Pest Control

Kill Fleas With Borax: Flea Removal & Pet Safety

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Borax has been used for generations to eliminate nasty pests like fleas! This may be one of the best ways to kill fleas even. However, it may be harmful to your pets. So, what is the best way to kill fleas while using borax safely, you may ask? Well, let us find out down below.

Killing fleas with borax is a proven method, but it poses a real danger to your pets— especially cats. Never apply borax directly to your pets’ fur. This could seriously irritate their skin and— by grooming— enter their bodies and poison them.

Here are some steps to kill fleas safely with borax:

  • Wear protective gear, and keep your pets away from the treated area.
  • Apply borax powder to your dry carpets or upholstery.
  • Leave it to stand for a minimum of 6 hours.
  • Vacuum up the powder thoroughly.
  • Seal your discarded vacuum contents, and dispose of them away from home and out of your pets’ reach.
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This article will discuss the best ways to rid your home of fleas simply by using borax. You will also learn how you can keep your pets (and yourself) safe. Keep reading to find out more information.

What Is Borax?

Though borax sounds big and bad, it’s naturally occurring. Borax forms as a mineral deposit after the repeated evaporation of seasonal lakes. Its ‘green’ status has contributed to its popularity in the household, but, much like bear attacks, it doesn’t mean it’s good for you just because it’s natural.

Borax is an excellent cleaning product because it can convert water molecules into hydrogen peroxide (or, as it’s more commonly known, bleach). Because its pH of 9.5 is basic, it acts as a buffer and catalyzes the dispersion of other chemicals so that your cleaning products go further.

However, borax also acts as a poison. Its chemical make-up (boron, salt, and oxygen) blocks metabolic processes in all organisms— plants, bugs, people, and animals alike.

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How Does Borax Work?

Borax is an immensely effective pesticide because when it comes into contact with grooming insects (ants, fleas, cockroaches, and the like), they’ll attempt to clean it off with saliva. However, once it gets in their mouths, it will absorb into their bodies and, quite literally, destroy them from the inside. It doesn’t only poison them, but it shuts down their metabolisms and erodes their exoskeletons too.

It may sound cruel, but it is a highly efficient method of extermination when dealing with nasty, irritating infestations.

However, the problem is that borax can (and will) poison your pets the same way if you’re not careful. We will learn how to deal with this issue later in the article.

How To Kill Fleas With Borax

Borax is seen as the alpha and omega of home solutions. Borax is used for everything from cleaning to making slime for the kids. Overall, it is recommended in all scenarios, including extermination. Borax is regularly used to kill ants, roaches, and other creepy crawlies around the home and is the first thing to pop up when getting rid of fleas.

But, borax— also known as sodium borate— is a potent substance that you shouldn’t handle carelessly. You could accidentally poison your four-legged friends or damage your skin, eyes, or lungs if misused.

If you have an infestation, there are a few considerations before you begin. Read on to learn how to kill fleas with borax safely and effectively.

First Thing’s First: Preparation

Borax can be dangerous around pets, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid it entirely. So long as you’re cautious and responsible, it is, ultimately, one of the best and most effective household pesticides you can use. Before you begin, you’ll want to make a few arrangements to avoid later trouble.

Never handle borax with your bare hands. Get a pair of rubber gloves to protect your hands, and keep as much of your skin covered as possible. You’ll also want to wear a face mask, so you don’t breathe it in.

You’ll also have to ensure that your pets can’t get into the area you’ll apply the borax to. If they do, they risk inhaling or walking over it and ingesting it later while grooming. If possible, keep your pets out of the house while the borax works. If you can’t do that, take it room by room so that you can close your doors (or barricade them) so that your pets can’t get to the treated area.

Tip: Keep children away from borax as well. It may not be as toxic to humans but can still cause severe health problems if it gets on your kid’s skin or is ingested.

Step By Step Guide To Kill Fleas With Borax

The time has come to slay those nasty bloodsuckers. When your pets are safe and distracted, and you have some time to spare, here’s what to do:

Step 1: Pre-Clean Your Floors

You don’t want to get borax on anything valuable or important, so tidy up before applying it to your carpets. Pick up and pack away any items that might have dropped or left on your floor, like toys or shoes. It’s also a good idea to vacuum before starting the treatment.

Step 2: Apply The Borax

Grab your get to work. Gently sprinkle the borax powder onto your dry carpet and, if need be, your upholstery. Try not to go overboard with this. Remember that borax is toxic, and the more you use it, the greater your risk of inhaling it.

Fact: Moisture changes how borax behaves. If your carpets are wet before you apply them, they could become permanently bleached, streaked, or discolored.

Step 3: Work It In

If you have a carpet brush— or any brush that you don’t mind sacrificing— you can use it to work the borax deep into your carpets for extra effect. This isn’t necessary, but it may improve the efficiency of your flea killer. If you do this, don’t forget to wash (or dispose of) the brush you used.

Step 4: Leave It To Stand

Here’s the boring part. Once your carpets are coated, you must let them stand for at least 6 hours— more if possible. Some experts recommend letting the borax work for 1-2 days. Be sure to keep your pets and kids away from the area throughout this time and close the door (if you can), so the fumes won’t reach you.

Step 5: Clean It Up

Once the borax has run its course, you’ll have to clean it up thoroughly. The best way to do this is to vacuum. It’s recommended that you do this twice— once to get rid of the power and fleas, and a second time for good measure.

Step 6: Dispose Of The Borax Safely

You’ll have to clean your vacuum once you’re done. If you use a bagged vacuum, you must empty it outside. Vacuum bags tend to cause plumes of dust when opening them, and the last thing you want is a cloud of borax in your face. Wear a mask or face covering if possible, and rubber gloves to be safe, as mentioned previously.

Empty the dirt into a garbage bag, seal it, and throw it in the trash— out of reach from pets and children and discard it as far away from home. This will ensure that surviving larvae don’t hatch close enough to your home to get back inside. Wash your hands with soap when you’re done.

If you wish to have a bit more information, here is a quick 2 1/2 minute video for you to watch:

Precautions When Killing Fleas With Borax

Before you begin your flea removal, there are some serious warnings that you’d do best to heed. It’s a good idea to read your product’s label thoroughly and only use borax as advised. Failure to do so may result in illness or injury and could be deadly for your pets. Keep the following in mind:

Never Apply Borax Directly To Your Pets Body

This is extremely dangerous for the same reason that it’s such an effective flea killer. If you sprinkle the borax powder onto your pet’s coat, they will attempt to groom, ingest the borax, and face severe consequences. Pets who swallow borax may experience the following:

  • Excessive drooling and dehydration
  • Itching or other skin irritation
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Shaking, twitching, or tremors
  • Kidney or other organ damage

Borax Is Not Safe Near Cats

It would be best not to expose pets to borax, but cats are susceptible to its effects. Even if cats are simply around borax and happen to inhale it, it could poison and kill them. Removing fleas with borax is strongly discouraged if you have cats at home.

Do Not Mix Borax Into Pet Shampoos

You will not dilute borax’s effects if you mix it into your pet’s bath or shampoos. If your pet has a severe flea problem, you have no choice but to purchase specialized and veterinarian-approved products to help them.

How to Kill Fleas On Clothing

Sometimes fleas make their way onto your bedding, pet blankets, and clothing. Borax is an active ingredient in many detergents, but it’s still not great for your skin and may cause irritation, rashes, or burns.

Using borax to kill fleas on clothing is unnecessary as there are safer ways. A washing machine on a high setting, with warm water and conventional detergent, is often the most rigorous and effective way to rid your fabrics of fleas.

However, if the infestation has become unbearable and you need more extreme methods of cleaning your textiles, go ahead and use borax— you’ll have to be extra careful. Here’s what to do:

1. Buy Borax Detergent

Borax detergents are widely available from several retailers, even online. You can find borax-based detergents, brighteners, or boosters, so take your pick. This is the most convenient way to safely add borax to your washing load. Use as directed on the packaging.

2. Mix Your Own Solution

If you can’t get your hand on pre-mixed borax detergent, you can make your own. Borax is safe to add to washing powder or bleach, but, as a precaution, don’t forget your gloves. The recipe is simple too. All you have to do is mix equal parts of borax and washing powder.

3. Do Your Laundry

Add your borax mix to your washing machine like any detergent, and let the machine take care of the rest. Some DIYers suggest soaking your clothes in borax water first to pre-wash them. You can try this if you like, but I wouldn’t recommend it as this could stain and ruin your clothes.

4. Rinse Thoroughly

Once your laundry is done, it won’t hurt to give it an extra rinse or two to be safe. Depending on how sensitive your clothes (or bedding) are, it’s a good idea to wash it once with borax detergent and then a second time with borax-free washing powder or liquid.

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What To Do If Your Pet Ingests Borax

Accidents happen. Even if you follow all the precautions, you could have an emergency where your pet eats or comes into contact with the borax. You’ll have to act fast, but don’t panic.

If your pet has borax on their fur, you should rinse their mouth and other sensitive areas (for example, the areas around their eyes and ears). You will also have to prevent them from licking or biting themselves. 

Next, bathe them. You may have to do so repeatedly. Even if your pet appears clean and borax-free, keep an eye on them for any signs of illness or changes in behavior. If you notice anything strange, you must take them to a vet as soon as possible.

On the other hand, if your pet most certainly ingested borax, don’t wait. Take your pet to a vet immediately. The vet will induce vomiting or pump your pet’s stomach. It’s not easy to deal with, but it’s necessary.

Borax Doesn’t Prevent Flea Infestations

Borax is a great way to get rid of fleas, but it won’t deter them. If you don’t catch or kill them, a repeat infestation could (and likely will) occur. Since borax can be dangerous, you shouldn’t make a habit of using it in your home. It’s much safer to prevent flea infestations, so make an effort to ensure they don’t move in. It’s better for your pets and will save you a ton of effort in the long run.

Final Thought

In a nutshell, borax can most definitely remove fleas from within your home. However, taking the necessary precautions if you have animals due to potentially ingesting borax is wise. Overall, we wish you the best of luck in getting rid of these pesky creatures!

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Hubert Miles | Licensed Home Inspector, CMI, CPI

Hubert Miles is a licensed home inspector (RBI# 2556) with more than two decades of experience in inspection and construction. Since 2008, he has been serving South Carolina through his company, Patriot Home Inspections LLC. As a Certified Master Inspector, Hubert is dedicated to providing his expertise in home inspections, repairs, maintenance, and DIY projects.