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Forgot the cleaning supplies? Tidy up with borax

You don't need a host of cleaning supplies to tidy up your new home. A few simple ingredients can get you on your way to a sparkling space.

When you box up your belongings to relocate, it's nearly inevitable that something will get left behind or forgotten. For many people planning to move, household cleaning supplies are among the last items to get packed, and can fly under the radar. If you arrive at your new home and realize you've left necessary items at home, never fear. Instead of adding more stress to your transition, just swing by any convenience or grocery shop and pick up some borax and a few supporting items for an inexpensive way to tidy up after moving. You might be surprised to discover just how much power a little bit of powder can pack.

Managing pests

Also known as sodium borate, borax is a white crystallized compound that can be used to solve a variety of household dilemmas. If you find yourself dealing with pests like cockroaches, ants, fleas or even bedbugs, simply sprinkle some borax on the affected areas and let it sit for a few hours before sweeping up. For mattresses and fabrics, gently rub the powder in, then vacuum it completely. Borax is also your go-to for larger disturbances like mice. Make a mixture of half borax, half sugar and pour around the perimeter of the room.

Cleaning up floors and surfaces

You can whisk together a simple all-purpose cleaner by combining two tablespoons of borax with two cups of hot water. Pour it into a spray bottle and you're ready to get wiping. For floors and walls, change the ratios and stir 1/3 cup of borax, 1 tablespoon of ammonia and 1 teaspoon of dish detergent into a gallon of warm water. There's no need to fret if you stain a few shirts on your cleaning campaign. Adding a cup of borax to each load of laundry can make it extra-effective and soften the effects of water with a high concentration of calcium, and a 2-to-1 combination of warm water and borax will make a paste that can be applied directly to stained shirts and blouses, as well as mattresses and carpets. The mixture is also ideal for removing unsightly marks on pet bedding, and will minimize any odor as well. 

Polishing and removing stains

The kitchen is no place to be half-hearted about your cleaning efforts. If sinks are dull or stained, scrub them with a mixture of 1/4 cup of lemon juice and 1 cup of borax for a shimmering sheen that smells citrus fresh. Similarly, stains on toilet bowls or rings in bathtubs can be minimized by dissolving 1/2 cup of borax into a gallon of warm water and soaking the surfaces for about an hour. Sprinkle the powder directly onto a damp cloth and scrub away to brighten the appearance of tile flooring and shower doors. If drains are clogging, you don't need to reach for the sulfuric acid - simply pour a 1/2 cup of borax into the drain, followed by 2 cups of boiling water and let it sit for 20 minutes before running tap water down it again.

Minimizing odors

People who move into furnished homes may uncover a smelly surprise when they open refrigerators that have been left to sit for too long. To help dissipate disturbing odors, simply wipe out your refrigerator with the borax solution used to make the all-purpose cleaner described above. Trash cans and litter boxes can be refreshed as well by sprinkling the powder into the bottom of the container. As an added bonus, borax will prevent pests from taking up residence in your garbage.

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