Four years ago, or about one year into our suddenly frugal lifestyle, I wrote a blog post giving Borax a Suddenly Frugal Seal of Approval. At that time I was impressed with how well Borax was at removing stains. Here’s what I wrote at that time:
Since then I’ve tried borax on nearly any stain my kids can create these days–my husband, too. Blood, dirt and chocolate don’t stand a chance now that I’m armed with borax. That first box is long gone, and now borax has become a must-buy for keeping my family’s clothes clean.
Once I had Borax in the house, I started experimenting with it.
If you are familiar with my blog’s most popular post, on how to make DIY laundry detergent, then you know that Borax is one of the main ingredients in that “recipe.”
I discovered that Borax is also the main ingredient in DIY dishwasher detergent. Here’s the recipe I tried:
- 1 cup Borax
- 1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda*
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt (especially if you hard water)
Mix in container, and then use 1 tablespoon in the dishwasher compartment. Add vinegar as a cheap and frugal rinse aid.
*The PR folks for Arm & Hammer that I met at BlogHer told me that the Arm & Hammer Washing Soda, which is showing up in nearly every DIY cleaning recipes, is one of the fastest selling Arm & Hammer products these days!
Unfortunately, this recipe has not served me well, as my dishes still come out slightly dirty and they are definitely cloudy. Lauren over at The Burlap Bag blog suggests putting in 2 drops of dishwashing liquid (the kind you would use to handwash your dishes) directly into the detergent dispenser before starting a cycle. She finds that this cuts the cloudiness without creating an onslaught of bubbles.
Cue Brady Bunch clip “Swimming in Bubbles”:
Nonetheless, I have to wonder if the fact that we have hard water and a not very high-end dishwasher is the culprit more than the recipe. I guess my next step will be to play around with the ratio of Borax to washing soda to salt, and see if I can’t come up with something worth writing about.
In the meantime I’ve found other uses for Borax that continue to make me love it. I’ve used it to kill ants. Borax helps to keep the pH level in our swimming pool in the right range. And Borax has been a great deodorizer in my front-loading washing machine, because I just can’t fathom buying a cleaner to clean my washing machine. (If you own a front loader, you know how stinky they can get.)
Have you found similarly helpful uses for Borax around the house? If so, post a comment to let us know.
Bottom line: Borax still gets my Suddenly Frugal Seal of Approval!