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21 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Cockroaches

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21 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Cockroaches

It can be very frustrating to find cockroaches inside your home. You may find them in your kitchen, bathroom, and other areas. Roaches also give off an unpleasant odor.

These common pests can be difficult to get rid of. However, there are many home remedies and natural methods that can help control them.

Here’s how to get rid of cockroaches naturally:

1. Baking Soda and Sugar 

A DIY concoction of baking soda and sugar can kill cockroaches. Besides, you probably already have these ingredients at home.

To make a homemade cockroach killer using baking soda, combine equal parts sugar and baking soda in a shallow bowl. Next, place the bowl near cockroach-infested areas.

The roaches will likely come out of hiding and eat the bait. If that happens, the baking soda will kill them within 24 hours.

You can also get rid of roaches coming up the drain by pouring half a cup of baking soda down there.

Follow up by pouring half a cup of vinegar immediately after and covering the drain for about 5 minutes. Finally, pour a pot full of boiling water down the drain.

2. Borax

A borax powder and sugar mixture is another great home remedy you can try. Once the roaches consume it, they will eventually die.

Mix a 50-50 ratio of borax powder and white sugar and spread it in the corners of your apartment. Alternatively, make a homemade borax spray for roaches.

For the spray recipe, mix two tablespoons of borax, two tablespoons of sugar, and two cups of hot water. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and apply it to the affected areas of the house.

The roaches won’t die instantly or even overnight, but you should start to see results in a week or two. This remedy works great on palmetto bugs.

3. Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is deadly to many insect pests. Sprinkled onto the exoskeletons of roaches, DE will cause dehydration, leading to death.

Ingesting DE will also have a deadly impact. However, it works better if it gets directly onto their bodies.

Sprinkle diatomaceous earth in areas where these insects like to crawl. This product is safe and natural. Moreover, it is available at most garden stores and online.

4. Essential Oils

Roaches seem to be repelled by the smell of peppermint, eucalyptus, cedar, tea tree, and oregano oils. Rosemary oil is also an excellent natural cockroach treatment, as it is very toxic to them [1].

To make a DIY essential oil roach spray, combine 10 or 15 drops of rosemary, peppermint, or any of the mentioned oils with water in a spray bottle. Shake well and spray directly onto the critters and in places where they normally hide.

5. Clean Up

The best way to keep cockroaches away is to clean up food preparation and dining areas. Also, sweep away crumbs and vacuum more often than usual.

Thoroughly wipe floors, sinks, and surfaces. This will help deter roaches greatly. Additionally, keep all foods covered or sealed, and clear out the trash can regularly.

6. Boric Acid

This is one of the best home remedies to get rid of a heavy roach infestation. But be sure to keep it away from pets and children.

To use boric acid to kill roaches, sprinkle it in areas where they are likely to crawl. As they crawl through, they will try to get it off by cleaning themselves.

Ingesting the powder will not only kill them, but the Oriental and German cockroaches will eat their dead [2]. So, in this case, the dead roaches will become poisonous bait for other roaches of their kind.

You can also sprinkle it on roach eggs. Though it will not affect the eggs, it will kill the baby cockroaches (nymphs) that hatch.

7. Seal Cracks and Holes

Seal over any cracks in walls, near doors, windows, or vents to prevent cockroaches from entering the house.

Check the attic and roof as well. Flyscreens and screen doors will also help keep them outside.

8. Neem

Neem oil is used as a natural insecticide, and you can purchase it as a concentrate to use as a spray.

It kills young roaches and inhibits the adults’ egg-laying process [3].

9. Bay Leaves

If you have access to a bay laurel tree, pick and crush a few leaves and place them around the home where cockroaches appear. They hate the smell!

10. Use Your Shoe

It’s not pleasant, but smashing it with a shoe is one of the fastest ways to get rid of a cockroach. Afterward, clean away the remains to avoid attracting other insects.

11. Fix Water Leaks

Cockroaches need water to survive. These pests also like to hide and breed in moist places.

Drips from the faucets or leaks from damaged or broken pipes, especially under the bathroom and kitchen sinks, could be the source of your roach problems.

Therefore, seal or mend leaking pipes as quickly as possible.

12. Petroleum Jelly

Use petroleum jelly to make a sticky trap for roaches. Find an old jar and smear the inside with the jelly.

Next, put some crumbs or food scraps in the jar. The critters will climb in for the treat but won’t be able to climb out.

Alternatively, spread some petroleum jelly onto pieces of cardboard and then sprinkle some sugar on them. Place the cardboard in the pests’ hiding spots.

13. Vinegar

White vinegar is a great deterrent, as roaches hate it. Just spritz it around the infested areas.

However, because vinegar is likely to repel rather than kill, you may have to use it alongside other potent home remedies for cockroaches.

14. Catnip

Catnip is a powerful repellent plant that will keep away many pests. It contains a compound that repels roaches.

Boil some water, place catnip in it, and let it steep for about 10 minutes. Finally, allow it to cool and use it to spray on surfaces and in crevices and cracks.

15. Pyrethrins

These are compounds found naturally in some chrysanthemum flowers. When applied properly, it paralyzes the nervous systems of roaches and other insect pests.

While you can make a DIY cockroach killer by grinding up the dried flower heads, it is best to buy a pyrethrin-based insecticide.

16. Coffee Grounds

The smell of coffee repels roaches, but the product itself will not harm them.

Therefore, place some coffee grounds in areas where these pests are likely to hide or show up.

17. Lemon Juice

The smell of lemons and other citrus fruits acts as a natural repellent against cockroaches.

So make a spray of approximately half a cup of lemon juice and two cups of water. Use it wherever there are signs of cockroaches.

18. Cucumber Peels

According to some sources, cucumber peels may repel roaches, as they dislike the smell of cucumbers.

Therefore, before going to bed, place cucumber peels around areas such as cabinets and kitchen sinks and see if it works.

19. Soapy Water

It’s a good idea to keep a spray bottle with soapy water around to spray any roaches that crawl out of hiding.

The solution kills cockroaches shortly after, as the soap creates a film that prevents them from breathing properly.

20. Orange Guard

This product is OMRI-listed as an organic insecticide that can deal with cockroaches. It kills on contact.

Orange Guard is also effective against a wide range of other insect pests.

21. Enoz Trap-n-Kill Roach Traps

These are extra-large sticky traps complete with strong food-based bait to attract roaches. The insects will then get trapped by the sticky glue.


No matter how clean the house is, sometimes cockroaches may appear out of nowhere. Besides, if you see baby roaches in the bathtub or kitchen, you’re most likely dealing with a German cockroach infestation.

However, these natural remedies may eliminate the problem without the need for an exterminator. Try them out to see which one works best for you!

Image via Flickr

Sasha Brown

Sasha Brown is a blogger and lover of all things natural.

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