal care products, such as hair treatments or lotions. Whether or not to use it for laundry detergent is up to you, but if you use it, don't overdo it.
3. DO kill weeds
Due to its low level of toxicity, borax is a perfect weed killer. Start by dissolving 10 ounces of borax in 4 ounces of warm water. Add this to 2½ gallons of water, mix well and pour into a sprayer. Spray it on the weeds you want to get rid of, but make sure to avoid getting any on your flowers or plants.
4. DO NOT use in kids' toys
As mentioned before, borax can cause skin irritation. But there's another worry when it comes to your kids. Many children are using borax as an ingredient in DIY slime and play dough. On its own, borax might just cause a minor rash. But when mixed with other ingredients for slime, it can cause burns. There are plenty of slime recipes that don't include borax, making them safer for kids to use.
5. DO unclog drains
When dealing with a clogged drain, you have several options to unclog it, one of which is borax. Just pour ½ cup of borax down the drain and chase it with 2 cups of boiling water. After about 15 minutes, turn on the faucet and let the water flush out the rest of the clog.
6. DO NOT use around pets
Though borax can be used to kill fleas, it should not be used where your pets can ingest any of it. If you sprinkle borax on your carpets to get rid of fleas, vacuum over it multiple times to ensure it's completely gone before letting your pets back onto the carpet. And make sure your pets' food and water dishes and toys aren't touched by any borax.
7. DO clean carpets
When mixed with a few other ingredients, borax makes an excellent carpet cleaner. Salt, borax and vinegar (¼ cup of each) combined into a paste can be applied to stains on your carpet and then left until completely dry. When the paste is dry, vacuum over it, multiple times if necessary. Running a steam cleaner over the carpet to finish is the best way to make sure it's completely clean, but this final step isn't required unless you're dealing with exceptionally stubborn stains.
8. DO NOT store near food
This isn't really a use, but it is important to remember. While most people wouldn't try to eat straight borax (and they shouldn't!), it is possible to accidentally ingest it. If you store borax near food or drinks, even if you think everything is properly sealed, there's still a chance the items might mix together. Although it's unlikely that enough borax would get into your food to cause any real harm, it's still best to keep the two separated as much as possible.
9. DO mop floors
Your carpeted floors aren't the only ones that can be cleaned with borax. You can also mop your tile or vinyl floors with it. Mix 2 tablespoons borax into 1 gallon of warm water, and then mop your floors as usual.
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