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Borax for Roaches: 5 Easy Recipes to Kill Cockroaches (6 Things to Know)

Roach infestations can be stress-inducing, stomach-turning problems for homeowners. But not much is worse than getting a midnight glass of water, only to turn on the light and spot half a dozen cockroaches scattering in all directions.

Borax is effective at killing cockroaches. Combine this natural substance with an attractant to entice roaches to consume the material, quickly killing them. Using borax for roaches is an effective way to kill cockroaches. There are safety concerns, here’s how to safely use homemade borax roach killer.

borax for roaches

This article is part of our huge set of information about cockroaches.

Raches are unsightly and unappealing and can pose a severe health hazard to homeowners and their families. Calling professional help is effective, but it can also be expensive.

You may have heard Borax is great for killing cockroaches and freeing your home of them. Here’s what you need to know.

Does Borax Kill Roaches?

Borax will effectively kill all types of roaches, along with other insects. For a cockroach to die, it must consume the white substance. There are several ways to accomplish this, but as long as the roach walks through the borax, it will likely consume it at some point.

Borax is also known as boron or boric acid. It is naturally occurring in the environment. And we are naturally exposed to boric acid in our food (like produce) and drinking water.

While similar, borax and boric acid are distinct chemical compounds. Here’s more about the differences between borax vs boric acid.

Does Borax Kill Roaches?

Borax powder works as a poison for roaches and other insects. The sodium component poisons the stomach, damages the digestive system, and dehydrates the exoskeleton.

Borax is inexpensive, it costs just a couple of dollars per pound of powder. 20 Mule Team is a popular brand of borax powder.

Both borax and boric acid will kill roaches (and ants).

Here’s how to make your own borax roach killer.

5 Borax Recipes to Kill Cockroaches

Understanding that borax can kill cockroaches is an essential part of the battle. But to make it an effective tool, you must know how to use it.

Here are five ways to apply borax in your home to defend against a roach invasion.

1. Borax with Sugar

One of the easiest ways to get a cockroach to ingest Borax quickly and, as a result, die is to mix it with sugar. You can use either white or brown sugar – it doesn’t matter. The roaches will be attracted to the sweet taste of the sugar and will consume the powder.

  1. Mix equal parts of sugar and borax.
  2. Spread a thin layer in areas where you see a lot of roach activity.
  3. It may take some time for the borax to impact, but it will work. The roaches will likely die in hidden spaces rather than out in the open.

More about this recipe from Hunker.

2. Borax and Baking Soda 

Baking soda is another popular product that’s not only commonly found in every home’s kitchen but is also used as a roach killer. Since both products are effective solutions, it can only help to combine the two.

  1. Mix equal parts borax and baking soda to form one cohesive, white powder.
  2. Add an attractant, like sugar or flour.
  3. Sprinkle it wherever you have seen cockroaches and wait for it to take its effect.
  4. Reapply the mixture as needed.

Borax and baking soda can be very effective, but there’s nothing to attract roaches. When using this approach, it’s essential to add a sweet or fatty treat for your unwanted visitors.

3. Peanut Butter and Borax Bait

If you don’t know exactly where the roaches are going or where they’re coming from, it can be difficult to use Borax successfully.

Cockroaches are not attracted to the Borax, so if you don’t put it directly in their path, they’ll never consume it.

You can try using peanut butter in combination with the Borax to attract the roaches to the deadly powder.

  1. Simply place a spoonful of peanut butter on a plate or a plastic lid.
  2. Sprinkle Borax on top.
  3. The roaches will be attracted to the blob of peanut butter and will eat it, subsequently consuming the Borax you sprinkled on top.

Take care when using this method in a home with small children or pets. The peanut butter will attract the roaches, but it may also entice your dog or toddler.

More on this recipe from Den Garden.

4. Borax and Cocoa Powder 

Cocoa powder is another sweet treat that cockroaches can’t resist. Cocoa powder also has a very similar texture to borax, so it’s easy to mix the two evenly.

  1. Take equal parts cocoa powder and borax and whisk them together in a plastic container with an airtight lid.
  2. Use the mixture as needed, sprinkling it where you see roaches most often.
  3. Even if you’re a little off on the placement, the cocoa powder should serve to attract the roaches.

Another plus to using cocoa powder is that it’s a dry, pantry ingredient that won’t spoil. Store it long-term to address insect problems as needed.

5. Making Boric Acid Crystals With Borax (Homemade Insecticide)

This recipe is for those feeling a little mad scientist. This isn’t the most useful recipe or application, but it can be done. Here’s more from

  • You can use borax to create your very own homemade insecticide. Very carefully, mix borax with hydrochloric acid, commonly known as muriatic acid. You can find this solution wherever you buy swimming pool chemicals.
  • Using gloves and eye protection, mix the two. The borax will not dissolve in the acid. Then, filter out the borax, which is now boric acid crystals. Let the crystals dry completely before storing them in an airtight container.

You can use your homemade boric acid in two ways. The first way is to fill a baster or an empty squeeze bottle and distribute the crystals in areas where you have seen roaches.

Your boric acid will also dissolve in hot water. You can dissolve some crystals in water and pour them into a spray bottle. Spray the solution in affected areas.

Some sites claim that liquid boric acid is less harmful to humans and pets. But this isn’t true.

Here’s what the experts say:

Boric acid is a dangerous poison. Poisoning from this chemical can be acute or chronic. Acute boric acid poisoning usually occurs when someone swallows powdered roach-killing products that contain the chemical. Boric acid is a caustic chemical. If it contacts tissues, it can cause injury.

Other Roach Prevention Tips

One of the best ways to fight a roach infestation is to put preventative measures into place. If the roaches can’t get into your home, they can’t set up shop there.

Use some of these helpful tips to keep your house clean and cockroach-free.

1. Maintain a Clean Home 

Trash, spills, crumbs, and clutter all make the perfect breeding grounds for cockroaches. If your goal is to keep your home roach-free, it’s critical to keep it clean.

Keep your trash in a sealed container with a lid. Be sure to take your kitchen trash outside at the end of every day, especially if it contains tossed food products.

Keep the floors of your home clear and clean. Regularly sweep and mop hardwood floors to avoid the buildup of dust, crumbs, and sticky residues. Vacuum rugs to remove debris as well as potential egg sacs.

Don’t leave dirty dishes in the kitchen sink for long periods. The best rule of thumb is to go to bed with a clean kitchen and an empty sink.

More reading: I saw one cockroach, should I be worried?

2. Seal Entry Points 

Cockroaches can only get into your home if you allow them to. Do a thorough inspection of your home to spot any cracks and crevices they might sneak in through.

These areas can include doorways, window frames, screens, and even pipe entries.

Use caulk to seal up any cracks in the foundation of your home, including around holes for wires and pipes.

Replace broken screens and repair warped window and door frames. Remember to check crawl spaces and attics, too.

3. Keep a Manicured Lawn 

By maintaining the yard around your home, you can discourage roaches from living even remotely close to your house. Cut the grass every week during the spring and summer when it grows the most.

Trim back bushes and tree branches, ensuring nothing is touching or hanging over your house. Try to avoid having thick, heavy vegetation directly next to your house or near the foundation.

Remove any buckets or items that might collect rainwater, and keep your yard free from trash, junk, and clutter.

Here are 8 ways to get rid of roaches.

borax roach killer

FAQs About Using Borax for Roaches

If you still have more questions, continue reading below for frequently asked questions about borax and roaches.

What is Borax?

Borax is a natural mineral that’s available in a white powder form.

This powdered mineral has many uses throughout the home, including as laundry detergent and for cleaning. It’s popular because it eliminates smells, doesn’t involve chemicals, and can even get rid of bugs.

Is Borax safe to use around kids?

Although Borax is a natural product and doesn’t contain chemicals or additives, it’s not entirely safe around children. Borax is harmful if swallowed and can be irritating to the eyes.

  • A small amount of consumed borax in children can cause vomiting, diarrhea, shock, organ damage, and even death. It’s essential to take great care when using Borax in your home.
  • Health Canada advises against using boric acid (borax) for arts and crafts (like homemade slime) and for making homemade pesticides.

If you are unsure about using borax for roaches, consider peppermint oil. Studies have shown this to be an effective cockroach repellent.

Is borax toxic to pets?

Borax can be toxic to pets when consumed in large amounts.

It can lead to severe symptoms such as vomiting, drooling, abdominal pain, diarrhea, kidney damage, and seizures. This level of toxicity requires immediate emergency medical care.

How long will boric acid take to kill roaches?

Borax does not kill roaches immediately and may take some time to be effective.

Most cockroaches will consume it and move on, or take some with them on their legs and consume it later. Either way, they will likely die in hiding.

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

How Stuff Works

With consistent use of borax, you should notice a decrease in roaches in one or two weeks.

You can use the borax mix on cockroach eggs – so that when they hatch, their first meal will be their last.

Final Thoughts on Borax Roach Killer

Insect problems aren’t fun for anyone, especially when you’re dealing with ugly, smelly cockroaches.

If you’re faced with a full-blown infestation, it’s best to contact your local professionals. Otherwise, you can fight a pretty good battle yourself by using Borax.


Tuesday 29th of November 2022

Boric ACID is not the same as Borax! Not even close. They are based on the same element, Boron. But they are as different as rock salt is from table salt. They are not interchangeable. I am not a scientist, but I was a science teacher for 20 years. These kinds of mistakes make me want to hunt down your chemistry teacher. I'm glad to see someone writing practical articles, but this is way off the mark chemically. For example, Borax is appropriate for washing clothes, washing floors, but not for use in the body. Boric Acid is the number one treatment for conjunctivitis (pink eye) and is an effective astringent.

Bryan Haines

Wednesday 30th of November 2022

Thanks for this clarification. Many sources list them as interchangeable. They appear to be "different formulations of the same compound." I'll do more research and cover this in more detail in a future post.

Thanks for helping keep this an accurate resource.

Update: Just published this new post with the differences: Borax vs Boric Acid

Pamela Moore

Friday 16th of September 2022

Thanks for the info on getting rid of maggots in outdoor trash cans. My mom was using Lysol, at about $8/can, and your article says that’s not even effective. I have forwarded your article to her, and we will try some of the methods you suggest.

Very interesting site overall. But I was hoping to find some ways to repel mosquitoes and no-see-ums from our yard, as I am a magnet for their bites, as well as being histamine intolerant, which means their bites are sheer torture for me for a solid week, 24/7!

We do have some natural predators around here, but my sheer magnetism means that a single surviving mosquito will find me the instant I walk outdoors. I’ve read that my blood type (O) is extremely attractive to mosquitoes.

Thanks for your site. I will be back.