Tip #22

Boric Acid is the Best Roach Killer

Written by on January 18, 2013

WARNING: Any product that will kill a roach, is usually somewhat dangerous to humans.
Therefore, be mindful of pets, babies, and tenants when treating your rental property.

Boric Acid

I’ve tried almost every roach-killing chemical out there and the winner seems to always be Boric Acid – which is an inexpensive do-it-yourself product that can be found at most big grocery stores and all hardware stores.

In my opinion, Boric Acid is the best roach killer because it works. period.

Harris – My Favorite Brand

Roach Killer Powder, 16 ozHarris Roach Killer Powder is my favorite brand because it’s cheap and seems to work faster than other brands. When I use it, my roach problems go away – which is all I really care about. The tablets also come in handy.

The reason I use Harris, is because I’ve found that other brands sometimes dilute the product with filler, making it not as potent and less effective.

One easy trick is to mix the powder with sweetened condensed milk until it becomes a sticky paste.  The paste is an edible poison that the roaches cannot resist.

When my tenants complain about roaches, as a measure of good faith, I usually buy some Harris Brand Boric Acid (which comes in tablet and powder form), and spend 10 minutes putting it all around the house – anywhere that I think roaches might be hiding.  The powder comes in handy for laying a line of poison or squeezing it into holes and hard-to-reach places.

If there are too many roaches already, and an infestation is already well underway, I just simply call an exterminator and make my tenants pay for it (per the lease of course).  Boric Acid usually works in 1-5 days, but if the problem is an urgent one, exterminators will treat the property with high-powered chemicals and “bombs”.  Just be mindful of your tenants and pets before going nuclear.

Learn More

Guide to Roaches

Read my other in-depth guide that describes How to Kill Roaches in a Rental Property

  • Other roach-killing products
  • How to know when to call an exterminator
  • Useful lease clauses that address roaches and infestations
Your Rental

12 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Jim Davis

    I have spent a great deal of time in property management. We tried everything until we finally found a boric acid paste professionally made by landlords. The paste had been around for many years and yet we hadn’t heard of it. It is called MRF 2000 and it is the best thing we have ever used. Instead of spraying all the time, we can now treat an entire complex with one application and get an entire apartment building roach-free; what a relief.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Jim,
      Thanks for your feedback. The MRF 2000 seems similar to the paste I describe. But the fact that it already comes pre-packaged, and I don’t have to mix it is very nice!

  • joe

    unfortunately for me, I live in california, and I am legally not allowed to charge the tenants for bringing an exterminator. It is my responsibility. Damn..

    • Lucas Hall

      Hey Joe,
      It’s great to meet you. Thanks for your comment, but it’s not entirely true.

      Here’s my understanding of CA laws:
      1. The landlord must provide a clean, pest-free home when the tenant first moves in.
      2. At any time during the lease, a landlord must take action to get rid of any pests that show up.
      3. However, the burden of paying for the pest removal falls on the person responsible for pests in the place. If your tenant’s living behavior causes a mouse and roach infestation, then you still have to take action to rid the house of them, but you can charge it back to the tenant.

      I’ve never seen a law that requires the landlord to pay for pest treatment under all circumstances. What if you have a hoarder tenant? Please prove me wrong if you can cite the statute.

  • yudi

    I live in indonesia it is hard to find it so you can advise me how i get it ?

  • Marilyn

    We are battling a roach infestation at my elderly Mother’s home. She continually calls the exterminator out, they spray but it never gets rid of them. It is a “never ending story”. I feel like they are taking advantage of her. I’ve also read that exterminators have changed the chemicals in their product because if they kill the roaches, they do not get called back, therefore business is not good. Do you have any special instructions to go by if we decide to try this in her home?


    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Marilyn,

      I would use the powder boric acid and squeeze (spray) it into every nook and cranny. Then make a paste out of it, and put it on the insides of your cabinets wherever you are seeing roaches.

      I give some more details here; http://www.landlordology.com/how-to-kill-roaches/

      If that doesn’t work, you may have to “bomb” the house, which would involve your mother moving out for a few days.

      Also, you could try a different pest removal company. Some are better than others. Try searching Angie’s list for a A+ ranked company that has lots of experience with roaches.

  • gabriel smit

    your 100% on target with boric acid. with diatomaceous earth, it will kill most household critters like cockroaches, fish moths, crickets, fleas, ticks and bed bugs.
    it is cheap, less toxic than table salt and works like a bomb!

  • EJ

    Just moved in to my sisters house roach free. I used to live in an apt Complex with roach problems. I took forever to move out cuz I wanted to make sure that the stuff I took into her houdr were roach free I saw four roaches already. What sgould I do? My sis is freaking out cuz she hates roaches.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi EJ,

      Roaches are super sneaky, and it doesn’t surprise me that they found a place to hide during the move.

      Anyway, check out my other How-to guide about roaches. I think you can definitely take are of it yourself with the right poison/tools. Otherwise, any of the major pest control companies would happily get rid of them for you.


  • April Fairfax

    Want email

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Landlordology is a moderated community.
If you want your photo to appear next to your comment, create a Gravatar.

Get Updates by Email

Join Thousands of Landlords