Borax has been used for many years as a laundry aide, food preserver and cleaning product. It is made from boron, sodium, oxygen and water and contains no harmful fumes or caustic ingredients. Use it to safely clean walls, toilets and other household surfaces, but keep it out of the reach of children and pets.
To make an everyday cleaner suitable for cleaning walls, mix 1 to 2 tsp. borax with 2 cups warm water in a spray bottle. Add 1/4 cup of vinegar to cut through grease. Start at the top of the wall, spraying it lightly with the cleaner. Wipe the wall with a microfiber cloth or sponge, moving toward the bottom. Don't excessively wet the wall. How well the walls clean up largely depends on the type of paint. Flat paints don't wash well, and you may even remove the paint with vigorous scrubbing. Latex enamel paints are more durable. Removing stains from them is usually a simple process.
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For very soiled walls, mix at least 2 tbsp. borax, 1/2 cup vinegar and 2 cups warm water. Spray the walls and wait five minutes before wiping them down. Trisodium phosphate, or TSP, is another cleaning material often used to remove grease and smoke from walls prior to painting. Wear gloves and follow directions carefully.
Add 1/2 cup borax to a load of laundry to remove odors and stains. Sprinkle borax in toilet bowls, showers and tubs and scrub clean. Historically, borax was used to sweeten milk, aid digestion and even cure epilepsy. Today, it is used primarily as a cleaning agent. Use it to dry flowers and to cure the wicks of homemade candles.
Borax has an indefinite shelf life when stored in a cool, dry place. It is safe for septic systems and acts as a natural water softener. Keep it out of the reach of pets and children. Some people use borax as an effective insect killer, although the Environmental Protection Agency has not labeled it safe for use as a pesticide.