How to Use Borax to Kill Roaches

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There’s an old saying that the only things capable of surviving the nuclear holocaust are cockroaches and Twinkies.

Stories of roaches surviving for a week without their heads only makes people fear them even more.

We’ve mentioned previously about using borax on ants, but can you also use borax for roaches?

Let’s take a deeper dive into cockroach infestations and whether or not borax is the solution you never knew you needed.

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Should You Be Concerned If You Find a Cockroach?

Believe it or not, I’ve been asked this question before.

The simple answer is YES! Spotting one German cockroach means there’s at least a dozen you haven’t seen. Roach activity tends to be late at night when nobody’s around unless you have a severe infestation.

They’re hard to get rid of, and different species of cockroaches can have different behaviors.

Unfortunately, roaches are notorious for becoming immune to chemical pesticides. This is why it’s important to find an effective roach killer they can’t adapt to.

What Is Borax?

what is borax?

Scientifically named sodium borate, disodium tetraborate, or sodium tetraborate, Borax is a compound of oxygen, boron, and sodium. It can be a mineral as well as being refined into boric acid.

Borax looks like a soft, white powdery substance. Just like salt, it is in the form of tiny white crystals that can easily dissolve in water.

Generally, this powder is used for household cleaning purposes or as a booster for laundry detergent.

Borax 20 Mule Team Detergent Booster, 65 Oz.
  • All-natural design safely keeps clothes fresh and clean
  • Odor control eliminates smells to keep clothing fresh
  • Basic compound adjusts pH levels to provide deep clean

Are Borax and Boric Acid the Same?

Not really. Like we said earlier, Borax is a salt of boric acid, or more accurately, boric acid comes from Borax after it is processed with hydrochloric acid.

Will Borax Kill Cockroaches?

how to kill wood roaches

Yes, Borax is indeed effective for killing cockroaches, form the American cockroach to palmetto bugs.

In fact, boron in any form is deadly to insects. The problem is, they will only die when they eat the powder, but will actively avoid it.

This means the borax has to be mixed with something else to attract the roaches, tricking them into eating it.

How Exactly Does Borax Get Rid of Roaches?

Borax powder can easily stick to the legs of the cockroaches due to the static electricity.

The roach will ingest the borax when it grooms. Once in the stomach, boron works its magic by damaging the digestive system, resulting in the bug’s death.

Keep in mind, Borax won’t kill roaches instantly, so you might need to wait a week or two to start seeing dead roaches.

Borax can be bought in a spray bottle, but the powdered form is far more effective for killing these pests.

How To Use Borax For Killing Roaches

20 Mule Team borax for ants

As mentioned earlier, roaches will not ingest Borax on their own, which is why it needs to be mixed with bait to attract them.

There are plenty of recipes out there, and one may work better for you than another. Fortunately, every method is very inexpensive, so you can test out each one and to find your “go-to” roach killing method.

#1 – Borax With Sugar

Mix equal amounts of sugar and Borax, and do a light dusting of the mixture in places where adult roaches are known to hang out.

Cockroaches love to eat sugar and sweet things, so there is no doubt they will be attracted to it.

#2 – Borax With Baking Soda

Baking soda on its own is already deadly because it will cause the roach’s stomach to burst, so serving it to cockroaches along with Borax might be overkill.

Also, the baking soda doesn’t work well as a bait, so you’ll have to add some form of food debris such as sugar to the mix anyway.

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#3 – Borax With Peanut Butter

When using regular peanut butter, you’ll need to create a bait station. This can be as simple as a small open plastic container with a little ball of peanut butter in it.

Sprinkle the borax on top and put your homemade station where kids and pets can’t reach it.

Alternatively, you can buy powdered peanut butter and use it the same way you would sugar.

#4 –Borax With Raw Egg Yolk

This works the same way as peanut butter. However, you’ll want to wash any leftover yolk out of the container after a couple days to avoid the smell and reduce the risk of salmonella.

#5 – Borax With Cocoa Powder

This works just like sugar. Simply mix equal parts of borax and cocoa powder, then sprinkle it where the roaches like to hang out.

Is Borax Dangerous To Your Health?

Borax in small amounts is not harmful to adults.

However, excessive exposure can lead to side effects including headaches, dizziness, lightheadedness, or in severe cases, tremors or even losing consciousness.

Failure to wash your hands after touching the white powder can cause rashes on your skin, and it’s known to harm male genitalia.

Upon inhalation, you may feel pain in your respiratory tract, lungs, nose, and throat. Irritation to skin and eyes is not uncommon.

If Borax is ingested, it can cause mild harm like nausea and vomiting to severe damage like diarrhea, shock, and even kidney failure.

In Victorian England, it was common to add borax to milk as a “refresher”, leading to babies suffering horrific developmental issues.

In other words, overexposure to Borax is dangerous, so use gloves and a mask when handling it.

Borax and Appliances

Also, you notice roaches in your dishwasher, refrigerator, or microwave, it’s critical that you don’t put borax inside the appliance.

Instead, sprinkler it under or behind the appliance where kids or pets won’t be able to reach it.

Also, make sure the powder is nowhere near the appliance exhaust vent where it can be spread through the air.

Some Tips While Using Borax:

  • Borax may be a common household item, but is toxic if used improperly
  • Always wear rubber gloves, a protective mask, and preferably suitable eye protection when handling borax.
  • Avoid using it near pet food, pantries, or food preparation areas.
  • Keep Borax out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Only use small amounts so the roaches won’t detect it.
  • Add a new dusting of your bait every few days.
  • Borax is a terrible pesticide when in liquid form, so always use the powder version.

Borax is readily available online or in places that sell laundry detergent or cleaning supplies.

Borax 20 Mule Team Detergent Booster, 65 Oz.
  • All-natural design safely keeps clothes fresh and clean
  • Odor control eliminates smells to keep clothing fresh
  • Basic compound adjusts pH levels to provide deep clean

Are There Any Alternatives To Borax?

There are several simple alternatives that can either repel or kill roaches, although they’re not always as effective. These include:

  • Baking soda
  • Bay leaves
  • Cinnamon
  • Garlic
  • Mint
  • Natural essential oils
  • Neem oil
  • Vinegar

See Also: Can Dettol Kill Cockroaches?

Best Alternative: Diatomaceous Earth

Perhaps the best alternative to borax is food grade diatomaceous earth (DE).

DE comes in a powder form that won’t harm people but feels like walking on broken glass for tiny critters.

When a roach or other pest walks over it, their feet and any other body part that touches the DE will be lacerated. These wounds won’t heal and the bug will slowly die of dehydration.

However, diatomaceous earth won’t leave any chemical residue and can simply be vacuumed up when you’re done using it.

Be sure to reapply every few days for the best results. Try not to breathe in the powder, and keep it away from children or pets.

Preventative Measures to Keep Roaches From Coming Back

As with most other critters, there are many things that you can do on a regular basis to prevent roaches from coming back. Some of these include:

  • Cleaning your house.
  • Vacuuming regularly.
  • Using pesticides in the places where roaches are frequent (be sure to rotate brands to prevent them from build8ing a tolerance).
  • Not leaving food around on any tables or countertops without being covered.
  • Disposing of food waste and other trash immediately.
  • Placing natural repellents like bay leaves, cedarwood oil, or neem in strategic locations to prevent the entry of roaches.
  • Applying natural or commercial disinfectants.
  • Sealing every crack and crevice in your home to prevent entry.

Read Also: How to Get Rid of Wood Roaches

Final Thoughts

Using borax for cockroaches can be very effective, you’ll have to disguise it with some attractive bait.

Want to Let the Pros Handle It?
Get a free quote from top pest control companies in your area.

Also, it won’t kill the roaches right away and has no effect on cockroach eggs. Mishandling borax can lead to a number of health risks, so always use it responsibly.

Finally, when in doubt, consider calling your local pest control professionals so they can ensure the roaches are eliminated safely.