The Beast Of Borax Can Kill You

So what’s the problem with Borax? Follow this link to see The Beauty of Borax.

Peruse any DIY web site or forum where people are trading recipes for a myriad of pest control issues and it won’t be long before you see someone telling the world to use Borax to get rid of ‘said’ problem. These concoctions range from mixing Borax and sugar for killing roaches to sprinkling an entire box all over your flooring for fleas. You can even get rid of mice with this miracle product by simply lining the floors along the walls with a “thick coating’ of the stuff. Mice don’t like walking in it and will soon run away” or so touts the anonymous poster. How nice and how kind to the mouse not to kill it, finally a humane way to get rid of mice and still be safe for the kids- I say keep some in the box so when they find your dead body they’ll have something to make a chalk line around you as you lay on the floor – dead!


Borax is NOT labeled as an insecticide and the MSDS sheet specifically tells you how they intend for you to use their product. “This product is a laundry care product. The use of this product by consumers is safe under normal and reasonable foreseen use.”

We’ve known since 1904 that Boric Acid and Borax is dangerous if ingested yet we still spread this poison all across our floors and counters where we come in contact with, breathe in and let our little ones crawl and play all over our treated areas. (and this testing was ON HUMANS)

Borax is a chemical and 3 to 6 grams is all that’s needed to kill a child and 15 to 20 for an adult. To put this in perspective, a nickel weighs 4.5 grams, do you want to risk a persons life for a measly five to fifteen cents?

If you read my companion article Borax-Beauty and The Beast you would quickly see I am in no way indicting this fine product, I am however warning unsuspecting homeowners who think they are simply applying a harmless powder that will in no wise pose a threat. I am also calling out the purveyors of websites and so called experts who are contributing to this hazard. Interesting to note that it’s not pest control professionals telling you to use this product but our so called Green friends. This is so irresponsible and cuts any credibility this movement has if those in the forefront of Green Pest Control stand idly by and do not speak up. Labels and safety don’t stop at the environmentally friendly door. (good news-found one environmentally friendly site that agrees at least about it’s usage-here) I wouldn’t even recommend a person to use Boric Acid in these ways even though it is essentially the same thing and it IS labeled for pest control. It too is relied on as a natural alternative but this inorganic substance is also very dangerous in the hands of the ill informed.

Is Borax a safe product and beneficial? Yes, when used for intended purposes and in the way in which it is recommended you should have no problems. No, when it is ignorantly and carelessly strewn about in the name of saving the planet or just saving a few bucks. It is at that time when the Beauty of Borax becomes the Beast that Can Kill You.

About The Bug Doctor

Jerry Schappert is a certified pest control operator and Associate Certified Entomologist with over two and a half decades of experience from birds to termites and everything in between. He started as a route technician and worked his way up to commercial/national accounts representative. Always learning in his craft he is familiar with rural pest services and big city control techniques. Jerry has owned and operated a successful pest control company since 1993 in Ocala,Florida. While his knowledge and practical application has benefitted his community Jerry wanted to impart his wisdom on a broader scale to help many more. was born from that idea in 2007 and has been well received. It is the goal of this site to inform you with his keen insights and safely guide you through your pest control treatment needs.

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  • You are a corporate shill. Borax is no more toxic than table salt.

  • And table salt is more toxic than 3/4 of the products I keep on my truck.

    Thank you for your comment

  • Borax, also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate, is an important boron compound, a mineral, and a salt of boric acid. Borax was first discovered in dry lake beds in Tibet and has a wide variety of uses. It is a component of many detergents, cosmetics, and enamel glazes. It is also used to make buffer solutions in biochemistry, as a fire retardant, as an anti-fungal compound for fiberglass, as a flux in metallurgy, a texturing agent in cooking.

  • You failed grade school chemistry huh? Boric Acid is absolutely organic, found in the ocean, plants and food. Boron occurs naturally in food as borate (B4O72-) or boric acid. The richest sources of boron include fruits, leafy vegetables, legumes, and nuts.

  • Thank you for your comment(s) Bubble,
    In your own words-“BORAX is NON-TOXIC to most pets and humans”…????? Hmmm? Which ones are safe from it then? What makes it toxic to the few? You seem to have an apparent knowledge, can you clue us in on what you mean?

  • I was wondering which website you got your information from. My guess was way wrong. I thought wikipedia or some such site but a Hong Kong Government page? PLEASE. You obviously didn’t extend me the courtesy of reading or at least looking at any of the links I supplied like I did yours.
    Well how about the Boric acid MSDS (material safety data sheet) You don’t need to even scroll down the page

    and it says – Chemical Family: Inorganic Borates

    Oh but Borax HAS to be organic right? Again- THEIR OWN MSDS and you still don’t even have to scroll down one inch;

    And it states — CHEMICAL FAMILY: Inorganic salt

    I’m sorry but it’s obvious you didn’t read my article(s) (there’s two of em;) nor does it seem you read your own link from the great organic authority – The Hong Kong Gov. Their own words state;

    In humans, it is believed that adverse reactions associated with low doses of boric acid per day are unlikely to occur. However, exposure to large amounts of boric acid over a short period of time can affect the stomach, bowels, liver, kidney, and brain, and may even lead to death. Hmmmmmm- sounds much like what I said – or;

    In Hong Kong, under the Preservatives in Food Regulation, boric acid and borax are not permitted preservatives in food.

    Do not use boric acid or borax in food.

    These are their words- not mine but somehow I don’t think you’ll be fighting with them over a product you thought you understood.

    Oh and you’re wrong about me failing grade school chemistry- my little po-dunk school didn’t even teach it. Wow, uneducated and I still out smarted you-

    Thanks for your comment

  • steve

    i brush my teeth with borax, dude.  youre way out there on the excite-o-meter.  i knoew people who actually take borax(cosmetic grade) as  supplement.  are they eating it by the gram?  no.  it produces quite a gag reflex.  but having it spread around in the environment is a health benefit, not a detriment.  pick another windmill to joust at, don.

  • It’s hard to joust with wooden shoes my friend. The next time you use a whole box of this stuff to brush your teeth or one of your anecdotal friends woof’s  down a few ounces of it, let me know how that turns out for you. Half reading this article did you no service. (there is a part one too) By your e-mail address -I’m assuming perhaps you’re a trapper? I apologize for assuming- sorta hypocritical I know. But–I find it hard to believe if that’s true, you haven’t seen the common overkill that homeowners are capable of– This is what this article is all about and whether I am right about your vocation or not— You missed it.

  • April

    The problem with your article is that it makes those that are main stream media informed even more skeptical of using natural products and so will continue to use whatever is advertised/known/familiar, which is often toxic chemicals to get rid of pests and this is not what we want. I think you could have chosen something else to spend your time on, like truly toxic environmentally damaging products like Roundup instead of scarring people out of using something much more environmentally friendly like Borax. We have many evils to fight in this money hungry world, I just don’t think Borax is one of them. Telling people about the possible dangers of ingesting large quantities is different then writing the article in the way you did. I hope you will take the comments made by readers to heart, as none of this feedback agrees with your information. Peace, April

  • Hazmat Tech Tim

    Ok lets see:
    Re: debate over organic vs. inorganic salt; you are completely confusing terms you clearly do not understand. Organic from the standpoint of the regulation of the manner and means of the production of food, drugs, consumables etc., has nothing whatsoever to od with the term inorganic salt. Inorganic is being used in the context of chemistry, specifically organic chemistry which deals with molecules containing a carbon atom.
    You also do not seem to grasp the fact the borax and boric acid are NOT the same chemical. Just because one can be produced from the other it does not in anyway follow that they behave the same way chemically. Take the time to actually read the MSDS sheets for each (which you so helpfully provided) and you will see that borax is not recognized as a significant health risk as opposed to boric acid which is. Your amusingly misinformed analogy regarding the weight of a nickel refers strictly to the latter and not at all to the former.
    Boron is not a borate. Borates are mineral salts which possess a boron anion.
    Your ignorance on this topic is truly and frighteningly thorough. I strongly suggest opening a junior high school chemistry textbook before ever trying to write an article like this again.

  • Thank you so much Hazmat Tim, Junior High? I might try that. I didn’t make up the definitions nor is my amusing analogy all that funny when you walk into a home and find 2 or 3 ’empty’ boxes of Borax and white powder all over the floor- This, all in the name of flea control. Of course this was the point of the article but your condescending arrogance wouldn’t let you see that. (redundant I know- but you fit the definition so well)
    I would’ve really expected more from someone who is (at least by your own self promoting moniker) a Hazmat Tech who see’s egregious uses of chemicals everyday and the harm that they do.( Even So Called GREEN ones) Maybe it’s not your fault- perhaps you’re stuck behind a desk somewhere and haven’t seen this side of the Beast.

  • concerned mother

    Ok so I am in no way going to argue your points because I am not even educated on this stuff. Yes Im a college graduate but I did NOT study chemicals. So my question is… If Borax is not safe to use than what do you recommend to use to get rid of ants and termites? I am a mother and also have pets. So what’s the safest thing to use to get rid of sugar ants and termites? I did buy Borax but was worried about the many websites that suggested to mix it into a bowl with sugar and set them along the perimeter of your home. While great I worry what if while Im inside my home taking care of my kids the dogs or cats eat some of the mixture? Any suggestions…

  • Borax is safe for what it is designed for. For the ants a simple $2.00 bottle of Terro that is available at Lowes etc. will usually do the trick. (if they are sweet eating ants)

    For termites, I’d rather see you call in a pro who can use the right product safely. In the end, it’ll be worth it all the way around.

    For more help on ants, check out the articles in the ant section I’m sure you’ll find some help.

  • Hazmat Tech Tim


    You got me; I was being a snot. Apologies for the tone; that was a bad day (big long tedious gas spill).

    That being said I do have to stress, the problem with your article is not with notion of being sensibly cautious with chemicals; it’s that you are confusing some essential terms and facts about the chemicals and chemistry involved in the topic. I will say, most of the time I deal with term confusion on the job (I am a full time Firefighter and am on call 24hrs as Tech responder for the Depts HazMat Response Team. I also have a B.S. in Chemistry with a minor in Environmental Biology) it’s mistaking the benign for the toxic, but in every case accurate information is always order one.

    And again you are right; I do see the egregious misuse of chemicals on a regular basis (you have no idea how many lot fires we put out because some smart guy tried to get rid of his fire ants with a can of gasoline…). I should note as well that many of my (admittedly impolite) comments were directed towards the article on Borax and regarding the essential inaccuracy of making direct comparisons twixt the two. Sorry, but they are indeed very different things.

    Oh, incidentally; yes a Junior High textbook. You would not BELIEVE how much more advanced in the sciences they are at that level these days. At the age I was making model volcanos, they’re doing quantitative analysis and gas chromatography.



  • BoraxAddict

    I guess I’m dead, because I drink water with Borax every day. If you can read this, then I am not dead. In fact, I’ve never felt more alive!

  • steve

    says it all. it protects from radiation. it is also a fungacide, in and out of the body.

    good for you.

  • I wonder if anybody reads anymore, it must be a lost art.

  • AnnaLisa

    Borax is not Boric Acid. Borax is Sodium Tetraborate which is a base while Boric is acid is an ACID. Different chemical compositions! No sane person would use Boric acid to wash their clothing…

  • If I say your comment is “essentially the same as another comment” am I saying it IS the exact same? No, just that there are elements in both that are similar….. And YES there are insane enough people out there and they do even worse then what is described.

  • mhikl

    Water is also toxic, in huge amounts. People drown in it every day. Sounds silly? Yup, but it is true. There have been deaths from consuming too much water. The same goes with oxygen. High oxygen can burn the lungs. A cup of salt, not so good, guys.

    So lesson to be learned, use the little grey cells.

    Check out the sites that have science behind boron and borax. It is ‘less’ lethal than salt, but that doesn’t mean one should have to use it like salt. A little goes a long way to good health. A damp finger dipped lightly in Borax works on arthritis, tooth decay (and where there is tooth decay, there is bone decay!), arthritis, and many other mineral deficient ailments.

    Sadly, foods grown with chemical fertilisers are low in boron so Borax is important. And just as you are not going to add tablespoons of salt to your salad, be as mindful of anything, including Borax you add to your health regime.

    Check out Walter Last on Borax.

  • Circle gets the square

  • The Truth Doctor

    Yes. Fortunately, when they read tripe they know better now unlike years ago. Borax is no more “toxic” than table salt, and anyone with even a BASIC understanding of chemistry knows that borax is not chemically the same as boric acid. It has the natural effect of removing fluoride from the body. Are you a paid shill or what, Bug Doctor?

  • The Truth Doctor

    P.S: Borax is NOT a “chemical” as you classify it! Borax itself is sodium tetraborate, which is also known as the naturally occurring element BORON that is naturally present in food! Just like natural salt and natural sugar is in food! Lets go classify sodium chloride as evil and ban it from our foods too, since it too may be a “chemical” to you? (sodium chloride = table salt for those who aren’t aware). In lab studies, it requires the same amount of salt to kill a mouse as it does boron. Must be real bad for you when it cleans up your thyroid, removes blockages from the blood stream, and gets rid of fluoride eh? Such a dangerous chemical! Lets all stay away from water while we’re at it. Why, that stuff is so dangerous that you could drown from it! *facepalm*

  • So in your first reply you say Borax is not ‘chemically’ the same as boric acid but in your 2nd which you posted not more than 2 minutes later–you say Borax is not a chemical as a fact…So which is it truth doc? So in one you allude it is and in another you claim it’s not….hmmm… I guess by your name calling and facepalm, whatever the heck that is, you were to busy to check your own statements -and to busy patting yourself on the back to allow others any latitude while “that’s ok” for you–to busy to read the first article where much of what you said was already stated and not bright enough (or too busy) to read the words ‘essentially the same’ and pair that with the context of ‘using it for pest control. A common error with busy people I guess.

  • Gordo

    Fyi, terro = 1/4 tsp borax to 1/4 cup karo (clear corn syrup), add a tbsp of water, microwave in a small container until it boils, mix and you are all set, works well.

  • Yes I’ve noticed the Borax name added to the Terro box of late….Thanks…Not sure I’d recommend making your own pesticide but I hope it works for you

  • John Garrett

    I’ve taken borax (20 mule team) daily for several months now and my body aches are gone. You say I should be dead but I’m telling you that I have never felt better in my 54 years. I’m sipping 1/8 teaspoon of borax in my glass of water now.

  • Perhaps you should write the company and tell them what you’re doing. I don’t think you’d like their answer & I’m even more convinced you wouldn’t come back here and paste the comment of what they said.

    Continued Good Health To You

  • steve

    denial much?

    mountainroseherbs has cosmetic grade for a more pure product.

    if youre not supplementing boron and iodine and selenium in this chemical environment, youre not thriving.

  • No denial here Steve– please read in context and perhaps the first half (linked to) of the article…your e-mail address indicates you may be in a similar field…I’m sure you have plenty of stories of the well intentioned DIY that took seemingly benign things to a dangerous level.

    Thanks for your comment

  • Justsayinhere

    I am trained in chemistry and what you wrote is literally the equivalent of saying that sodium chloride, table salt, is dangerous because hydrochloric acid is dangerous. Borax is to boric acid as salt is to HCl. Your numbers are simply WRONG. Borax is not nontoxic (can cause rash if you douse yourself in it, not pleasant to breathe in like most dusts, and the toxic dose by ingestion is greater than 2.5g/kg=>100g for an adult), but there’s a reason it gets a 1 and not a higher number on the health portion of its NFPA placard. The only reason it was under review is that they have found that if you’re crazy enough to ingest it on a consistent basis, it might cause fetal harm as a side effect. Not because it’s suddenly more deadly. So common sense applies – wash your cooking surfaces before using them, don’t sprinkle Borax by an open flour container, etc. and you’ll be fine.

  • Justsayinhere

    You’re still wrong because chemicals having similar elements does not give them similar properties. See water/hydrogen peroxide, hydrochloric acid/table salt…oh and methanol/ethanol, a moonshiner’s challenge.

  • Justsayinhere

    I do realize that you have responded to other comments claiming you understand and were just trying to keep people from throwing borax everywhere, something those of us in chemistry often assume to be common knowledge not to do, but you really have to be careful with your science. The article perpetuates some very common misunderstandings about chemistry that are used to push dubious claims on a daily basis. Oh and I forgot to mention, organic and inorganic mean completely different things in chemistry and therefore the msds and articles you were reading – organic refers to certain types of chemicals with a lot of carbon. Inorganic refers to all other types, like metals or ionic salts. Many organically used pesticides are inorganic chemically and maybe even much more so vice versa. Thought I would actually explain that for you.

  • steve

    thank you for your great respect.

  • 😉

  • I’m intrigued that the “chemists” and “science pros” all seem to post multiple comments.

    What were they surfing the web for I wonder to myself? Justification as to why they use Borax, looking to see if it’s safe before they try and tackle a bug job????? I guess I’ll never know. I also guess since my info is from reputable sources, are they writing those folks too to voice their opinions?
    Another common theme is that I’m called dubious or a shill or other such thing….tsk tsk….

  • As a matter of fact–salt IS more toxic than many of the products on most bug trucks…….Great article idea, thx.


    WRONG. Ok, Well, you’re not quite right.

    Borax is very safe – even for ingesting. It really is comparable to toxicity of table salt. And, notice, no one is going to overdose on salted food or drink. Borax is great for candida and other fungal infections.

    *BORAX is just a mineral from the earth, and is safe and works great for internal fungal infections, and externlly for athletes foot.

    DOSAGE for internal use is 1/8 teaspoon Borax (must use fragrance-free and additive-free brands, like 20 Mule Team) dissolved in 1 Quart of warm water, then sip throughout the day. If you weigh more than 150lbs, then you can use 1/4 teaspoon of Borax per quart of water. Also drink plenty of pure water to help flush candida or other fungus from body. Borax will also kill many other germs due to the high alkaline PH of this drink. Only drink for 4 days, and in between, take 3 day break. Then repeat until problem is gone.

    Also use extra Vitamin C, three times per day to help with detox symptoms like headaches and muscle aches. Vit C makes a big difference.

    Dissolve 1 cup in warm water and soak feet for 20 mins. Repeat daily till gone.


    BORIX ACID is UNsafe for ingesting, but 2 tablespoons in water works
    great for athletes foot. I tried it because it was recommended by a
    naturopathic doctor. Works OK, but I’ve had the best results by just
    applying iodine to the feet.


    last one is a typo:
    its BORIC ACID, not BORIX.

  • Thank you for your comment–most of your concerns have been addressed in the long list of others who share your view. Also, this is a two part article & I think you may have skipped that. And finally, you, & many others have missed the overall context of the article.. This link may help.

  • Duh

    Funny how homes keep getting treated for termites, STILL HAVE TERMITES ! To allow a company to pump 300 plus gallons of Toxic Poison around your home is irresponsible. Forget the bug doctor here. He is ill advised & wrong. Askthebugman. People around the world have, & still do. this guy here, must be a paid shill. If you have a crawl space, you can spray BORAX safely, on the floor joists, sill plates. Reccomended is 1 .5 cups per gallon of hot water. spray , let dry, spray, let dry, spray. for about $5 bucks, & the cost of a garden sprayer, your home will be protected. To say call in a pro, is to say DuH”

  • Duh

    This guy is a Corporate Shill : would this guy would rather have you Pump 300 Gallons of toxic chemicals around your house , that get flushed into our groundwater? Ask the bug man, & you will get a FAR different answer. Google: ask the bug man….. He knows who what where when & how. Theyve been using borax for over a century, For Insect repellant on insulation, fire retardant,…………………………………………………………………………… spray, your lumber with Borax before you build, & you wont ever have a problem with termite.

  • MaconSouthernGent

    Borax and boric acid can be quite deadly, if a crate falls on your head of the stuff. 15 grams of borax is almost two teaspoons. That’s a lot. I did a google search for known human deaths to borax and found nothing.

  • MaconSouthernGent

    fake news.

  • Floyd Adams

    boric acid is a natural substance just like saying asbestos is as natural substance and is mind thought to be the Wonder fire preventer and insulator wonder how many dead people it’ll take