How Effective is Borax for Roaches?

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Updated on March 8, 2023

Cockroaches are resilient and can quickly adapt to the environment. In fact, they are famous for their surviving capability to the point where even if you cut off their head, they would still be able to live for a week.

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In any other species, such survival capability would have been impressive, but these are roaches we are talking about. There are only two reactions to seeing a cockroach; fear or the desire to kill. So much for that adeptness, huh?

Getting rid of ants with borax is one of the best DIY pest control methods out there. But will borax eliminate roaches as well?

Should You Be Concerned If You Find a Cockroach?

Yes, you should. It’s because cockroaches usually do not live alone. Most of the time, they live in groups, and they are active at night when it’s dark with no one to disturb them.

Then there is also the fact that cockroaches are the type of annoyance from which getting rid of is never easy.

You might need to try many things, many times at that, to get rid of roaches completely. Even then, you can’t guarantee that they won’t come back, so you would have to take preventive measures forever.

See Also: 9 Different Types of Cockroaches

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 is a mineral as well as a salt of boric acid.

Borax looks like a soft, white powdery substance, and 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.

Another regular use of it is 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 and palmetto bugs. Remember its components? One of them was boron, a mineral that is deadly to these pests.

The problem is, they will only die when they eat the powder, but they are not attracted to it, so the chemical has to be mixed with something else to attract the roaches and tricking them into eating it.

How Exactly Does Borax Get Rid of Roaches?

The borax powder can easily stick to the legs of the cockroaches due to the static electricity. From there, it goes to the insect’s stomach, where boron works its magic by damaging its digestive track and killing it.

Keep in mind, Borax does not kill roaches instantly, so you might need to wait a week or two to see it’s effective. Borax also comes in a spray, but the powdered form is 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 is mixed with bait to attract the pests. There are different ways to go about doing that. Fortunately, every method is very inexpensive so it’s a good idea to test the effectiveness of each and make that your “go-to” roach killing method.

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#1 – Borax With Sugar

Mix equal amounts of sugar and Borax, and dust the areas with the resulting mixture on places where you have noticed cockroaches be frequenting.

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 enough, so serving it to cockroaches along with Borax might be overkill. It would be better to add other tasty baits to ensure that the cockroaches will eat them.

#3 – Borax With Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is not in powder form, so you need to leave a spoon full of it in a small bowl. Do not cover it, and sprinkle the Borax on it.

#4 –Borax With Raw Egg Yolk

Same as the previous one. Leave the raw egg yolk uncovered in a small container, and sprinkle the borax powder on top.

#5 – Borax With Cocoa Powder

You would need to mix up an equal amount of both to prepare a powdered mixture that can be dusted on the surfaces of your home.

Honestly, at this point, we would run out of the things that cockroaches like to eat. Add anything sweet, and they will be all over it.

Is Borax Dangerous To Your Health?

Borax in small amounts is not harmful. But when exposure to it is frequent, you can feel different side effects headaches, dizziness, lightheadedness, or in severe cases, tremors or even losing consciousness.

Overexposure can also cause rashes on your skin, and embarrassingly, male genitals might also get affected. Upon inhalation, you can feel pain in your respiratory tract, lungs, nose, and throat. Irritation to skin and eyes is not uncommon.

You might be familiar with that sting if you ever got detergent in your eyes. If Borax is ingested, it can cause mild harm like nausea and vomiting to severe damage like diarrhea, shock, and even kidney failure.

To summarize, overexposure to Borax is dangerous, so even though it is effective against cockroaches, it can’t be used frequently because it can harm you.

If 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 and make sure kids or pets won’t be able to reach it. Also, make sure the powder is no where near the appliance exhaust vent where it can be spread through the air.

Some Tips While Using Borax:

  • Borax is dangerous for your health, so don’t use excessive amounts of it.
  • Please make use of rubber gloves while using it.
  • Don’t let it come into contact with your eyes.
  • Please keep it away from places where you store your food.
  • Keep Borax away from the reach of your children, your family, your pets, and finally, yourself.
  • Don’t apply liberal amounts of it. Otherwise, roaches would notice it.
  • Dust a fresh amount of the mixture regularly to get more effective results.
  • Powder form performs better than a spray, so use that.

You can quickly get Borax from a shop that sells laundry detergent and cleaning supplies or simply purchase it online.

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?

Yes, there are. But while they may be safer, they likely won’t be as effective. The list includes but is not limited to: vinegar, baking soda, natural essential oils, bay leaves, mint, garlic, neem, cinnamon, etc.

See Also: Can Dettol Kill Cockroaches?

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.
  • Not leaving food around on any tables or countertops without being covered.
  • Throwing away spoiled or expired food.
  • 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.
  • Disposing of trash.

Read Also: How to Get Rid of Wood Roaches


To summarize, Borax is an effective killer of roaches, but the insects are not attracted to it naturally, so you will need to mix it up with some form of bait.

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Another thing to remember is that unlike other pesticides, natural or unnatural, it does not kills roaches instantly, so you’ll have to be patient while the borax does its job.

Borax is not completely safe for you, your family, or even your pets, so be sure to use all safety precautions, and keep its use to a minimum.