Pest Resources

Does Borax Kill Cockroaches?

Borax has a reputation for being a one-size-fits-all solution for many household chores. It is very versatile, a naturally occurring mineral, and great for cleaning the home, doing the laundry, and even caring for plants. But does borax kill cockroaches?

If you’re dealing with a few roaches or a large cockroach infestation, chances are that you’ve heard that Borax kills cockroaches and can solve your problem.

Let’s see how – and if – it really works to get rid of roaches.

What are cockroaches?

Roaches are tough insects and breed quickly. They can cause food poisoning, Dysentery, Tapeworms, Roundworms, viruses and allergies, and many other illnesses. They eat food debris, animal feces, dead insects, wood, and decaying food.

Cockroaches have scent glands that they use for communication. The scent glands produce a sweet, oily, musty smell. If you smell this, it probably is a sign of a roach infestation.

The roaches you have in your home will either be German cockroaches or American roaches. They look different, but their nesting and eating habits are the same. Both species can be eliminated from the home.

Are Borax and Boric acid the same thing?

No, Borax and Boric acid are not the same things. Borax (sodium borate) is a naturally occurring mineral as well as a salt of Boric acid.

Boric acid is a chemical that is derived from Borax during a process of purifying with hydrochloric acid. Borax powder is a common household item; both boric acid and Borax kill roaches.

Boric acid is used in swimming pools to stabilize ph levels. Boric acid can be used to treat ear infections. Boric acid is flame retardant and is used on mattresses and furniture for protection against fire.

What Is Borax?

Borax is a chemical compound also known as sodium tetraborate and is a natural mineral. When Borax is mixed with hydrochloric acid, it becomes Boric acid. Borax is a white powder and a common ingredient in detergents, cleaning sprays, cosmetic products, and many other household products.

Is Borax dangerous?

Borax is generally not considered a toxic substance, which allows for a wide variety of uses. However, if you ingest Borax on its own and in high amounts, it can have certain negative consequences, such as nausea and vomiting, stomach ache, diarrhea, and more.

Is Borax Safe to Use Around Kids?

Borax is a natural unrefined mineral product without chemicals. However, it is not safe around kids and pets. As we have said, it must not be eaten by humans, and it can cause eye irritations.

What Is Borax Used For?

There are many different applications of borax inside and outside of the household. Some of these include:

  • Laundry. Borax works wonders for removing stains and washing the laundry in general, so it is a common ingredient of laundry detergents.

  • Cleaning. The compound can also be used for cleaning the household, especially if you want to avoid using stronger and potentially toxic chemicals.

  • Cosmetics. Sodium borate also acts as a preservative or emulsifier for face creams, shampoos, bath bombs, and other cosmetic products.

  • Toothpaste. The compound is one of the most popular solutions for teeth whitening, so it is also a common ingredient of toothpaste.

  • Pools. Borax is crucial for maintaining healthy pH levels in pools. 

  • Food. Although borax is banned as a food additive in certain countries, including the U.S., it is still widely used all over the world. However, it is believed that it may have carcinogenic properties.

  • Slime. Who says everything has to be about chores? Borax can be fun, too! It is a staple ingredient of a popular recipe for homemade slime (don’t worry, it is perfectly safe in the small amounts listed in the recipe).


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Where Can I Purchase Borax?

Borax for roaches is readily available from your nearest Walmart or other grocery store chain. You should be able to find it in the laundry detergent aisle. If not, any well-equipped hardware store should sell it, as well. Another option is to buy borax from Amazon.

Since borax comes in several different shapes and sizes, you should know which one to choose. For the purpose of killing cockroaches, powdered borax is your best bet. 20 Mule Team is one of the most popular and readily available borax brands.

As far as the package sizing goes, we’ll leave that choice up to you. Even buying the largest package won’t be a waste because you can use the powder for things other than getting rid of pest infestations.

Does Borax Kill cockroaches?

In short – yes, borax can kill cockroaches along with Boric acid. Borax is more accessible than Boric acid.

The borax works by static electricity, sticking to the roaches’ legs when the roaches walk through it.

The cockroach cleans its legs after the roach walks through the Borax and ingests the Borax powder. In order for Borax to kill roaches, the cockroach and other roaches have to eat it.

Borax kills roaches when it is ingested; the substance in powder form will damage the gut lining of the cockroaches affecting the digestive system, effectively poisoning and killing them.

What’s more, even if not ingested, borax kills roaches by slowly damaging the exoskeleton of the roaches, which results in a drying effect, much like table salt.

Does Borax Powder kill cockroaches Straightaway?

Keep in mind, however, that borax dust doesn’t kill roaches instantly. It will take a while to kill all the roaches, so be prepared to dedicate some time to looking for and removing dead bugs if you opt for a borax-based cockroach solution.

How to Use Borax to Kill Cockroaches

Using borax bait for roach infestations is pretty easy, and there are many Borax pest control recipes to try. It can be placed around the home and does not leave a chemical residue.

Since the chemical works best when ingested, a great bait would be to mix it with something to attract roaches, like cocoa powder.

There are several different techniques you can use, so let’s take a look.

Carefully mix Borax with muriatic acid; this can be purchased where swimming pool chemicals are sold.

Wear gloves and eye protection to make the roach killer and mix the two together. Filter them, and you will be left with Boric acid crystals. Leave the crystals to dry and store in an air-tight container.

Using Borax and Food to Get Rid of Roaches Naturally

One of the easiest ways to kill roaches with borax is to use a light dusting on food like powdered sugar.

Place it in a squeeze bottle like a ketchup bottle to form bellows. Ideally, you need something the cockroach will be able to smell, although pretty much any type of food will work (cockroaches will eat anything organic). 

Sprinkle some powdered borax on a spoonful of peanut butter, a slice of orange, a slice of onion, or whatever else you have at hand.

Place these items of food on cardboard plates or plastic lids and put them somewhere where they’re likely to attract the roaches – near the kitchen sink, in the bathroom, or wherever else you notice cockroach activity.

Egg yolks – Put a raw egg yolk in a dish and lightly sprinkle borax powder on top.

Peanut butter – Put a spoonful of peanut butter in a bowl and sprinkle borax on it.

All of these bait-and-borax combos can be hidden in corners, cupboards, and electrical outlets and by applying borax to other strategic areas.

How to kill Roaches With Borax and Sugar

If you’d rather not have pieces of food scattered all around your home, don’t worry – there are other solutions.

Sugar mixed with Borax and onion powder form an effective roach killer.

You can make a roach killer by mixing equal parts borax powder and some regular white powdered sugar, and onion powder, and then sprinkle the borax mixture around every crevice and corner you believe the cockroaches might be hiding in.

The sugar will attract the cockroaches, and they will eat borax along with it, eventually dying. 

Once you’ve noticed a drop in cockroach numbers, don’t forget to clean up the bait. After all, you don’t want to attract even more pests with all that sugar scattered around your home.

Mixing Borax and Baking Soda to Kill roaches

Aside from borax, baking soda is also great at killing cockroaches. When roaches eat it, baking soda causes death by dehydration. Much like borax to kill roaches, this solution doesn’t work instantly, so you might continue finding dead bugs in the weeks to come. 

Since both borax and baking soda are effective roach killers, it might be unnecessary to mix the two, especially if you’re not dealing with a giant infestation. That being said, there aren’t any downsides to doing so, either.

Our only recommendation is to use some sort of bait still – either sugar or food, to actually attract the roaches to the mixture.

Does Borax kill Roaches in a spray?

The idea is to mix the borax powder with water in a spray bottle. Mixing with water will cancel out the dehydrating effects of the Borax powder due to diluting with water.

How can I get rid of German roaches naturally?

This is a popular method using white vinegar and water, mix equal parts of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray in areas you have seen the roaches.

Do Borax balls work at killing roaches?

You will need a very attractive bait for Borax balls to be mixed with to make it effective. Cocoa powder should do the trick.

Maintain a clean home

Crumbs, clutter, and trash spills are breeding areas for roaches. If you want your home to be free of roaches, keep garbage containers sealed.

Keep the home clutter-free, and wash the dishes as soon as you have eaten. Remove pet food bowls and wash them when they are finished with.

Keep the floors clean. Vacuum carpets to remove debris and roach eggs. Store firewood piles away from the house.

Professional pest control service

Luckily, getting rid of cockroaches in your home is not something you have to do alone. Professional pest control companies can do it for you!

Not only will you be able to delegate the job to someone else, but you will also know that the work will be done efficiently and effectively. 

Professional cockroach exterminators have the right equipment and skills to get rid of cockroach infestations of any size.

What’s more, they will be more than happy to share some tips and advice with you on how to ensure the pests don’t come back. 

Ronald has 25 years of pest control experience under his belt. He scrutinizes each pest control method, product and process. Each pest resource we list on our website goes through an in-depth fact checking process.

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