There are countless home remedies for roaches out there, but which are recipes for success and which are a waste of time?
We’ve collected some of the best home remedies for cockroaches and given them each a grade! From easy-to-make traps and natural repellents to powerful roach-killing formulas, you’ll find simple solutions to send roaches packing fast.
Ready to get cooking? Let’s go!
Raw-Knuckled Roach-Killing Recipes
We don’t blame you if you’re not too concerned at the moment about playing nice and just want to kill as many roaches as possible, as fast as possible.
These are the home remedies to start with:
- Baking soda and onions
- Duct tape
- Boric acid and peanut butter
- Cockroach cookies
- Diatomaceous earth
- Cornstarch and Plaster of Paris
- Petroleum jelly
- Ammonia or Bleach (in drains)
★ Find even more home remedies to get rid of roaches in our detailed guide to killing cockroaches.
1. Kill Roaches With Baking Soda and Onions
Let’s begin with one of the quickest, easiest, and most “make it right now!” home remedies for roaches – baking soda and onions, both of which you may already have in the fridge.
Dice a handful of onion, sprinkle it with deadly baking soda, and voila! A great, natural roach-killing hors d’oeuvre to serve anywhere roaches like to dine.
2. Duct Tape: The Simplest Sticky Trap
The duct tape trap is truly the Old Fashioned of cockroach traps, pest control reduced to its simplest ingredients: a sticky surface and something to bait the bugs onto that sticky surface.
For the trap: one upside-down strip of duct tape.
For the bait: one piece of food
Spread these strips all over the house for one of the most ruthless cockroach killer home remedies. It will kill cockroaches overnight, and show you the most infested areas to hit again.
3. Boric Acid and Peanut Butter
Boric acid tops even baking soda when it comes to killing cockroaches. With little more than a sprinkle on the floor, boric acid acts as an all-natural poison to take down dirty roaches in just days. Or, spread a dusting on a paper plate and bait it right in the middle with a piece of orange peel.
4. Irresistible Roach Cookies
Speaking of sweets, we’ve cooked up one of the deadliest home remedies to kill roaches ever, and it’s packed in a delicious (to roaches) dessert. Our simple no-bake roach cookies recipe combines the irresistible draw of raw cookie dough with the roach-killing power of boric acid.
5. DE to Be Cockroach-Free
It’s a little less common than baking soda but, if you have a pool at home, you probably have a tub or two of diatomaceous earth (DE) sitting next to its filter. Great start! But EPA-registered, food-grade DE is the one you want to buy. DE is an amazing cockroach killer. All it takes is a light dusting to damage a roach’s exoskeleton and dehydrate it to death.
Mix equal parts DE and powdered sugar and spread a very light coating on all at-risk surfaces to kill any cockroaches craving sweets!
Safety tip: DE may be natural, but even the food-grade variety can hurt your lungs if you breathe it in. Wearing a protective mask when using DE is recommended.
6. Kill Roaches with Borax
There’s one more super-powered powder that’s easy to find, easy to use and effective as heck: borax. Use this laundry product as one ingredient in a variety of roach-killing recipes, from sugar and borax to cocoa dusts and borax balls. Check ’em all out here!
7. Cornstarch Plus Plaster of Paris
Take two common household products, mix them together and create a great roach killer in no time at all. Equal parts will do for this recipe, which attracts roaches with the promise of a starchy snack and kills them quickly. Apply it in cracks, crevices and places you think roaches are hiding.
8. Petroleum Jelly to Trap Roaches
Have some petroleum jelly in the closet? While it’s not a repellent or toxic to roaches, it’s an essential part of an awesome roach trap.
Choose an empty glass jar, beer bottle or wine bottle. Place a little bait at the bottom. Then, rub petroleum jelly all around the upper half of the inside of the jar or bottle. Tape a bookmark or straw to the outside as a ramp. This way, roaches can easily climb in for the food but can’t climb back out!
9. Down the Drain: Bleach or Ammonia to Kill and Keep Out
Sometimes, roaches like to hide in drains but you don’t have to trap them at their convenience. For a quick-and-dirty way to kill roaches right where they’re hiding, pour 1/4 cup of bleach into the drain and don’t forget to plug it! In 30 minutes, thoroughly flush it with plenty of water. Always be careful when handling bleach!
A mixture of water and ammonia dumped down the drain also warns roaches to stay away with its powerful smell. And, of course, a thorough cleaning with ammonia signals to roaches that there’s no food to be found.
Home Remedies to Prevent and Repel Roaches
Repellents are like power-ups in a cockroach control system: they won’t get rid of roaches on their own but they can help by making your home less attractive to the bugs.
Great roach repellents include:
- Essential oils
- Bay leaves
- Cleaning and exclusion
★ Find even more home remedies for repelling roaches in our detailed guide.
10. Repel Roaches with Essential Oils
One of the best natural remedies for roaches, essential oils are effective and smell great, too. That is, unless you’re a cockroach.
For example, they simply can’t handle the potent, refreshing scent of peppermint essential oil. Roaches avoid its aroma like it’ll kill them (which—fun fact—it can!). Cypress oil is another strong repellent; dilute it with water and spray it anywhere you’ve seen roaches to send them away.
Lemongrass oil is one of the strongest natural roach repellents available. Catnip oil works, too—just don’t let your cat near the areas you’ve treated!
11. Deter Cockroaches with Bay Leaves
Need more natural remedies for cockroaches? Raid the spice rack!
That’s because bay leaves make another surprising home remedy for roaches.
Bay leaves’ fragrance (specifically the compound eucalyptol) has been shown to repel some roaches and keep them out of cabinets, closets and kitchen areas. Just make sure you’re pairing bay leaves with a thorough cleaning for maximum effectiveness.
12. Using Vinegar to Prevent Cockroaches
Vinegar doesn’t kill cockroaches but you can create a few effective home remedies for cockroaches with vinegar in a starring role.
Mix vinegar with tea tree essential oil or cedar oil for a powerful cleaning and roach-repellent solution.
There’s one more way to use vinegar to prevent roaches and it’s more effective over time than any other repellent: cleaning.
13. Cleaning: The Best Way to Keep Roaches Out for Good
Nothing beats good ol’ fashioned cleaning for permanent pest control! Roaches look for easily accessed food and water sources, and when they can’t find them, they either die or leave. That makes basic, thorough cleaning an awesome cockroach remedy that can make a bigger difference than you think!
The key is thinking like a roach: where can I find a few crumbs and a sip of water each day?
These bugs can get by on water from a leaky faucet, crumbs under furniture or appliances, grease splatter on the stove, old papers boxed up in the basement, and even—disgustingly—the bodies of dead roaches.
While you’re in the six-legged mindset, think about where you’d most want to hide away during the daylight hours: dark, cluttered storage areas full of cardboard boxes and old papers for a snack. Swap the boxes for bins with lids and do some organizing to take away a cockroach’s favorite hideouts.
Find even more tips for preventing roaches with sanitation.
Home Remedies for Specific Species Control
Get Rid of German Cockroaches
A notorious house pest around the world, the German cockroach has a reputation for spreading ruthlessly and causing major problems for homeowners.
In addition to reproducing rapidly, German roaches are stubborn. They tend to display bait aversion more often than other species, making it tricky to eliminate them with steady applications of one type of bait.
14. Rotate the Bait
Plan to rotate the baits you use in traps to prevent resistance; German roaches are particularly good at adapting to and avoiding traps if they get used to smelling one flavor or ingredient.
Stop Wood Roaches from Flying Indoors
Indoor run-ins with wood roaches are likely the result of a few wanderers that got stuck on the wrong side of an open window.
The best way to prevent wood roaches is through exclusion:
15. Screening All Visitors
What about home remedies to get rid of cockroaches when the little buggers fly inside?
Try any of the above! But nothing is more effective at keeping bugs outside than window screens and screen doors. If your screens are a few-too-many-seasons old and featuring a few holes, attach some coarse steel wool or, in a pinch, a piece of duct tape. You can buy a magnetic screen “door” for under $10, too.
16. Draw the Blinds on Bugs Attracted to Light
Wood roaches attracted to light have it too easy on spring and summer evenings; the windows are open, the patio lights are on and people are in and out of the house. These bugs can fly straight inside, guided by the light.
The solution is simple: keep the shades and blinds drawn. Hiding the lights lets the bugs stay outside where they belong.
Remedies for Roaches in the Apartment and the Car
In Your Apartment
Keeping a cockroach infestation out of your rental starts with eliminating the most common things that attract cockroaches to apartments: food, water and hiding places.
When using home remedies for roaches in an apartment, pay special attention to the bathrooms and their drains and piping: both popular entry points for bugs. (They’re also easy sources of water.) Roaches take advantage of A/C vents to spread from unit to unit, too.
In Your Car
Believe it or not, there’s plenty of space inside a car for cockroaches to thrive and multiply. To deal with a roach infestation on wheels, start by vacuuming everywhere. We’ve already covered roach motels and roach-killing dusts. Now, use these great home remedies to get rid of roaches in your car, too!
Check out our Roach-Free Recipe: Getting Rid of Roaches in Your Car.
Finding cockroaches crawling around your home is gross.
Luckily, with a few minutes and some common household ingredients, you can whip up any of these awesome home remedies for roaches and start killing the bugs today!
You’ve got this!
- Nagro, Anne (2019) Rethinking German Cockroach Control. Pest Control Technology. Retrieved from https://www.pctonline.com/article/rethinking-german-cockroach-control/
- 2017 Cockroach Management Supplement. Pest Management Professional.
- Myth Busting: DIY Cockroach Control (2016) Rentokil Pest Control. Retrieved from https://www.rentokil.ie/blog/myth-busting-diy-cockroach-control/