How to Treat Wood With Borax


Pressure treated lumber for outdoor construction is what most of us recognize as a piece of treated wood. The procedure infuses a compound into the wood fibers to slow decay and make our decks last longer. You can also treat wood with Borax though, a less commonly known way to cure wood with high water content, inhibit fire, and keep wood rotting insects away. Borax is a water soluble mineral that you can treat a number of products, including for use in the building industries.

Step 1

Lay a protective barrier around the wood parts to be treated. The Borax solution can leach out onto the ground and can poison some types of grasses. Prevent Borax overdose to plants and animals by preparing a quality work area with the protection of an edge guard or with towels to catch any run-off of Borax solution.

Step 2

Arrange the raw wood so that each side can be treated with the Borax solution. Check that you are able to flip the pieces on edge and over onto the other side to get an even coverage of Borax onto the wood boards. Take the pump sprayer and the Borax to a water supply and mix up a batch of Borax wood treatment.

Step 3

Dissolve 10 oz. of Borax (20 Mule Team variety) into about 6 oz. of warm water. Agitate the solution until the Borax is dissolved. Pour this mixture into 1 gallon of plain tap water and mix so that it too is blended well. Now pour the treated gallon of water into the hand pump sprayer and tighten the cap of the sprayer. Pump it up to pressurize the inside.

Step 4

Spray the solution evenly onto each side of the raw wood boards. A Borax component within the wood means this wood will be effective at repelling pest animals, inhibiting fire and curing faster by being treated with a simple Borax and water solution. Spray one side and then turn on edge and spray the edge, and turn and spray the back, and turn and spray the edge. That covers the entire board. Continue to spray boards until the solution is used. A gallon of solution will treat about fifty 2"X4"X8' studs.

Step 5

Cure the wood as you would normally. It can be kiln or air dried until the moisture content reaches. Determine the correct moisture content for your area and dry the wood until it has the recommended amount of water in the fiber. Install the wood as you would any other type of treated wood.

Tips and Warnings

  • Borax is a poison at concentrated levels. Pets, children and adults can have adverse reactions to the ingestion of the Borax solution. Call a poison hotline immediately following and ingestion event. A veterinarian should be called if a pet is affected.

Things You'll Need

  • Freshly cut wood
  • Water (2.5+ gallons)
  • Borax (10+ ounces)
  • Sprayer (pump type)
  • Barrier protection (tarp/cloth)


  • Als Home Improvement Center
  • Borax; Pest Control
  • Living with Bugs; Timbor Insecticide & Wood Preservative

Who Can Help

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture; Moisture Content of Wood in the U.S.
Keywords: Borax wood, wood treatment, pest control, Fire retardent, Borax treatment

About this Author

Francis Walsh has been producing internet content for over 15 years. He earned an Associated degree as a Political Science student from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and now writes about his passion for the automobile, professional drag racing, computers, fiction, and health concerns for men over 40.

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