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Will Borax Kill Cats As Well As Fleas?

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Q. I'd like to relate my experience with 20 Mule Team Borax, which my vet suggested after I had problems with pesticides. He said I'd drop dead if I kept using flea sprays, as I'm extra sensitive to such things.

My indoor kitten came from the pound absolutely loaded with fleas. I put Borax on the carpet and carefully vacuumed it up. It worked beautifully and I haven't had to do the Borax treatment again. I very rarely find a flea on my cat even though outdoor cats come near her on the screen porch. The powder did not make her sick, nor did it make my bronchitis flare up, so I'm sold on 20 Mule Team Borax.

A. Thanks for your story. We have heard from many readers who wanted to know whether Borax was really toxic to cats, as they read in our column. To say we are confused would be putting it mildly. Borax is sodium borate, which is not the same as boric acid. Boric acid is used as a pesticide, while borax is not. (This is not meant to dispute your report that 20-Mule Team Borax got rid of your kitten's fleas.)

Boric acid can be used for flea control but it should only be used in areas that cats or small children will not come into direct contact with it. Here is a story from another reader of our newspaper column:

"I just finished reading your column about using borax for flea control. Let me tell you what happened with our cat. Our 15-year-old Siamese started having seizures. Tests revealed a tumor in the brain. Surgery was successful and she is now doing well.

"When the tissue was sent for analysis at the pathology lab they had trouble figuring out the exact components of the specimen. Further study revealed it was a granulomatous tumor caused by inhaling boric acid.

"We had used a well-known commercial product on our carpet to control fleas. Needless to say, we will never use boric acid again."

Another reader recommended spreading borax on the carpet and carefully vacuuming it up. The residue was supposed to solve a flea problem. Regular, even daily, vacuuming (with or without borax) can be an excellent way to get rid of fleas. The vacuum cleaner bag should be removed from the house immediately after each cleaning so that the fleas do not escape. Diatomaceaous earth can also be used for flea control, but it too should be applied where the cat cannot get to it and breathe it in. A veterinary pharmacist has told us that any powder can be a problem if a cat inhales it regularly. Some exterminators use sodium polyborate, which probably should not be applied where the cat can be in direct contact with it.

After all this, the bottom line seems to be that you should always check with your vet to determine the safest flea control method for your pet!

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I hadn't read about borax for fleas, I know it's supposed to be good used in a kitchen to get rid of ants... but I had heard about diatomaceous earth.
It was quite a while ago so I don't remember the source (before the internet) but when a neighbor had flea problems with his doormat, I suggested it.

He had friends who had a pool so he was able to get some (used in a filter), scattered it in the doormat (a very good quality coir one, so he didn't want to throw it away) both top and bottom and he reported that not only took care of the problem then, the fleas never came back.

This article says only good grade DE should be used:
http://www.dailypuppy.com/articles/how-effective-is-diatomaceous-earth-for-fleas/28c8723b-302b-397c-1317-3d7a5c4e82bc

I have used Borax (AKA Boric Acid), Seven powder (Carbaryl) on some of my pets and on carpets to get rid of them pesky fleas, ticks and other pesky pests. I have had no adverse reactions to me or my pests... I mean pets (Cats and dogs). However, I began using D.E. (Diatomaceous Earth) about 5 years ago which is much safer, less expensive (depending where you buy it) and just as if not more effective with control of fleas and ticks.

My wife is a mobile dog groomer and uses D.E. in her grooming vehicle and applies it to some animals, she has never had any infestations of fleas or ticks. It is so safe that D.E. is often added to foods to prevent caking. Just don't create a cloud and inhale it as it will cause irritation to your lungs, as will inhaling any type of fine particle material. You can use a dust mask to avoid inhaling the D.E. if a cloud develops.

DO NOT use the type of D.E. used for swimming pool filters!!!

USE "Food Grade" D.E. (AKA Shell Flour)

A flea comb and soapy water or rubbing alcohol works really well also, it just takes a cooperative animal and a bit of time. When you get a flea trapped in the comb, drown the little bugger in the soapy water... the flea or tick not the cat or dog....
I'm getting itchy now just thinking about fleas.
Good luck!

I understand the disclaimer "you should always check with your vet to determine the safest flea control method for your pet!" is to protect The People's Pharmacy from lawsuits. I do not think our (or your) nearby vet has any time to research these off-the-wall cures or dangers.

I would just as soon make up my own mind based on common sense and surfing the internet for what appears to be valid advice from several different sources. (I would start with veterinary college research - boric acid).

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: YOU MAY BE RIGHT THAT THE VET DOES NOT HAVE TIME TO DO RESEARCH ON "OFF-THE-WALL" CURES, BUT YOU WOULD BE SURPRISED HOW MUCH MANY VETS KNOW ABOUT POPULAR APPROACHES. IT CERTAINLY CAN'T HURT TO ASK.

I think there is a difference in strength between Borax and 20 Mule Team Borax. I know that Boric Acid is supposed to be good for getting rid of cockroaches, but shouldn't be where animals can get to it. 20 Mule Team Borax is a laundry product & not as toxic - although I wouldn't eat either one!

Boric acid works wonders to kill ants and roaches. Mix one tea spoon of honey and one teas spoon of boric acid in a jar lid. Leave out where the ants can reach it in within hours all the ants will disappear.

Check out what wikipedia has to say. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boron The subject of health issues is towards the end. But it does not cover inhaling. We know one can eat sand with little health problems, but long term inhaling of very fine particles of silicon (or even cotton lint) causes damage to the lungs.

If I was going to use it on carpets though, I think I would have a darn good vacuum cleaner and use a fresh filter for vacuuming the 20 Muleteam Borax.

One also has to consider that using no pesticides would leave the pet and the owner open to flea borne diseases.

I have a little history about 20 Mule Team Borax. About 50 years ago, 20 Mule Team Borax was a sponsor for a TV show about the Old West. At the end of the program, a spokesman's would give a comment about the times. I remember the spokesman was called "The Old Ranger,"and he was later replaced by a new spokesman named Ronald Regan, future president of the United States. The ending of the program would say," It happened just that way, moving West."

I have used 20 Mule Team Borax with detergent to wash my clothes for 40 years, and I never experienced any skin reaction to it in my washings.

Borax and boric acid are two different compounds. Boric acid = very dangerous. Borax has less toxicity than table salt. Table salt can kill at about 3,000 mg per kg body weight. For Borax, it is 4,500 - 6,000 mg / kg. Then again, too much water is deadly as well.

This article says a 15 year old cat (pretty old) and it doesn't say how long they had been using this well known commercial product. Who knows, but it had boric acid. The tumor was from inhaling boric acid... NOT BORAX. The second example says that she just finished reading the article... NOT that she used Borax.

Look up borax and arthritis. Most boron supplements have borax in them although it could be labeled by another name like sodium tetraborate or salt of borate, etc.

20 mule team Borax kills the larvae as well as the fleas which makes it very effective. We use it in the chairs frequented by pets and spread it at doorways. We also some Borax in our vacuum cleaner bag when we vacuum so we will not be fostering fleas in there.

Gabrielle recommends Diatomaceous Earth, but in Powdered form it can be a carcinogen when breathed into the lungs. It is used in Diatom Filters to clean Aquarium water and is very effective, but if you read the warnings on the Box, they advise strongly against inhalation. It is not a problem when wet, but in a dry powdered form, it should not be inhaled and as such I would not use it on animals.

Powders inhaled by animals even over a short period of time can be dangerous to the lungs of small animals. My cat Petey developed a malignant lung tumor from inhaling Gold Bond Medicated Powder. We used to use the medicated powder once a day when dressing in the bathroom and did not realize that the powder had accumulated on the bathroom rug. My cat use to sleep on that rug during the daytime when we were at work and over a few months he developed a cough which turned out to be caused by the tumor.

I would not recommend using anything other than a Flea Collar or a Veterinarian administered Flea Dip to control Fleas and to always read and follow the instructions very carefully.

borax is not the same as boric acid

Boric Acid and Laundry Borax are not the same thing!! It's a common mistake to confuse the two. Boric acid is a dangerous poison. Poisoning from this chemical can be acute or chronic. Acute boric acid poisoning usually occurs when someone swallows powdered roach-killing products that contain the chemical.

how long does it have to stay on the carpet before I vacuum it?

My experience w/ Borax
My college chemistry teacher suggested I sprinkle Borax on the carpet, wait a couple hours then vacuum it up. He specified to keep the cats out of that area until after it had been vacuumed up. I have been using this method twice/yr and have not had any fleas on the carpet or in the house. (Keeping the fleas off of my cats, however, is a different story...alas.) I would not even consider buying any expensive product to use, just Borax. (I would not use diatomaceous earth inside my house, either.) Remember to be sure you keep the cats out of the area until after you have vacuumed the Borax up. Brandy R.

Amazing how this information appears to be the same confusing conversations we have when the family gets together, once a year. Basically I believe it is saying use it or not, at your own risk. Excuse me while I go scratch.......

Boric acid and borax are 2 completely different things....and both should be researched and understood for use. Moderation for all things

Someone said:

"I have used Borax (AKA Boric Acid)"

This is NOT true. Borax is NOT Boric Acid. They are two separate compounds. The only similarity is that they both contain boron.

Borax (an 20 mule team borax is 100% Borax), is a salt. Boric acid, as the name implies, is an acid. Boric acid can be converted into borax via chemical process.

Saying borax and boric acid are the same thing is similar to saying sodium chloride (aka table salt) is the same as chlorine. Table salt is relatively harmless, where chlorine is quite deadly - yet both table salt and chlorine share the same chemical element.

I have used boric acid very effectively to control roaches and ants. I am now trying it for fleas. I've never had a problem with boric acid with my 4 dogs. I've tried borax to control roaches, but that was singularly unsuccessful. I don't know if it is effective on fleas.

Ok so I read to use borax diatomaceous earth and salt as a mixture but it has to be the food grade diatomaceous earth!!! I just put it all over my whole house carpet and floors! we have a bad flea problem!!!! I will leave the animals outside and wash them with original blue dawn dish soap. In a few days I will vacuum the house and the use lemon pine-sol on the floors. I also put mothballs under the house because I heard it's good for fleas and mice problems!

I hope to report in a week that there will be no more fleas! Cross your fingers everyone!!!

Well? Did your treatment work?

Borax, as in the laundry product, is made of Sodium Tetraborate. It is not Boric acid! Borax is GRAS for people and pets. Boric acid is not! Boric acid is highly toxic and will definitely harm or kill pets (and people!) Sodium Tetraborate is used in a lot of products including toothpaste.

However, it would not be wise to sprinkle borax on carpets because pets love to sniff at strange odors and will be inhaling the dust. Do you want to inhale laundry powder? I doubt it! Use household products only for the purposes they are labeled for.

Will borax, the laundry detergent, hurt my septic system? Thanks.

I have a septic tank also and use Borax on my laundry at times, and I have never been told there is any problem.

OK! JUST SO WE ARE ALL CLEAR. Borax is NOT BORIC ACID. Boric acid is the result of combining borax and a very strong acid, such as sulfuric or hydrochloric acid. So, to the woman that had a "Boric Acid tumor" removed from her cat... it did not come from the "BORAX"... unless she cleans with sulfuric or hydrochloric acids as well. Which is an entirely alternate topic of why you do not mix household cleaners.... EVER! But at any rate... Borax must first be heated to above 170F first before mixing with the acids, so I do not think the cat ingested borax and the stomach acid created the new "Boric Acid Tumor". I am fairly sure the cat would not have survived the 170F heating process.

Borax (20 Mule Team) has the same health rating as baking soda... which is (1). While it is not recommended to be ingested, it is no more dangerous than baking soda.

But please... PLEASE, stop saying that Borax is the same thing as Boric Acid. They are two totally different chemicals.

Ok, I'm about to put this borax/salt mixture all over my house (it's infested!).
the fleas are also on my bed-can I put this stuff on my mattress? or will I get sick from breathing it while I sleep??????

Why salt? Where did that come from? Just Borax. Sprinkle it down, make sure all pets are out of the house, and take yourself out as well. Come back in 2 or more hours and vacuum it all up.

As for your bed, I would just wash the sheets in laundry detergent. You could add some Borax but will need to use water warm enough to dissolve it. [Another possibility might be running your sheets through the dryer. I lived in a place where ants kept getting into the house and on the beds (no food there, so I don't know why). I got tired of washing sheets that had already been washed that week and started tossing them in the dryer- killed the ants and the sheets could be shaken out, then put back on the bed. Don't know it that would work w/ fleas/flea eggs.]

Once you get rid of the fleas, remember to treat your carpet, etc, a couple times a year- as they say, Prevention is worth a pound of cure. Good luck.

I've done the diatomaceous earth on the carpet, vacuumed it, need to reapply (not sure how long to leave it on for) If done right, it can last for a year. D Earth isn't dangerous for dogs as long as it's food grade- and the stuff is worked into the carpet well. It also works against internal parasites.

I bombed the house 3 times, sprayed 5 times and then I put down the boric acid on hardwood floors. Left on there for a week. Came back and still had fleas. I'm going to try the 20 Mule Team Borax tomorrow. I'll let you know how this works.

The recommendation was for Borax on carpet-NOT boric acid. If you had read this whole thread you would know not to use boric acid.

Just found out Frontline Plus has a guarantee IF you buy it from a vet AND you've used it for 3 straight months or more AND you have fleas, they will pay for an exterminator. We called, and we do qualify. Fingers crossed this nightmare will be over soon.

I have a very bad flea problem, my 4 cats were frontlined 2 weeks ago after one of them had little scabs on the back of his head and someone said they could be flea bites so I decided to be cautious and did the frontline to all 4 cats. I woke up last night and had an itchy leg, pulled back the sheets to see three fleas in my bed!!!!!!!! I was so shocked. I stripped the bed and washed all the bedding at 90c. I then noticed a flea on one of my cream cats. I feel sick, I don't want to go to bed tonight now.

So what is the safest and best way to be rid of them? I won't sleep until I know they are gone!

I remember the vet's office telling me to put my cats outside for a couple hours after treating them (my cats have a kitty flap and come & go), so I do that. I treat the carpeted areas 2x/yr w/ Borax- just shut the cats out of the area, sprinkle it over the carpet, leave for a couple hours, then come back and vacuum it up. After that, I will let the cats back in. This has worked very efficiently and cheaply for me (and I have 10 cats!). I also chose to buy non-fabric covered sofas so I would not have to worry about fleas getting in the fabric. So, no flea problem, and I live in the South where the fleas are bad (and the mosquitoes, etc.). Good luck.

The term borax is used for several different and closely related minerals. The cleaning product 20 mule team borax is an extremely well documented method of do it yourself insect control. It is harmful to be inhaled. DUH. Anything but air is harmful to be inhaled. The finely ground particles of cat food in the bottom of a dry cat food bag are harmful to be inhaled too. Something else that is fairly harmful to inhale? Dust. Solution? If you put borax down keep your pets out of it until you vacuum it up.

The best solution for dealing with a flea problem is to have your pet treated with monthly flea drops as prescribed by a vet, keep it out of contact with other animals that may have fleas, and have your home and surrounding area treated by a reputable licensed professional. If you are worried about the substance being toxic to your pets discuss your concerns and possible control methods with your pest control company BEFORE they come out, and request a restaurant rated product be used whenever possible. If you do it right the first time, continual exposure to borax may not be necessary.

I used food-grade diatomaceous earth and much to my chagrin, it did not solve our flea problem. My housemate and I put it everywhere on hardwood floors with a colander and removed all throw rugs and carpets to the back yard. We sat in diatomaceous earth on the couch and chairs, slept in sheets with DE on them, got DE all over our clothes and feet and shoes.

It was super depressing, which frankly surprised me--I had not expected that living with a paper thin layer of DE all over all accessible surfaces would depress me, but it did. I put it on the cats as well. They got depressed, too--it dries everything out--your hands, the cats' skin. I got it in my own hair--I guess from leaning back on the chairs in the living room--and it felt weird.

We only lasted two days that way then started the slow long process of vacuuming it up. Cleaned out the bagless vacuums.

I now think it might work for folks who have pale carpet and can leave it down, but not folks with hardwoods. I really hate neurotoxins and do not want to use them on my cats--or myself. (It is illegal to put Frontline or Advantage on yourself for a reason--they really are not so perfectly insect-specific.) But for me, the DE did not work, although it does make one vacuum a lot more closely. I'll try borax, but I think only daily, meticulous vacuuming and flea combing will work, burdensome though it is.

why would you not use DE in your house?

you have to give a bit of time like 10 days or so to get worked in and efficiently start working and left on indefinitely if an ideal spot for that. You don't have to put it on that thick either, ideally you want a fine dusting. And to achieve that it should be spread while wearing a little mask to cover nose/mouth and using a fine salt shaker or old fashioned type squeeze mustard/ketchup container/squirter.

What about outside areas? Can 20 mule Borax, the laundry detergent, be spread around areas the cats lay/hide in? or DE? Maybe turned in the dirt so it is not airborne. Someone said 20 mule Borax is toxic when wet.

We have a lawn that has clusters of shade trees and plants. Fleas have been bad these past 2 years.

I am not sure about using Borax in the yard, but that is a use for DE- just remember that it is not safe to breathe DE, so be careful when applying it. I would keep the cats out of the area for a brief period.

I used DE in the yard.
Terminix sprayed in the house.
Have dipped the cats AND have been using Frontline Plus.
No go. As many fleas as before.
I'm so sick of this.

The fleas have become immune to Frontline, pretty much. I'd sooner use DE in the house than Borax. I just feel more comfortable with it.

Try a product, Evolv, made by Wondercide, on your pet. They also make a product to spray inside/outside. And it's non-toxic to pets and people.

Wow!!! I do not have any carpet in the main living area and I got rid of fabric-type furniture (used vinyl/leather). We do have 10 cats and live in the South. I put Borax down on the carpeted areas 2x/yr. Prevention is a lot easier than cure- as you have found out. But, Terminix, no doubt, guarantees their work, they should come out and spray again.

Also, fleas build up resistance to whatever product you use on the cats, try switching to one w/ a different active ingredient, (you might even give them a flea bath before putting the flea med on- but be sure to check w/ the vet because cats are a lot more sensitive to chemicals than dogs). [I guess, ultimately, we will not be able to get rid of fleas because they will be resistant to all the different treatments...] Good luck. Brandy

A difference in strength? Like what, more mules?

Found we had fleas In our house almost two months ago, as also our two dogs. We did have a cat that we had to put down due to illness, as she was allowed to go upstairs and throughout the house as our two dogs were not due to their shedding. After noticing a flea on a chair in a bedroom, realized our cat left us with more grievance! Never having this problem before got on the computer to see what's the cheapest effective products to use.

I went to store got cans of carpet flea powder which had to get so many cans due to the many rooms carpeted (as that product was only intended for carpets not upholstery or bedding). Bought the Borax also as a back up because was not sure if it would work.

Well I ran out of the brand carpet flea powder in one room so I just went with using the Borax 20 mule on carpet and tried it on furniture and bed, mattresses too, left that on overnight with door closed. Well what a shock to see the next day that Borax indeed worked, there were dead fleas! The other brand product worked too but like I mentioned it's for carpets only. Dogs were treated with the baths and frontline plus and they are flealess.

Tip: make sure you cover the entire footage of carpet, especially near the walls and baseboards and everything where the fleas can go which is everywhere high and low. You will see fleas magically appear dead within hours before your eyes..... Borax and much vacuuming over and over is what's worked for us, no fumes, less expensive and, safer as I have two grandchildren under two crawling and playing on our carpets and furniture.

Do I need to vacuum before sleeping in my house again?

If you used Borax, yes- it just needs to be down for a couple hours before being vacuumed up. (I don't know about the DE- have never used it in the house).

Is it safe to leave 20 Mule Team Borax on the carpet under my sofa? The sofa is too low for my cats to get under. I ask because I don't want to have to move big, heavy pieces of furniture every time I vacuum. We only have a small flea scare, and I'm trying to keep it from getting worse. We've had (indoor only)cats for 11 years and this summer is our first encounter with fleas.

I have two kittens 4 and 5 months my 5 month old was infested with fleas when we bought him and we assumed the fleas were gone after his first dawn bath and immediate flea treatment with advantage II. We continued the monthly treatments and grooming after that but it seemed like there were always fleas... when we bought our second kitten from the same place we took him home and immediately gave him a flea treatment... we bought both kittens a month apart... well the 4 month came home and within a week started going bald... he had ringworm... it took two months to get the ringworm to go away on both cats... of course I was unlucky enough to get a patch on my leg :/.

Well we kept up with the flea treatments and I left for my military training for about three weeks. I came home and both cats just looked terrible and I began getting bit. I have so many bites it's terrible I am allergic to fleas and mosquitos and I am literally on my last nerve I have tried everything. I love my kittens though. I used the 20 Mule Borax and it definitely worked but I know the fleas aren't gone because they are still jumping on me. I gave my kittens a capstar and it killed all their fleas but being flea free didn't last long I just don't know what to do. Any suggestions? I lived an apartment complex so I can't do the flea bomb and I can't afford to take them to get a flea bath...

I know how you feel. You don't need to take the kittens to be dipped...you can dip them at home. I got a good dip, and you have to follow the directions carefully. It really helps if there are 2 people in case the cat freaks. One of our 3 actually loved it. I think it felt soothing in the warm water after doing nothing but scratching for months!
If you buy Frontline Plus from your vet and still have fleas after 3 successive months, they pay for the exterminator to come out. They came, and a couple of weeks later it was just as bad. They returned (Terminix guarantees their work for 30 days), and things are pretty good now. I only wish I hadn't let the cats back outside before the weather turned colder.

Hmmm...well you can give them a flea bath yourself. There are products in stores, or at your vets to bathe them w/ at home. One caution, these are shampoos so you have to leave it on for a period of time then rinse it all off. It takes a lot of determination to shampoo cats because they cry and wail and sometimes scratch and claw, and you have to leave the shampoo on until the time is up.

Try to figure out where the fleas are coming from (cats are not dumb, so it may be a place they are avoiding), then find an appropriate treatment. (I chose to avoid cloth-covered furniture, and the one piece I have that is cloth I keep covered w/ a throw so it can be easily washed, I also got rid of most of the carpet- really, really wish I had gotten rid of all of it.) When it comes to bugs like fleas an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. If you want to get rid of them you will have to be persistent and consistent. Meanwhile, try using a product to protect your skin from bites, (don't use on the cats however- cats are very sensitive to chemicals). Good luck.

Can I use borax for fleas on carpet near fish and turtle tanks, kids and 2 cats?

I have been using Borax for years- w/ cats and children in the house. Remember to get all living creatures out of the area before applying it (a fish tank that is covered might be okay). Leave it down for a couple hours then vacuum it up, and you can let everybody back in.

My roommate came back to the apt we share after visiting her home for the weekend and brought back flees with her. We will try this borax method to see if it gets rid of them! We don't have a pet, but just to be through we are going to do anything we can to get rid of them!

I just moved into a house and it is covered with fleas... I just went in a put borax all over all of the carpets and worked it in with a broom.. how long do I need to leave it on for.. and will this take care of my problem.. I have a 2 yr old and I have to get rid of the fleas within the next 2 days so we can move in..

I was told 2 hrs was sufficient.
If there are any other fabric areas, don't forget to treat them, such as curtains.
I would keep the toddler from crawling on the carpeted areas for a few days, if possible.

I would be careful about moving furniture in- it would be very bad if your furniture got infested. So, after you vacuum the Borax up inspect the rooms carefully. You can buy flea traps that have a light and liquid in them- the light attracts the fleas then they fall into the liquid and can't get out (no, I don't know what chemical is used)- my point is to be sure there are no fleas before you move your furniture in. Good luck.

You can get flea traps that have a light and a STICKY PAD. Plug it in and leave it. You'll know if you have fleas. By the way, the sticky pad is REALLY sticky, so don't think you'll be able to have it touch anything else. I think I got mine at Agway, but I'm not positive. In any case, no liquid is needed.

Borax and boric acid are 2 different things... the boric acid for rats says harmful to pets.

DE worked very well for me! I bought it from a pet supply place. My first place in college had wall to wall carpets and fleas. I had just adopted a new kitten, but these fleas were a major long term infestation.

I spent a full day on my hands and knees with a mask and gloves scrubbing DE into the carpet with a scrub brush. Like crazy scrubbing, super thoroughly. Also got the sofa. (Luckily I encase my mattresses so it wasn't an issue) I'm a little OCD.

I left the DE for 2 days while kitty was boarded and I stayed with a friend. I let off a flea bomb at the time too. Since then Kitty gets Advantage every four weeks and we never saw a single flea after that! We live in Northern California: it rarely gets below freezing, but it's not tropical either.

Okay to clear up the mystery here http://www.tompkins-co.org/msds/c97a.pdf is the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for Borax. Borax is NOT boric acid and the Amish have been using it for decades to make their own laundry detergent and of course everything is to be used in moderation. It is very clear it is not toxic any more than ingesting too much of anything although I don't know anyone brain dead enough to actually EAT it but I suppose someone out there tried to at some point hence the MSDS sheet.

Because it is indeed a powder I would certainly wear a mask while applying to carpets and making your own laundry soap just because it is very irritating to your lungs when inhaled. Make a cardboard blockade to keep your pets out of the area being treated simply because they get things on their paws and will lick it off no matter how bad it tastes so just for your own peace of mind guaranteeing the area is just common sense.

I have had flea problems like I've see with all of you on the site. I know that fleas generally have a 14 day cycle from egg to flea to eggs again. I have used 20 mule team borax for years when a friend told me about it. It is worth it if you can keep your pets out of the house or confined to one area. Use breathing masks and goggles if you have them. Apply liberally to the carpet and furniture. Two hours or Two days, I've not seen it be any more or less effective in getting rid of fleas. But it DOES get rid of fleas - so after your initial application, wait about 13 to 14 days and re-apply and re-vacuum and wash fabrics - like with any other bug spray.

I've only ever had to apply it once with no second treatment 14 days later. It's up to you and of course ask your vet. Knock on wood, we've been flea free for 12 years.

Be VERY careful if using any type of flea dip on your pets. I had a long haired cat whose fur was very dense. After bathing her in the dip, I noticed the water/dip didn't penetrate to her skin and the fleas just fled there. I dipped her again. It was toxic and killed her.

Read the instructions carefully.

PBA...so sorry for your loss.

Wow, I am so glad I came across this site, all of the stories, tips and advice are so invaluable.

Brandy, I much appreciate everything you said and suggested. I do have a question, I live in Florida where there is an open floor plan, and the flooring is tile in the kitchen/dining/living room areas...two bedrooms do have cheap builder grade carpet which I did put Borax down this morning....my question is do I have to put it down on the tile also?

No, I don't think you need to put it down on tile/flooring- those type of surfaces can usually be vacuumed and don't harbor flea eggs. Don't forget to treat furniture w/ fabric coverings, though.

(PBA- yes, I had a cat that got very ill after being dipped at the vet's, and another one that was obviously sick after I used a home remedy- Avon' Skin-so-soft diluted w/ water. I never had the first cat dipped again, and the 2nd one I gave another bath to, and he was okay after that. Cats are much more susceptible to chemicals than dogs, I have read.)

Thanks so much for your reply, Brandy! So any type of furniture that isn't leather... ok to leave it in the cushions and not vacuum it up, cats love the sofa and I guess the seat pads/cushions (they are removable) on the chairs too? Unfortunately my cats love to go out, and it is very hard to keep them flea free, but they usually die since I do use the once a month topical.... even though I am not happy with it, really, nothing else but Revolution/Advantage/Frontline....

You do need to vacuum the borax up from the furniture. Remember to keep pets and humans out of areas you are treating. Leave it down for a couple hours, then vacuum it up. It has been effective for us, even though we have 9 cats (!)

Thank you. The borax vs boric acid comment makes more sense than the first article. Different ingredients.

will borax harm my cats? I have a dog door so my 3 cats and small dog can go into fenced yard when needed,how soon can I let them out after using borax on yard?

do I need to add salt? don't want to kill grass.

After our Terminix' second visit, the fleas were gone.
If you are only reading recent posts on this thread, you are missing important info on the difference between Borax and Boric Acid...read the entire thread...it's not that long.
FYI...after spreading DE outside my house, one of my cats developed a horrendous sounding cough...deep, low and throaty. The vet says she's fine which surprised me considering how high her voice actually is.

Our cat developed neurological symptoms--a scary head tic--after using Revolution and Frontline. The vet determined that (as a representative from Frontline confirmed) the cat is "allergic" to one of the chemicals in the product, possibly one of the inert ingredients since she reacted to both products. My vet also doesn't like the flea-dips for animals, says they're very toxic, so...Dawn Kitteh-Washing Liquid and 20 Mule Team it is.

Do not use any so called safe Pyrethrin or even worse the synthetic Permethrin both can seriously harm a CAT. From drooling, vomiting, tremors, to full blown seizures and death. Do not ever use ''extra'' for realy bad infestations- it may kill your pet. Dogs can be harmed too but they fare better. Also be cautious if your cat loves your dog and licks them or rubs on it; the toxic product can be spred that way.

Borax and Boric acid ARE NOT THE SAME THING!

we have a flea problem this year more then we ever have. I live on the east coast and in the northern section so it's been a bit hot but not too bad. We've had 3 or 4 "heat waves ( over 90 degrees 3days in a row) "so whoopie.

Anyhow I have flea bathed, powered, collared, used drops and combed out my cat and dog so far. They are much better however my issue our basement.We found out we have the problem because (My son is newly diabetic) he is the one they are attracted to the most. NOW i say that because he goes down to do the laundry or to get something and they jump on him. The rest of us go down and maybe only get 1 or none.

We have a 1300 sq.ft home and we have put 3 can bombs in the main part of the house and 3 in our basement ( major overkill) and they lil buggers lived through it. We just emptied 3 boxes of BORAX on the floors and rugs in the basement and all over upstairs and on the furniture too. The BORAX upstairs was down for 3 days before vacuuming as we did it before we left for camping. When we came home we vacuumed it up ( just the upstairs) . NEver found a dead flea but never really inspected it that closely either. To this day ( now 10 days later) we still have fleas in the basement and we have NOT even vacuumed up the BORAX YET.

We figured we just won;t go down there unless we have to and we will leave it longer to work better. Well its not. SO NOW WHAT SHOULD WE DO????? Those lil BLEEPS are still alive. My husband figured if they have a life cycle of 3 days or even 7 days they would hatch and then die. NOPE. Oh the other thing down stairs is a flea trap ( light with a stick pad) yup they go to that but really i don;t like leaving a light on all day & night but we have to. NOTHING IS WORKING . They aren't really bad but they are really annoying because everytime we go down there we have to "CHECK OURSELVES" to make sure we didn;t bring any hitchhikers up with us. SUGGESTIONS PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I used a flea dip on my cat and it caused irreparable kidney damage. It caused him to die prematurely; would not recommend any strong chemicals on an animals body; just like humans, everything we put on our bodies.

Borax is used in flux for soldering hard metals, also used in washing detergent, also used in certain insecticides, but rarely sold in stores as an off the shelf product.

Lynne,
The only thing that worked for us was Terminix...call in the professionals. The cost was covered because we'd used FrontLine Plus through our vet and still had fleas within 3 months of use. They had to come twice, but that did it. Best wishes to you. I know how awful it is when your home is not a haven.

Oh my gosh! Please do not use pool quality diatomaceous earth around animals! Get food quality diatomaceous earth.

I would like to mention that boric acid is very different than borax. Yes borax contains a very small amount of boric acid but is definitely not the same as boric acid that is used as an insecticide.

I have a very tight weave berber carpet in my home. I applied the borax powder to kill fleas. I am vacuuming daily but find that because of the type of carpet I have I was not able to vacuum up all the borax and now each time I vacuum I experience burning eyes and can taste the borax in my mouth from the borax Dust. Has anyone else experienced this?

I just left my vet's office. She said Frontline does not work any more. When it first came on the market, it worked okay, but it never did kill all the fleas and they became resistant to it. On the other hand, she said Advantage still works as good now as it did when it first came out because it kills all the fleas. This makes sense to me as a few days prior to speaking with my vet, I had put Frontline Plus on my dog. The fleas were just as thick and horrible a few days later as they had been before treatment. I was wondering what the heck was going on, now I know.

I can't believe ANYONE in their right mind would use Sevin Dust on ANY living thing!! WOW!! It says right on DO NOT APPLY DIRECTLY TO ANIMALS!! Sevin Dust is a very powerful chemical PESTICIDE!! Is your cat still alive??? SO glad to hear you have switched even if only due to cost!

Please people DO NOT EVER USE SEVIN DUST ON YOUR PETS! IF POSSIBLE DON'T USE IT AT ALL!! FOOD GRADE Diatomaceous Earth is absolutely 100% chemical free, can be sprinkled lightly on your pet (avoiding nose and eyes), your carpet, baseboards and pet bedding. DE is nothing more than fossilized diatomes.. 100% natural. NOT a chemical made in a factory meant to KILL living beings!!

I had a bad infestation in my back bedroom where I kept a feral cat. Never noticed fleas until cat passed. I am using 20 Mule Team Borax but I have left down for one month on hard wood floors. I also have a light with sticky pad, they are great. There are less and less fleas and they are getting smaller and smaller.

I am just about ready to clean up Borax. I did not want to reapply again if I could avoid that. I understand it takes a long time to get rid of fleas because of the life cycle of the flea. The eggs and larva can live up to a year before hatching. I do not think the borax works quickly, but I do think it works. I have been fortunate that I could keep the room closed off and not use during treatment.

I literally just bought a box of 20 mule borax cause a friend told me about it.. I have a 10 week old toy poodle and an 11 year old chihuahua. I have hard wood floors and one rug.. If I just took the rug out and beat it and swept the floors really good and Swiffer mopped would that be good enough to not harm them and also what is the shortest amount of time I should leave it on? I have nowhere to take them and the room I would have to lock them in gets pretty hot (I live in an old house with no central heat and air).

I think a couple hours would be sufficient. If you don't have a problem w/ your furniture, I would think just treating the rug would do it.

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