If you have a rat problem, you may be wondering if borax can be an effective and safe way to get rid of them. With borax being a common household product found in many laundry rooms, using it to kill rats can seem like an easy DIY pest control solution.

But does borax really work on rats and is it a good idea to use it? Let’s take a closer look.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Yes, borax can be an effective rat killer when used correctly. The borax powder causes dehydration and damages their digestive system when ingested.

However, precautions are needed as borax can also be toxic to pets and humans if consumed.

What Is Borax?

Borax, also known as sodium borate, is a naturally occurring mineral compound that is widely used for various purposes. It is composed of sodium, boron, oxygen, and water. The chemical formula for borax is Na2B4O7•10H2O.

Chemical composition

Borax is made up of sodium ions (Na+), boron ions (B4O7-), and water molecules (H2O). The boron ions play a crucial role in the effectiveness of borax as a rodent control agent. When ingested by rats, borax interferes with their digestive system, leading to dehydration and ultimately death.

It is important to note that while borax is effective against rodents, it is relatively safe for humans and pets when used properly.

Common household uses

Borax has a wide range of household uses due to its unique properties. It is commonly used as a cleaning agent, laundry booster, and disinfectant. It can remove tough stains, neutralize odors, and kill bacteria.

In addition to its cleaning properties, borax is also used in various DIY projects, such as making slime or preserving flowers.

When it comes to rodent control, borax is often recommended as an alternative to chemical-based products. Its effectiveness in killing rats and mice has made it a popular choice for homeowners. However, it is important to follow the instructions carefully and use it in a controlled manner to ensure the safety of both humans and pets.

How Does Borax Kill Rats?

Borax, a common household product, has been touted as an effective method for controlling rats. But how exactly does it work? Let’s take a closer look at the mechanisms behind borax’s rat-killing abilities.

Dehydration effects when ingested

When rats ingest borax, it can have a dehydrating effect on their bodies. Borax is a desiccant, meaning it absorbs moisture from its surroundings. When rats consume borax, it can absorb the fluids in their digestive system, leading to severe dehydration.

Rats rely on water sources to survive, and without access to sufficient fluids, they can become weak and eventually succumb to the effects of dehydration.

Damages digestive system

Borax also damages the rats’ digestive system, further contributing to their demise. When rats consume borax, it reacts with the acids in their stomach, forming boric acid. This acid can corrode the lining of their digestive tract, causing ulcers and internal bleeding.

The damage to their digestive system disrupts their ability to properly absorb nutrients, leading to malnutrition and eventually death.

Not an instant kill method

It is important to note that using borax as a rat control method is not an instant kill solution. Unlike traditional rodenticides that cause immediate death, borax takes time to work. Rats may not exhibit immediate symptoms after consuming borax, and it may take several days for the effects to become apparent.

This delayed action allows the rats to carry the borax back to their nests, potentially eliminating more rats in the process. However, patience is required when using borax as a rat control method, as it may take time for the population to be effectively reduced.

Is Using Borax to Kill Rats Effective?

When it comes to rodent control, using borax as a method to kill rats can be effective if used properly. Borax, also known as sodium borate, is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used for various purposes, including pest control.

Its effectiveness in eliminating rats lies in its ability to dehydrate the pests, leading to their eventual death.

Can eliminate rat populations when used properly

Borax works by disrupting the rats’ digestive system and causing dehydration. When rats ingest borax, it damages their stomach lining, leading to internal bleeding and dehydration. This ultimately results in the rats’ demise.

However, it is important to note that using borax alone may not completely eradicate an entire rat population. It is best used as part of an integrated pest management approach that includes other methods of rodent control.

Combining borax with other rat control methods, such as sealing entry points and using traps, can increase the effectiveness of eliminating rats from your property. By using a combination of different strategies, you can target rats from multiple angles and improve the overall success rate of rodent control.

Risk of rats avoiding borax bait

While borax can be effective in killing rats, there is a risk that some rats may avoid consuming the bait altogether. Rats are known to be cautious creatures, and if they detect the presence of a foreign substance in their food, they may avoid it entirely.

This can be particularly true if there are alternative food sources readily available to them.

To mitigate this risk, it is essential to ensure that the bait is highly attractive to rats. This can be achieved by using a combination of enticing food baits and incorporating borax into them. By making the bait enticing and irresistible, you can increase the chances of rats consuming the borax and, ultimately, achieving successful rodent control.

May need to use in combination with other methods

While borax can be effective in killing rats, it is important to recognize that it may not be a standalone solution for rodent control. Rats are intelligent creatures and can quickly adapt to various control methods.

Therefore, it is recommended to use borax in combination with other rat control techniques to maximize its effectiveness.

Some additional methods that can be used in conjunction with borax include setting up traps, sealing entry points, and maintaining proper sanitation practices. By employing a multi-faceted approach, you can create an environment that is less conducive to rat infestations and increase the chances of successfully eliminating these pests from your property.

Potential Risks and Precautions When Using Borax

Toxic to pets if ingested

While borax can be effective in controlling rodents, it is important to be aware that it can be toxic to pets if ingested. Dogs and cats are curious by nature, and they may be attracted to the smell or taste of the borax bait.

It is crucial to keep the bait out of reach of your pets to prevent accidental ingestion. If you suspect that your pet has consumed borax, seek immediate veterinary assistance.

Harmful to humans if consumed

Although borax is generally considered safe for humans when used properly, it can be harmful if consumed in large quantities. Ingesting borax can cause gastrointestinal issues, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

It is essential to keep borax away from areas where food is prepared or consumed, and to avoid any direct contact with the substance.

Proper storage away from children and pets

When using borax for rodent control, it is crucial to store it in a secure location away from children and pets. Keep it in a locked cabinet or high shelf where it cannot be accessed accidentally. Children and pets are naturally curious, and it is important to take precautions to prevent any unintended exposure to the borax.

Wear gloves and mask when handling

When handling borax or preparing bait stations, it is recommended to wear gloves and a mask to protect your skin and respiratory system. This will help minimize any potential irritation or allergic reactions that may occur from direct contact with the substance.

Safety should always be a priority when working with any potentially harmful substance.

Keep away from edible gardens

If you have an edible garden or grow your own fruits and vegetables, it is crucial to keep borax away from these areas. Borax is not intended for use on edible plants and can be harmful if ingested. Avoid applying borax bait near your garden to prevent any potential contamination of your crops.

Remember, when using any pesticide or rodent control method, it is important to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. If you have any concerns or questions about using borax for rodent control, it is always best to consult with a professional pest control expert.

How to Use Borax to Get Rid of Rats

Mixing borax powder with bait

If you’re considering using borax to eliminate rats, it’s important to know how to mix it with bait properly. Borax is a natural mineral compound that has been found to be effective in killing rats. To make a homemade rat bait using borax, you’ll need to mix it with something that will attract the rats, such as peanut butter or bacon grease.

Start by combining equal parts of borax powder and the bait substance of your choice. Stir the mixture well until it forms a thick paste-like consistency.

Pro Tip: To make the bait even more enticing, you can add a small amount of sugar or honey to the mixture. Rats have a sweet tooth, and this will make the bait irresistible to them.

Bait placement tips

Once you have your borax bait prepared, it’s time to strategically place it in areas where rats are likely to frequent. Look for signs of rat activity, such as droppings or gnaw marks, to identify their pathways.

Place small amounts of the bait mixture in these areas, making sure to keep it out of reach of children and pets. Rats are cautious creatures, so it may take some time for them to trust the bait. Be patient and avoid disturbing the bait stations.

Did you know? Rats have poor eyesight but an excellent sense of smell. Placing the bait near their pathways or in areas where they have left droppings will increase the chances of them finding and consuming the bait.

Covering droppings and dead rats

It’s important to cover any rat droppings or dead rats that you come across during the rodent control process. Rat droppings can contain harmful bacteria and viruses that can pose health risks to humans. Use disposable gloves and a mask when handling these materials.

To clean up rat droppings, spray the area with a mixture of water and bleach or a disinfectant solution, then wipe it clean with paper towels or disposable rags. Seal the droppings in a plastic bag and dispose of them properly.

Pro Tip: To prevent the spread of diseases, it’s crucial to thoroughly clean and sanitize the area where the rats were present. Use a strong disinfectant to eliminate any lingering germs or odors.

When to call a professional exterminator

While using borax for rat control can be effective in many cases, there are situations where it’s best to call a professional exterminator. If you have a severe rat infestation or if your DIY efforts have been unsuccessful, it’s time to seek professional help.

Exterminators have the knowledge, experience, and specialized tools to effectively eliminate rats from your property. They can assess the extent of the infestation, identify entry points, and develop a comprehensive rat control plan tailored to your specific situation.

Remember: Rat control can be challenging, and it’s essential to prioritize the health and safety of your family and home. If you’re unsure about using borax or if you’re dealing with a persistent rat problem, don’t hesitate to contact a professional exterminator for assistance.


Borax can be an effective DIY method to kill rats, especially when used properly along with other integrated pest management techniques. However, precautions are needed to use borax safely around pets and humans.

For severe rat infestations or if you want guaranteed elimination, calling a professional exterminator may be the best option.

We have covered the key points on using borax for rat control including how it works, risks, proper usage, and considerations around effectiveness. With this information, you can make an informed decision on whether borax is the right solution for your rodent problem.

Just remember to always use caution and keep borax away from children and pets when laying out bait. A multi-pronged approach works best so combine borax with sanitation and exclusion methods for the best results in sending rats packing!

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