If you’ve seen one cockroach or signs of a few hanging around your home, you’re probably looking for an easy, natural solution to deal with them before you start calling the local pest control service.
Could peppermint essential oil be an effective natural way to get rid of cockroaches?
Well, there are just a few things to know before you start wiping down every surface in your home with the stuff.
So we put together the scoop on peppermint oil for roaches right here.
How Does Peppermint Oil Repel Roaches?
If there’s one thing no one doubts, it’s that peppermint oil has a strong smell. It’s a refreshing fragrance, one that’s unmistakable and potent with a capital “P”.
Is that enough to send roaches packing? Indeed, several studies suggest it is.
The Scientific Evidence
What they found is surprising—and great news for the millions of homeowners across the U.S. looking for an easy, safe, natural way to repel cockroaches.
During each day of their 14-day experiment, the mint oil repelled 100% of the roaches. 100%! That’s a significant result.
It’s also big news for anyone dealing with a cockroach problem who’s nervous about using dangerous chemicals or who’s not yet ready to call a professional pest control service.
Peppermint oil poses relatively little risk to children and pets (though you should still keep them from ingesting it). And it comes with another benefit: it’ll quickly freshen up an entire room!
What’s really interesting is that peppermint oil has another trick up its sleeve: its effects go beyond repelling cockroaches.
Does Peppermint Oil Kill Roaches?
Not only is peppermint oil a natural cockroach repellent—it’s also toxic to roaches (and for the record, to bed bugs, too).
The same Auburn University study found that mint oil killed both German and American cockroaches when they came into contact with it for an extended period.
What Makes Peppermint Oil Toxic to Insects?
Research shows that menthone (which is a compound similar to menthol) is the ingredient that makes peppermint oil a potential roach killer. Menthone is the compound that gives mint oil its “minty” fragrance and it’s present in the oils of most common mint plants.
What does that mean for your DIY pest control system? Unfortunately, you probably won’t kill many cockroaches with peppermint oil. In the experiment, the roaches were continuously exposed to the mint oil.
Under normal circumstances, cockroaches are simply too fast to be affected by brief contact. Plus, mint oil is a repellent, so the roaches will likely stay away from it. It’s possible that cockroaches avoid the scent of mint oil because it’s poisonous to them.
The bottom line is it would take much more physical exposure to kill the cockroaches than you’re likely to get with a spray bottle.
How to use peppermint oil to repel roaches in your home
Peppermint oil is super-easy to use in your home. It’s not foolproof but it’s relatively inexpensive and easy to experiment with to see what works best.
You don’t need any fancy equipment to start; just mix 10 to 15 drops of the pure peppermint essential oil with water in a spray bottle. (You can also use other kinds of mint essential oil as they’ll also contain menthone.) Then, spray generously on walls, counters and other surfaces where you’ve seen cockroach activity. This should be enough to deter roaches, at least for a time.
As an alternative to peppermint oil spray, you can also wet cotton balls with peppermint oil and water and place them in cupboards, along walls or in closets.
You will have to reapply pretty frequently so the fragrance doesn’t wear off. Since cockroaches are nocturnal, your best bet is to reapply each night before you go to bed. That way, when the roaches are most active, your peppermint oil repellent is at its strongest.
For a stronger solution, you can even mix in some white vinegar. If you didn’t believe us before, believe us now: that’s a strong scent. Use 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water and then mix in those 10 or 15 drops of peppermint oil. Then, spray away. Don’t be afraid to spray in your cabinets and pantry, your bathroom and other areas where you don’t want to find roaches.
Tip: If you’re also using baits to kill cockroaches, don’t spray peppermint oil on the baits. You might think it’ll make the baits more effective but because peppermint oil is also an insect repellent, it will instead convince roaches to avoid the baits. You can use both peppermint oil and baits but you should apply them in separate areas of your home. (The same goes for traps: you’ll want to put baits in your traps, not a repellent like peppermint oil.)
The Verdict: Will Peppermint Oil Repel Roaches in Your Home?
Finally, the moment you’ve been waiting for: does peppermint oil for roaches make sense?
The answer is yes!
Peppermint essential oil can likely deter roaches in your household.
Like all pest control solutions, it depends on your specific circumstances, the size of your roach problem and the way you apply the treatment. But with patience and perseverance, there’s a good chance you’ll see at least some difference by using peppermint oil to repel roaches.
- Appel, Arthur G. et al. (2001) Repellency and Toxicity of Mint Oil to American and German Cockroaches. Auburn University Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology. Retrieved from https://scentsoc.org/Volumes/JAUE/v18/149.pdf
- Phillips, Alicia Kyser (2009) Toxicity and Repellency of Essential Oils to the German Cockroach. Auburn University. Retrieved from https://etd.auburn.edu/bitstream/handle/10415/1942/thesis%20draft%209.pdf?sequence=1&ts=1424397356350