Borax for ants – How To Use Borax To Kill Ants

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Whether it’s after a heavy downpour or forgetting to clean up crumbs from your last meal, ants are invasive pests that any homeowner will inevitably encounter. Fortunately, you can use borax to kill ants. 

Borax is an eco-friendly mineral that you’ll find in cosmetics, hygiene products, weed killers, and even homemade laundry detergents. When used to eliminate ants, it acts as a slow-killing agent that destroys the insects’ digestive system. 

Plus, preparing a simple DIY liquid mix of warm water, borax, and sugar for ants is cheap and will only take 5-minutes of your time. All you have to do is follow the correct borax sugar ratio, and you could wipe out an entire colony. 

Even fire ants and carpenter ants are no match against the power of Borax!

ants eating a dry DIY borax and sugar mix

How To Get Rid Of Ants With Borax

Before setting up your baits or traps, it’s best to figure out first where to place them. As a rule of thumb, positioning them as close as possible to the nest will yield the best results. Just make sure to put them in a dry spot that pets and children can’t easily access. 

Placing these near to the nest will ensure that the ants who have consumed the borax will make their way back to the colony before they start reacting to the mineral. And subsequently spread the poison among their peers and even the queen. 

Method 1: Liquid Borax Bait

container of borax

Liquid Borax baits are a quick and efficient method to deal with ant infestations. While there are several types of recipes, you must consider your household circumstances before opting for one in particular. If you’re uncertain, you can always try a combination to see which works best for you. 

Luckily, there are only usually two things you need to change in most recipes to experiment with different types: the container and bait. 

You can opt to use plastic containers, lids, paper plates, or cotton balls for the container. For bait, you’ll have to discern what type of ant you’re trying to eliminate as some prefer savory tastes to sweet, like fire ants. 

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 and a ½ tbsps of borax 
  • 1 and a ½ cups of warm water 
  • ½ cup of Sugar 
  • Mixing bowl 
  • Container for your mixture (plastic containers, lids, paper plates, or cotton balls – the latter being the most popular option) 


  1. In a bowl, mix the borax and sugar (or peanut butter) until there are no more lumps. 
  2. Add the water and mix again until you get a thick paste-like consistency. 
  3. If you’re using plastic containers, lids, or plates, place the mixture in your container. If you’re using cotton balls, dip these in the mixture until they’re completely saturated. 
  4. Place these as near as possible to the ant nest or within a nearby ant trail. 

Don’t be afraid to experiment on different types and mixture ratios, as not all ant colony behaviors are the same. Some recipes call for a 3:1 ratio of sugar to borax (for example, 1 cup of sugar to ⅓ cup of Borax). 

Method 2: Solid Borax Bait

If you’re looking for a more straightforward bait, you can opt to go with solid recipes that require no water. However, you may have to use powdered sugar to get a more even blend. 

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 and a ½ tbsps of borax 
  • ½ cup of powdered sugar 
  • Mixing bowl 
  • Optional: Container for your mixture (plastic containers, lids, or paper plates)


  1. In a bowl, mix the borax and powdered sugar until there are no more lumps. 
  2. Place the mixture directly on your preferred spot or in a container. 

Using solid borax baits is easier to clean and maintain compared to the liquid mix. When placing them in your garden, make sure to put the solution in containers since borax (technically a herbicide) can also kill plants and grass. 

But, if you’re thinking of killing your weeds and ants simultaneously, then directly pouring the solid borax mix into the area offers a two-in-one solution. 

Other Borax Bait Recipes

If sugar or the two methods listed above are not working, you can try these other recipes to see which one works best on eliminating those pesky critters.

MethodWhat You’ll NeedDirections
Borax and honey1 and a ½ tbsps of borax 
½ cup of Honey 
1. Mix borax and honey until you have a paste-like consistency.
2. Put the mix on a container and leave it near the ant’s nest or nearby trail 
Borax and peanut butter1 tbsp of Borax 
1 tbsp of peanut butter
1. Combine borax and peanut butter 
2. Leave the mix near the nest or trail 
Spray method1 and a ½ tbsps of borax 
1 and a ½ cups of warm water 
½ cup of Sugar 
Spray Bottle
1. Combine borax, water, and sugar 
2. Put the mixture in a spray bottle 
3. Spray the mixture to an ant trail 
Sprinkling method1 and a ½ tbsps of borax 
½ cup of Sugar 
1. Mix sugar and borax
2. Sprinkle the dry DIY ant killer over an ant trail near the nest.

Take caution as this is not recommended for homes with children or pets.

Related Post: Use Diatomaceous Earth To Get Rid of Ants

What is Borax?

a pile of borax

Borax or Sodium Borate is a naturally occurring mineral directly mined from the ground. You can also find it in rocks, topsoil, and even plants. 

First found in ancient Kashmir and Tibet, it has since found its way to global markets, where its use has spanned to almost all industries in the world today.

With an eco-friendly and highly flexible nature, it’s no wonder that borax is used for both commercial and DIY purposes. You can find this mineral almost everywhere you look. It’s used in pots, glasses, cosmetics, hygiene products, herbicides, and pesticides. 

Where can I buy Borax for ants?

The great thing about Borax is that you can find it in almost any home depot or gardening store. Sometimes, you may even see them in your grocery store’s home goods section. 

But, if you’re opting to buy them online, we recommend 20 Mule Team. It’s made of pure sodium borate and comes in affordable packs of 4, making it perfect if you also want to use these in your cleaning products or even as a laundry detergent booster. 

Best Choice
20 mule team borax

Our Recommended Borax for Ants

20 Mule Team Borax

  • Pure borax: Sodium Tetraborate (a natural mineral).

How Does Borax Kill Ants?

While harmless to humans and other animals in small quantities, borax is fatal to ants. When consumed by these insects, it directly interferes with their digestive system – killing them from the inside. However, as a slow-acting agent, don’t expect it to eliminate ants in a matter of seconds. It’s not technically a bad thing, though. 

The slow kill rate of borax will give the worker enough time to go back to the nest and share the poison with other ants and the queen. Eventually, this chain reaction will result in the elimination of the entire colony. 

Is Borax Pet Safe?

While non-lethal in small doses, it’s generally recommended that you keep pets away from borax. When consumed in even small quantities, it can cause a whole series of complications like vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, drooling, and excessive thirst. Chronic exposure to this mineral can result in irritated skin, seizures, kidney failure, and, over time, death. 

As little as 5 grams is fatal to your beloved furry friend. That’s why most veterinarians will likely caution you to keep pets in a separate room from where borax is used, especially in cases where baits like sugar and peanut butter are included in the mixture. 

Borax vs Boric Acid

While both affect insects the same way and contain the same trace element of boron, Borax and Boric acid differ in how they are sourced and processed. 

Borax is directly mined from the ground and is often only lightly refined for retail purposes. You can find borax in everyday household cleaning products like laundry detergent and hand soaps. 

On the other hand, Boric acid, as its name suggests, is more acidic. Boric acid is processed, refined, and combined with oxygen and hydrogen to give it a more soluble nature. You can find Boric acid in commercial products like pesticides and herbicides.

When used as a pesticide, Borax is often recommended for indoor use as it is milder. However, Boric Acid can provide a better option for larger infestations as it is easier to apply and acts faster in eliminating insects. 

The Wrap Up

When left unmaintained, ant infestations can quickly take over your home. Soon enough, you’ll find yourself leaving your plate for a second only to turn back and see it infested with these pesky insects. Fortunately, using borax to kill ants can efficiently eliminate these critters without costing you an arm and a leg. 

However, not all ants react the same to borax. Some can be more resilient, while others prefer something savory over sweet. That’s why it’s best to try all the recipes and methods mentioned above to find out which works best for your home. 

When you decide to use Borax to kill ants, keep children and pets as far away as possible. After all, no ant problem is worth the health or life of your family. 


Does Borax kill Fire Ants?

Yes. While Fire Ants are more resilient than other species, Borax can work just as efficiently in eliminating them. However, you may have to opt for longer periods of application (spanning anywhere from 5 to 6 weeks) as well as replenishing the baits weekly. 

As an added tip, try peanut butter or greasy substitutes like canola oil rather than sugar as these insects are omnivores – and are likely more attracted to savory tasting baits. 

Does Borax Kill Carpenter Ants?

Yes. Like with Fire Ants, Borax can eliminate Carpenter Ants in the same manner and sometimes even quicker. This mineral can kill these species of ants within a 24-28 hour period.

Does Borax Kill The Queen Ants?

Yes. When borax adheres to the worker ants’ bodies, they bring the poison back to the colony. With continuous application and replenishing of baits, the mineral will likely make its way to the queen and eventually kill it.

Do you have any questions relating to this article? Email us at [email protected] or call us on +1 (310) 961-4908

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Photo of author
Aaron is the founder of and Essential Home and Garden. With over 15 years of hands-on experience in home ownership, lawn care, and gardening, Aaron is a seasoned expert in areas like lawn care, DIY, HVAC, and pest control.

2 thoughts on “Borax for ants – How To Use Borax To Kill Ants”

  1. Avatar photo

    Love this article and your similar article recommending diatomaceous earth to kill ants. Both are very helpful.

    For heavy ant infestations in a garden and in growing pots, with no kids or pets, which do you recommend to start: boric acid or diatomaceous earth?

    Thanks, Aaron!!

    • Aaron Green

      Thanks Kevin, I would probably go with the borax in that situation – that way you can hopefully kill the queen and solve the issue at its source.

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