Borax for Bed Bugs | Safe and Effective Usage

Written by Thomas Matthews

Bed bugs can be very stubborn when they intrude on your home. They bring sleepless nights and fear and they can be transferred to other areas through their eggs. But the good news is that there are plenty of ways one can use to deal with them.

Does borax kill bed bugs? Borax is not effective when it comes to killing bed bugs. It has to be consumed by the bed bugs in order to have an effect on them. Bed bugs feed only on human blood and they never eat other things. That is why it can’t be used against them.

While some people suggest that borax can kill bed bugs, we think that it just does not work. Read through this article in order to understand more about the use of borax in pest treatments.

Does Borax Soap Kill Bed Bugs?

Does Borax Soap Kill Bed Bugs

While borax is one of the widely used detergents, it can also be transformed into an acid called ‘boric acid,’ which can function as a detersive agent and an insecticide as well.

Generally, you don’t need borax to remove bed bugs from clothes using a washing machine. This is because this naturally kills almost 100% of the bed bugs. However, the use of borax will hasten the process and kill 100% of them within a thirty-minute wash. Just remember to use higher temperatures.

How Does Borax Kill Bed Bugs?

Borax is commonly used as an insecticide. So, how does it work on pests and insects? Well, it eradicates them when they feed on it. It works by killing the bacteria in the gut of an insect/pest. In simpler terms, it acts as a stomach poison.

Spraying the infested furniture or clothes will only deter them to some extent. When inhaled by the bed bugs, borax may not kill all of them. The death rate, in that case, is estimated to be about 33%. This is a clear indication that borax cannot effectively eliminate these bugs.

Will Borax Kill Bed Bug Eggs?

Borax will not kill bed bug eggs. The reason for this is that bed bug eggs can’t eat borax or even inhale it. Hence, as much as you try to get rid of them using borax, they will remain at the edges of your furniture. For this reason, it’s highly advisable to use borax with other pesticides.

How Effective Is Borax Powder In Killing Bed Bugs?

How Effective Is Borax Powder In Killing Bed Bugs

Regarding the effectiveness of borax powder, bed bugs can survive even a high concentration of borax powder. However, this does not in any way dismiss the fact that borax has the ability to avert bed bugs. Just like bed bugs try to evade poisonous substances, it is the same way they will attempt to flee from borax.

Therefore, borax may be of help. Even if bed bugs don’t feed on borax, the moment they inhale it, it starts to work.

How To Use Borax For Bed Bugs? | Step By Step Instructions

Although using borax is not an effective method to eliminate bed bugs, it is still helpful. For it to work efficiently and in order to produce some results, one should follow the following procedure.

1. Remove all the bedding from the bed

2. The next thing, sprinkle a good amount of borax on the mattress, then use a plastic spray bottle and fill it up with water

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3. Then, saturate the water on the mattress covered with borax. This will suffocate bed bugs and make them inhale the borax

4. To ensure that all bed bugs are eliminated, ensure you wash all the bed sheets, blankets, duvets, and any other bedding in the washing machine.

After doing that, you can then use any of the following ways just to ensure that no bed bug is left behind:

  • To deter bed bugs from your bed, place the borax around the bed frames. Since a bed bug will always look for a host to feed on. Having the powder all around will help to kill some, although that happens after some days of getting exposed to the powder. However, most of them may not die and thus this method is not effective.
  • One can also use the borax solution and apply it to any other furniture that could be suspected of being infested with bed bugs. Spray the solution around the furniture and then leave it for some time to react. To properly kill them, use a steam cleaner or regular vacuum.

Borax vs. Diatomaceous Earth For Bed Bug

Borax Vs Diatomaceous Earth For Bed Bug

Diatomaceous earth is another method used for killing bed bugs. It looks similar to borax although it works differently. Unlike borax, diatomaceous earth kills bed bugs. Its effectiveness in deterring bed bugs is quite high in comparison to borax. Being a product of the natural rock, diatomaceous can be mashed easily. When crashed, it becomes a soft powder that can be spread around bed bug hideouts.

When bed bugs walk on those tiny powder particles, their outer body shell which is normally waxy gets scratched. This shell is essential because it protects bed bugs from getting dehydrated. These crawlers need to preserve liquid in their bodies since they don’t drink water and the only way to replace it when lost is through feeding.

If their shell starts peeling away, they will immediately start losing that moisture. Since diatomaceous is absorptive, it ruins the ability of bed bugs to retain water. Its effects are effective when it comes to killing bed bugs. This, therefore, makes it an excellent method of deterring and killing bed bugs. However, diatomaceous does not kill bed bug eggs.

List of Sources

Koehler PG, Pereira RM, Pfiester M, Hertz J. (July 2011). Bed bugs and blood-sucking conenose. EDIS. (26 April 2017)
Krueger L. 2000. Don’t get bitten by the resurgence of bed bugs. Pest Control 68: 58-64.
Potter, M. Bed Bugs. Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

Thomas Matthews
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