Did you know that there is an inexpensive and readily available common household cleaner that has over 50 survival uses and never expires, making it one of the most versatile and valuable items for your doomsday stockpile?
Choosing items to stash in your stockpile for emergency situations can be overwhelming. While everyone agrees on the basics—water, food, fire, and shelter—when it comes to stockpiling items for everyday needs, there tends to be a wide range of “must-haves” depending on the individual. Adding to the “what to store” stockpile dilemma is another common prepper problem: lack of space.
The two problems combined—endless potential needs and a finite amount of space—make finding versatile products with multiple indoor and outdoor uses a prepper necessity. When choosing products for your stockpile, items that have multiple uses maximize your survivability while minimizing the number of items cluttering your prepper storage area.
When preparing for SHTF with limited storage space, very few products can pull double-duty quite like borax. This versatile lifesaver can keep you germ-free during a pandemic, help you grow your own food during a shortage, and light your way in a blackout, all while keeping your dishes sparkling clean and bathroom facilities odor-free.
Borax—also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate—is a naturally occurring mineral that is used for cleaning, laundry, and other household chores (not to be confused with boric acid, which is a man-made chemical). As a natural alternative to bleach, borax can safely deodorize, sanitize, and clean just about anything. Borax is sold commercially primarily as a laundry detergent booster and can be purchased at any grocery or big box retail store for usually less than $20.00 (depending on the size of the container), making it an easy and affordable prep to stockpile.
But the real power of borax is that it can be used in over 50 ways to help you survive in any short-term or long-term emergency situation! And, as long as it stays dry, borax has a virtually endless shelf-life, which means you can stock up and never have to worry about it expiring in your stockpile.
Just take a look at a few of the ways borax can save the day in any survival situation:
Clean, sanitize, and deodorize anything, anywhere
Most people are familiar with using borax as a laundry detergent booster in their homes. But did you know that borax can do an amazing job at getting your clothes clean without the use of detergent? By adding equal parts grated soap, borax, and washing soda, you can clean clothes naturally and inexpensively. The borax helps to eliminate soap residue that can linger on clothes when washed without an electric washing machine, making it an excellent choice for off-grid or bug-out situations. It also kills fungus and mold and softens water.
Cast-iron cookware is ideal for survival situations since it can be used to cook directly over a fire; however, cleaning cast-iron cookware can be difficult since regular soap will ruin the pans. With just a teaspoon of borax diluted in warm water, you can safely clean your cast-iron cookware. And, of course, it also works great for regular cookware, cups, plates, utensils, you name it!
Borax is also a fantastic product to use for deodorizing and sanitizing any surface. In survival situations, a lack of proper sanitation can cause sickness and spread disease, while the smell can give away your location to animals and humans alike. To sanitize any surface with borax, including “bathroom” areas, dissolve ½ cup of borax into one gallon of hot water and spray liberally over the desired area.
Eliminate weeds and fertilize your garden
Borax is unique in that it can be used both to eliminate weeds and to fertilize soil. When using borax in your garden, the amount matters: small amounts of borax can benefit soil that is mineral deficient, while larger doses will kill any plant that it comes into contact with. To use borax to eradicate unwanted weeds, sprinkle the undesired plants with a coating of dry powder or use a solution of ½ cup of borax and one gallon of water and spray directly onto the roots. To use borax as a fertilizer, use approximately ½ tablespoon during tilling for every 100 square feet of garden.
Related: 24 Lost Gardening Tips from 100 Years Ago
Banish bugs and other vermin
Many preppers underestimate the seriousness of insect and rodent infestations during SHTF situations. Without regular garbage pickup, refrigeration, and other conveniences of modern life we take for granted, food and other household waste will attract disease-carrying insects and vermin. To keep your preps bug and rodent-free, sprinkle dry borax in likely areas where the unwanted pests would congregate. For ants, mix the borax with a little bit of sugar so they will ingest it.
Make your own candle wicks
One of the most essential preps you can have for any disaster are candles. In addition to having plenty of candles on hand in your stockpile, it is always a good idea to be able to produce more if a long-term emergency situation develops, or you are forced to abandon your stockpile. To make your own candle wicks, simple dissolve two tablespoons of salt and four tablespoons of borax in one cup of warm water, then soak one foot of cotton twine or string in the solution for approximately 15 minutes. Hang the piece of cotton to dry completely (depending on the climate, this may take a few days) and then coat the strip with melted wax by dipping multiple times. After drying, keep in a cool place in a sealed container and you will have plenty of wicks on hand to light up any situation.
Related: How To Make 30 Hours Survival Candles with Soy Wax
Keep your tools and other metal items rust-free
In a survival situation, tools and other metal items used for manual labor can make your life much easier. Whether it is a hammer, screwdriver, wheelbarrow, knife, or even a watering can, rust can ruin your tools for good. To keep your tools in great working condition longer, scrub off any rust with a mixture of borax and lemon juice.
Related: Tools You Will Need When SHTF
Use as a barter item
Stockpiled enough borax for your family? Grab a few extra containers and use them as a barter item to get other supplies that you may have run out of or (gasp!) forgot to acquire before SHTF. No matter if you tout it as an all-natural alternative to bleach, a handy garden helper, a vermin vanquisher, or a safer way to sanitize, this versatile prep will be a valuable commodity for a wide range of people.
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Thank You for an excellent,informative article on the many uses of Borax! I have used it since 1982 for many different things.I did not know it could be used to remove rust from tools.Always glad to learn something new.Much obliged!
Gonna get some
Did you say it has 50 uses? Did I miss some of them? Seemed like only about 10 in this article.
LOL…I was thinking the same thing.
Claude hardly has room for all 50 uses. There is probably a book that gives the 50, or maybe more uses.
The heading said there are over 50 uses for Borax, not here are 50 uses
There are a couple links to other uses.
I’ve always appreciate borax in the laundry. It’s safe for colors and whites, didn’t cause diaper rash like certain brands of soap, and not expensive. Hadnt heard of thought of these other uses. Thanks
We bought some to kill ants and I recall my Grandma using it for laundry.
Good to know it has so many other uses…Thank you!
Diatomaceous Earth will also kill ants, and other bugs. The variety of Diatomaceous Earth that is pure enough for human consumption is found in many foods in the grocery store. This material may feel like Talc powder to us, but to bugs, it is about the same, worse for them, as what we would endure walking across broken glass, barefoot. This material is harmless to pets, kids, adults, but deadly to bugs. It is even used in some pool water filters.
DO NOT INHALE. Those tiny flecks are like razor blades and will tear up your ,lungs. Always were a mask when you spread it.
“Food grade” only for people use. The swimming pool grade is harmful if ingested by people or animals.
I buy diactomous earth mixed with clay for my chickens to use in their dust bath. It helps keep them healthy and pest free. Sometimes we add ashes to that mixture. A few tires inside with dry material keeps the chickens happy. Outside is all wet and white. 🙂
Claude, thank you for the good information. I would like to add to some of it, if I may. Find the recipe, now, and write it down, and seal it from moisture, using borax, boric acid, and ethylene glycol, you get a solution that preserves wood. Bugs will leave the wood alone. For the candles and a need for more light, use smooth aluminum foil, or mirrors to focus the light of several candles together. Washing machines, all they need for most of their function is a source of rotary power. A small gas engine, and some learning of how the wig-wag mechanism selects the various modes and, while not fully automatic, it would still do it’s job. Whirlpool washers use, or did use, a wig-wag mechanism of bars and solenoids to select the various functions of the washer. Using a different power source, even a person on a back and forth lever arrangement and hand selection of the water input, wig-wag bar position, that electric washer would still be useful. Guys and gals, get inventive, learn how things work, and maybe keep some semblance of “normal” live going. On the garden help side, look up AZOmite and get a few pounds of it. It is ground up volcanic rock from Utah. It has up to 87 different trace minerals in it to give plants more of the nutrients they need. For better health, get “pink” salt from the Himalayas. It is a natural salt that is good for you. The table salt we usually use is a processed salt, and is not good for you.
Also, pink sea salt is available from Utah. Brand name “Real Salt”. From ancient sea beds & just as good as Himalayan as to purity & mineral content. Also costs less.
For my home and that includes washing machine and refrigerator… I’m fully off grid solar now. Just the well is on power from electric company but my second unused well will soon also have a pump and pressure tank with its own solar panels and batteries. It took a while but sure has been nice. All I need for the well is the new pump, wire, and assorted connectors.
I do like borax, and washing soda in my laundry. Both will discourage and kill ants. Both help clean and soften water. I also use those instead of harsh chemicals to clean the stove, sinks, bathtub et and they help keep drains open.
Come spring I’ll have to try out a bit of borax in the garden.
This post is for left coast chuck. I have not seen a post from you in a little while, for you usually post in every article. Hope you are doing okay, and please let us know if you are doing well.
Wannabe: Thanks for your concern. I’m fine. Just have nothing to add to the most recent posts.
Here in Florida we have problems with fleas. We sprinkle borax on our carpet. It helps control the flea infestation!
Good to know
It is great for ridding the carpet of fleas, just sprinkle it on let sit about 2 hours, vacuum or sweep up, the fleas are gone
Works great to eliminate fleas in houses. Probably kills other crawling vermin, but have no first hand knowledge about that. We had fleas so bad in our new home in Texas that we had 3 different exterminator companies treat the house. Did not phase the population over 48 hours. I read in a gardening magazine that a woman in Frisco Texas used 20 mule team borax in the house and around the foundations. We threw it all over the floors, furniture, and even window ledges. We put it under the cushions on the sofas and chairs. We did not vacuum it up for 3 days, After we cleaned up the house the problem was cured. We later learned that as the house was being built a mamma Raccoon tried to set up house keeping in it.
borax is used for roaches..
what does borax do and not do to cast iron to make it superior than soap for that purpose?
Cast Iron retains the flavor of whatever is put into it.
So soap leaves a soapy taste which gets into your food.
Evidently Borax will not leave any residue and rinses all the way out hence no soapy tasting food.
Soap removes the dark “Seasoning” that makes cast iron non stick and rust resistant. I was not aware of borax as a cleaning agent for cast pots and pans.
I have used baking soda to scrub cast iron pans. It seems to work ok.
It doesn’t remove the cooked in fats that ke e p cast iron nearly nonstick for cooking. Regular dish soaps cut that baked in fats underwater and everything sticks until you reseason the pan with fats baked in at high heat.
Graywolf is absolutely correct. We’ve used it for years when our animals brought fleas home. I use a flour sifter to spread lightly and gently broom in. Careful on hard floors: really slick. Leave 48/72hrs, vacuum. Dehydrates adults and eggs. Have been told salt works the same but personally not willing to try due to the grit and corrosiveness in the carpet or hardwoods.
Borax, baking soda, vinegar, and a good dish soap will clean, or deodorize, de flea, et. Not expensive and easy to get. Good to put away for future and every day uses. That and amonia are about all I keep on hand for home and critter basic cleaning and care. I even brush my teeth using baking soda which is also my deodorant.
I love saving money with good basic items that really work.
Borax as a Natural Remedy for Arthritis