Use borax as an insecticide to kill household roaches, and then eliminate their hiding places to prevent a recurrence. DoItYourself.com indicates that borax kills roaches but is relatively safe for both humans and pets.
Borax is a natural and inexpensive insecticide, according to About.com. Retailers sell it as a laundry booster. It is environmentally friendly and does not form fumes.
Proper application of borax involves a light dusting in cracks and other hard-to-reach spots where roaches hide. A paintbrush helps to spread any piles that form during application. A second method of application is to make a paste of sugar, borax and water, and then roll the paste into small balls to dry. Placing these balls around the room forms feeding stations that attract roaches to the bait.
Borax works by dehydrating roaches, according to DoItYourself.com. The adult roaches bring the borax powder back to their breeding grounds, so that it also affects roaches in the immature stages. With proper applications, the roach population begins to decrease within a couple of weeks.
Controlling roaches involves more than extermination, according to HowStuffWorks. Clutter provides hiding places for roaches and requires removal. Piles of newspaper, grocery bags and cardboard boxes are particularly troublesome. These paper products absorb the pheromones roaches leave to attract more roaches. The pheromones indicate the location of a roach and directions for others to get there.