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Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

How to Eliminate Ants with Borax Ant Powder



ant on white floor
If you see this guy and his friends in or around your home, learn here how to eliminate ants safely with borax ant powder.

There is indeed nothing like waking up early in the morning, excited to have your first coffee for the day, and seeing that somehow a tiny, little army has invaded your countertop.

Seeing how it is not only one or two, but hundreds, or probably thousands of ants that have invaded your space—this is stressful.

The real question is, how do you get rid of these ants?

Ants are one of the most common pests that every household encounters. It is impossible to ask for ants to totally disappear, as they exist in our ecosystem whether we like it or not. But if we are annoyed and bothered when they move into your house, it’s best to eliminate them to prevent them from further infesting your space.

But what’s the best, safest way to rid your home of ants?

Most people prefer a more natural solution for unwanted ants. It’s best to choose one that is free from harmful chemicals, especially if you have children and/or pets in your living space.

We highly-recommend using a borax ant powder, as it does the job of eliminating ants both effectively and safely.

What Is Borax?

Borax is a white mineral powder used for cleaning. It is most often used to remove stains and molds.

Borax can also be used as a laundry detergent to remove dirt and whiten linens and clothes. It can also get rid of bad odors in your wash as well as soften hard water.

Also importantly, it is effective in killing insects, especially ants.

Borax is considered a green product because of the absence of chlorine and phosphates in its makeup. It is made of a natural ingredient called sodium tetraborate.

Although borax is typically compared to boric acid, boric acid is often used in pesticides. They are significantly different, yet they do come from one compound.

Borax comes in a box with a warning for users, as the product itself is a skin and eye irritant and is dangerous when inhaled or swallowed. Aside from a skin rash, it can also cause mouth infection, vomiting, and, worst of all, respiratory problems.

Therefore, borax is not completely safe, and it should be kept away from kids and pets if you are using this solution in your home.

Why Is Borax Ant Powder Lethal for Ants?

Borax has a lesser toxicity rate for humans and animals compared to boric acid–except in the case of ants.

In fact, borax is fatal for ants. When ants eat bait containing borax, the chemical disturbs their digestive systems and eventually kills them.

The process of killing ants with borax ant powder is not instant. This is, in fact, a good thing. When it comes to effective ant control, eliminating the queen and the rest of the colony is essential, but they’re not exposed to the borax.

Making a solution of borax means that the worker ants, those who look for food to bring back to their colony, carry the borax bait back to the colony so that other ants, including the queen, will also eat it–and die.

How Do I Use Borax Ant Powder to Eliminate Ants?

If you want to use borax on ants, it is essential to know that ants are not attracted to the powder alone.

To entice them effectively to the borax, you need to mix the borax powder with a particular food to make the bait. You can choose sugar, peanut butter, honey, or any food that ants are known to love.

Besides creating an ant bait, you should also start investigating how the ants have been entering your home. The best way to do this is by following the ant trail. Once ants discover food, they tend to leave a “pheromone trail” so that other ants can also locate the food to take it back to their colony. The trails are the ideal location to place your baits,; placing one directly where they enter the house is the perfect strategy.

While doing all this, you also need to make sure that the borax ant bait is not visible or accessible to your children and pets at home. Therefore, planning where the safest places are to put the bait before placing them is a must.

How to Make Borax Ant Powder to Use Inside the Home

One of the most common recipes is mixing powdered borax with sugar water. Before you start, you need to gather the following ingredients:

· Powdered Sugar

· Borax Powder

· Warm Water

· Sealed Container (e.g., jar)

· Cotton Balls

· Small Plates or Lids

To begin making your liquid borax ant bait recipe, follow these easy steps:

1. Mix the borax and the sugar inside the jar. The borax is the ant’s demise, while the sugar is the bait.

2. Close the jar and shake it to mix the two effectively.

3. After shaking, open the jar and add warm water. Warm water can easily dissolve the borax and sugar, but you can actually use any temperature water.

4. Stir using a spoon or stick to dissolve everything completely and turn it all into a liquid solution.

5. Get the cotton balls, and soak them in the solution. The number of cotton balls to be used depends on the severity of the ant infestation.

6. Place the cotton balls on the ant trails. You can use lids or small plates to place each cotton ball if you want to prevent dirt and sticky floors. Remember to dispose of them after use.

7. Wash your hands afterward to remove all traces of borax.

ants eating borax ant powder bait
It’s not a pretty picture, but neither are ants in your home. Get rid of them using borax ant powder.

How to Make Borax Ant Powder to Use Outside the Home

If you are also dealing with ant problems outside your home, you should follow this simple borax ant bait recipe. To do this, you need the following:

  • Borax
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Sealed Container
  • Small Plates or Lids

Once you have the materials, use these steps to make the ant bait:

1. Pour borax and the powdered sugar into the jar.

2. Mix the two using a spoon, fork, or stirrer.

3. Place small amounts of the solid mixture on small plates or lids. This step is important as borax is known to be an herbicide, meaning it can hurt plants if exposed to it.

4. Place the lids or plates in the ant trail, but if you find the ant colony, ensure to place one as well.

How Long Does it Take for Borax Ant Powder to Get Rid of Ants?

It takes time for these recipes to perform their magic. Borax does not yield immediate results. Patience and persistence are needed while the borax ant powder does its job.

You will notice a difference in the number of ants you see as soon as 48 to 72 hours after you make and place your ant powder.

However, if you wish to eliminate a large ant colony, it will take longer to do so effectively. It’s best if you remain consistent with your borax bait, placing it in different places and re-applying it weekly. You also should expect that even when you have eliminated the ants, they may return, especially after a heavy rain when they are searching for another location for their colony.

How Else Can I Use Borax in My Home?

As we mentioned earlier, borax is not only used to remove ants and other pests, but it also has several brilliant handy uses in the household. Aside from the laundry use and removal of dirt and stains, the following are some of the household activities that can be effectively and safely used with borax:

  • Carpet cleaning
  • Preserve flowers
  • Dissolve sticky problems
  • Cookware cleaning
  • Fridge freshening
  • Rust removal
  • Toilet bowl cleaning


When you notice that ants are starting to invade your home, you probably stress that getting rid of them will be a major problem.

Worry not, as borax ant powder is the best solution to this quite common problem. To rid your home of these pesky pests, use either the liquid or solid borax baits described above to attract the ants and eventually kill the entire colony.

Borax is made of a naturally occurring material, which makes it environmentally friendly. That said, it contains a certain amount of toxicity that is not safe for humans and animals. Keeping it away from children and animals is essential.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How long does it take for borax to kill ants?

Borax ant treatment usually takes around 48 to 72 hours to take effect after the ants begin consuming it. It takes a longer time if you need to eliminate a large ant colony. To ensure the desired results, take the time to set up the borax bait correctly. Remember to re-apply it weekly.

Is boric acid or borax better for ant treatments?

Both boric acid and borax can be used for ants. In fact, you can use them interchangeably if you notice that the ants are not attracted to what you first used. For example, you may substitute boric acid for borax, and vice versa, if your bait is not working.

What is the best homemade ant killer?

The best and the easiest homemade ant killer is borax mixed with powdered sugar. We all know how ants love sweets, and sugar is definitely one of them! Therefore, combining borax and sugar is one perfect recipe of success for use against the ant colony.

What can I substitute for getting rid of ants if I don’t have any borax?

You can make use of baking soda to kill ants. The steps in making bait are similar to borax. Mix baking soda and powdered sugar and place the combination on a plate or jar lid, or sprinkle it over the ant trail.

Additional Resources:

Image Credits from Flickr: “TN ant 111710” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by tracywoolery; “Kool-aid for Everybody” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by nullboy

Kitchen Professor author
About the Author: Rose Reinhard

Rose Reinhard is a Thai-American foodie from Chiang Mai, Thailand. She's been a creative writer since she could speak and enjoys making vegetarian/vegan dishes and reading about food science. She claims her air-fryer is the best purchase she’s ever made to date.

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