Borax to Clean Carpets

Author: Staff Writers

Using borax to clean carpets is considered to be a safe alternative to using commercial carpet cleaning solutions. Borax (sodium borate) has been touted as a household cleaner throughout the 20th century. Borax is commonly used to rid carpets of flea infestations, odors, dirt, and stains, as well as to prevent mold and mildew.


Many carpets and carpet cleaners contain pesticides and fungicidal ingredients. They can contain toxic ingredients such as chlorine, formaldehyde, and solvents like trichloroethylene, methylene, and nitroben. Borax is toxic if ingested and special precautions should be taken, especially around young children and pets. However, borax is still considered to be less toxic than most commercial carpet cleaning and stain removal solutions. Caution and pre-testing should also be used when using borax on dyed fabrics, as it is a bleach alternative, and can leech the color. It's best to try cleaning the carpet or stain with other green cleaners, such as baking soda or vinegar first, then use borax if they are ineffective.

Borax Methods

There are several ways borax can be used on a carpet. It can be used as a carpet cleaner, a carpet deodorizer, and as a carpet spot/stain remover. Here are samples of each method:

Carpet cleaner/disinfector: Combine 1/2 cup baking soda, 1 cup borax, and 1 cup cornmeal, and then sprinkle the mixture over the carpet. Rub it in with a cloth, and then let it stand for several hours or overnight. Finish up by vacuuming thoroughly.

Carpet deodorizer: Combine 1 part borax with 2 parts corn meal (polenta), and then liberally sprinkle the mixture over the carpet. Let it stand one hour and then vacuum thoroughly. Can also use a combination of borax, baking soda, and corn meal.

Carpet spot/stain removal: Blot stain, make a paste of 1 part borax and 3 parts water, and apply paste to stain with a damp cloth or sponge, let it stand for at least 10- 15 minutes, and then vacuum thoroughly. A mixture of 1 teaspoon borax, 1 quart warm water, 1 teaspoon vegetable-oil-based soap/detergent, and a few drops of vinegar may be used instead. Just gently rub it into the stain with a damp cloth or sponge, and then keeping blotting it until the moisture is thoroughly absorbed.


Works Cited

Klickitat County Home
Alternatives: Household Cleaning Products

Greenpeace | Greenpeace USA
Cleaning the house

America: Economic Action for a Just Planet
Green America: Ten Simple Ways to Clean Green

Expert Opinion 

Did You Know: Borax is not non-toxic as many green cleaning recipes state. Borax is considered to have a low-toxicity compared to commercial cleaners and pesticides.


Quote: "There are some people who feel that ammonia and borax are other key ingredients in alternative cleaners. It is true that they are both very effective at cleaning, deodorizing and disinfecting. It is also true that they are both quite harsh chemicals which can irritate the eyes, nose, throat and skin, and can cause headaches, nausea and chest pain."

Source: Green Peace

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"Borax to Clean Carpets." Sophisticated Edge. N.p., n.d. Web. . <>.  

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