How do I Use Borax for Ants?

Amanda Barnhart

Borax is a natural cleaner that can kill ants and other insects by dehydrating them. Cleaning a home with borax, spreading the cleaner near entrances and crevices where ants enter, and baiting traps with a solution mixed with the cleaner can help rid buildings of ants and other insects. Using borax for ants is a natural, inexpensive, and often effective way to provide pest control without calling a professional.

The smell of honey can help attract ants when mixed with borax.
The smell of honey can help attract ants when mixed with borax.

For minor ant problems, treating only problem areas where the insects enter or gather is usually sufficient. Scoop out a small amount of borax to place in thin lines along the perimeters of rooms, in entryways, near the back of counters, and anywhere else ants may enter. Leaving out borax for ants near their entry points encourages them to eat the cleaner and leave.

Some types of ants are pickier than others when choosing their foods.
Some types of ants are pickier than others when choosing their foods.

If the ants are not eating the borax, mix the cleaner with equal parts sugar to make it more appealing. Some types of ants are pickier than others when choosing their food. Trying a mixture of six or seven parts sugar to three or four parts borax and gradually increasing the amount of borax over the course of several days will make the ants more likely to eat it.

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Cleaning countertops, floors, and other hard surfaces with a mixture of the cleaner and hot water is another effective way to use borax for ants. Mix 1/2 cup (about 118 milliliters) of borax in one gallon (about 3.7 liters) of hot water to create a cleaning solution for mopping hard floors and washing counters and cabinets. Make sure to pay close attention to crevices and edges when using the borax mixture for cleaning to leave a residue that can help rid the area of ants.

Another way to use borax for ants is making ant traps with the cleaner. Mix a small amount of borax in with any food source you see ants eating in your home to poison them. Mixing a large sprinkle of borax on a shallow dish with honey, jelly, or molasses will draw the ants due to the sweet smell and taste, forcing them to ingest the borax. Soaking cotton balls in a mixture of warm water, honey, and borax and placing them in areas where you see ants gathering is an additional way to present the poison.

While borax is a natural cleaner, it can cause problems if it is ingested by small children and pets. Only use borax for ants in areas that are inaccessible to children and animals, and seek medical or veterinary assistance if your child or pet eats the cleaner.

Cotton balls can be soaked in a Borax mixture.
Cotton balls can be soaked in a Borax mixture.

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Discussion Comments


I had ants in my house last month. I tried several products but they didn't work. They just made me cough (those insecticide sprays are so toxic!) Then I tried borax. I mixed it in sugar syrup and put it around the house. It worked like a charm!


@ddljohn-- Using borax ant killer traps like irontoenail mentioned is a good idea. If you put the traps where the pets and kids can't get to them, it should be fine.

If you're planning on sprinkling the borax everywhere, then you really do need to close off that room. But considering that the infestation is in your kitchen, that's probably not a good idea.

I would try the traps first and see if that takes care of the problem.


For those of you who have small children and pets, how did you use borax? Did you close off the affected room after using borax? How did you keep pets from inhaling borax?

I want to use borax to kill ants in my kitchen and hallway but I'm not sure how to go about it. I have a toddler, two cats and a dog in the house. Any suggestions?


You can get small ant traps that will work with a bit of borax and sugar and I find them really effective. If you place them in the right places, the ant problem goes away within a few days.

I've also heard that ground cinnamon can work wonders for getting rid of ants, but I've never tried that myself.


@KoiwiGal - Even when I was extremely careful I would still sometimes get lines of ants into my cupboard. It happens in the winter a lot, I guess because they run out of other kinds of food.

I use borax for ant control, but I have to be very careful not to let my dog into the kitchen while I'm using it, since she will eat anything that even vaguely looks like food and I don't want to risk it. But, it's better to put the borax somewhere close to where the ants into the kitchen, so usually it ends up somewhere on the ground.


Ants can be a very persistent and difficult problem. It's best to try and discourage them from ever appearing in your kitchen, by making sure that anything that might appeal to them is kept in a sealed container.

I don't even keep sugar in the original bags anymore. I always pour it straight into a screw top jar and make sure I don't spill any.

It's actually much tidier in general, because, before I started doing this, I would always be spilling one bag or another in the cupboard. This way I don't even have to use the borax, although I have done in the past to get rid of ants.

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