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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 dark, moist areas. Roaches also give off a bad odor when they die.

These common pests can be difficult to get rid of. However, while professional pest control services can help with a heavy roach infestation, there are many home remedies and natural methods you can try.

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.

Very shortly, the roaches will come out of hiding and eat the bait. 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

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 overnight, but you should start to see results in a week or two.

3. Diatomaceous Earth

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

Ingested, DE will also have a deadly impact. However, it works better if it gets directly on 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 oil of choice 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 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 American cockroaches (palmetto bugs) and others 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 a natural insecticide that you can purchase from the garden store and dilute to make a spray. You can also buy neem in powdered form to puff around infested areas to kill young roaches.

Additionally, neem leaf tea can repel cockroaches. Boil about a pound of fresh leaves in 2 liters of water for 10 minutes.

Remove the liquid from the heat and leave it to cool. Finally, strain and spray in places where the critters love to go.

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 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 sink, 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, 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. It paralyzes the nervous system 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 attracts roaches, but the product itself will not harm them. So, you’ll likely have to use it as bait to get rid of the critters.

Make a DIY trap by placing a paper cup with coffee grounds into a jar with water. The roaches will be drawn to the aroma, after which they’ll drop into the water and drown.

17. Lemon Juice

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

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

18. Cucumber Peels

According to some sources, cucumber peels may repel roaches as they hate the smell.

Therefore, before going to bed, place peels of cucumber 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 from hiding.

The solution kills cockroaches shortly after as the soap creates a film that prevents them from breathing properly. Also, use soap and water to thoroughly wipe down kitchen counters and food surfaces.

20. Orange Guard

This product is a spray developed from distilled orange peel oil. 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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