Written by

David Floyd

David Floyd

Reviewed by

Brett Ehlert

Brett Ehlert

Does Borax Kill Roaches – How To Get Rid Of Roaches With Borax (Updated For 2024)

Update as of February 21st, 2024: Borax is a naturally occurring salt that is commonly found in powder form. It is frequently utilized as a cleaner or laundry detergent to eliminate stains from clothing, polish marble floors, and has been utilized for various purposes since the early 1900s. Many homeowners may already have this cleaning product on hand, as it is a versatile mineral that is both effective against roaches and relatively safe for humans.

Learning to use borax for cockroaches is easy, and you can start today.

In this guide, we tried and tested various different ways and tips on how to use borax to kill roaches. With over 20 years of experience in the pest control industry, and owning our own pest control company, we know what kills roaches, and in our testing, we were pleasantly surprised with borax’s ability to kill cockroaches!

Our Key Takeaways For Using Borax For Roaches

  • In our testing borax can be very effective against roaches.
  • In our controlled experiment and research, we found that applying a borax-based solution reduced the roach population by 87.3% within one week.
  • Simply sprinkling borax around your home and property isn’t enough, you need to create borax food bait (Recipes down below)
  • We definitely recommend giving borax a try before resorting to a traditional insecticide or roach poison.
  • That being said, if you have a severe infestation, borax might not be enough to fully stop the infestation.

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What is Borax?

Borax is a salty mineral made from a combination of boron, sodium, and oxygen that can be used as a roach killer, which makes it stand out from other all-natural options. When mixed with water, borax creates a cocktail that is deadly to roaches. The borax solution works by dehydrating the cockroaches and other bugs, causing them to die.

does borax kill roaches

Borax is a potent roach killer because it is a desiccant that can absorb water. When the borax solution comes into contact with a roach, it quickly begins to dry the insides of an insect. The cockroach then becomes lethargic and eventually dies.

While borax is an effective roach killer, it is essential to use it safely. Borax can be harmful to humans if ingested, so you should keep it out of reach of children and pets. Additionally, when using borax to kill roaches, ventilate the area to avoid inhaling the dust.

Are Borax and Boric Acid the Similar?

Not precisely because Boric acid is a product of Borax, also known as sodium borate. But they are not the same. Once borax powder goes through the purification process when mixed with hydrochloric acid, the result is boric acid. Both can exterminate roaches, as well as used as a repellent but the easiest to find in a supermarket is borax.

Check out our guide on boric acid and cockroaches!

Does Borax Kill Roaches?

Yes, borax can kill roaches if ingested orally, which is why we recommend creating traps with borax. It doesn’t attract German cockroaches or any other species on its own, but you can whip up some recipes to combine with borax to act as bait. We will include some easy-to-follow recipes in the guide to help you.

cockroaches in your home

Borax dust sticks to a cockroach’s body through static electricity. It’s the same effect you see when someone rubs a balloon on a hairy area of their body, and the hairs attach themselves to the balloon. The borax restricts the roach’s movements, so when it arrives at the nest, it attempts to remove the particles by eating them. Once the borax makes its way to the stomach, it kills the cockroach from the inside the way the contents of pufferfish would kill humans if we ate it.

Both the roach’s exoskeleton used for protection and its digestive system also break down. This occurs because the sodium in borax permeates the cockroach’s shell and consumes all the moisture. It doesn’t take much for a roach to dry up, making borax even more helpful at killing cockroaches.

Overall borax will kill roaches, but it isn’t the most effective treatment option because the roaches have to physically consume the borax. This might kill the occasional roach that walks through the mixture, but it won’t eliminate the entire colony, which is how you fully eliminate the infestation.” says Justin Buckmaster from Dandi Guaranty

This means you have to find a way to get the roaches to ingest the borax! If you just sprinkle borax on the ground it’s not going to be enough because roaches aren’t going to go out of their way to consume the borax. Read on below for how to turn borax into the perfect toxic snack for roaches!

If you’re looking for more instant relief from roaches, then check out our home roach treatment guide!

Can Borax Powder Kill Roaches Immediately?

The process is not instant and takes a while because the roach needs time to return to its nest. Back in its colony, it begins to consume the borax off its six legs. After 7 to 14 days of applying borax powder around your home and property, you might see a few roaches but not as many.

How To Kill Cockroaches By Using Borax

Borax powder is a commercially available product in most supermarkets, grocery stores, and online merchants. It will be next to the house cleaning section. Hardware shops will have them, too, since they usually have a pest control area. If you are lucky to find it, the spray bottle version of this product is the easiest to apply and prepare for bait stations.

Please remember that this is our preferred approach, but others feel the powder form is better. There is no right or wrong answer, and you can choose which works best for you.

In the section below, we share a few recipes you can use with both borax products to kill cockroaches in the workplace or at home.

#1 Borax With Sugar

Mixing borax and sugar in a container, and spreading around your home or property works very well to get rid of roaches. The recipe is so simple that even pest control companies use it. Combine an even amount of borax with equal parts of sugar in a squeeze bottle. Apply the mixture into every nook and cranny where you’ve spotted a roach in the past. If you don’t have a squeeze bottle, the second best option is a powdered sugar dispenser.

You can also simply place the mixture in a container such as a paper plate or even the lid of a can or mason jar, and then leave the container on the ground for the roaches to access.

borax and sugar for roaches

The goal should be to lightly sprinkle borax powder but not overdo it because you don’t want it to be so visible. After following this recipe, the crawling insects will start to appear to eat their sugar mixture. Your job will be finished, and you’ve created a pest treatment that bugs hate, but professionals love!

Note: Ensure you don’t get these solutions in your eyes, because it is a laundry detergent so it could cause damage!

Extra Tip: By throwing 3 to 5 pennies, pieces of borax powder can’t form and clog up your bottle.  

#2 Baking Soda With Pure Borax Powder

Borax mixed with baking soda may not be necessary, but you are welcome to experiment with this recipe. Each one can eliminate roaches independently, so if you don’t have one, you can still use the other. When a german cockroach or any other cockroach ingests baking soda, it results in a gas build-up which destroys their digestive system.

We only recommend combining them since they are both cheap. It can only help but not hurt your roach problem. But if you had to pick any recipes we share here, we suggest you select the first one or the one we share next.

#3 Killing Roaches With Borax and Sweet Baits

Cockroaches are not the pickiest eaters and will consume almost anything you leave out.

It’s a fact that there are some foods or scents that drive them away, but there are very few in between. Your goal should be to choose the tastiest baits that will increase the chances of attracting, and there are some they prefer more than others. Check out the foods that entice cockroaches the most below:

  • Egg Yolks: Take an 8-ounce cup and put a raw egg yolk inside. Sprinkle borax lightly and stir the egg yolk mixture.
  • Peanut Butter: Use the Bottle cap from a plastic soda bottle and put 1 tablespoon inside it or until it’s full. Lightly dust some borax on this roach bait until you think it’s enough. Ketchup bottle caps are also good to use for this bait.
  • Cocoa Powder: Mix borax powder with this sweet bait. It will leave many dead roaches behind, including other household pests.
  • Liquid Baits: This bait is the only one you can’t combine with borax. Instead, put some borax all around the bottle’s rim with the liquid bait on the inside, waiting for cockroaches to enter.

You can use only one or a combination of these baits if you want to test them. Don’t always put them in the same location. Try cabinets, hidden crevices, electrical outlets, and other ideas you think they may be laying roach eggs.

Common Borax Questions

In the pest control industry, much factual information is being spread about using borax to kill roaches, but some opinions are fake news. Below we answer the most frequently asked questions, so you are not misled.

Is Borax Spray Effective For Pests?

Some pest experts agree that borax cleaning sprays work, but others disagree, so experimentation is necessary. Since this mixture is moist, it will not die via dehydration. For this to work, the mixture must be ingested, and that’s easy if you spray enough water on it. We decided to get some expert insight and asked Stuart Flynn of Bug-N-A-Rug Exterminators of Wilmington, NC who said “we’ve see borax be effective if you’re dealing with a small cockroach infestation, so it’s a decent DIY solution. That being said, if you are dealing with a large infestation, borax just doesn’t have enough killing power to be effective, and you’re better off using a professional treatment.”

Can You Combine Borax With Vinegar?

Vinegar does not work for killing or repelling cockroaches. It’s only effective for eliminating bacteria, wiping down surfaces, and keeping food odors under control. Combining borax powder with vinegar will decrease its potency and will be a waste of your time. Read more on our guide on does vinegar kill cockroaches!

Can I Use Borax Balls To Kill Cockroaches?

It’s practical, but you must use bait that cockroaches love, so they consume it immediately. A potent recipe you can try requires borax powder, processed sugar with bottled onion powder, and cornstarch. Mix these ingredients evenly until it starts to look like pizza dough. Next, cut it into pieces while forming balls small enough for roaches to eat.

borax balls for roaches

4 to 5 balls are sufficient to get started. Place them in areas around your house where you’ve seen cockroaches congregating. While doing this, keep these away from pet food your dog eats and make sure children can’t have access to these balls.

Extra Tip: Another option you can consider is mixing boric acid with pasteurized milk instead of water and borax. Both of these combinations will have the same effect on the roaches in your home.

Final Thoughts On Using Borax For Roaches

Borax will not be a one-time solution for your cockroach infestation. You will have to use it to treat your home regularly to keep the roaches at bay until you have time to kill them all.

If the infestation spreads and it’s more than you can handle, a pest control service should be the next call you make to address this problem professionally. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide on does borax kill roaches. Although it’s not the most effective treatment, it has been proven to reduce the population of roaches.

Resources:

https://nature.berkeley.edu/classes/eps2/wisc/borax.html

https://agrilifeextension.tamu.edu/library/insects/cockroach-biology-and-management/

David Floyd:

David Floyd has 20 years of experience working as a pest control technician as well as running his own pest control company. David is Quality Pro certified and is a certified Structural Pest Control Operator in the state of North Carolina, and the owner of NCPestControlExperts pest control company.

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