How to Kill Roaches Using Borax – Does it Work?

Updated on by Jared Belson | Please note that there may be affiliate links on this page.

A roach problem may seem overwhelming. After all, the little pests can hide just about anywhere! What if I told you there was a great solution to this problem right inside your cleaning cabinet?

Borax is a simple, natural, and extremely effective way to get rid of roaches!

What Is Borax, Anyway?

Borax is a naturally occurring mineral known as sodium tetraborate.  It is used in laundry detergents, flame retardants, and many cleaning sprays. If you have young kids, you probably recognize it as an ingredient in homemade slime!

Pure borax is in crystal form. It can be ground into a powder. When chemically processed with hydrochloric acid, it becomes boric acid or hydrogen borate. Both borax and boric acid can be used to kill roaches, but borax is more easily accessible.

A Note about Cockroaches

If you have roaches in your home, they are most likely either American or German Cockroaches. Though these two species look different, their eating and nesting habits are almost identical. Good news! Both species can be killed by borax.

Roaches can enter a house if it’s spotless, but they will most likely keep moving. They’ll only settle in if there is an incentive to do so.

Roaches are omnivorous and like warm, moist places.  They prefer to lay their eggs in dark recesses. They are notorious for spreading diseases and can be hard to eradicate. If you think you have a major infestation throughout the entire home, call in the professionals to deal with your roach problem!

How Borax Kills Roaches

I recommend using 20 Mule Team Borax. Borax won’t attract the roaches, so you may need to set a trap with something tasty to entice the little pests. More on that, later.

Borax will stick to the cockroach’s legs via static electricity. When it gets back to its nest, it will clean off its legs by licking them. The borax will poison the roach and destroy its digestive system after it ingests it.

The cockroach’s exoskeleton will also be damaged by the borax. It penetrates their shell and essentially dehydrates the roach.

Since the roaches don’t clean the borax off of their legs until they get back to the nest, it may be a few days before you notice dead bugs.

How to Kill Roaches with Borax

Find the Target Area

Look for potential roach habitats:

  • Around baseboards
  • Near pipes
  • Anywhere there is food
  • Behind outlet covers
  • Cabinets
  • Basements
  • Any other dark, damp place

Remember, roaches love to live anywhere dark and moist!

Check for an unpleasant smell. Cockroaches have scent glands that they use for communication and mating. They may smell sweet, or oily and musky.

Clean the Area

A thorough cleaning is in order before you lay roach traps! Clean up any standing water or food debris. This is important! If there is food out, it will compete with your traps for the roach’s attention.

Prepare the Roach Killer

There are several ways to entice cockroaches to the borax. Remember, they aren’t attracted to borax by itself, so you can mix it with a tasty roach treat. Make sure to carefully label any containers that contain borax.


Mix the borax and sugar in equal parts. Sprinkle it lightly along baseboards, in cabinets, or wherever you’ve found evidence of roaches. The roaches will be attracted to the sugar. Reapply the mixture as needed until all evidence of bugs is gone.

Milk and Sugar

If sugar and borax on their own aren’t doing the job, mix in some milk to form a sticky paste. Place it in a container near cockroach ground zero. Milk and sugar should prove irresistible to the roaches!

Once they have the sticky paste on their legs, they’ll go back to their home and lick it off.

Borax by itself

Borax alone won’t attract the cockroaches, but if you carefully place it in their traffic areas, it will stick to their legs.

Place the borax in a spray bottle, or squeeze bottle, like an empty ketchup bottle. The ketchup bottle can be used as a sort of bellows to distribute the powder.

Egg Yolks

Place the egg yolk in a small dish or container, and sprinkle borax directly onto it. Also lightly sprinkle borax around the dish.

Apply the Insecticide

Cockroaches aren’t as unintelligent as you would think! They will be able to see a thick layer of borax and avoid it. Use a spray bottle or squeeze bottle to apply a very light dusting of the borax.

Make sure to get the powder into outlets, baseboards, cabinets, and anywhere else you’ve seen signs of roaches.

Safety note: Make sure no food preparation occurs in the areas dusted with borax!

The borax can also be sprinkled lightly on a rug or carpet if you suspect it may be hiding roach eggs. Wait 20 minutes after application, then vacuum the rug. Don’t leave it on the rug too long, or it may be kicked up and inhaled.

Borax uses some of its effectiveness if it gets wet. Reapply as needed.

Change the Bait

Reapply the roach traps and borax dusting every few days until all signs of roaches are gone.

Is Borax Safe to Use?

Borax has been classified as one of the safest, and most effective insecticides. It is still important to take precautions when handling it.

Do not inhale borax. It can cause lung irritation. If inhalation occurs, seek medical treatment.

Borax is poisonous if ingested. Do not leave it where children or animals may eat it. Since roaches usually hide away from people, the areas where you put the borax should be away from pets and family members. However, if the Borax is ingested, seek medical treatment.

Benefits of Using Borax to Kill Roaches

Borax is inexpensive and easily accessible. In fact, you may already have it in your home! It is free of fumes. Best of all, it works to solve a roach problem!

Final Thoughts

Using borax to get rid of a cockroach problem will require persistence. Check your traps and reapply regularly. However, if you stick with it, it is a great, inexpensive, and natural solution to a pesky problem!

1 thought on “How to Kill Roaches Using Borax – Does it Work?”

  1. my brother told me about boric acid way back in the 60’s and I tried it using borax and boric acid— it truly works– however, I also using glue traps that do the job, also.


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