Roach Control

Cartoon illustration of a cockroach looking at its leg covered with insecticidal dust

Killing Roaches with Insecticidal Dust

Active Time: 1 hour
Additional Time: 5 days
Total Time: 5 days 1 hour
Difficulty: Easy

Insecticidal dust is a fine powder applied to areas that roaches frequent. It clings to their bodies, damaging the waxy coating that protects them, eventually causing them to die.

In this Roach-Free Recipe, you'll learn how to kill roaches with CimeXa, a man-made silica dust that's not only effective, but extremely safe for humans and pets. CimeXa isn't designed for wet areas, and should be targeted to cracks and crevices.

Like other dusts, it performs best when used alongside other methods, including baits, sanitation and exclusion.

Also see: A Simple 5-Step Guide For Getting Rid of Roaches.


  • CimeXa insecticidal dust, 4 oz.


  • Handheld bulb duster
  • Flashlight
  • Screwdriver
  • Latex gloves
  • Moist rag and a soft brush
  • Knee pads (optional)
  • Step stool (optional)
  • A few large Ziploc bags (optional)


A. Find Where the Roaches Hide

If you haven't done so yet, inspect your home, preferably with the help of sticky traps and a notebook, to find where roaches hide. You'll find a printable Roach-Free Recipe for that here.

B. Purchase Supplies and Read Product Labels and Instructions

  1. Purchase a 4 oz. tube of CimeXa insecticidal dust. Probably known best as a bed bug killer, CimeXa works for roaches, too.
  2. Purchase a handheld bulb duster with separate attachment tips. Though CimeXa's squeeze bottle can double as a simple duster, a specialized dusting tool will do a better job.
  3. Purchase a few pairs of latex gloves. CimeXa dust won't hurt you, but can be very drying to the skin.
  4. If you used sticky traps in a previous step to find where roaches hide, purchase a few large Ziploc bags to safely throw used sticky traps away.
  5. Read the instructions that accompanied your dusting tool, and as with any insecticide, thoroughly read CimeXa's product label.

C. Prepare Your Duster

  1. Find a room with minimal airflow (to avoid blowing the dust around) and put on latex gloves.
  2. Fill your duster half full with CimeXa and secure the cap to seal.

D. Lay Down Dust

Insecticidal dust should be deposited in a super-thin film, so light that you barely see it coming from the duster's tip. When using a bulb duster, tilt the tool at a slight angle when you squeeze, and shake it a little between puffs, which helps the dust to flow. Expect to get about 50 squeezes from 2 ounces of dust, 50 more from the remaining CimeXa in your bottle.

  1. Scan a 5-6 square foot area around an area where roaches travel or infest. This could be indirect signs of roaches such as droppings, or roaches captured at that location in a sticky trap.
  2. Scan first for cracks and crevices, then select a duster tip that could fit at least partially inside. Do a single light squeeze of your duster in each crack, pulling the tip out before the duster is allowed to fill again with air.
  3. Look for nearby electrical boxes and remove the face plates with your screwdriver. Do a single light squeeze (with a plastic tip) inside the void, then pry the exposed sheet rock up slightly with the screwdriver and squeeze two more puffs of dust into the wall void itself.
  4. Scan for nearby baseboards and look for gaps between the baseboard and the floor. Select a duster tip that fits in that gap and squeeze a puff of dust every 12 inches or so.
  5. Scan for exposed pipes and plumbing and look for where pipes enter walls. Squeeze a puff of dust into the wall voids and around the base of the pipes themselves.
  6. Scan for voids and gaps in and around appliances and squeeze dust inside.
  7. For an extensive list of potential cockroach hot spots, click here.

E. Clean up

  1. Use a brush and a moist rag to wipe up any powder that spills from cracks and gaps. At worst the small amount of powder is unsightly, but won't harm you or cause stains.
  2. If you've used Ziploc bags to bag up sticky traps, seal and dispose of them. You can also drop them in the freezer for a few hours to kill any living cockroaches or their eggs.
  3. Store your duster and unused dust in a dry place out of reach of children.
  4. Wash your hands and clothing.

Suggested next step: Kill Roaches as they Feed with Edible Gel Bait.

Cartoon illustration of a cockroach sneaking into a crack in the wall

Finding Cockroach Hiding Spots Using Inspection Techniques and Sticky Traps

Additional Time: 5 days
Active Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 5 days 2 hours

Cockroaches owe a lot of their success to their ability to escape and hide, which means that the only real way to control them is to first find them, then hit them where they live.

In this Roach-Free Recipe, you'll learn where cockroaches are living in your home. Then you'll make a record of those locations to use in a plan that hits them hard.

Also see: A Simple 5-Step Guide For Getting Rid of Roaches.


  • Cockroach sticky traps (baited)


  • Flashlight
  • Pen and notebook
  • Piece of chalk
  • Handheld mirror or light stick (optional)
  • Knee pads (optional)
  • Step stool (optional)


A. Purchase Supplies and Read Product Labels and Instructions

  1. Purchase a flashlight and a notebook if you don't already own them.
  2. Purchase a 10-piece set of sticky traps. More if you'll be inspecting a large area.
  3. Consider buying a handheld mirror or a mirrored light stick. These are useful for inspecting corners and hard-to-see places.
  4. Consider buying a step stool and a pair of knee pads. The step stool will keep you safe and the pads will save your knees.
  5. Consider buying a face mask if you have allergies - you may be stirring up some dust.
  6. Read the instructions that accompanied your sticky traps and tools.

B. Know What to Look for

  1. Living or dead roaches
  2. Cockroach droppings
  3. A stale, musty smell
  4. Old, molted exoskeletons

C. Conduct the Inspection and Place Traps

You'll be inspecting your space room-by-room. When you find signs of infestation, you'll jot the location down in your notebook, mark the area itself with a piece of chalk, then set a sticky trap, which you'll return to in several days.

In the Kitchen

  1. Start with the refrigerator, moving it away from the wall if you can. Using your flashlight or mirrored light stick, examine the floor area beneath it and the walls behind and beside it. Look at the fridge itself, including the top, sides and underside (if possible). Examine the motor, the cord, the condenser coils, and where it plugs into the wall. Examine the rubber liner inside the door.
  2. Using the same approach, look behind and underneath the stove, only moving it if safe. Lift the stove top and inspect the burner areas. Check the insulation of the oven.
  3. Check inside and around your stove's ventilation hood, especially gaps around the edges.
  4. Look behind, underneath, and around the microwave, coffee maker, blender, toaster, toaster oven, and other counter top appliances.
  5. Look underneath the dishwasher and into any gaps on either side.
  6. Using your step stool, remove food, dishes, and other items from cupboards, and examine exterior and interior surfaces, including undersides and corners. Also use the opportunity to inspect and throw away any infested food.
  7. Open drawers and remove contents. Inspect surfaces, including slider mechanisms, fixtures, and undersides. Pay special attention to corners and deep recesses.
  8. Examine the area around the sink, especially the gaps at the top and along the sides of the back splash
  9. Open up under-sink cabinets and remove any items stored there. Examine interior surfaces, pipes, the holes where pipes enter, and the underside of your sink. Crouch down and examine where the kick plate meets the floor.
  10. Check the undersides of kitchen chairs and furniture.
  11. Look behind any wall clocks, behind wall calendars, and behind any other paper on the walls,
  12. Check the inside and underside of pet food bowls and under any mats beneath them.
  13. Look inside kitchen garbage cans, beneath, and behind them.
  14. Check storage areas where you keep mops, buckets,and things made of cardboard.

In the Bathroom

  1. Check inside cupboards, medicine cabinets and vanity and inspect visible surfaces, especially where there are drips or condensation. Check pipes, mounting hardware, and the areas around them.
  2. Check any areas where paper goods such as toilet paper are stored.
  3. Check door hinges.
  4. Look under the bathroom scale.
  5. Scan the bathroom for exposed pipes, especially where they emerge from walls.
  6. Examine sinks, counter tops, shower heads, bathtubs, and toilets. Not only obvious surfaces, but undersides, lips, edges, recesses, and caulking, then using your flashlight, peer into the sink and bathtub drain. Check underneath the lid of the toilet reservoir and around the water intake valve.
  7. Using your step stool and flashlight, check bathroom vents, vent covers, flaps, fans, and light fixtures.
  8. Check the floor for loose or damaged tile or flooring, especially where it meets the wall or fixtures.

In the Basement and Laundry Room

  1. Look for cracks in the foundation and holes or cracks in walls. Peer inside the cracks themselves and immediately around them.
  2. Check corners of walls, especially down low.
  3. Examine washers, dryers, hot water tanks, and the areas around, underneath, and behind them.
  4. Examine floor drains and grates.
  5. Check dryer exhaust vents and any other holes in the walls,
  6. Examine pipes as they enter and exit walls, and look beneath insulation wrapping them.

Around the House

  1. Check behind pictures, posters, wall hangings, mirrors, and wall-mounted clocks. Look under and on top of picture moldings.
  2. Examine electrical outlets, light switches, circuit breaker boxes, baseboards, and electric baseboard heaters.
  3. Check spaces where radiator pipes enter the wall.
  4. Remove books from bookshelves and examine both books and shelves.
  5. Examine the interiors of closets, cabinets, and linen closets, particularly those with cardboard boxes.
  6. Shine your flashlight inside televisions, radios, computers, air conditioners, and video game consoles.
  7. Examine the seams of upholstered furniture where crumbs and spills accumulate.
  8. Examine live plants, including the pots, soil, and the plant itself.
  9. Check around door frames and hinges.
  10. Look behind curtains and inside pleats.
  11. Examine wallpaper and paneling, especially areas that are loose, curled, or pulling free.
  12. Check areas that have lots of paper such as saved newspapers, magazine collections, books, photographs, and cardboard boxes. Open filing cabinets and poke around.
  13. Look around the fireplace, especially around cracks, gaps, and loose mortar. Move loose firewood, then examine the bark and wood debris underneath it.
  14. Using your step stool, look inside overhead light fixtures and check around the motor areas of ceiling fans.
  15. Using your knee pads and flashlight, check the voids beneath stairs.


  1. Using your flashlight, look inside gaps where gas and water lines come into the house.
  2. Check behind, in gaps underneath, and around air conditioning units and garbage receptacles.
  3. Poke mulch and wood piles with a stick.

Double-Check Your Traps

If you forgot to place any traps, go ahead and do it now. If you forgot to note locations in your notebook, or mark locations with a piece of chalk, do that now, too.

Suggested next step: Killing Roaches with Insecticidal Dust


Put on some old work clothes before you begin. You may get a little dirty.

Don't place traps near areas like stove tops where they could combust.

Sure. Roaches can be controlled with chemical pesticides, but many of us don’t want unnecessary chemicals in our homes. Luckily, roaches can be repelled naturally—and yes, killed naturally, too.

The best natural roach killer? There are a few. We’ll tell you about them along with how they work and how to easily use them.

Ready to learn how to kill roaches naturally, safely, and effectively?

Let’s go!

Killing Roaches with Natural, Eco-Friendly Powders

Cartoon illustration of a cockroach with a foot covered in diatomaceous earth powder

Natural or otherwise, there are two kinds of products for killing roaches: Contact sprays for when you want to kill a single roach outright, and strategic treatments that kill them in far larger numbers, including the roaches that are hiding and you seldom ever see.

For a strategic natural roach killer, your absolute best choice would be an all-natural cockroach killer powder—boric acid, borax, or diatomaceous earth. So let’s look at how to use these products.

How To…

How to kill cockroaches naturally with food-grade diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is an abrasive, naturally occurring powder made from ground up shells.

Sold in two grades (“food-grade” is the one you want) DE is used in everything from toothpaste to supplements to facial scrubs and is safe to touch and even eat (take care not to inhale the stuff, though—it can damage your lungs).

For our purposes and in addition to its other uses, DE powder is also a great natural way to kill cockroaches!

DE works by damaging a cockroach’s hard exoskeleton, killing it by dehydration. When a cockroach crawls through DE, the abrasive powder adheres to its body, gradually weakening the roach until it dies. Sometimes the powder gets carried back to the cockroach nest, where other roaches die from it, too.

To use DE, you sprinkle a thin layer onto surfaces where roaches are likely to walk, then let it do its job from there. Light coatings work best, and the more places you can find to use it, like wall cavities, cracks and crevices, and gaps in the floor, the more successful you’ll be. Also consider DE for roaches in your car, sprinkling it under mats and seats.

DE has to stay dry to work. If you’re using it in a humid room (or if it gets wet), wipe it away and reapply once the area is dry. During dry weather, you can sprinkle DE outside, too! It’s a great natural way to kill roaches before they even make it inside.

Read on: Diatomaceous Earth & Roaches: What You Need to Know

How to kill cockroaches naturally with borax and sugar

Borax is another natural roach killer dust, one you might already have in the laundry room. Unlike DE, borax kills roaches when they eat it.

Using borax takes a bit more work than DE because you’ll have to convince the pests that it’s a food source. To do that, you’ll need to mix in a little bait. Equal parts borax and powdered or granular sugar works fine for this, sprinkled near an entry point or where roaches like to feed. Don’t forget to reapply as the roaches eat it—the more they eat, the better it works!

Note: although borax is less toxic than many chemical pesticides, it still needs to be handled with care. Try to apply only in areas where children and pets can’t access it.

Read on: Borax for Roaches: Simple Recipes to Get Rid of Cockroaches

Boric acid: like borax, but works even better

Boric acid is the refined and purified version of borax. Like borax, boric acid is a natural roach killer that needs to be ingested. But unlike borax, boric acid is more finely ground, making it easier for roaches to eat, and as a result, more deadly.

You’re not likely to find boric acid in your laundry room, but its effectiveness makes it worth a special trip to the store.

Boric acid is used in the same way as borax. You spread a light dusting of a boric acid/sugar mixture across surfaces (so slight that you shouldn’t even see the powder from a few feet away). Or mix it with some other sweet or fatty bait. You should notice a difference in the number of cockroaches within a few days.

How to kill roaches naturally with baking soda and sugar

If there’s one thing on this list you almost certainly have in your pantry it’s baking soda. It’s the all natural cockroach killer hidden in plain sight—baking soda and sugar really does kill roaches!

This homemade roach killer is just as simple as the previous powders. Just sprinkle baking soda onto dry surfaces or fill a small bowl with it and add a little sugar. Ingesting baking soda kills roaches quickly. What’s even better about baking soda is that the small amount you need is perfectly safe for kids and pets!

Spot Treatments with All-Natural Roach Killer Spray

Cartoon illustration of a cockroach being sprayed in a cupboard with roach killer spray

Spray roach killers aren’t particularly helpful for a bad cockroach infestation, but they certainly have their place. Natural sprays use combinations of herbs and essential oils to individually kill cockroaches or keep them away.

1. Wondercide Natural Spray

One of these is Wondercide Peppermint Indoor Pest Control Spray. It’s eco-friendly and safe for dogs and cats (and kids!) so you can use it around your home without worrying about harmful chemicals. Wondercide makes natural outdoor spray, as well.

Wondercide uses cedarwood oil and peppermint oil as its main cockroach killing ingredients. It’s 100% effective at killing fleas and ticks and is advertised as killing or repelling roaches, too.

2. Hotshot Natural Spray

You’ve probably seen Hot Shot products at most stores and supermarkets. Hot Shot Natural Insect Control products are non-toxic, pet-safe when dry and, according to reviewers, effective at killing roaches.

Unfortunately, these are kill-on-contact sprays, so you’ll only eliminate cockroaches you can see and spray. But the roaches you see are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to tackling an infestation.

3. Zevo Natural Spray

Zevo also makes natural cockroach-killer sprays and traps that utilize essential oils to eliminate pests. They’re safe for use around children and pets because they specifically target insects’ nervous systems.

Zevo sprays use cinnamon, lemongrass and geraniol essential oils as active ingredients to kill roaches and other insects on contact. Again, you’ll have to use the spray bottle to hit roaches directly, so Zevo sprays should be a part of your integrated pest management system.

4. NatureShield Natural Spray

One more outdoor way to kill cockroaches naturally is American Hydro Systems NatureShield spray. It blends essential oils to kill pests that try to sneak into your house while they’re still outside. This one’s designed to be used with specific feeders and sprayers, though, so it comes with more overhead than the others. It guards your house for up to 5 days, making it a better long-term solution.


You don’t have to live with cockroaches. And you don’t always need chemical pesticides to get rid of them.

  • With any of the natural roach killer powders—borax, boric acid, or diatomaceous earth—you can eliminate roaches for the long-term.
  • With a natural cockroach killer spray, you can kill the occasional roach, saving yourself a little peace of mind.

With some excellent alternatives to chemical pest control (including some great home remedies for roaches), you’ve got a great head start to ending your cockroach problem. Now all that’s left is to do it—naturally.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is vinegar a natural cockroach killer?

Nope, vinegar doesn’t kill roaches. It can, however, help prevent them. It’s powerful for cleaning sinks, countertops and garbage disposals, all places where roaches often look for food.

Does Dawn soap kill roaches?

There’s not much evidence to suggest that dish soap kills roaches. However, it does kill tinier garden insects, including aphids, mealybugs and spider mites.


  1. Bunch, T. R. et al. (2013) Diatomaceous Earth General Fact Sheet. National Pesticide Information Center. Retrieved from http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/degen.html
  2. Strong, Charles A. et al. (1993) Oral Toxicity and Repellency of Borates to German Cockroaches (Dictyoptera: Blattellidae). Journal of Economic Entomology. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1093/jee/86.5.1458
  3. Boric Acid: General Fact Sheet. National Pesticide Information Center. Retrieved from http://www.npic.orst.edu/factsheets/boricgen.html
  4. Huffstetler, Erin (2019) You Don’t Have to Use Unnatural Methods to Rid Your Home of Roaches. The Spruce. Retrieved from https://www.thespruce.com/get-rid-of-roaches-naturally–1388145
  5. Insecticidal Soaps for Garden Pest Control (2019) Clemson Cooperative Extension. Retrieved from https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/insecticidal-soaps-for-garden-pest-control/

Cockroach Facts is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Like the legendary sewer gators of New York City, the Arizona sewer roach strikes a note of fear and horror in the hearts of many Arizonians. Unlike those fictional reptiles however, sewer roaches are a real and serious problem in areas like Pima and Maricopa county.

Need Product Recommendations?

A handful of easy-to-use products can solve most cockroach problems.

Read on to learn more about the problem and how to get rid of sewer roaches in your home.

Sewer Cockroaches: Stuff of Nightmares

Illustration of an American sewer cockroach in a sewer, with diagram of sewer line that enters home

The Arizona sewer roach—a disgusting, trouble-making, knee-quaking monster of a bug, emerges from the muck of sewers to invade homes and apartments across the state.

They’re a homegrown nightmare, or so some think given that few people outside the state have ever heard of them. But in fact they’re not.

Sewer roaches, as it turns out, are the very same American cockroach species that infests numerous other regions across the country. Arizonians have simply given them a particularly descriptive (and disgustingly accurate) nickname—which only they tend to use.

Like everybody else who has to deal with American roaches, Arizonians really want to get rid of them, which we’ll shortly show you how to do.

Fun fact: If you’re familiar with sewer-dwelling “water bugs,” you already know all about sewer cockroaches—it’s just another nickname for the same species of cockroach.

What Sewer Roaches Look Like

Comparative illustration of an Arizona Sewer Roach, adult, nymph, and egg case

Sewer roaches are generally 2 to 3 inches long and relatively flat.They have reddish-brown to dark-brown bodies, six legs and two long antennae.

Their hard exoskeletons make them difficult to squish and allow them to slip through small crevices. On their backs they carry a pair of long, transparent wings. Though big bugs, they’re fast runners, and remarkably good at surviving the ways that people try to kill them.

And by the way… do sewer roaches fly?

When you ask an Arizona native for advice on sewer roaches, the response you don’t want to hear is:

“Have they flown at you yet?”

Yep, these creatures of the abyss can unfold those long wings on their backs and fly—for a few feet, at least. Though they usually run away when spotted, there’s a chance they’ll fly straight toward you! (They’re only trying to escape through the door behind you, but still…)

Baby sewer roaches

Baby sewer roaches’ tiny size makes them no less dangerous. Baby cockroaches are only about 1/4 inch long but generally the same reddish-brown color as the adults. They can appear white or gray just after they’ve molted, though. If the sewer roaches have started reproducing, it’s time to act fast.

Why You Keep Finding Sewer Roaches in Your Bathroom, and Why You Have to Get Them Out

Illustration of two American sewer roaches coming up a bathroom sink drain

Why and how they come inside

A sewer roach’s preferred habitat is outside, among the wet, rotting material on forest floors and in alleyways and sewers. Unfortunately, heavy rain or a backed-up sewer line can cause these bugs to climb up sewer pipes, drain pipes, and up through the sink or floor drain.

Indoors, they look for damp, dark, moist areas—kitchen cabinets, utility closets, basements, etc. Since your bathroom is directly connected to the sewer system, it’s often where homeowners first start noticing roaches and cockroach infestations.

Vacant rooms are especially at risk because, when the water’s turned off and the pipes are dry, it’s easy for sewer roaches to crawl up through the drains and start laying eggs in the nearest cracks and crevices.

Tip: Even sewer cockroaches can’t come up through the toilet. While they can hold their breath for up to 40 minutes, they can’t swim very well. So long as your toilet is filled with water, you’re safe on that seat, at least.

Why you really need to get them out

The reason sewer cockroaches live shamelessly in the sewers is the same reason you never want them crawling around your house: they eat down there.

Think about all of the things that find their way to sewers. Beyond all the “number one’s” and “number two’s,” they’re feeding on heaps of sludge and grease, water overflow, and more.

When they finally do come up into your home, they don’t leave all those dangerous germs, bacteria, and allergens behind. They bring it all with them, depositing it onto everything they touch.

So if you have a sewer roach problem, you really need to take care of it, especially of it’s getting worse.

How to Get Rid of Sewer Roaches Step 1: Killing Them

Illustration of a dead sewer roach surrounded by methods of killing them

Now that you know how to identify them and why they’re not a pest you want to keep around, how do you get rid of sewer roaches, possibly for good? The good news is you can, but you’ll need the right tools… and a little patience.

Here are the tools and approaches you can use for a basic indoor plan:

  1. Glue traps to find their entry points
  2. Gel bait to kill the sewer roach colony
  3. Drain treatments: bleach, foam and more
  4. How to get rid of sewer roaches naturally

Suggested Products

To Find Their Hiding Spots and Kill Them Fast When You Have Just a Few

Exterminator’s Choice Sticky Glue Traps

Used to measure and monitor a cockroach infestation and provide some supplemental control.

BASF PT P.I. Contact Insecticide

P.I. is a spray insecticide that kills roaches fast. Best when used as a supplement to other treatments, it’s not inexpensive, but far more effective than off-the-shelf sprays.

To Kill Them Inside Your Home When You Have a Serious Problem

Rockwell Labs CimeXa Dust Insecticide

CimeXa is an effective indoor crack and crevice treatment. For best results, use alongside Advion Gel Bait and Gentrol IGR.

HARRIS Diatomaceous Earth Powder Duster

Insecticidal dusts like CimeXa work best when applied with a duster tool. This inexpensive diatomaceous earth duster works fine with CimeXa, Delta Dust, and other recommended dusts.

Syngenta Advion Cockroach Gel Bait

Advion first poisons the roaches that eat it, then others in a secondary kill. For the most effective indoor treatment, combine with CimeXa insecticidal dust and Gentrol IGR.

Gentrol Point Source IGR

Gentrol is an insect growth regulator (IGR) that interferes with roach reproduction. It’s most effective used alongside Advion Gel Bait and CimeXa insecticidal dust.

To Kill Them Outdoors Before They Have a Chance to Get Inside

Bayer Polyzone Suspend Insecticide

When used on exterior foundations, entries, and walls, Suspend insecticidal liquid stops outdoor roaches before they get in. It requires a separate sprayer (see below), and works best alongside a granular outdoor bait like Intice and an outdoor crack and crevice treatment like Delta Dust.

Chapin 1 Gallon Multi-Purpose Sprayer

Liquid pesticides require a separate sprayer. This inexpensive pump sprayer works fine for smaller jobs.

InTice Perimeter Insect Control Bait Granules

InTice is a granular bait that kills roaches outdoors and in spaces like your garage or attic. Used alongside a spray treatment like Bayer Suspend and a crack and crevice treatment like Delta Dust, it can protect the entire perimeter of your home.

Delta Dust Insecticide Dust

Waterproof and long-lasting, Delta Dust is a crack and crevice treatment effective in high-moisture areas such as attics, exterior walls, and plumbing lines. Delta Dust is regulated and unavailable in some areas.

1. Place glue traps to find their entry points

To stand a chance against an invasion of sewer cockroaches, you have to know where they’re coming from. Place sticky glue traps in corners and along the walls in different rooms. Check which traps have caught more roaches to narrow down your targeted area.

Besides kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks and shower drains, sewer roaches’ most likely entry points are heating or utility vents, plumbing penetrations and cracks in exterior walls.

2. Apply a gel bait to kill a sewer roach colony inside

A good cockroach gel bait is an unmatched sewer roach killer. Gel bait kills cockroaches after they’ve eaten it and returned to their nest. There, other cockroaches will feed on the dead insect and that’s where gel bait really shines.

Its insecticide is strong enough to kill those roaches that eat it secondhand—and even third-hand! A few drops of gel bait can do serious damage to a sewer roach infestation.

3. Treat your drains

Cities might try to treat the sewer systems for cockroaches but it’s virtually impossible to eliminate these pests city-wide. Protect your home or apartment by regularly cleaning and treating your drains.

Use a foam cleaner—cautiously

Use a foam cleaner or similar product to remove traces of food and grease that could attract roaches. Read labels ahead of time for cautions and proper use.

Use bleach—cautiously

Bleach not only cleans and disinfects your drains, but kills roaches hiding there.

Avoid bleach if you have a septic system, and never combine it with ammonia, vinegar, rubbing alcohol, acetone, other cleaners, or pesticides (which combined with bleach could harm you). To treat a drain with bleach, pour 1/4 to 1/2 cup into the drain and plug it. Let it sit in the drain trap for 30 minutes, then flush thoroughly with water.

Use water—liberally

This is the easiest, and possibly most effective trick of all. Running water regularly down your drains keeps drain traps filled, and prevents roaches from crawling up.

4. Kill Sewer roaches naturally

If you’d prefer to avoid chemicals, there are two all-natural, easy-to-use options: borax and diatomaceous earth (DE).

Borax mixed with a little powdered sugar acts just like gel bait, attracting sewer roaches and then killing them. It’s easy to find in the laundry aisle at many stores. For more tips, check out our overview of the best borax recipes for roaches.

DE is another amazingly effective sewer roach killer. They don’t even have to eat it! Just walking through DE kills cockroaches by dehydrating them. It’s virtually non-toxic, too!

5. Call Professional Pest Control

If you’re at all worried about a sewer roach infestation getting out of hand, call your local pest control company. You can discuss treatment options and learn more about what might be causing the problem from a visit by a professional.

How to Get Rid of Sewer Cockroaches Step 2: Preventing Them from Coming Back

The first step is eliminating sewer roaches that have already invaded. The next, equally important step is keeping them away.

Here’s how to prevent sewer roaches:

1. Block the drains.

Before you do anything else, buy some drain covers for every sink and bathtub in the house. Your drain stops don’t have to be anything fancy. They just have to feature holes small enough that roaches can’t fit through.

2. Check the perimeter of your house and seal openings.

Pipes collect condensation and that moisture can attract sewer roaches on the ground outside. If there are gaps where these pipes come into your house, seal them with expanding foam or steel wool. Fill other cracks and holes you spot in the walls, doors and windows, and foundation, too.

3. Fix leaks and dripping faucets.

Before sewer roaches make themselves comfortable sipping from that pesky dripping sink at night, repair the leak (and save yourself money on the water bill). Stuff some of that leftover steel wool into the overflow holes in your bathroom sinks, too.

4. Wash the dishes and clean the garbage disposal.

Maybe the sewer roaches didn’t climb up through the pipes but are simply dipping into them for a snack. Your garbage disposal collects a ton of grease and food particles over time—a veritable silver platter for a hungry roach. Make sure you’re cleaning it regularly.

Dirty dishes can feed these pests, too. Washing dishes and giving the counters and floors a quick wipe-and-sweep each day is a simple habit that reduces the risk of attracting cockroaches.


Now that you’ve learned how to get rid of sewer roaches and picked up some tips for preventing them, you’re ready to give yourself the pest-free home you deserve.

Go for it!


  1. Cockroaches Fact Sheet. Sacramento Area Sewer District. Retrieved from https://www.sacsewer.com/sites/main/files/file-attachments/final_cockroaches_fact_sheet_–for_website_0.pdf?1579220772
  2. Reichardt, Klaus (2017) A Wet Drain Keeps the Cockroaches Away. Cleaning & Maintenance Management. Retrieved from https://www.cmmonline.com/articles/a-wet-drain-keeps-the-cockroaches-away
  3. Lupo, Lisa (2017) Cockroaches in Drains. PCT Magazine. Retrieved from https://www.pctonline.com/article/cockroaches-in-drains/
  4. Vector (Roach) Control Program. Pima County. Retrieved from https://webcms.pima.gov/government/wastewaterreclamation/roach_control/

You may already know about cockroach gel bait and its success in killing roaches, but with several brands on the market, why Advion cockroach gel bait instead of other products?

Let’s take a look at Advion: What it promises, how to use it, how it might work well for you—and why sometimes it might not.

Introducing Advion Roach Gel Bait

Advion Cockroach Gel bait was first introduced in 2006. Once eaten, its active ingredient indoxacarb, reacts with a cockroach’s enzymes to kill it with a delayed effect. The bait is sold and used in syringes, is packaged for multiple applications, and lasts up to a year after being opened.

How Roach Bait Gels Work

Killing cockroaches can be difficult, and without the right supplies, feels a lot like a game of whack-a-mole. No sooner do you think you’ve wiped the roaches out, than a whole new crop arrive to take their place.

That’s partly because roaches are resilient and breed quickly, and partly because they’re crafty. It takes a major trick to get them all.

Enter cockroach gel bait, which first tricks roaches into eating a lethal poison, then kills roaches that eat the poisoned bodies when they die. It’s not a pretty trick, but can be a game changer for folks fed up with cockroach whack-a-mole.

Why Advion?

To be clear, every major gel bait brand is effective at killing roaches. They just have different active ingredients and work in slightly different ways.

The active ingredient in Advion cockroach gel—indoxacarb—is worth a second look however. Not because it kills more effectively than other ingredients, but because cockroaches like the German cockroach appear to like it more.

That’s important because you want as many cockroaches as possible to eat the stuff, and want them to keep eating until they consume a lethal dose.

So while Advion isn’t the only high performing bait to consider, it is an excellent, proven one to try.

How to Use Advion Roach Gel in Your Home

A little goes a long way when you’re using Advion cockroach gel bait. Not scoops, not even spoonfuls—we’re talking drops, pea-sized drops, about 0.5 grams at a time.

The Advion tube has a thin dropper tip that lets you apply tiny amounts to the surfaces, cracks, and crevices that you’re treating.

Using Advion gel is easy:

  • Light to moderate infestations: Apply 1 to 3 drops, spread out across about 10 linear feet, in all areas where you’ve seen cockroach activity.
  • Large infestations: Spread 3 to 5 drops across every 10 linear feet.

The application tip is perfect for dropping the bait right into some of cockroaches’ favorite hiding places—out of reach corners in the kitchen and bathroom, cluttered cupboards and tiny holes and spaces.

Tip: If you have pets in the house, it’s best to use the bait only inside of these cracks, where pets can’t reach it.

Once you’ve applied the correct number of drops, you’re done. All you have to do is wait for the roaches to smell and eat the bait.

For more details on usage, see our step-by-step guide to choosing and using roach bait gel.

How long does it take Advion roach gel to work?

If you’re lucky, you’ll notice a difference in roach activity within a few days, possibly even hours. In most cases, you’ll notice a dramatic difference in roach populations within the first week.

When applied correctly and used as part of a complete pest control system (more on this soon), Advion roach bait gel can eliminate nearly 100% of cockroaches in 2 weeks to 1 month.

How long does Advion cockroach gel last?

It depends on the size of the infestation and the conditions in the areas you’ve applied it, but Advion cockroach gel should last between 3 days and a week. With a larger infestation, you might have to reapply Advion more often.

As the roach population shrinks, your gel bait drops will last longer and longer. You should still refresh them if you think they’re drying out, as they’ll be less effective.

Can Advion Roach Killer Be Used Outdoors, Too?

Advion gel is safe for use in homes, businesses, food-handling facilities, pet shops, supermarkets, hospitals and many other locations.2 It’s a versatile but powerful pest control tool.

And yes—Advion cockroach gel bait works both indoors and outdoors. Just keep an eye on it when using it outside: it might dry out and need to be refreshed much more quickly.

Common Problems and Solutions

Is Advion a miracle product?

No, and there are circumstances where it sometimes fails to meet expectations. Here are some tips to help fast-track you for success.

Issue 1. Advion gel bait may fail outside an overall pest control plan.

Keep in mind that while Advion can be a powerful tool, it’s not a “set it and forget it” solution, and works less well on its own than as part of a multi-part pest control plan.

In addition to simply applying Advion roach bait gel, you’ll want to:

Inspect and Exclude

It’s vital that you don your detective glasses and thoroughly inspect your whole house, inside and out. Only when you’ve narrowed down the roaches’ haunts can you effectively target—and eliminate—them.

Exclusion involves sealing off any entry points you find outside and treating any potential nesting places inside. Every nook and cranny, every crack and crevice that could harbor a roach colony has to be filled in or treated with Advion gel.

Clean Up the Problem

While you’re bolstering your defenses against the invaders, you’ll also want to eliminate as many food and water sources as possible. Focus on building habits of washing the dishes, changing the garbage bag, sweeping the floors and wiping the counters and stovetop.

Expand Your Toolset

Don’t settle for one product—boost the effectiveness of Advion roach bait gel by pairing it with other excellent cockroach killers.

You can kill roaches with insecticidal dust in areas you’re not baiting. There are some excellent name brand product, as well as natural ones like diatomaceous earth, borax or boric acid that will help kill cockroaches that have managed to escape the bait.

Note: Make sure none of your chosen products contain repellents—that would cancel out the bait’s attraction and ruin its effectiveness.

Issue 2. Bait Aversion

Applying too much Advion roach killer can cause bait aversion, where the roaches are put off from eating the bait and won’t approach it. Worse, they might move to a different area of your home, making the infestation more difficult to contain.

Cleaning with chemicals or using repellent products could also repel roaches or warn them to stay away from the bait. Then, you won’t see the results you want.

Issue 3. False Alarms: Return of the Roaches

Remember: Advion won’t work unless a cockroach eats it. That means it won’t kill roach eggs. Even after you think you’ve eliminated a roach infestation, dozens of eggs could hatch, kickstarting a new roach problem.

Again, it’s important to diversify your tools. Using an insect growth regulator (IGR) alongside Advion cockroach gel helps solve this problem by preventing eggs and nymphs from reaching adulthood.

Issue 4. Freshness Not Guaranteed

Some customers blamed old or stale gel for their disappointing results. It’s true that gel bait can dry out and lose its effectiveness. But does Advion expire?

When stored unopened and at room temperature, Advion gel is good for up to five years. Once it’s opened, you should use it within a year. That’s according to the maker of Advion, Syngenta. Cockroach gel bait should be replaced if it’s more than a year old. You don’t want to take any risks when trying to get rid of roaches!


If there’s one tool that’s proven to be extremely successful against cockroaches, it’s Advion cockroach gel bait. Luckily, it’s easy to buy online and at many supermarkets and home supply stores. So, if you’re worried about roaches in your home, pick up a package and start fighting back!

We’re rooting for you!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Advion cockroach gel bait safe for pets?

According to the product label, “Advion Cockroach Gel Bait should be applied in areas inaccessible to children, pets and non-target organisms.” It’s been designated a “reduced-risk” pesticide [by the EPA][epa]. Ingesting a small amount does not cause life-threatening problems. However, Advion’s labels highly recommend using it only in places where pets can’t reach.

Can I use Advion gel on countertops?

You should keep the product away from counters and tabletops. The label warns users not to let the gel touch any food items. It also warns against using it on food-preparation or cooking surfaces.


  1. Martin, Nicholas (2014) Advion Cockroach Gel Bait: The Cockroach Fights Ultimate Champion. Pest Control Hacks. Retrieved from https://pestcontrolhacks.com/advion-cockroach-gel-bait-the-cockroach-fights-ultimate-champion/
  2. Advion Cockroach Gel (Label). Syngenta. Retrieved from https://www.syngentappm.com/sites/g/files/zhg781/f/new_folder_1/New%20folder/Advion_Cockroach_Gel_GB_label2.pdf
  3. Indoxacarb. DoMyOwn. Retrieved from https://www.domyown.com/indoxacarb-a–286.html

[german]: [epa]: https://www3.epa.gov/pesticides/chem_search/reg_actions/registration/fs_PC–067710_30-Oct–10.pdf

Illustration of a dead cockroach in front of a spoonful of peanut butter
Yield: 12 Peanut Butter Cockroach Baits

Homemade Roach Bait with Peanut Butter

Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Cockroaches are no match for this deadly, easy-to-make boric acid and peanut butter roach killer.

Derived from borax, boric acid is a powder that kills roaches when ingested but poses little danger to humans. When combined with peanut butter, roaches become attracted to the poison, eat it, and eventually die.

In this "Roach-free recipe," you'll mix up a batch of boric acid and peanut butter bait for roaches, and distribute tiny portions around your home.



  • Mixing bowl and spoon
  • Latex gloves
  • Work area away from where food is prepared
  • 12 Bottle caps


  1. Slip on a pair of latex gloves. While boric acid is generally safe for humans, it could irritate your skin.
  2. Combine peanut butter and boric acid powder in a bowl and mix.
  3. Press the mixture into bottle caps and transfer to a container like a pie tin for easy transporting.
  4. Place filled bottle caps in areas that roaches have been seen or are suspected to frequent, taking care to push them back where pets and kids can't reach them. Possible areas to include are: under and behind the fridge, stove, and dishwasher, under sink areas, and inside cabinets.
  5. Be sure to wipe down your work area, wash your bowl and mixing spoon, clean up any mixture left behind, and wash your hands if they've come into contact with the powder.


  • Be patient. Boric acid is an effective but slow-acting roach killer. It can take up to 72 hours after ingestion before a cockroach dies.
  • Use remaining boric acid as a light dust near areas of infestation. Roaches don't just die from ingesting boric acid, but from walking through it, too.
  • While powerful, peanut butter cockroach baits are unlikely to resolve serious cockroach problems by themselves. See other recipes for more aggressive pest control strategies.

Illustration of a kitchen cockroach in front of a batch of cookie dough

Roach Cookies: Deadly to Roaches

Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: $10

Cockroaches won't survive this killer recipe made with deadly Boric acid. The poison is natural and has a low toxicity to humans, but kills roaches when ingested.

In this "Roach-free recipe," you'll make a tasty (to roaches) poisonous dough that can be pressed into useful shapes and placed in areas roaches can find it.


  • ½ Cup Sugar
  • ½ Cup Flour
  • ½ Cup Crisco Shortening
  • ½ Cup Boric Acid Powder


  • Mixing bowl and spoon
  • Latex gloves
  • Work area separate from where food is prepared
  • Old jar lids or wax paper squares to keep greasy cookies off your floors and shelves.


  1. Cover your work area and put on latex gloves. While contact with small amounts of boric acid is generally considered safe for humans, it could irritate your skin.
  2. Combine ingredients and mix into a thick dough.
  3. Press into jar lids or roll into shapes and place on wax paper squares, then wipe down your work area and wash your tools.
  4. Place on floor areas well away from pets and children: Under the stove, under and behind the fridge, under sinks and cabinets.
  5. Place in elevated areas where kids can't reach: Pantry shelves, the tops of cabinets, and the top of the fridge.
  6. Scout out other areas of cockroach signs or infestation, including corners and gaps or cracks in walls.
  7. Check locations every couple of weeks, and replace when the dough dries out.
  8. Use remaining boric acid as a light dust near areas of infestation. Roaches will die from walking through it, too.


For natural solutions, combine roach cookies with boric acid as a fine dust applied near roach hangouts. Certain essential oils may help, too.

For serious infestations, combine roach cookies with a gel cockroach bait approach or call in a professional.

Thanks to dmentd.com for dough instructions.

Getting Rid of American Roaches Like a Pro

Getting Rid of American Roaches Like a Pro

Active Time: 2 hours
Additional Time: 30 days 10 hours
Total Time: 30 days 12 hours

American cockroaches (a.k.a. water bugs) are one of the biggest problem pests in the U.S. Before they can become a dangerous problem in your home, follow this step-by-step guide to learn how to get rid of American roaches like a pro by treating indoors and outdoors.



  • Flashlight
  • Handheld Mirror or Light Stick
  • Knee pad
  • Glue traps
  • Gel bait
  • IGR
  • Perimeter spray
  • Rake
  • Vacuum


Signs of an American cockroach infestation:

  1. Living or dead American roaches
  2. Eggs or white baby cockroaches
  3. A stale, musty smell
  4. Old, molted exoskeletons

See the Signs and Find the Roaches

  1. Use a flashlight and mirror to check kitchen cabinets and the spaces under and around appliances for signs of American roaches.
  2. Focus on dark, damp places that are hard to reach but close to food sources.
  3. Examine storage boxes thoroughly for eggs, foul odors and other signs of roach activity.
  4. Check under rocks and in wood piles and the mulch around your house.
  5. Look for tiny, purse-shaped egg cases. They’ll be reddish-brown, just like the roaches. Each egg case can contain over 15 eggs, so an infestation can get out of control quickly.

Exterminate: Use Insecticides to Kill Roaches

  1. It’s time to exterminate like a pro. Start by placing glue traps in different areas of the house to see where the roaches are concentrated.
  2. Once you’ve narrowed down the location of their nest, apply several drops of gel bait along nearby walls and surfaces. Gel bait is the most effective, low maintenance solution available. Just apply a few tiny drops, spread 2 to 3 feet apart.
  3. To stand a better chance against large infestations, use an IGR—an insect growth regulator—that will stop them from reproducing and multiplying.
  4. Finally, you can use a perimeter spray for ongoing protection against any American roaches still hanging around outside (some work inside, too).
  5. Want a pet-safe solution for killing cockroaches? Check out our instructions for applying diatomaceous earth and borax powder—two natural pesticide dusts.

Prevent Roaches from Ever Coming Back

  1. American cockroaches come from outside. Start by cleaning up any leaves, branches and piles of wood around the walls of your house.
  2. Use a rake to spread mulch into a thinner layer to avoid trapping moisture and attracting American roaches.
  3. Check the walls and foundation for cracks and crevices that can let roaches in. Seal them up with steel wool or caulking.
  4. Don’t forget to seal the gaps around plumbing and wiring, too.
  5. Inside, commit to regular cleaning habits.
  6. Vacuum and sweep floors daily and wash dishes to eliminate roaches’ food sources.
  7. Wipe the counter and stove top with all-purpose cleaner to scrub away grease stains and crumbs.
  8. Use hard containers to store all leftovers, open food packages and pantry items.
  9. Organize and declutter storage rooms.
  10. American roaches love hiding in cardboard boxes—use plastic bins instead.

Protect Your Home

  1. Maintain your defenses. To be a pro, it’s important to regularly inspect, repair and reapply cockroach treatments, if necessary.
  2. Make sure storage rooms are well-ventilated and organized.
  3. Repair any faucets that drip or pipes that leak (especially under sinks and along walls outside).


American cockroaches can fly. Use screens in all doors and windows that you tend to leave open. Don’t eat any food that smells musty or stale—it could have been contaminated by cockroaches. Read all warning labels and instructions before using insecticide products.

Cockroach Facts is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Can you ever completely get rid of roaches? That’s the question every homeowner who’s dealt with these dangerous pests in the past wants to know.

The answer… is yes!

Need Product Recommendations?

A handful of easy-to-use products can solve most cockroach problems.

We’ll show you how to get rid of cockroaches forever with a comprehensive, effective, powerful pest control solution that you can start in your home today.

Discovering Why You Have Roaches

“I keep my house clean, I keep a can of roach spray under the sink and I’ve already used a bug bomb in my kitchen… and I still have roaches!”

If that sounds like you, you’re probably wondering why you even have roaches in your clean house. You might think you’ve sealed up any food sources and killed most of the bugs with the spray. But roach bombs don’t work and those few roaches you’ve killed are signs that there are many more hiding.

To get rid of roaches forever, it takes a strategic, multi-step game plan—and we’ve put one together for you.

Let’s get to it!

The Game Plan: How to Get Rid of Roaches Forever

Cartoon illustration of a cockroach surrounded by the 4 elements of a cockroach elimination game plan.

Our 4-step, highly effective system for killing cockroaches and keeping them out:

  1. Pre-Game: Find the Roaches, Analyze the Opposition
  2. Offense: Gel Bait and Natural Ways to Kill Roaches
  3. Defense: Seal, Repair and Repel
  4. Maintain: Keep Up the Good Work

1. Pre-Game: Find the Roaches, Analyze the Opposition

Cartoon illustration of a detective with a magnifying glass following a cockroach

If you’ve seen one of the cockroaches, try to remember some details about it to help you identify the type of roach you’re dealing with. What color was it? How big or small was it? Did it have wings?

Two of the most common culprits in the U.S. are tiny German cockroaches and large American cockroaches—both multiply quickly and cause major problems in homes and businesses.

Then, try to pinpoint where they’re coming from. Some of the most common entry points include cracks in the walls, gaps around plumbing and spaces around window frames.

Sticky roach traps could help you determine which rooms have been hit the hardest. The traps that catch the most roaches will be those nearest their hiding place—their nest.

2. Offense: Gel Bait, Insecticidal Dust, IGR’s and Natural Approaches to Roach Control

Cartoon illustration of cockroach-killing products, a dead cockroach in the background

You have a few good choices when it comes to killing cockroaches quickly and effectively at home. The first option is gel bait. We’ve put together a detailed guide to show you exactly how to use gel bait but here are the basics.

Suggested Products

To Find Cockroach Hiding Spots and Kill Roaches Fast When You Have Just a Few

Exterminator’s Choice Sticky Glue Traps

Used to measure and monitor a cockroach infestation and provide some supplemental control.

BASF PT P.I. Contact Insecticide

P.I. is a spray insecticide that kills roaches fast. Best when used as a supplement to other treatments, it’s not inexpensive, but far more effective than off-the-shelf sprays.

To Kill Roaches Inside Your Home When You Have a Serious Problem

Rockwell Labs CimeXa Dust Insecticide

CimeXa is an effective indoor crack and crevice treatment. For best results, use alongside Advion Gel Bait and Gentrol IGR.

HARRIS Diatomaceous Earth Powder Duster

Insecticidal dusts like CimeXa work best when applied with a duster tool. This inexpensive diatomaceous earth duster works fine with CimeXa, Delta Dust, and other recommended dusts.

Syngenta Advion Cockroach Gel Bait

Advion first poisons the roaches that eat it, then others in a secondary kill. For the most effective indoor treatment, combine with CimeXa insecticidal dust and Gentrol IGR.

Gentrol Point Source IGR

Gentrol is an insect growth regulator (IGR) that interferes with roach reproduction. It’s most effective used alongside Advion Gel Bait and CimeXa insecticidal dust.

To Kill Outdoor Roaches

Bayer Polyzone Suspend Insecticide

When used on exterior foundations, entries, and walls, Suspend insecticidal liquid stops outdoor roaches before they get in. It requires a separate sprayer (see below), and works best alongside a granular outdoor bait like Intice and an outdoor crack and crevice treatment like Delta Dust.

Chapin 1 Gallon Multi-Purpose Sprayer

Liquid pesticides require a separate sprayer. This inexpensive pump sprayer works fine for smaller jobs.

InTice Perimeter Insect Control Bait Granules

InTice is a granular bait that kills roaches outdoors and in spaces like your garage or attic. Used alongside a spray treatment like Bayer Suspend and a crack and crevice treatment like Delta Dust, it can protect the entire perimeter of your home.

Delta Dust Insecticide Dust

Waterproof and long-lasting, Delta Dust is a crack and crevice treatment effective in high-moisture areas such as attics, exterior walls, and plumbing lines. Delta Dust is regulated and unavailable in some areas.

Gel Bait

Gel bait (which also comes in bait stations) brings cockroaches out of their hiding spots and then hits them with a powerful dose of insecticide. That poison is so potent, it gets passed onto more roaches within the colony that eat the first.

That effective roach-to-roach transmission is why gel bait can wipe out entire cockroach infestations. Only apply a few drops of roach bait at a time—that’s all it takes. For our more detailed Cockroach Gel Bait Guide look here.

Insecticidal Dust

Insecticidal dusts kill roaches by adhering to their bodies and damaging their shells. Roaches crawl through the dust and die of dehydration within several days. Extremely effective inside cracks and crevices, it’s a perfect complement to gel bait, giving you a powerful one-two punch when you use them both.

Insect Growth Regulator (IGR)

IGR’s deprive roaches of their ability to repopulate, leaving roach colonies that would otherwise explode on their own, to simply… fade away. Alongside baits and dusts, it brings you yet another level of control, for a nearly unbeatable (if you use them right) one-two-three punch.

Outdoor Roaches

Outdoor roach killers work in a similar way. There are special outdoor baits and dusts, and long-lasting waterproof sprays. Be careful with these products, though. They’re so effective, you may end up killing beneficial insects, too.

How to Kill Cockroaches Naturally

Gel bait is an incredibly effective roach killer but if you have young children or curious pets, you might not want to spread pesticides around your home.

Enter all-natural borax, boric acid and diatomaceous earth (DE)!

DE is a fine powder that kills roaches by dehydrating them when they crawl through it, sticking to their legs and damaging their exoskeletons. Borax and Boric acid (which comes from the same mineral as borax), are similar solutions that are deadly to roaches when mixed with baits like sugar or peanut butter and eaten.

For the strongest offense, combine these solutions to hit cockroaches in the open and in their hideouts. And to eliminate any roaches that survive the baits and powders, add an insect growth regulator (IGR) so they can’t continue to reproduce.

With strategic placement and repeated treatments, these easily-accessible products could eliminate your cockroach problem in a month or less.

Does baking soda and sugar really kill roaches?

Yes, baking soda is toxic to cockroaches when enough of it is eaten. Mixing it with sugar attracts the roaches to the baking soda. Just place a little in a shallow dish and leave it out where they can find it. Don’t expect it to work as well as the products above, however.2

Does salt kill cockroaches?

This one’s a myth. Salt doesn’t kill cockroaches.1

However, epsom salt (a.k.a. magnesium sulfate) is toxic to roaches. Use it just like baking soda.3

Does lemon kill cockroaches?

Unfortunately, there’s no evidence that lemons kill or even repel cockroaches.

Does vinegar kill roaches?

Vinegar doesn’t kill cockroaches, either. However, you can use it to clean—a great way to battle roaches.

3. Defense: Seal, Repair and Repel

Cartoon illustration of a cockroach in front of a home. A tube of caulk is about to fill a cockroach entry point

It’s a myth that roaches only infest dirty homes. Roaches will infest any home where they can find food and water and a dark, damp place to hide. Removing the things that attract roaches will help turn their attention away from your home.

For these pests, it’s all about finding a way in. The harder you make that, the lower the risk of a roach infestation.

Your defense starts outside, where you’ll have to seal up every crack, crevice, hole and gap you find in the exterior walls. That includes spaces where plumbing and wiring enter your house as well as vents from the bathroom or the kitchen.

Then, check for leaking faucets, blocked gutters, dripping pipes and other areas of poor drainage that could act as water sources for roaches. If possible, store your garbage away from the house. Roaches love to hide in mulch, too. By spreading your mulch in a thin layer—only about an inch deep—it’ll trap less moisture and attract fewer roaches.

You might also consider using a natural cockroach repellent—such as certain essential oils—to turn roaches away at the door.

When to Consider Professional Extermination

If you’re still not happy with the results you’re seeing or you’re afraid there are just too many roaches to take on alone, call your local pest control service for help. They’ll do the dirty work so you can get back to enjoying your home, roaches not included.

4. Maintain: Keep Up the Good Work

Cartoon illustration of a woman vacuuming, an angry cockroach in the foreground

Even after you’ve successfully eliminated a roach infestation, there’s always a chance more could find their way in if you’re not dedicated to your game plan. Defense is an ongoing project, so keep your eyes open for newly formed cracks, broken window screens or other potential entry points that’ll pop up from time to time.

Simple routines are all it takes to keep cockroaches away for good. That includes cleaning regularly, keeping storage rooms well-ventilated, decluttering cardboard boxes and protecting the outside of your house with caulking, steel wool or a perimeter spray.

In the kitchen, take a minute to clean out the toaster and wipe down the grease pans on the stove. Using drain covers prevents roaches from climbing up from the sewer. Finally, don’t forget to seal all food items in plastic, glass or metal containers—you don’t want roaches feasting on your leftovers or in your pantry.


Whether this is your first face-off against roaches or your fifth, don’t give up hope! We’ve broken down exactly how to get rid of cockroaches forever and with a little determination, you can do it!

Explore the site for even more details about the signs of a cockroach infestation, dealing with flying roaches and lots of other cockroach facts.


  1. Omg, Barb, et al. (2006) Cockroach Control Manual. University of Nebraska Extension.
  2. How to Kill Roaches Naturally With Sugar and Baking Soda. Hunker. Retrieved from https://www.hunker.com/12137594/how-to-kill-roaches-naturally-with-sugar-and-baking-soda
  3. Knott, Rota L. (2017) Epsom Salt Pest Control Mixture. Garden Guides. Retrieved from https://www.gardenguides.com/info_8673738_epsom-salt-pest-control-mixture.html
  4. How to Get Rid of Roaches. Home Depot. Retrieved from https://www.homedepot.com/c/ab/how-to-get-rid-of-roaches/9ba683603be9fa5395fab90c52d8e9f
  5. Picard, Caroline and Amanda Garrity (2020) How to Get Rid of Roaches in 5 Easy Steps, According to Pest Control Experts. Good Housekeeping. Retrieved from https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/a47840/how-to-get-rid-of-roaches/