Borax for Roaches: Simple Recipes to Get Rid of Cockroaches - Cockroach Facts (2022)

Borax has been used in laundry products, household cleaners and more for decades. You might already have a box at home. It’s a versatile, natural mineral and, you’ll be happy to hear, an effective tool in your pest control arsenal!

It’s easy to get started.

Here’s your super simple breakdown of this simple and effective product—everything you need to know about borax for roaches, and how to put it to use it in your home.

Refresher: What’s Borax Anyway?

Borax is a naturally occurring mineral that’s common in quite a few household items: flame retardants, laundry detergent, cleaning sprays and more. If you have kids, there’s a chance you’ve already used it to make slime!

Borax is also a great natural cockroach killer. Compared to most chemical pest control treatments, it’s a relatively low-risk product. You should still keep it out of reach of children and pets (they might be more sensitive to it, especially if eaten) but you can use it carefully around your house without leaving chemical residue or nasty smells everywhere.

Are Borax and Boric Acid the Same Thing?

Nope—well, not quite. Borax (sodium borate) is a natural mineral. Boric acid is the chemical that comes from borax when it’s processed and purified with hydrochloric acid. Borax is the more common household item but both borax and boric acid will help get rid of roaches.

How Borax Kills Roaches

Borax for Roaches: Simple Recipes to Get Rid of Cockroaches - Cockroach Facts (1)

For borax to work as an effective cockroach killer, the roaches have to eat it. Borax doesn’t attract roaches but we’ve got some recipes for baits that the roaches won’t be able to resist (see below!).

(Video) 12 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Cockroaches Permanently

Borax works by sticking to a cockroach’s legs via static electricity—that’s the same thing that makes your hair stand up when you rub a balloon on your head. Later, once it’s gone back to its hiding place, the roach will clean itself by eating the white powder. Once it’s eaten it, the borax acts like poison in the roach’s stomach.

It also damages a cockroach’s exoskeleton (and its digestive system). Borax is technically sodium tetraborate and the “sodium” part penetrates the roaches’ exoskeletons and dehydrates them. Cockroaches already dehydrate easily, which is why borax is so effective at killing them.

Does borax kill roaches instantly?

A roach that steps in borax won’t die instantly. Instead, they’ll go back to their hiding place before eating the borax dust their legs picked up. You might not see the dead bugs lying around out in the open but you should notice a drop in their numbers in a week or two.

How to Use Borax to Kill Roaches

Borax for Roaches: Simple Recipes to Get Rid of Cockroaches - Cockroach Facts (2)

You can buy borax powder in many grocery stores, often in the laundry or soap aisle. Hardware and pool supply stores might also carry large tubs of the powder. Some stores even sell it as a liquid or a spray.

In general, borax is most effective as a powder. That way, it’s easy to spread and mix with other baits and it sticks better to roaches’ legs.

Here are a few simple recipes for borax dusts and other baits that’ll kill cockroaches in your house!

1. Borax and Sugar

Will borax and sugar kill roaches? It sure will, and it’s one of the easiest recipes for borax pest control. It’s as easy as mixing equal parts borax and sugar, pouring the mixture into a squeezable bottle and dusting the areas where you’ve seen roaches. A powdered sugar dispenser or similar container will also work, as long as you can spread a light dusting. Just don’t use the same dispenser to put powdered sugar on your pancakes!

In this recipe, the sugar attracts the roaches and the borax that’s mixed in gets eaten along with the sugar. That’s all it takes!

Expert tip: Add a couple of pennies, marbles or tiny rocks to the bottle to break up clumps when you shake it.

2. Baking Soda and Borax Bug Killer

If you’re already using either borax or baking soda, it might be overkill to use both. Baking soda is a roach killer, itself. It’s already deadly to roaches and could even be used as a substitute for borax. Baking soda kills cockroaches by causing gas to build up in their digestive systems.

(Video) Homemade Way To Kill Roaches [It's Easy!]

But both products are pretty easy to find and inexpensive, so there isn’t really a downside to combining them. So you can mix borax and baking soda but you’d be better off adding one of the other baits in this article to attract the roaches.

3. How to Get Rid of Roaches with Borax and Tasty Cockroach Baits

Try to think of some kind of food that cockroaches aren’t attracted to. We’ll wait.

While there are some natural cockroach repellents out there, pretty much everything that’s at all edible will bring hungry cockroaches scurrying. To make your borax cockroach baits as effective as possible, you’ll want to use the foods they love the most.

  1. Egg yolks – Place a raw egg yolk in a small cup, shot glass or similar container and lightly sprinkle borax powder onto it.
  2. Peanut butter – Leave a spoonful of peanut butter in a bowl or on a plastic lid and sprinkle borax onto it.
  3. Cocoa powder – Just like sugar, it’s a sweet bait that roaches can’t resist and mixes well with the borax powder.
  4. Liquid baits – As you’ll see in a moment, you probably don’t want to mix borax with liquid baits. Instead, you can sprinkle borax dust around the container you’ve put the bait in so the roaches will walk through it.

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

Other Borax Solutions

Borax for Roaches: Simple Recipes to Get Rid of Cockroaches - Cockroach Facts (3)

Not every claim about using borax for roaches is entirely accurate. We’ve got the details on some of the most common homeowner questions.

Does borax spray work?

Probably not. You can dissolve borax in water to use in a spray bottle. However, mixing it with water will probably cancel out the dehydrating effects that make it so powerful against roaches. It could still be effective if they ingest it, but it’s less likely to work than a powder that sticks to their legs.

Do borax and vinegar work together?

Nope. Vinegar has been touted as a cockroach repellent and killer but neither is true.

Vinegar can clean cooking surfaces and your garbage disposal, reducing the chances that roaches will be attracted by food smells or that they’ll spread bacteria. However, it doesn’t have any negative effects on the roaches. Mixing borax powder with vinegar will only reduce the effectiveness of the borax. And roaches may end up the winners.

Borax balls for roaches

This method works but it requires some very attractive bait because you need the cockroaches to eat the mixture on the spot. One simple recipe includes borax powder and flour or sugar mixed with cornstarch and onion powder. Then, you slowly stir in water until you can form balls from the “dough.”

Once you’ve made a few balls, you can put them in small bowls or baggies and hide them in areas where you’ve seen roach activity (but where kids and pets can’t get to them).

(Video) How to get rid of Cockroach forever with Killer Boric Acid Roach Powder

Expert tip: You can also use boric acid and milk as substitutes for water and borax – cockroaches won’t know the difference.

Using Borax for Roaches – Some Quick Tips

Borax for Roaches: Simple Recipes to Get Rid of Cockroaches - Cockroach Facts (4)
  1. It’s better to use a light dusting of borax powder so that the roaches don’t notice and avoid it.
  2. Stick to dry mixtures or use boric acid, instead.
  3. Keep replacing your baits and add a fresh coating of borax dust regularly to kill more cockroaches.
  4. Be aware that while borax is a naturally occurring mineral, it is NOT safe for you, your children, or your pets to ingest. So keep it far away from pet food, people food, and anywhere little hands might get hold of it.

Conclusion

Borax won’t be a one-and-done solution. You’ll have to keep up with the cockroaches, especially if there are more than a few hiding in your house.

Keep in mind that for true infestations, you’d be wise to leave the job to a professional pest control service. But by beginning your own borax pest control program – with a good mixture of borax and roach bait – you’ll have what it takes to start kicking cockroaches out for good!

Want to learn about other all-natural solutions for your cockroach problems? Check out our overview of natural cockroach repellents and our breakdown of the essential oils that can keep roaches away.

Written by Andrew Martin. Reviewed by Rae Osborn, PhD.

Disclaimer: This page is strictly for informational use. When using insecticides, keep in mind—the label is the law. Insecticides should be applied correctly and safely when needed, and according to the laws of your state or country.

Borax for Roaches: Simple Recipes to Get Rid of Cockroaches - Cockroach Facts (5)

Andrew Martin

Writer/Publisher

Andrew writes for, and along with his daughter, publishes Cockroach Facts. You can read more about him here.

(Video) How to Get Rid of Roaches for Good (Fast & Naturally)
Borax for Roaches: Simple Recipes to Get Rid of Cockroaches - Cockroach Facts (6)

Rae Osborn, PhD.

Science Editor

Dr. Rae Osborn holds Honors Bachelor of Science degrees in Zoology and Entomology, and a Master of Science in Entomology from the University of Natal in South Africa. She holds a PhD in Quantitative Biology from the University of Texas at Arlington, where her research was in Entomology. You can learn more about our contributors here.

Sources

  1. Strong, Charles A., et al. (1993) Oral Toxicity and Repellency of Borates to German Cockroaches. Journal of Economic Entomology. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1093/jee/86.5.1458
  2. Helmenstine, Anne Marie Ph.D. (2020) What Is Borax and How Is It Used? ThoughtCo. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-borax-where-to-get–608509
  3. Miley, Michelle (2017) How to Use 20 Mule Team Borax -Roaches. Hunker. Retrieved from https://www.hunker.com/13420313/how-to-use–20-mule-team-borax-to-kill-roaches

FAQs

Borax for Roaches: Simple Recipes to Get Rid of Cockroaches - Cockroach Facts? ›

It's as easy as mixing equal parts borax and sugar, pouring the mixture into a squeezable bottle and dusting the areas where you've seen roaches. A powdered sugar dispenser or similar container will also work, as long as you can spread a light dusting.

Can borax kill cockroaches? ›

Combined with a sweet bait material like powdered sugar or honey, borax has long been an organic means of killing ant colonies, and it also works to kill roaches. Apply the mixture along the baseboards, in cracks, under cabinets, under sinks, and anywhere else that you've seen roaches in your house.

How long does it take borax to kill roaches? ›

How long does it take boric acid to kill roaches? Boric acid kills cockroaches within three days of coming into contact with it.

What kind of borax kills roaches? ›

Boric acid is extremely lethal to cockroaches and is found in 20 Mule Team Borax, a common household chemical often used to enhance the performance of laundry detergent.

How do you make cockroach killer? ›

Mix equal parts of sugar and baking soda in a lid or a dish. Place another dish or a lid close to the first one and fill it with water. Refill the containers with more cockroach bait and water when the dead roaches start to appear. Place a couple more dishes around the places, where roaches usually gather.

What kills roaches permanently? ›

Borax is a readily-available laundry product that's excellent for killing roaches. For best results, combine equal parts borax and white table sugar. Dust the mixture any place you've seen roach activity. When the roaches consume the borax, it will dehydrate them and kill them rapidly.

Will sugar water kill roaches? ›

This method is a classic example of the fish and bait as a solution for how to get rid of roaches. A concoction of baking soda and sugar is an effective cockroach killer and controls the multiplication of these pests. Sugar acts as a bait to attract cockroaches and the baking soda kills them.

How do you mix borax for roaches? ›

It's as easy as mixing equal parts borax and sugar, pouring the mixture into a squeezable bottle and dusting the areas where you've seen roaches. A powdered sugar dispenser or similar container will also work, as long as you can spread a light dusting.

Is borax toxic to humans? ›

Borax can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea if you ingest it by itself, and large amounts can lead to shock and kidney failure. It's banned in U.S. food products. It also can irritate your skin and eyes, and it can hurt your nose, throat, and lungs if you breathe it in.

Is borax poisonous to humans? ›

Borax is not safe to ingest. According to the NLM's Toxicology Data Network, borax is easy for the body to break down when either inhaled or swallowed. However, if inhalation or ingestion occurs, both serious poisoning and organ damage can result.

Does a cockroach bite? ›

Biting isn't a natural attack or as a defense mechanism for roaches, as it is for other insects. Their mouthparts aren't even strong enough to pierce through human skin. At most, cockroaches might seem like they're biting a person when in fact they're just trying to pick at food remnants or dead skin.

Are cockroaches poisonous? ›

They might ask, “Are cockroaches poisonous?” or “Are roaches dangerous if they are living in your home?” Cockroaches do not produce any form of poison and have no ability to sting. In rare circumstances, they have been known to bite people, but this is not a common occurrence.

What smells keep roaches away? ›

Cockroaches have an incredible sense of smell that they use to find food. You can take advantage of this fact by using scents they dislike such as thyme, citrus, basil, mint, and citronella to repel them from your home.

What kills roaches the fastest? ›

Remember to keep them in out of the way places away from access of children and pets. Always follow the instructions provided on product labels. Bleach When you think about What Kills Cockroaches Instantly, then bleach is definitely the answer.

How do you keep roaches away at night? ›

How To Keep Roaches Away While You Sleep
  1. Keep your sleeping quarters free of food and moisture.
  2. Reduce clutter.
  3. Regularly empty your trash.
  4. Make sure all openings to the outside (windows and doors, primarily) are well sealed.
May 15, 2019

What kills roaches overnight? ›

Boric Acid

Getting rid of roaches overnight will always include some kind of insecticide or trap; boric acid is one of the most effective weapons against cockroaches. Boric acid is found in many household products; the powder form is most often used against roaches.

Can Salt Kill cockroaches? ›

Does salt kill cockroaches? This one's a myth. Salt doesn't kill cockroaches. However, epsom salt (a.k.a. magnesium sulfate) is toxic to roaches.

Does Toothpaste kill roaches? ›

Use Boric Acid Powder: Have you heard that toothpaste can kill cockroaches? Well, boric acid powder is a substance deadly to cockroaches but low in toxicity to humans that can be found in toothpaste and clothing detergent. These household items can be used to effectively kill cockroaches.

Will roaches eat baking soda? ›

Roaches don't eat baking soda because they find the taste and smell unpleasant. Whether that's due to preference or survival instinct is open to debate. Regardless, baking soda is toxic to cockroaches because it's harmful to their internal organs and exoskeleton when ingested.

Do roaches play dead? ›

Can Cockroaches Play Dead? Cockroaches can, indeed, play dead. Many have reported seeing cockroaches stay completely still (sometimes even roll onto their backs) until a human presence or threat has gone away. Once they detect the coast is clear, the cockroach will flip back onto its feet and scuttle away to safety.

Why do I only see baby cockroaches? ›

Baby cockroaches are about as bad a sign as you can find. See, finding a big brown adult cockroach could mean you've just caught one lonely wanderer. Finding baby roaches signals that, at the very least, there are a few adults nearby and they're ready to reproduce again.

What to do if you find a dead roach? ›

When you find dead roaches in the home, you should never touch them with your bare hands. If possible, vacuum up the dead insects. Make sure to remember to empty your vacuum cleaner after collecting the bugs.

What is the fastest way to get rid of roaches in your house? ›

How can I get rid of roaches fast? The best way to get rid of roaches fast is to sanitize your home, eliminate hiding spots and stagnant water, store food in airtight containers, and use glue strips, bait, boric acid, or liquid concentrates.

What kills roaches and their eggs? ›

Baking soda and sugar

You can try this method to eliminate the producers of the eggs. In a small container (or a bottle), make a mixture of equal parts baking soda and sugar. Sprinkle it at places where you've seen cockroaches. This is one of the easiest roach killers.

How do I permanently get rid of roaches in my apartment? ›

How do I Get Rid of Roaches in my Apartment? | Pest Support - YouTube

Is borax toxic to cats? ›

Unfortunately, borax is, in fact, toxic to both dogs and cats. And although it's considered natural, borax can cause harmful side effects in pets—and humans.

Can roaches become resistant to borax? ›

Do Cockroaches Become Immune to Boric Acid? Yes, cockroaches have the ability to evolve resistance to boric acid as well as any other substance known to kill them.

Is borax safe for kids? ›

Death. If a young child ingests as little as 5 to 10 grams of borax, they may experience severe vomiting, diarrhea, shock, and death. Small children can be exposed to borax through hand-to-mouth transfer, especially if they play with slime made with borax or crawl around the floor where pesticides have been applied.

Is borax safe on skin? ›

Borax can be irritating when exposure occurs through skin or eye contact, inhalation or ingestion. Poison reports suggest misuse of borax-based pesticides can result in acute toxicity, with symptoms including vomiting, eye irritation, nausea, skin rash, oral irritation and respiratory effects.

What can you not mix with borax? ›

Don't mix it with acids or store it with acids. I've been using it for a few weeks now and it's really very good indeed. It's quite safe if used correctly, it's effective and it's fairly cheap.

Can you mix borax and vinegar? ›

Borax and vinegar are two safe ingredients that can be combined to create a good general cleaning solution. Undiluted vinegar and borax can also be used for mildew removal. When mixing Borax with other ingredients, it is essential to use warm water to help it dissolve.

Is baking soda borax? ›

Borax (sodium tetraborate) and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) aren't the same thing. They're both salts, and they're both popular as “green” household cleaning agents, but borax has a pH of 9.5, compared to baking soda's pH of 8. This makes borax considerably more alkaline than baking soda.

How do u make borax? ›

To make your own borax powder, start by purchasing boric acid crystals at your local hardware store or an online retailer. Boric acid is widely available in powdered form, and the liquid form is often used in ant and roach traps, but you can also buy it in crystal form.

Can roaches become resistant to borax? ›

Do Cockroaches Become Immune to Boric Acid? Yes, cockroaches have the ability to evolve resistance to boric acid as well as any other substance known to kill them.

Can I sprinkle borax around my house? ›

When applied around the foundation of your house, borax will keep ants and spiders from entering your home. Sprinkle it on the weeds and vegetation in driveway, walkway and sidewalk cracks. Caution: Borax is toxic to plants, so make sure you only sprinkle it on vegetation you want to kill.

What bugs does borax kill? ›

Borax in its insecticide formulations doesn't kill all insects. It does kill ants, cockroaches, mites and spiders, among other insects, and it can also kill algae, molds and fungi. Borax doesn't kill some insects such as aphids or ticks that eat plant juices, and it doesn't kill insect larva.

Why are roaches not dying? ›

Cockroaches have extremely strong and flexible exoskeletons, which make them almost impossible to squish, withstand the hardest stomp or the toughest newspaper. They can also flatten themselves to fit into tight spaces and crevices, making for an easy getaway.

Is borax toxic? ›

Borax can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea if you ingest it by itself, and large amounts can lead to shock and kidney failure. It's banned in U.S. food products. It also can irritate your skin and eyes, and it can hurt your nose, throat, and lungs if you breathe it in.

Is borax poisonous to humans? ›

Borax is not safe to ingest. According to the NLM's Toxicology Data Network, borax is easy for the body to break down when either inhaled or swallowed. However, if inhalation or ingestion occurs, both serious poisoning and organ damage can result.

What can you not mix with borax? ›

Clothing detergents such as liquid or powdered oxygen bleach, baking soda, and washing soda. Mold and mildew fighters such as salt or white vinegar. Cosmetics that contain natural ingredients other than borax or boric acid.

How do you use borax for roaches? ›

It's as easy as mixing equal parts borax and sugar, pouring the mixture into a squeezable bottle and dusting the areas where you've seen roaches. A powdered sugar dispenser or similar container will also work, as long as you can spread a light dusting.

Can I mix borax and vinegar? ›

Borax and vinegar are two safe ingredients that can be combined to create a good general cleaning solution. Undiluted vinegar and borax can also be used for mildew removal. When mixing Borax with other ingredients, it is essential to use warm water to help it dissolve.

What kills roaches the fastest? ›

Remember to keep them in out of the way places away from access of children and pets. Always follow the instructions provided on product labels. Bleach When you think about What Kills Cockroaches Instantly, then bleach is definitely the answer.

What smells keep roaches away? ›

Cockroaches have an incredible sense of smell that they use to find food. You can take advantage of this fact by using scents they dislike such as thyme, citrus, basil, mint, and citronella to repel them from your home.

What kills roaches and their eggs? ›

Baking soda and sugar

You can try this method to eliminate the producers of the eggs. In a small container (or a bottle), make a mixture of equal parts baking soda and sugar. Sprinkle it at places where you've seen cockroaches. This is one of the easiest roach killers.

Can borax harm cats? ›

Is borax safe for cats? Unfortunately, no. Borax can lead to a number of health complications, including allergies, breathlessness and poisoning. It's just as toxic to your cat's skin as it is to the internal organs.

What was borax originally used for? ›

But first, some history: In the 19th century, borax was an ingredient used in ceramics and gold mining, but it was also touted as a cure-all for everything from dandruff to epilepsy. First found in dry lakebeds in Tibet, it was transported in ancient times along the Silk Road.

What is borax formula? ›

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