The finishing.com Hotline: Serious Education ... plus the most fun you can have in metal finishing. Ted Mooney, Webmaster
Common uses for boric acid
An ongoing discussion from 2000 through 2016 . . .(2000)
Q. I have always worked but about 2 1/2 years ago, I became highly chemically sensitive to all perfumes, fragrances, dies, materials that are man made like polyester, rayon, etc. I worked in a coal mine for 1 1/2 years and I believe that CO2 exposure, coal dust, sulfur and methane gas built up in my system and made me highly sensitive. All man made chemical products such as cleaning fluid, hair spray, shampoo, conditioner etc. Exposure can either bring on asthma, make me feel drunk, or even cause my throat to swell. I have to keep epinephrine with me at all times for severe reactions.
I tolerate borax (if it has no scent added) and have been looking for a source to purchase larger amounts of it. I picked up a bottle of Boric acid at the grocery store thinking that maybe I could make borax but can not find instructions. Can boric acid be made into a borax type mixture? Can boric acid be used in laundry as a whitener? What is boric acid used for besides eyewash? Can anyone tell me how to mix the eye wash and what it is used for? What are other common uses for it? Any info will be greatly appreciated. Can boric acid be used to make shampoo? I took several chemistry classes and labs at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology but it has been quite a few years. Is boric acid dangerous in any way?(explosive when combined with another chemical?, etc.)Deb L Kisgen
- Gillette, Wyoming
Griffith brand Borax
A. Borax is Na2B4O7.10H20, It sounds like a natural, mined product, so it has impurities in it.
You won't be blowing yourself up with it if it is used according to the Technical Bulletin and Material Safety Data Sheet. Get both from the manufacturer.
Falls Township, Pennsylvania
A. The school of mines caught my attention. I attended the same and graduated with my bachelor's and master's ( material science and metallurgy ).
We use Borax and Boric acid extensively in non-ferrous industries for melting & casting . These are used to clean up the metal once melted. Powdered Borax and Boric acid is added to the top of the liquid metal. Borax causes incipient (local) melting spots and causes the thick slag to become fluid while boric acid makes it sticky and glassy. This helps in easy removal of the oxides/slag from the liquid metal.
Boric acid is one of the main constituents in making ant-killer potions.
I am not aware of any harmful effects from using Borax.
I hope this information helps you.
- Alden, New York
Ed. note: Boric acid is relatively benign, but for a deep look please see http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/search2/r?dbs+hsdb:@term+@rn+10043-35-3 for important health information. Boric acid can be dangerous, like just about anything else.
The following discussion has about a hundred postings. We've tried to group them to speed up finding what you're looking for. The discussion rambles a bit, and not everything fits neatly into little boxes, but here are the general topics:
Misc. Other Uses|
For Ear Problems||
Where to Get It|
Athlete's foot/jock itch ||
Cats & Dogs ||
General Safety Questions|
Boric acid as eyewash(2001)
Q. My mom has always used boric acid as an eyewash. She cannot remember the formula for mixing it. My new grandson has an eye infection for 2 months that hasn't responded to antibiotic formula. My neighbor told me her son had similar problem 20 years ago.
This is the formula she used:
- 1/4 tsp. boric acid powder
- 1/4 tsp. powdered golden seal
- mix into 1 pint very hot water
- allow to cool and strain very carefully through cloth or coffee filter.
- 1/4 tsp. powdered golden seal
Make sure no fine granules are in the solution. Wash eyes numerous times per day until infection is cleared up. Mom says she puts it in the great grandkids eyes for infection and it clears up after 1 or 2 applications. She has also used it for her cat and only had to apply one time. Mom didn't use golden seal.Kaia Water
- Ashland, Oregon
A. My mother used a very mild boric acid solution, comprised of one teaspoon of boric acid dissolved in one quart of sterile (boiled) water, to wash our eyes when we were infants. It worked for cleaning up discharges from minor eye infections and I used it successfully for my children as well.Frances Minter
- Houston, Texas, U.S.A.
A. My mother also used Boric Acid as a wash for stuck-shut eyes. When my first born's eyes got infected, I went to the pharmacy in search of Boric Acid. Then I questioned myself wondering if I was right in what she used and I asked the pharmacist. He said that I was remembering right and Boric Acid is great for clearing up eye infections. (I have also used it on my 32 year old horse when his eyes are infected.)Connie Holton
- Damascus, Massachusetts, USA
I have been searching pharmacies for advice on using Boric Acid for runny, or worse yet, infected eyes. No one knew what I was talking about. So glad to see others have used it in their families, and to have found ways to mix it. IT REALLY WORKS!Barbara Willcox
- Portland, Oregon
A. I have been using Boric acid (one tablespoon in very hot water ... wait till it cools down) since I was 15 in Greece; my mother told me to do it every spring when I was getting eye infections. I am using contact lenses and sometimes I forget to take them off for several weeks, and get infections -- I use Boric acid solutions for a couple of days 2 times a day and the infection goes away. It helped me for over 30 years (I am 48) so it might be safe.
Why Boric acid instead of the doctors prescription (isoptomaxindrol, maxidex, etc.)? Because it works faster. Of course it is getting harder to get it from the pharmacy in Greece or in the US. Whenever the pharmacist asked me what I use it for and I said for my eyes, he refused to give it to me ... so I had to find another excuse.George Trivizas
Q. I have been using Boric Acid for years to bathe my eyes when they become tired or irritated. It works wonderfully, however, I do not use it in my eyes. I am now in a position of not being able to find it in the stores. My last container was from Puritan Chemical Company, but the only address on the container is Portland, Ore. We have been to several drug stores and they don't even seem to know what I am asking for. This is an important product for me to have in my cabinet as I have a very dry eye that has has several surgeries and it does not close completely. It becomes irritated very easily and this is the only thing that I have found that works. Can you direct me to where I can find this product and maybe make myself more clear as to what I am asking for. The only thing they have directed me to is Boric Acid Roach Killer -- Ouch!Rhea Newman
- Dallas, Texas
A. Pharmacy grade Boric Acid is quite an amazing substance with a wide range of applications and uses. Around the home it can be used as a mild antiseptic, insecticide and YES ! people, it is also used as an EYE and EAR WASH solution for humans and animals. The directions for mixing Boric Acid (purchased at a pharmacy) into an EYE WASH solution,used to be PRINTED ON THE CONTAINER LABEL. I last purchased a 4 ounce container at my local drug store under the "Swan" Brand Name. Distributed by: Cumberland-Swan, Inc. Smyrna, Tennessee 37167. However, you will no longer find the direction for creating the eyewash solution on the containers. My grandmother and mother often made this solution to treat minor bacterial eye and ear infections including pink eye, styes and yeast infections of the ear. I make it myself and use it safely and effectively. Note that the following directions for mixing the solution WERE NOT found on the "Swan" container. Cumberland-Swans product is used only to illustrate its availability to the general public. One: Sterilized eye dropper bottle. One: Pint of "DISTILLED" water. One Half: TEASPOON Boric Acid Powder:
Bring one pint of distilled water to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to stand for 30 seconds before adding one half teaspoon of boric acid to the hot water, in the same container that the water was boiled in. (ensures germ free environment). When the powder is thoroughly dissolved and the solution is cool enough, carefully fill the eye dropper bottle with the solution and replace the cap on the bottle. Be sure to allow solution to completely cool before using it. WHEN USING THIS SOLUTION IN THE EYES AND EARS, DO NOT USE ANY THAT WAS NOT PLACED INTO THE STERILE EYE DROPPER BOTTLE. DISCARD ANY SOLUTION THAT IS NOT USED WITHIN 24 HOURS; MAKE FRESH SOLUTION ** DAILY **. DO NOT TOUCH THE TIP OF THE EYE DROPPER TO ANY SURFACE THAT IS NOT STERILE AND DO NOT TOUCH THE EYE OR SURROUNDING AREA WITH THE EYE DROPPER. A LARGER CONTAINER MAY BE USED TO STORE SOLUTION IF AN EYE WASH CUP IS TO BE USED INSTEAD OF AN EYE DROPPER. SOLUTION MAY BE USED 2 to 4 DAILY. EXTENDED USE IS NOT RECOMMENDED. ANY EYE PROBLEM SHOULD BE CONSIDERED SERIOUS, YOU SHOULD ALWAYS CONSIDER SEEING YOUR DOCTOR FIRST.Steve Hurt
- N. Clarendon, Vermont
Just came across this thread. Thanks so much for all the information. A friend of mine has Shingles, (in her eyes) I am going to let her read about boric acid eye wash. Thanks again.Rayetta Bahl
- North Carolina
Ed. note: Pardon the volume of postings on this subject, but see also letter 7156, "Boric Acid as an Eyewash".
Boric Acid for Ear Problems(2001)
My Grandmother was a midwife/country herbologist, she helped people with many ailments. Here's some for boric acid I use all the time. Hope it helps you too.
Swimmers Ear Drops:
1 T. boric acid
4 oz. distilled water
1 T. vinegar or alcohol
Drop in ears after swimming to destroy any fungus swimming may have caused. (Much cheaper than buying it or doctors visits)
Get a little spray bottle
Mix boric acid to distilled water. (1/2 cup to gallon)
Spray on wounds for minor antibiodic care.
Eye Irritations (including Pink Eye):
1 T. boric acid
4 oz. saline water (distilled and salt tablets or saline wash for contact users works well)
Flush eye several times daily.
** note also Chickweed Oil mixed in place of Boric Acid works well also in place of each of these recipes. NOTE chickweed oil cost more but it's very effective and is wonderful full strength in ears for infection and itching.Jani Hallam
- Magnolia, Texas
A. My child quit responding to antibiotics (repeated middle ear infections) some time back but the docs kept prescribing it for every little thing. The last ENT we went to at the South Bend Clinic prescribed boric acid powder to puff into her ear to cure a nasty prolonged case of swimmer's ear. He said to keep the infected ear dry for a week, puffing about the equivalent of a crushed tylenol amount into the ear with a bulb syringe every morning and evening. WORKED WONDERS! I still swear by the 50/50 alcohol & vinegar drops after swimming but the boric acid powder works wonders when the ear won't dry out.Rachel Sellers
Uniqueweddings.org - Niles, Michigan, USA
Thank goodness for this site--- my husband has persistent case of clogged ears-- he keeps telling me about this boric acid solution he used in the past- passed on by his father--- I would not let him under any circumstances do it - I only knew of boric acid for killing roaches and was horrified as to what it might do to my husbands ears- well after doing research and checking out this site I know he's not crazy and I'm not terrified anymore. Thanks guys!Melissa Taylor
Boric acid for athlete's foot / smelly feet / jock itch(2001)
Q. Someone told me that boric acid can be used to treat athletes foot and if so what is the appropriate mixture and process to use this product?James Provine
- West Liberty, Iowa, United States
A. Hi all, perhaps this story will help.
I was in Mexico visiting my aunt, and I showed up at her door after having spent 24 hours straight on a bus from Guatemala. I was wearing hiking boots and have been known to have sweaty feet. As soon as I took my boots off in her house she pointed me to a container with a white powder.
After washing my feet I applied the powder directly onto my feet and sprinkled some in my boots. For one of the first times in recent years I was not worrying about how stinky my feet were.
Apparently her husband was in the Mexican army and upon walking into the rancid barracks recommended that his COs put out bowls of boric acid for the soldiers to rub their feet with. It worked so well he got a promotion on his first day. cheers, jerodJW [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- ottawa, ontario, Canada
A. I don't know about boric acid killing athletes foot or toenail fungus. However, I have gotten rid of both by soaking my feet in a bleach water solution. I don't have a ratio of bleach to water, but the worse the athletes foot, the more bleach I used. It may sting a little, but it gets rid of the problem. It's a little more tricky for the toenails. Just make sure that the bleach gets under the toenail. It takes longer to cure than athletes foot so be patient. Sorry for the non-metal reference, but I know how nasty these things can be and bleach is cheap and easy to use.:)Jannelle Robinson
- Dunlap, Tennessee
Q. I've read the information regarding athlete's foot but what about jock itch? Other over the counter remedies are used to treat both athlete's foot and jock itch. What proportions of boric acid to water? How would it be applied? Bath? Sprayed on and left to dry? Applied then rinsed?Eileen Russell
- Brookyn, New York
Q. My mom also used Boric Acid for eye infections. However, the last container I bought said "do not use for eyes." Good to hear your responses--I will start using it again. I have heard that Boric Acid is good for treating fungus infections. I noted with interest the message about and recipe for treatment of swimmer's ear. But, I didn't see an answer to a question regarding the use of BA for athlete's foot. Does anyone have more information on BA for use on fungus? I have been told that Borax will keep fleas out of the carpet--something about killing flea eggs. San Diego is perfect weather for flea infestations. Does anyone have information on use of Borax in carpets to prevent fleas.
Thanks,Dianne M. Cawood
- San Diego, California
Boric Acid for Yeast Infections
A. I use boric acid for recurrent yeast infections. There are a few pharmacists that provide boric acid capsules. Many state that it is too time-consuming. The treatment has been working for me, especially after continuous use of medications. The capsules can be obtained with a doctor's prescription. It's too bad that doctors don't provide this information more often.Lyn H [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Dallas, Texas
A. Boric Acid is the TRUE answer for yeast infections. I had battled one for weeks (following being on antibiotics for a bad case of strep throat)and in desperation went to a health store. I was told by a young woman there she had battled yeast infections for years until she found Boric Acid, and hasn't had once since. I used it, and it was gone within 24 hours. Purchase clear gel capsules (medium to large size) and fill with Boric Acid. Place in vagina two times a day. (The first day I used two capsules each time). It is THE remedy!Kimberly H. [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Louisville, Kentucky
Boric Acid for Lice & Chiggers(2003)
Q. Since moving to NC from Chicago, I have had intensely itching legs from chigger bugs. I used "Chigger Rid", nail polish, cortisone creams to no avail. My mother suggested boric acid in the tub and voila she cured me! I just wonder if anyone knows how boric acid works? Is it a drawing type treatment?Deb Russo
- Durham, North Carolina
Q. I have had problems , in my home, with something biting everyone.I have had the exterminator, been to the dermatologist and had the cats tested. They find nothing but I know we have either mites or possibly black flies. I cannot stand the fumes from sprays.
Do you think the boric acid may help ad can I mix it and spray around the wood work. Desperately.
These bites start as a light prickly feeling, a small red dot and when you scratch they bleed. I have tried everything and everyone is baffled.Edna Evans
- West chester Pennsylvania
A. In response to "These bites start as a light prickly feeling, a small red dot and when you scratch they bleed.I have tried everything and everyone is baffled."
That sounds like chiggers, there is a product called chiggerX that takes care of the bites and sulfur sprinkled around the house will keep them from coming into your house. Don't know if Boric Acid would get rid of them on the inside though.Lynne Lindsay
- Austin, Texas
Q. Here's an odd question. Can boric acid get rid of lice or fleas? I'm only asking this because I can't seem to get rid of lice from my school age child and I have a cat who so far doesn't have fleas but just in case for the future. A friend of mine said her mother used on her when she was younger when there was an infestation at her school and around her house when her pets had fleas. She also said it is non toxic just as long as no one ingests it. I've cleaned, cleaned, cleaned and all I have is an immaculate house despite having 2 young kids and a cat. All that lice killing shampoos and sprays help for a while but I'm assuming someone my daughter comes in contact with has them. And I'm also curious because the bottle of boric acid that I've seen is sitting right next to the lice shampoos. So I'm wondering if my friend is right. Help!Ginger Willis
- Fullerton, California, USA
A. LICE. When I was younger and poor, my kids got head lice at school; I couldn't afford the over the counter stuff so I used K 1 kerosene. Just of course keep away from fire and smokes while treating. Soak the hair with K 1 , wrap in a towel for a little while, then use one of the combs to comb out. ALL hair brushes, hats, pillows, sheets, and even the mattress must be disinfected. I learned later on that the lice can jump off one person to another if they are close ... usually with kids they are sharing hairbrushes, combs or even hats at school.Linda Martin
- Roxboro, North Carolina
Q. I have three girls with long hair, and the problem of head lice infestation is starting to drive me crazy! The medication you buy from the stores don't seem to work any more. I want to know if anyone knows if the borax acid mixture will or can work on their hair? If so how do I mix it or what do I do?Any advice or help would be great.Gina Harris
homemaker - Sacramento, California
June 18, 2014
A. A solution of 1/3 hydrogen peroxide mixed with 2/3 of water adding 20 mule team borax until it will not dissolve in the solution anymore will work for killing lice. After washing hair, rinse the mixture thoroughly into the hair and let dry overnight. In the morning rinse the mixture from the hair. You may want to repeat this process in two weeks.joann falcon
- houston, Texas, USA
Boric Acid as Insecticide(2002)
Q. I have a few roaches in my apartment and I want to get rid of them for once and all. A friend of mine told me to purchase some borax and sugar. She said once I put it down it will kill them and I want have the problem anymore. I do have two small children and I'm worried about them. How much borax do I use? How often do I use it? Is it harmful? Will we have breathing problems later on in life? What are the advantages? What are the disadvantages?Barbara Chojnacki
- Rahway, New Jersey
A. Regarding using boric acid for roach killer... A wonderful product that does just that. My mother is extremely allergic to the traditional insect killers such as bombs, repellant and aerosols. She also has a young cat. So I was also very concerned about inhalants for my mother and her cat.- Not to worry. I used a clear ketchup type bottle that has a good pointed end on it(like the ones you use on picnics) I filled the bottle using a funnel with the boric acid (no sugar). I went through every nook and cranny in her kitchen and literally just squirted the boric acid into the area. Including under and around the refrigerator, stove, I climbed up to the cabinets and squirted around all the hiding places. - It took me about an hour to go through everything in the kitchen. - But it was worth it. One week later I vacuumed everything.. moved the refrigerator there were only 3 roaches there, so I squirted more boric acid there. I vacuumed all the cabinets, one by one and put more boric acid behind all the containers and food stuff. This has now been more than 6 months ago... NEVER again have we fought with roaches again... No adverse reactions on my mother and of course the cat is unaffected because all the boric acid is in cabinets and under appliances. It's the first time in my life that she has not had to fight these insects off. -- Slightly time consuming to do, but definitely safe and well worth the time.. no more bugs. Not even one. Hope this helps.M.Lovelace
- Pamplin, Virginia, USA
Ed. note: Please see http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/search/r?dbs+hsdb:@term+@rn+10043-35-3 for important health studies. Boric acid seems relatively benign, but anything can be a dangerous material.
Boric Acid as an eye wash:
I recently purchased a large 12 oz. bottle of Boric Acid at my local Eckerd Drug store; It was located with the first-aid supplies. I had once heard of using Boric acid as an eye wash...through a biology professor. I recently asked a pharmacist (at a different pharmacy--which did not carry it) if Boric acid was the correct ingredient as an eye wash, and he concurred. He told me though, that it must be used very carefully... He said "the denominations were: 1 T. Boric Acid/Per 8 quarts of boiled water-which has then been thoroughly cooled to about room temperature.... He said that it is imperative that the water be boiled first...in order to properly sterilize it, and dissolve the Boric acid,etc.. Of course,you must take extra care to make certain that the solution has completely cooled to room temperature before using it (to prevent serious damage/burns). Also, If it's not dissolved properly it could scratch your eye as well.
Q. I don't know how to make a proper roach kill...but I once knew some people in Oklahoma who just sprinkled the powder directly to the back/bottom of their cupboards, cracks, & floorboards. I would caution though not to put it anywhere near dishes, utensils, food, or where a baby/infant might have access to, as it is poisonous.
Good Luck.S.M. Myers
- Amherst, New York
A. Regarding boric acid being used for flea infestations. I am currently going through a flea infestation and all the websites I found on natural flea repellants recommended sprinkling boric acid on all the carpets and furniture throughout the house, making sure to sprinkle under all furniture etc. For tile, linoleum etc., Dissolve boric acid in water and wash all floors with it. Vacuum the boric acid up 24 hours later and it is said to prevent fleas for 1 year(from pest removal companies), or until your carpets are shampooed. I am on my way out to buy some right now and try it out!Carla Matthiesen
- Yarrow, BC, Canada
A. I am the mother of 5 children and yes boric acid/borax can be used for roaches and for fleas. I would recommend putting it in the hiding places for roaches (as suggested by other responses). As for fleas, I had a bad flea infestation in 1993 and my 3 year old got impetigo. The exterminator suggested that it wasn't safe to have children around the chemicals used in exterminating fleas (not to mention it was pricey!). He told me to do this:
1) Vacuum the carpet
2) Sprinkle Borax all over carpet (don't let your children play on the floor).
3) buy one night light per room and put them UPSIDE DOWN in the lower outlet.
4) Put one drop of dish soap in bowls (as many bowls as night lights) and fill with water.
5) Place bowls underneath the night lights
Leave the borax on the carpet and the night light lit for 7 days. This is what happens. The lice will get the borax on/in them and start to die. In their panic they will want to feed. They will seek heat ..aka a host.. but the night lights are hotter than a human body so they jump on the night light rather than you. The heat knocks them off into the bowl of water. Normally, they could simply jump off the top of the water but since you have dish soap in it, they sink and drown.
THIS WORKS. I have used this MANY MANY times.Michelle Cannon
- New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Q. Carla M wrote regarding her flea infestation and was about to use a boric acid and water solution on her hard surface floors..i am now in the same situation with fleas in my all hard floor home..and I too, have been surfing the net for some answers-thats HOW I found this list! I would love to hear how it came out for you, Carla-any tips? TIA, fayi vaughn & beloved felines baltimore, Massachusetts - USAfayi vaughn
- baltimore Maryland USA
Again, this is not about finishing.
Re: boric acid and fleas, Boric acid usually has pH under 5 which is why it is an irritant and can be toxic in quantity.
There is a company called Fleabusters which will come to your house and use a carpet machine that "massages" (Sodium-PolyBorate with a neutral PH of 7.0) into your carpet. It acts as a desiccant when any of the microscopic particles of the negatively charged powder come in contact with the larvae, the pupae or the egg.
After 2-6 weeks the home is completely free of fleas, but you have to keep vacuuming to get the flea eggs to hatch and dry out the fleas. There is also a DIY brand called Terminator powder that you can put in your carpet and around your floors yourself. I have used the Terminator powder around puppies and my breeding dogs and consider it to be safe. It is an inorganic salt and, obviously, cleaning the carpet dissolves the powder and you must reapply when the carpet is dry. I found this page looking for a boric acid concentration to use in my show dogs ears for yeast infections. Several commercial ear washes for pets contain 2% solutions. I found descriptions on several online pet supply websites.
BUT, I just wanted to be sure it was safe for my 4-legged kids. I'm not sure I would be comfortable using the straight powder from the drugstore. (BTW, there are online drugstores which carry the boric acid if you have no local source.) There is an European Union website talking about their regs regarding safe concentrations for cosmetics, hair and bath products, etc.
Great info about the taxidermy supply(ed. note: see the "where to buy" section). With a lot of big dogs, might be an inexpensive source for treating carpets and play areas.
Thanks for all the other info, too.Lisa Fennell
- San Jose, California, USA
A. I have had great luck with Boric Acid as a bug killer!
Very safe around pets..my cats wouldn't go near the stuff, but to be safe put it where they can't reach it. As for fungus-especially feet and nails...a safer remedy than bleach is to add tea tree oil to warm water and soak your feet daily. It can be applied to nails with a Q-tip twice a day...it will smell though.
It will cure the fungus safer than the crap the MD will give you and it won't kill your liver doing it.Beth Crader
- Sandston, Virginia, USA
Q. Does anyone have information on actually putting a few grains of 20 Mule Team Borax on puppies to kill their fleas? My mother's farmhand said it works and won't hurt them. I'm sort of skeptical. We're talking newborn puppies and they each have hundreds of fleas on them. My mother insists that I do it, as her farmhand is very experienced with animals.Janine Barham
I find jobs for veterans - Scottsboro, Alabama
Q. I have fleas in my home and I have bombed twice and put the pet flea killing powder on my carpet and still had no luck and a friend of mine said to put boric acid on my carpets and work it in with a broom, What I want to know is, Does this really kill off all the fleas? Will they ever totally be gone? Right now they are biting on my kids and I like crazy and they also get in their hair! I gave the cat away a month ago so I have no pets now, will they go away with the boric acid all on its own? I have put it all through my carpets and they are still biting! PLEASE HELP! They are driving us mad and biting us constantly!Mindy Austin
- Erlanger, Kentucky, U.S.A.
Q. I recently moved into an older apartment building and love it all except I have seen roaches. I told my rental office about it but with the holidays the pest control can't come out until the middle of next week (Wednesday). My mother and even the rental office worker told me to try using boric acid in the meantime. I plan on using it but I also wonder if it will cause a problem when pest control comes next week to do their thing.Tracey Smith
- Northern Virginia
A. Hi: after 32 years in my home I discovered that I had roaches...could have brought them home on containers from store or they just wanted to take up residence. After researching the internet discovered that boric acid was cure. I made up a mix of 50% each boric acid & flour and went to town with a small plastic container in back of stove, fridge, counters, baseboards, bathroom, within a few days the problem was gone. I bought a 25 lb container on line...as I was told that boric acid does not go bad. It has been about 5 months and not one has shown up. Now my daughter has moved into an apt in NYC and within minutes found out that she has roaches so I made up a gallon container of the mix and am giving it to her and a friend. Also I made up a spray mix....l/4 cup boric acid to a quart spray bottle w/water for ants or meal moths if I spot them. works great good luck!Fran Cardinale
- Mastic Beach, New York
Q. RE: Boric Acid Powder. I have sprinkled the powder in the areas where I have seen the little sugar ants and it seems to have worked to repel them. I also have purchased the SWAN brand and I remember my mother using the stuff in an eye wash glass eyecup to clean our eyes, back in the l950's. I have experimented with using the powder directly on my large toenail to kill the ugly fungus but I didn't continue to use it daily and I still have the ugly toenail problem. I will try and keep consistently using the powder directly on the toenail and under the big toenail and see what happens.....Laura Madison
- Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Q. So is boric acid in powder form and squirted dry from a bottle a deterrent for carpenter ants? I will be professionally exterminated for the apartment tomorrow and in the spring, the exterior of the house will be done. I want to treat the porch areas as well as anywhere I may have seen ONE SINGLE ANT.Susan Johnson
- Springfield, Massachusetts
Q. I live in Iowa and they brought these stupid Asian (ladybugs) over to help the farmers with the bean crops. and they infest everything. But someone told me that you can use 20 mule team borax to get rid of them is there anyone who can tell me how to to this. I have pets and kids and don't want to do it wrong to cause harm to them just to the ladybugs and boxelders that feel the need to move in with us.
student - Volga, Iowa, USA
Q. Boric acid has many good remedies.. is it also good for termites.. my g-daughter is 9 months pregnant and has infestation...any help.C. Harney
- Carlisle, Kentucky, USA
A. Many years ago we lived in a rental house that was being taken over by roaches. I used powdered sugar mixed with boric acid in small plastic lids (like coffee cans etc) and also took a teaspoon and sprinkled over the door facings. In the middle of all this I put a few pieces of Purina Chunky Dog Food to lure them. In the night I would get up and find tons of bugs in the dog food bowl so it must have had something in it they liked so I used it as a lure. Couple of weeks later no bugs anywhere. It is time consuming but worth it.Catherine Baker
- Lexington, Kentucky, USA
A. Boric acid is good to kill termites, but it needs to be ingested. I made some a few weeks ago. I used boric acid mixed with safety antifreeze ( I used the RV stuff ). It allows for a longer wet time to allow it to penetrate the wood further.Paul Stiles
- Billings, Montana, USA
Q. What is the mix ratio of Polyglycol [anti-freeze]/boric acid for termite control? ThanksMarty Cone
- WPB, Florida USA
Q. My friends and I are joining this competition where we have to create something to help control the termite population. I was wondering whether is there a way to extract boric acid? An easier way, I mean. Not like the complicated industrial method that they're using now. Please reply ASAP. It's urgent.Natasya
Student - Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Q. We are looking for the recipe for an ant killer that uses borax soap. We understand that the ingredients are 20 Mule Team Borax, powdered sugar, and Fleishman's yeast, but are not sure of the proportions. We have been told that if you sprinkle this mixture around the perimeter of a home foundation, that ants will not enter.
retired - Portland, Oregon, USA
Q. So much for bragging rights. On Saturday I bragged to a neighbor of being fortunate to have lived in my current dwelling without seeing a roach or mouse for 20 years. I admitted to having twice a year occurrences with ants. Not a significant problem! I usually put down the little ant traps that have boric acid as an ingredient. Ants are gone--Bye Bye! I came home yesterday to find two WATER BUGS! After a restless sleep, I knew that I had to fall back on an old tried and true method (from rental days) of ridding my home from the god-awful critters. Boric Acid and Sugar. I was successful with finding and purchasing Boric Acid at my local grocer. I know that when I mixed the BA with sugar, the critters will be zapped. But, unlike in my rental days, now I have a beloved cat. I do not wish harm to come to my kitty. In order to eradicate the problem, I'd need to place the potion along the baselines of my home. How can I be certain that it will not have a negative affect on kitty?
Another note for others: The label states that the product should not be used in the eyes or as a dusting powder. The label also reads "Danger/Poison and gives indications about flushing the eyes and skin on contact. This being the case... how can it be used and for what purposes?Marva Campbell-Pruitt
- Chicago, Illinois
Q. re: using boric acid for roaches. . . . I've done it -- it's the only thing I'll use, and anyone from ABQ can tell you we have an insane number of roaches here. Important question, though: so far, I've only put it where the cat can't get to it. I'd like to do around the whole outside of the house, but I'm worried about her getting into it, rolling in it & cleaning herself, etc. Is it okay if she ingests it? Also, as an aside, I've always heard that once boric acid gets wet, it's no more good for roaches/ants -- but people here are saying they mix it with water or antifreeze(!). So what gives? Anybody have the scoop on this? Thanks.Erin [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Albuquerque, New Mexico
Thanks to Finishing.com for letting us range so far afield! Orthoboric Acid 99% is exactly what you want to kill roaches and repel them. Do a web search and you'll quickly find the MSDS for boric acid. When using it in advance of the exterminator's visit, you must first clean the ever-living-you-know-what out of the kitchen/bathroom or other infested area. Clean out the cabinets and PUFF the boric acid along the back. DO NOT 'apply liberally' as the package suggests (they want you to use a lot so you can run right out and buy more). Do this to wall cabinets and under-counter cabinets. Pull out the stove, dish washer and fridge. Clean these appliances THOROUGHLY. Dust the floors where the appliances go; again a little goes a long way. (While the appliances are out, fill all the cracks and crevices with foam or silicone sealer to prevent re-entry).
Do not sprinkle on the countertops or the floor where animals and kiddies can encounter the dust. These are the areas to place traps, gels and other bait-poisons. Keeping these areas free of boric acid will ensure that the pests are draw to your baits.
When the exterminator (FINALLY) gets there, show him/her exactly where you used what, so that he/she can compliment your efforts rather than complicate them.
Cut off all sources of water to the roaches: fix leaky pipes, insulate sweaty pipes, pour lysol or bleach in the sinks and down the drains and in the toilet every night. Don't over water plants and consider relocating or removing your fish tank. Cut off all sources of food: Clean, clean and clean some more. Never leave unwashed dishes on the table/counter or in the sink over night. Cut off all access to your home: Calk and fill every crevice the enemy might use to enter your home and don't forget to block their highways through the cracks at the back of your cabinets (you want them out where your poison baits are).
This may be a lot of work, but it is also the least toxic, least expensive approach. I did not have to call the exterminator (thank God) and I spent about $20 on ONE tube of gel bait, 2 cans of roach spray, and ONE bottle of Orthoboric Acid (because I couldn't find Borax).
As for losing it's efficacy when it gets wet, yes boric acid hydrates (absorbs water) and eventually becomes, essentially, a metal salt.Mr. Anonymous
- Boston, Massachusetts
A. I have used Roach Ridd which is 99% boric acid. It was made -some years ago - by Enforcer Products, P.O.Box 1068, Cartersville, GA 30120.
We had a flea infestation some years ago. When researching this seeking an effective flea killer, I was told that most commercial services come in and basically spread around boric acid, which is cheap, using some impressive sounding name for their proprietary product or process. I was told if you spread around boric acid then vacuum it up. It effectively kills fleas, roaches, and ?
I was also told that if a cat ingests boric acid, it can cause problems - possible liver or kidney damage, as I recall.G Wood
- Austin, Texas
Q. I am trying to get rid of colonies of ants in this old house that must be vast enough to cover the planet. Sugar ants, I was told, can be controlled by killing the queens using 1 cup water, 2 C sugar, 2 tbs. boric acid. I tried that and I am seeing more now. Is it because word got out to the other colonies that there's sugar town here? Or is it because the water dried and now it's no longer effective? It's all crusty.Lyd
- Seattle area, Oregon
Q. I Have been using boric acid around my house to get rid of roaches. It may be a coincidence, but ever since I sprinkled it around the edges of my bedroom, my nose has been very dry and stuffy, and even bleeding a few times. Could this be a reaction to inhaling too much of the boric acid?Tara Dunsmore
retail - Rehoboth, Delaware
February 18, 2011
A. I place Boric Acid, from the pharmacy sized can, into the walls when doing remodeling work/trim work in my home. I do not leave it exposed to the elements where you can breathe the dust, and when placing it in the walls, I use a mask and gloves. I do this to ensure there are no creepy crawlers living in my walls - a trick I learned after a major flood in our first home. The boric acid lays in the walls/ on the floors in the walls, and any bugs that walk through it will die - it's just too acidic for them. I have never had breathing problems from doing this, nor has my family. Just fyi....Monica Hayes
- Louisville, Kentucky USA
May 19, 2011
A. I am replying to those looking for a way to kill bugs safely. Buy Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth -- food grade only! Use it to kill fleas, lice, roaches, spiders, etc. It's safe to use (you can even drink it in water 1/2 teaspoon in water per day) you can dust in on your pets . . . rub it into their fur -- it gets rid of all parasites and pests!
If you are trying to get rid of scabies you need to use borax and hydrogen peroxide in a bath daily for three days.
Hope this helps you all :0)
- Boston, Massachusetts, United States
June 14, 2012
Q. I have some kind of flies in my house. First they look very light beige /brown color, when they get bigger they turn Black. I am killing them for a long time but I can not get rid of them. I am planing to dissolve boric acid powder in water and spray and see if it works .Please help.
- Port Jefferson, New York, USA
Boric acid and cats & dogs(2002)
Thanks to the folks who put up this WEB-SITE for letting us get Off on this tangent (Talking about Animals/Boric-Acid): I too have a sick kitty & Ended "Up" here! (My cat is NOW getting better also).
But I *FOUND* INFO on Working with METALS- & FINISHES.. on your LINKS/below*-Listed on this PAGE.. that I had been looking for- but didn't quite know how to fIND-- My Husband & myself are looking for a hobby that we can do together -- [that may turn-into a New Business] and decided to Look into finding Out More Information; ('so~ by accident) - It has Helped us FIND the answers we were searching for..
Thank you again,Rosemary Baird
- Boring, Oregon, USA
Thank you, Rosemary . . . I think!
Boric acid is used in metal finishing; as a result it is mentioned frequently on this site, and in turn that put us into the search engines. The result has been that we've received questions about boric acid and athlete's foot, boric acid and bathing, boric acid and cats, boric acid and douches, boric acid and eyewash, boric acid and finishing, boric acid and garage dampness--and I'm sure we have the other 19 letters covered :-)
But we do warn people that these topics are generally not within the editors' or regular readers' expertise, so there may well be errors here that we are unqualified to correct. Also the web is, for practical purposes, anonymous--so a prankster could claim anything and we wouldn't even know who they are. So don't necessarily believe everything you read. Trust but verify?
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
I would like to say that this page is a wonderful source of information about the uses of boric Acid. I have an eight year old cat, who can get foxtails(weeds) in his eyes. I use boric Acid to clean it up after I've gotten the piece of weed out of his eye. It works wonderfully. I've used it in the past on kittens eyes also. Thanks for all the great information on how to use as a eye wash.Deb Rogers
- Adams, Oregon, USA
Q. I just bought some boric acid today at K-Mart as well as Juli. It doesn't come with solution preparation instructions. I want to use it in my dog's eyes to clear up a small infection. My mother's expired bottle(1987) said to use 1 Tbsp./pint. Is this still accurate and safe?
- Portsmouth, Ohio, USA
Q. I found some Swan Boric Acid Solution at a local "dime" store... can anyone tell me what percentage of Borax this is? it says nothing on the bottle. How would I substitute this for the Borax powder which I use with Gentian Violet [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] and alcohol in my dog's ears. Thank you.Jane Harding
- Darien, Connecticut, USA
A. I live way out in the boonies and at present my car is not running. Needed care for a new born kitten, infected eye. Nearest vet is about 60 miles away So Being the old lady that I am I told my daughter to get borax crystals. Would you believe the places she called that we could get to most did not even know what it was. When she told one guy what she wanted it for he told her it could not be used for the eyes. Guess what? My grandma delivered me and she cleaned my eyes with it way over 60 years ago. I still have my sight. I was delighted to find this site. My daughter is more at ease about cleaning the kittens eye.Vera All
- MSF, Missouri, USA
A. I am glad to find this thread on Boric Acid! Based on an article in the highly reputable Whole Dog Journal, I tried using pure boric acid in my dog's ears. Just a pinch in each one and massaged down into the canal with my finger. (She has had chronic ear infections for about 6 years and we've tried hundreds of dollars of prescriptions and over-the-counter drops, to no avail.) For the first time in years, she's not digging at her ears after the first application! If it ever flairs up again I will make a solution to wash them out with using BA and h2o. PS: my favorite cleaning product, and hand soap, is Boraxo. But that is NOT what I used in my dog's ears.Melinda Hofmann
- Bend, Oregon
May 23, 2016
I have tried everything for my dog's dry eye, and nothing worked until I mixed the boric acid with golden seal in distilled water. I am so pleased, thank you. The first day I could tell how great it works. He is blind in one eye and both were dry. He is happy because he can see out of his good eye. Thank You for this great site.Barbara Bachman
- Grove, Oklahoma USA
Ed. note: Pardon the volume of postings on this subject, but see also letter 11228, "Toxic effect of boric acid on animals?".
Misc. other applications for boric acid(2003)
Q. My first thought is that this thread should be renamed. As much as I would love to contribute to the metal aspect of this site I am more interested in the Boric Acid. I have an opportunity to purchase a home that suffered a water pipe break last winter. The home has extensive water damage and mold throughout. I am thinking about using Boric Acid in a fogger or similar device to mist the Boric Acid into the air and then to attach to all surfaces. The home has 1800+ sq. ft. plus the basement. I want to kill the mold before starting the reconstruction project. From other sites I have seen Boric Acid is the answer but I am worried about the color (if any) and an aid to help penetration into the pine studding. Any thoughts woyuld be greatly appreciated.
Thank You,James Smith
Metallurgical engineer (son of) - Liverpool, New York, USA
Let the threads go where they might ... I learned a lot --jtJohn Thibadeaux
- Oceanview, Hawaii, USA
A. I use Boric acid and water in a 5 Gallon pail to soak my work shirts in. It helps keep them from getting lots holes from welding sparks.Robert Carlson
- Gooding Idaho. USA
Q. My ears are constantly stopped up and all I can hear practically is my breathing and/or my heart beating. This is about to drive me nuts! Will any kind of boric acid mixture or any thing else help unstop my ears? If so How to mix and use recipe appreciated.Linda Reeves
- Anderson, South Carolina
Q. Very interesting information here I've not been able to find elsewhere! Can anyone please expand on its use for fertilizer, especially in light of other posts about it being toxic to plants.... I know boron is becoming depleted in the soil, but how and in what quantity is it safe to apply in gardens?
I have a constant problem during the rainy season with a mold/algae on my patios.... will try this for sure!
Ek' Tun Jungle Lodge - Macal River, Belize, Central America
A. Boric acid seems to have a thousand uses I myself use it when making forge welds in blacksmithing.. when steel is at a dull red heat sprinkle a little borax (regular 20 mule team works just fine) and it dissolves the scale and oxides which form on the surface of the steel (much like the oxides which form scum on the top of brass and other such metals when melting for casts). and provides a semi protective coating against oxidation in the fire. Allowing you to bring the temp up that extra couple hundred degrees to get your welding heat.. when you compare that price of a 5 lbs box about 3 dollars at Walmart to commercial forge welding fluxes like cherry weld and swan magic weld etc at 20 dollars for a 12 ounce bottle, it's a steal. I stumbled across this thread but I have been to this site before and have come across a few basic experiments I tried in electroplating -- tons of fun and knowledge here...John Brunelle
- Hastings, New York
Q. I am looking for a safe way to kill water lilies,. I think Borax or boric acid might work. Does anyone know?Teri Reeder
- Euless, Texas
October 24, 2012
A. Boric Acid-is wonderful first aid help. For external use I make strong solution with water (tap water, bottled or distilled). I usually have some powder with me when going for camping etc. It's fantastic to cure hemorrhoids (little dressing made of cotton ball soaked with boric acid solution). Badly injured at the base index finger (I could see the bones) I kept all night in a jar filled with strong solution of boric acid. The next morning my hand was almost OK, no swelling, no pain. You will get the same result using table salt but first few minutes is painful. Another wonderful thing is epsom salt for stomach flu, food poisoning, indigestion, bloating, constipation. Tale 1/4 or 1/8 of the teaspoon on your tongue and swallow. You may use unscented epsom salt for the bath. It is coarser and much cheaper than the one for the oral use. I use boric acid, epsom salt and baking soda all my life and used in emergency when my kids were sick or any of our pets got in trouble. I use one more thing: charcoal (for stomach problems). From pharmacy I use only aspirin to water some of my plants.
For good tips how to help myself I am using this website and "earth clinic". Both are wonderful because of people like you who are willing to share their knowledge and experiences.
- Toronto, Ontario Canada
Where to buy boric acid
A. Borax can be obtained in bulk from any taxidermy supplier. Borax is used as a skin preserver Eg. bird mounts.Charles Robert
- Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
A. Dear Rhea Newman - I just purchased a bottle of boric acid yesterday at the drug store for $5.99 I too live in Dallas Texas- I purchased it at the Eckerds across from the Duncaville Walmart.LaQuinthia Mackey
- Dallas, Texas
A. To Dallas Lady, although I live in New Jersey, I bought some recently at Walmart and if it's in one store it should be in all.
Good Luck,Jo Baker
- Medford, New Jersey USA
A. Just to let everyone know about WHERE YOU CAN FIND BORIC ACID, most K-mart stores that have a pharmacy carry it. It sells for 1.89 for 4 ounces. It is in the aisle where you would find the Caladril/Calimine lotion /anti-itch creams/first aid etc. Just thought all of you would like to know. Our local Walgreens did not carry it, but K-mart did and still does. I use it for eye washes.( Human and animal) This last eye wash was for a hamster..I have previously used it for many a horse eye washes. It does "raise a few eyebrows" when you ask for it, and I have gotten the 3rd degree from Walgreens as to what I was going to use it for. It's a common and inexpensive eyewash, as you can see from many of the eye washes on the market (Baush & Lomb and others) their eye washes are made from ... you guessed it, Boric acid and sterile water. At a much higher cost. Look at the back of the eye wash labels next time you go to the store.Juli Bryan
- Belvidere, Illinois, USA
Q. I tried to buy boric acid today as it was recommended for my dogs ears in a solution. Could not find it in drug stores or supermarkets. Finally went to a hardware store and got 1 lb. Boric Acid "Roach Killer." Active Ingredient: Orthoboric Acid 99%, Inert Ingredients 1%. Can anyone tell me if this is the same Boric Acid I was once able to find at a pharmacy? Thank you.Dorothy Macdonald
- Sandwich, Massachusetts
April 21, 2016
A. To the first lady in the Questions on where to buy bulk on Borax...
Here is a site that you need to check out. Hope this helps:
- Galena, Kansas
Safety Issues regarding Boric Acid(2003)
Q. Last week the pharmacist in Albemarle, NC at Medical Pharmacy told me the formula for mixing Boric Acid is 2 tablespoons in a pint of warm water. Based on the preceding comments, that sounds dangerously strong. True? It is nice to run across this dialogue. Thank you to the folks who have contributed to it.Donald L. Rufty
- Charlotte, North Carolina
A. Applied as a white powder, boric acid is inorganic and is odorless. The Environmental Protection Agency has established that boric acid is benign.
The Safe Use of Boric Acid and Boron No. 10
By J.R. Blasius
Borates, including boric acid, have been used since the days of the ancient Greeks for cleaning, preserving food and other everyday activities.
Today, boric acid is found in more every day uses and products than ever before. Among them are eye wash solutions, flame retardants, insecticides, glass products and fertilizers. And yet with all these uses over all these years, the question, "Is boric acid toxic?" seems to be raised with regularity every year. Asking "How toxic is boric acid?" is sort of like asking "How hot is hot?" The answer clearly needs to be qualified...and, yes, scientists have figured out a means to compare one chemical to the next. In fact, on this scale, scientists and/or regulators can compare most anything that can be swallowed, inhaled or put in one's eyes.
The scale I am referring to gives a figure known as the LD50 rating - a dose that would cause the deaths of 50 percent of a specific animal population. One method used to determine the LD50 rating for most substances is via laboratory-controlled oral doses to rats. The following table lists the LD50 (oral-rat) for several common substances as published by the Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances. Substance LD50 (milligrams of dose /kg of body weight) Aspirin 1,000 Boric Acid 2,660 Table Salt 3,000 Boron #10 3,500 Baking Soda 4,200 Grain Alcohol 14,000
Based on this data, boric acid and Boron No. 10 are not significantly different in toxicity than common table salt. In addition, both boric acid and Boron No. 10 are less toxic than aspirin. The greater the LD50 rating the safer the substance is. When compared to these common household items, boric acid and Boron No. 10 are not particularly dangerous, and, if used properly, will not cause poisoning. So are borates toxic? Certainly, and so is virtually every and anything else you come in contact with. It is simply a matter of quantity.
If you believe aspirin or table salt is dangerous, poisonous or in some other way life threatening, then you probably should not use borates. If, on the other hand, you can rationally look at the comparative data, you will probably come to the conclusion that boric acid and Boron No. 10 are among the safest of choices ........Juli Bryan
- Belvidere, Illinois USA
Q. I too could only find the orthoboric acid and have no idea if it is the same as boric acid or is safe to use in the same way? Any help would be greatly appreciated!
- Shadyside, Ohio, USA
A. Maybe I am out of my league here, and call me crazy but...WHY on earth would you want to put something in your precious eyes like boric acid? The very same stuff that is used to kill cockroaches, ants and many other numerous insects! It all sounds a little crazy to me. I would do some major investigating before I would do it. Actually, IF it were me, I would NOT do it to begin with. Who can afford to lose their sight?!Sheri Shank
- Joplin, Missouri, USA
A. You're half right Sheri. You are right that putting an ungraded industrial chemical of the wrong strength into your eyes, instead of using a tested USP grade, is risky. And you're also right that you shouldn't trust advice from the internet, where people are strangers and maybe even impostors posting deliberately harmful advice, unless the arguments are good.
But boric acid is a buffer that has traditionally been used as an eyewash, and I'll bet you'd find that Murine and Visine and contact lens cleaners are based on it. Just because boric acid kills insects through dehydration doesn't automatically mean it's bad for humans.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
June 30, 2013
A. RE: THE safety of using boric acid. I recently had neurotologic ear surgery at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. Before surgery the ear had to be totally dry. Dr. at Hopkins gave me dry boric acid in capsule form with an atomizer with instructions on how to use. Had to blow 2 puffs of dry boric acid into my ear twice a week for 6 weeks before he would do the surgery. If it is being dispensed at Hopkins it can't be too dangerous.Pat Campbell
- Annapolis, Maryland
Ed. note: Pardon the volume of postings on this subject, but see also letter 15053, "Boric Acid, Safe on Humans?".