Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Removing Stains With Borax

As part of Earth Month, I decided to try out alternative ways of removing stains from laundry.  One of the options I’d seen referenced online was using borax as a bleach substitute.  Some people suggest using borax in your laundry to remove general stains, but it can also be used as the pre-treatment.

I have a tan coat, which was probably a bad idea of seeing how easily I put stains on my clothing.  In order to try cleaning this coat, I stuck it in a clean bucket with ¼ cups borax and about enough cold water to cover the coat.  Then I added about ½ gal of boiling water.  This way, I got the water hot enough to dissolve the borax without having to use hot water from the tap.  The problem with using tap water for small tasks is that the water must travel all the way from the heater, which might be okay if your tap is right near the heater, but considering mine is very far away, I would have to waste a lot of cold water before I got enough hot water.  

I left the coat to soak overnight.  After that, I washed it with my laundry as usual.The results were quite nice.  The stains and I was paying attention to faded dramatically, and several old stains continued to fade.  I would recommend this sort of pre-treatment if you are trying to treat a small number of items.  For general stain removal, add ¼ cup of borax to the laundry in the barrel with the clothing.

While I do support oxygenated cleaners, like Oxy-clean, borax is more useful as a general cleaning tool beyond just a stain remover.  If you happen to have Oxy-clean on hand, feel free to use it.  But if you happen to be out, borax  makes a great substitute.

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