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Borax for fleas?

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
Is it safe on carpet, couches, etc?
What exactly is Borax?(I've been googling it)
I've read on here to leave it on for 30-45 min & vacuum 2x a week...but also to leave it on for 24-48 hours then vacuum?
Where would I find it?

This concerned me:
"...less than 5 grams can kill a child or pet."

So, I cannot possibly keep the cats off the areas I treat....will they be safe to walk across the the carpet once I sweep the Borax in?
post #2 of 35
I suppose that depends on how good your vacuum cleaner is --- whether or not it picks up all the borax in your carpet.

You should be able to find it in the household cleaners section of the grocery store.
post #3 of 35
If you can get some food grade diatomaceous earth, that is completely edible and works great on fleas.
post #4 of 35
Boy, that stuff is hard to find these days!! I needed some not too long ago and went to five places before I found one that carried it.
post #5 of 35
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Momofmany View Post
If you can get some food grade diatomaceous earth, that is completely edible and works great on fleas.
I've called every place I can think of & cannot find it locally. I got Borax....and since I'm getting conflicting info....I'm gonna sprinkle it down & keep the cats off it as much as possible which will be hard.
post #6 of 35
If keeping the cats off of the borax in the carpet isn't possible, please rethink using it.

It is at best an irritant when inhaled. You've already read the issues with ingestion. I would be concerned about you inhaling it and the cats cleaning it off of their fur.

I am a worrier and would hate having any of you injured.
post #7 of 35
I use borax (Twenty Mule Team) for fleas in the carpet. I put it under the sofas and any other places the kitties don't go. It doesn't have to be all over everything. It is not a fine powder, it is more like salt. After a day or so I vacuum everywhere, then the borax places last. Then I throw out the vacuum bag.

(No, I don't have a Dyson. )

It works great and I do it every year or two as needed. I did this before I realized there were potential problems and I'm very careful.

My vet said the Advantage on the cats will spread all over the house and get rid of any fleas that way. That isn't always the case in my experience. I don't know which is worse but I do know I am horribly allergic to flea bites and borax works wonders.

My advise is to just be careful and don't put it where the kitties walk. Round up the cats in another room while you vacuum, which shouldn't be too hard since they usually hate the vacuum anyway.
post #8 of 35
BTW, five grams is equal to 7.5 teaspoons.
post #9 of 35
Thread Starter 
Well, I will try to work something out. I cannot possibly round up 6 cats, 2 kittens, & 3 large adult dogs off the carpet for 24-48 hours if I do the entire house at one time. It'd be slightly easier if the cats didn't have to stay in groups of 3.

I think I will put it down for an hour & vacuum it up...that way no one gets into it. Then do that every couple of days to see where I get..
post #10 of 35
Thread Starter 
Just wanted to ask.....I see no fleas on the upstairs kitties....have never seen any. Do you think I can get away with not using Borax upstairs?
post #11 of 35
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
...I think I will put it down for an hour & vacuum it up...that way no one gets into it. Then do that every couple of days to see where I get..
If you have a crummy vacuum, like I do, you can sprinkle it, work it into the carpet, and vacuum right away. A little bit will stay in the carpet, but not enough, I think, for anbody to ingest. The borax will be at the bottom where the fleas go and not the top where the animals walk.

If you have a Dyson, this won't work because I imagine it would all get vacuumed up.

Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
Just wanted to ask.....I see no fleas on the upstairs kitties....have never seen any. Do you think I can get away with not using Borax upstairs?
Don't use it upstairs if it's not needed.

BTW, you can also put it under the sofa cushions for a day or so, then vacuum it.
post #12 of 35
Thread Starter 
I have a crummy shop vac. I am treating downstairs....so far my bedroom where the foster kittens are(kittens are in bathroom) as it is the "source" of the infestation....and I'm also treating the office. Once I vacuum the office, I'm gonna move the 3 downstairs kitties into the office & treat the family room/hall/stairs. This is gonna be fun!
post #13 of 35
I feel for you. I use the foggers, which fortunately I haven't had to use for a couple of years.

This means I load everyone up in the car - up to 3 kids, 3 large dogs, the cat and the Betas. I put the Betas in cups in the cup holders, with a cover so the critters don't drink the Beta water. We watch DVDs, go to the park if the weather co-operates (Zoey in her carrier). Even with the SUV, I feel like it's a clown car when the doors open and we all pile out.
post #14 of 35
Is it a full blown infestation, or are you just starting to get a flea jumping on you here and there?

I've found, unless it's really bad, that treating the animals with Frontline (or an equivalent, I'm sure), will deflea your house too, and in my experience, it usually only takes a couple of weeks, with a noticable difference within a week. That being said, it didn't work for my friend and he still to this day has no idea where those fleas were coming from... but they were killer fleas.. bug bombs (four times), none of it worked.. finally he set up a light and dish trap and that's what ended up working for him.

I thought that borax was a combination of boric acid (1%) and 99% inert ingredients.. if that's the right combo on it, then I've heard that it can hurt animals, and I've also heard that it doesn't harm them.. so.. I honestly don't know.
post #15 of 35
Keep us posted on how it works. I'm curious to know.
post #16 of 35
Thread Starter 
Well, I think I lost this battle. There are more fleas on the kitties this morning than there were yesterday morning before I boraxed. And I think I now have fleas upstairs....I found one dead one of Twitch.

I have been treating the kitties with Revolution, all 8 of them, plus the dogs with Frontline, for like the past 3 weeks. The vet said it could take 6 months or more to get rid of all the fleas that way, so perhaps that is what I will have to do.

And I believe that PJ & Punky brought the fleas home to me when I brought them home to foster a month or more ago, but it is possible they were already in my house & I never noticed. I wasn't treating my housecats for fleas, I was naive & figured they'd never get them.
post #17 of 35
Oh shoot. That's too bad. Well, you don't know until you try. Don't kick yourself too hard. I doubt the fleas were there before. And the fosters have a good home and are getting good care.
post #18 of 35
I've also safely bug bombed for fleas. Of course, this means packing up the entire herd, which is always a treat. I'm not even sure I could do it effectively these days, given that Bagheera won't let you put her in a carrier, and barely lets you pick her up. Anyway, I'm not sure I could get away with it..but if you try it .. I just followed the directions and then I went back in at the recommended time and opened up all the windows, put fans in them to suck the air out one end and in the other, and after they'd been going for an hour or so and the smell had cleared out, then I brought the pets back in.

The little dish set up might work for you if you want to try it... you put a white (or light colored) dish with water and some dishwashing detergent in it.. just a tiny bit of detergent, and an almost full dish of water. Then you get a desk lamp or something of that nature and shine the lamp down on the plate. Supposedly they jump toward the light/warmth, and then fall in the plate of water and drown.
post #19 of 35
Thread Starter 
Yeah, bombs are out of the question with Damita. I might have to try the "flea trap" idea with the soapy water.
post #20 of 35
Give the borax a little more time! A couple of days! It doesn't kill them until they are in contact with it. Sounds like they are "jumping ship" on to the animals. Really, give it some more time.
post #21 of 35
Thread Starter 
OK. Planned to wait a, well, until the fleas disappeared! I'm done trying to treat the house....I acutally wondered if I just angered the fleas before their death. I honestly am not 100% sure how exactly the borax works, but hey....my toilets are clean thanks to it!
post #22 of 35
We use the 20 Mule Team borax and it worked great but..... it took almost a full week before we really noticed all the fleas were gone. Now we do it once a year to just keep it up. One trick that really works is to actually sweep it into the carpet with a broom. My DH sprinkles it and I follow with the broom. I am always barefoot when I do it too, that way I can tell if I got it far enough into the base of the carpet, thats really where those little buggers live so you need to force it into it. If I sweep it good enough I can't feel it when I walk over the carpet, even before vacuuming. You may need to do it one more time just to be sure. It can take alot the first time. We went through 3 boxes an dwe only had to do about 500-600 square feet. Once you get enough on you should only need to use half that amount if not less the following year. Make sure to really cover the areas the animals like to sleep and hang out, that is where most of the eggs like to be. We won't use any chemicals on Karma so we did it the natural way, borax, a few baths in dawn and lots of patience. It took litterally almost a week but it worked and was well worth it.

Like Swampwich said 5 grams is alot. Your cats would never get that much on them to lick off and unless you just leave a pile on the floor they should be fine. As long as you cant feel it with your feet and hands then most likely none will get on them.

To answer your question about how it works, the size of the grain of borax is just big enough to get into the fleas lungs. Because a flea is so small one little grain is highly toxic to them and they sufficate almost immediatly. When the eggs hatch and they take their first breath, the first thing they breath in is the borax, they never stand a chance. Same for adults the second they jump into the carpet to go lay eggs they breath it in and die too.
post #23 of 35
I just love hearing that about fleas. It's just what they deserve!!
post #24 of 35
Thread Starter 
Well.....I am noticing A LOT less fleas!! I think I angered them....& now they die! I'll probably Borax every couple of weeks for awhile to be sure I've killed all those buggers....but one thing I noticed was the carpets smell better, too!
post #25 of 35
Wonderful stuff!!
post #26 of 35
I heard borax was harmful for cats.

I read that you can put flea collars in your vacuum, which I have been doing. I also read it can cause fumes, but I havent had any, so I continue to do it. I cut it in half and put it in the upright and the hand held.

I used Frontline and one cat licked it and foamed, which he is suppose to do if he ingests it, and another lost his hair in that spot, so I refuse to use chemicals.

I comb them at least 3 times a day. I did some rug cleaning, and than sprayed Raid flea killer and it seems to be working. I have to do one small area at a time, the cats have to be where I am, so its hard to get them to another area. I have a small apartment as well. I just read about Lentek Koolatron Flea Zapper Electronic Comb, which I am going to look into.

good luck
post #27 of 35
Thread Starter 
Well, I could visibly see fleas on Ophelia tonight! I combed her & yes there were quite a few, live & dead.

Are fleas attracted to lighter colored cats? I've combed Ophelia(white), Dorian(Buff), Molly(white w/ black "cow" spots), PJ(buff), & Punky(grey tabby/white feet). Now, of all those guys, PJ, Ophelia, & Molly have the most fleas. Dory has a fair number, but Punky never hardly has any!
post #28 of 35
I don't know about cats but I know fleas are more attracted to humans with faired skin so I would assume the same is true for animals.

When you comb the cats keep a bowl of water with dawn dish soap next to you and dip the comb into it to remove any fleas. The live ones will drown alost immediatly and th edead ones will just float. Anoutherthing you could try, if possable, is this. I used it when Karma was suffering and it worked. It may be hard for you but its worth a shot.

Here it is....
Take a shallow pan like a cookie sheet with edges and place enough water in it to fill about half way. Add dawn dish soap. Place a light above the pan, about 1 foot above. Turn off all the lights in the room and leave just the light above the pan on. The fleas are attracted to the light and go to jump in. They can't reach the light and fall into the pan and drown.

Because we only have one cat it was easy, we just locked her in the bedroom with us over night. We caught about 100 fleas that way. They really are not that bright. FFor you it may be harder because of the number of animals you have but if you can pull it off tr it. It works.

lovemyboys, so you know borax is not harmful if used properly which white cat lover is doing. Yes the flea collor works but you will find yourself in an ongoing problem. The vibrations from the vacuum is what causes the eggs to hatch so unless you get them all at once you will still have the problem. You also have to toss the vacuum bag evrytime you vacuum or th efleas will just climb out of it even with a piece of collor in it. Also I would never use a spray like Raid. That is highly toxic, not just to cats but humans and the enviroment. It also leaves a film that can not be removed. I would worry about contact from the kitties and then they lick the film off their fur and feet. Just something to think about.

I prefer the all natural methods that are safe for all involved. I don't use any type of chemical on Karma or myself for that matter. I never even put bug spray on my own body. Its the way I feal, chemicals are no good for my family. Anything that nees a permit to be made and is so stricktly regulated makes me nervous. We have only had one serious battle with fleas, to the point that we could see them jumpng on th ecarpet. After using borax and dawn with in 1 week the problem was over and we have yet to see anouther flea.
post #29 of 35
This is a great thread about flea control. I'm bookmarking it.
post #30 of 35
The flea collar I put in the vacuum kills eggs too. I am also using a wet rug cleaner and vacuuming a lot too.

I dont like chemicals either, but I am am finding the Raid does work. I am not finding any fleas on me except for the ones I lose while combing lol

We do use a cup of soapy water to put them in, I use a paper towel and than put soap and water on it and throw the whole thing out.

Yes this is a good thread, and I will try the light thing too. I did it years ago, but still ended up having to bomb when I lived in a house that I could put the cats elsewhere.

I cant stand that none of my cats go out and I have this problem...
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