Borax vs Diatomaceous Earth

Two popular contenders in the fight against these tiny intruders are Borax and Diatomaceous Earth. Both substances have gained recognition for their effectiveness in eliminating ants, but they work in different ways.

In this battle of ant killers, we will delve into the properties and uses of Borax and Diatomaceous Earth, comparing their strengths and weaknesses to help you decide which option suits your needs best.

Borax vs. DE Table

This table of comparison will assist you in comprehending the disparities between the two products


Diatomaceous Earth

Once the bait is consumed, it will kill the ant within 48 hours

Its a highly effective ant killer

Depending on the size of infestation, it can take up to 2 weeks to eliminate the entire colony

Kills insects by ingestion/dehydration within 48 hours

Indoor & Outdoor Use

Indoor & Outdoor Use

Active Ingredient Borax

Formula contains 100% Diatomaceous Earth

Not only kill the ant but also Kills the Queen

Non-toxic to humans, pets, and plants

EPA Registered Product

EPA Registered Product

Its a naturally occurring mineral powder which is poison for ant

Diatomaceous Earth remains effective indefinitely as long as it's kept dry

It can kill Sweet eating ants, or sugar ants. Acrobat ants, Argentine ants, Little black ants, Pavement ants, and many others.

Also for bed bug, cockroach, flea, earwig, silverfish, cricket, millipede and centipede control

Origin & Composition
Borax, known by other scientific names such as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate, is a mineral derived naturally from the environment. It has a rich chemical composition which includes boron, sodium, oxygen, and water.

On the other hand, diatomaceous earth comprises the fossilized remains of tiny, water-dwelling organisms known as diatoms. These diatoms are primarily composed of silica, a material known for its abrasive characteristics.

Mode of Action
Borax targets ants by damaging their digestive system when ingested, typically when mixed with bait. It can also have a harmful impact on their exoskeleton, disrupting their physical integrity. 

Diatomaceous earth operates differently, causing harm to ants by cutting through their exoskeleton, thus leading to severe dehydration and eventual death.

In terms of safety, borax can be harmful to both children and pets if consumed, and it may cause irritation to the skin upon contact. It should therefore be used with caution and kept out of reach.

Diatomaceous earth, however, is generally safe for children and pets. Nonetheless, it can cause respiratory irritation if its fine particles are inhaled, necessitating that it be applied carefully.

When considering effectiveness, borax tends to be more effective against larger infestations and against certain types of ants like carpenter ants. Conversely, diatomaceous earth may show a different level of effectiveness for large infestations.

It is, however, deemed safe for indoor use and can be used in areas that borax might not reach, providing it with a level of versatility.

Diatomaceous earth is found in powder form, making it somewhat difficult to handle compared to the granular form of borax. 

Both substances can be used with bait, such as honey or sugar, to attract ants, and they can be applied either dry or mixed with water to create a spray.

Safety Concern
Borax and diatomaceous earth are also versatile, with borax having cleaning and fungicidal applications and diatomaceous earth being useful in skincare and filtration. 

Moisture Sensitivity
Both borax and diatomaceous earth need to stay dry to maintain their insecticidal properties. If they get wet, they lose their effectiveness until they dry out again.

In terms of cost, both borax and diatomaceous earth are relatively affordable. They can be purchased readily in most stores or online, making them accessible to most consumers.

Variety of Use
Beyond pest control, borax and diatomaceous earth have various other uses. Borax, for example, is frequently used in cleaning and laundry due to its alkaline properties.

On the other hand, Diatomaceous earth finds use in agricultural settings, such as a soil conditioner, enhancing soil quality and improving plant growth.

Time to Effectiveness
The time it takes for both substances to kill ants can vary. With diatomaceous earth, ants generally die within a few days of coming into contact.

In contrast, borax bait can lead to the death of ants within a shorter time frame, generally between 24 to 48 hours post-ingestion.

Our Observation
Based on the provided information, both borax and diatomaceous earth present effective solutions for ant infestations. However, borax may have a slight edge due to its higher potency, with faster results observed in eliminating ants.

Its broad range of uses, from pest control to cleaning applications, also add to its appeal. While slower in action, Diatomaceous earth does shine in safety considerations, posing fewer risks to children and pets. It’s also versatile and has an eco-friendly application in soil conditioning. Nevertheless, the decision should be influenced by specific circumstances.

Diatomaceous earth may be a safer option for households with pets or children. On the other hand, for larger infestations or when faster results are desired, borax appears to be the better choice. The two can also be used in combination for a more comprehensive solution. Always ensure these substances are kept dry for optimal effectiveness.


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