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15 Highly Effective Natural Home Remedies For Killing Cockroaches

Cockroaches are those nasty creatures that have been around since forever. They seem too hardy to be killed off at one go as a species. They are so resilient, that they survived a nuclear explosion, and I’m sure they can outlive us all! They are capable of transmitting diseases, spread bacteria all over your home, contaminate foods items and other items of daily use, and many other such nasty things. Cockroaches carry around harmful microorganisms in their saliva, which they spread on anything and everything they come in contact with, infesting the heck out of that thing. Therefore, it’s imperative that you get rid of these nasty insects permanently from your home.

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There are several species of cockroaches in existence, that prefer warmer or colder climes as their preferred living areas. Accordingly, their preferences for food may also vary from species to species. Hence, the identification of the species before proper administration of the remedy is necessary for it to work.

Suggested read: 15 superbly effective home remedies for bed bug bites

Causes of cockroach infestation

Although it might seem like a herculean task to get rid of cockroaches from your home, if you know what works as a household remedy to kill these pests, you’ll be fine. Before we get to the home remedies for killing cockroaches, let’s first take a look at why these pests infest your home in the first place.

  • Less than adequate domestic hygiene
  • Irregular/non-existent pest control measures
  • Foods in containers left uncovered
  • Drain pipes and small crevices in an otherwise clean home can attract cockroaches
  • Bare minimum required for cockroaches to sustain and thrive
  • Multiply very quickly
  • Build nests in nooks and crannies, due to their ability to flatten their body to fit any space
  • Built-in high resilience

Recognizing a cockroach infestation

But how do you recognize how big an infestation you’re dealing with? With the help of these signs that help detect a cockroach infestation:

  • Cockroaches heard scurrying around at night
  • Dead cockroaches visible from time to time
  • Spotting shell casings of hatched eggs of cockroaches
  • Spotting cockroach feces that resembles ground coffee or black pepper
  • Spotting a cockroach in the daytime
  • A serious infestation is sure to cause a pungent, musty odor
  • Prolonged stomach-related problems, especially in children as a result of an infested kitchen

Home remedies for killing cockroaches

Now that you know what to look out for in terms of identifying whether or not you’re faced with a cockroach infestation, let’s take a look at some of the natural ways to kill off these pests.

1. Ammonia solution

Drain pipes and sinks are one of the most common places that cockroaches hide in, and ammonia is the best solution to flush these pests out. Ammonia and water combo can also be used to clean hard surfaces to keep cockroaches away.


  • To a bucket of water, add 2 cups of ammonia, and flush it down sinks and toilets so as to clean out the pipes. Use this solution to clean and wash the hard surfaces of your bathroom and kitchen. The pungent smell will keep these pests at bay from nesting in these pipes and drains.

Pro tip: Use this remedy at least once in 2 weeks for best results.

2. Baking soda

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Baking soda mixed with sugar is an excellent remedy to get rid of cockroaches because the former affects the digestive system of the roaches, while the latter helps draw them out of their hiding places. This combo leads to a build up of gas in the creatures’ stomach that they die after consuming it.


  • Mix equal amounts of baking soda and sugar and mix well. Now sprinkle this in areas you suspect of infestation. After consuming this mixture, the roaches will die in no time.

3. Bay leaf

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Bay leaves are an excellent homemade repellent for cockroaches. Although used extensively in Asian cooking, these are found easily in spice stores. Apparently, roaches can’t stand the pungent smell of bay leaves, and thus are very helpful in driving these pests away without killing them. The leaves contain essential oils that have a strong fragrance, which when cooking, give out a pleasant aroma, which the roaches don’t like.


  • Finely crush a handful of bay leaves to get its powder. Sprinkle this powder in all the places you think are infested with roaches. You will find that your home is clear of these bugs before long.

4. Bleach

Bleach is one of the most common disinfectants used in almost every home. It is so strong that helps draw out the cockroaches and kill them too.


  • Mix bleach with water and pour it down sinks and toilets and drains to free your home of these pests. This bleach solution will help wash away the roaches and their nests too.

5. Borax

Borax mixed with sugar forms a very effective home remedy to get rid of cockroaches. While borax dehydrates the cockroaches’ exoskeletons and damages their digestive system, the sugar helps draw them out of their hidey holes.


  • Add equal parts of sugar and borax together and mix well. Apply this mixture into the cracks and crevices, under the cabinets and the sink, in the bathroom, along the baseboards, and any other place where you think these pests might be hiding. Within a few hours, you’ll see many roaches dying and/or dead.

Pro tip: Borax is a poison, hence needs to be used with caution, especially so if you have pets and/or kids at home.

6. Boric acid

Boric acid is what commercial pest exterminators use. Although this is a toxic way to get rid of roaches, it’s effective.


  • Spray boric acid on top of the kitchen cabinets, bathroom cabinets, under the sinks, and into the drain pipes. But, remember NOT to spray it inside the kitchen cabinets since it’s toxic.

Pro tip: Boric acid is more toxic and borax, hence you need to handle it with extreme caution. Keep away from children and pets, and wash your hands thoroughly after handling it. Also, don industrial gloves to hand the acid in any capacity, just to be on the safer side.

7. Catnip

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The catnip herb is said to be a natural repellent for cockroaches, and it’s also safe in that it isn’t poisonous like borax. Nepetalactone, the active ingredient in catnip, is non-toxic and is therefore safe to use whether or not you have kids and/or pets in your home.


  • Leave small sachets of catnip in places where you suspect cockroach infestation.
  • Another remedy is to add 1 teaspoon of catnip to 2 cups of water and brew a catnip tea. Now spray this solution around baseboards, under the sinks, behind the counters, and anywhere you suspect roaches to be hiding.

Pro tip: Although catnip is safe for pets, it might make cats go crazy. So if you have a pet cat, you might want to look for another remedy instead of this one.

8. Cayenne pepper

Cayenne pepper is another home remedy that is most effective on cockroaches, by acting as a natural repellant. The strong smell of cayenne pepper is what keeps these pests away.


  • Mix 1 tablespoon of red or cayenne pepper with 1 clove of crushed garlic and 1 crushed white onion. Add these to 4 cups of boiling water. Allow it to cool and pour this into a spray bottle and start spraying everywhere you think there are cockroaches hiding.

Pro tip: You can use cayenne pepper directly by sprinkling it in all the places you suspect the roaches to hide.

9. Cedar

Cedar is an excellent cockroach repellent, and is often used to line closets and cupboards to keep pests away.


  • Place cedar balls, chips, or blocks in places where you suspect of roaches to be hiding to get rid of them easily.

10. Coffee grinds

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Coffee grinds are one of the most effective home remedies for killing cockroaches. Since cockroaches feed on anything organic, they are attracted by coffee grinds too. So use coffee grinds to lure them and eliminate them.


  • Take glass jars and fill them with water about halfway. Now, place wet coffee grinds in small cups, which are then placed inside the jars. Place these jars against walls or baseboards for a while. The roaches are lured by the smell of coffee and enter the jar. But with the jars filled with water, they can’t escape. Although this seems a bit cumbersome, it works effectively.

11. Cucumber

Although the efficiency of this remedy is debatable, you won’t lose anything to give it a shot. You’ll always have a cucumber or two lying around in your refrigerator, and you can always experiment and see if it works or not.


  • Take cucumber peels and place them in an aluminum can. Place this can near where you suspect a cockroach infestation. The stink emanating from the aluminum is not at all tolerable to the roaches, that they die off one by one.

12. Essential oils

Essential oils have a pleasant fragrance for us humans. But for cockroaches, flies, and other bugs, it’s intolerable. This remedy helps you rid your home of cockroaches, while leaving it smelling pleasant.


  • Mix together 10-12 drops of cedar essential oil, 4 drops of lemon essential oil, 4 drops of white fir essential oil, 4 tablespoons of borax, and 2 cups of baking soda. Mix well and sprinkle this powder everywhere you think roaches might be hiding. One good thing about this remedy is that you can even use it on carpets, rugs, and upholstered furniture too. Leave it on for about 30 minutes, before vacuuming the powder away from the furniture.

13. Lemon


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Lemon has bleaching properties, along with pathogenic ones.


  • Squeeze in one or two lemons into the water you use to mop the floors, and clean the kitchen counters, bathroom cabinets, and spray it under the sinks and flush it down the toilets too. The strong citric smell repels the roaches, giving you a home free from these pests. This remedy is helpful in killing repelling other bugs like ticks, fleas, spiders, bed bugs, along with cockroaches.

14. Listerine

Listerine is not only good to give you excellent oral health, but also has antiseptic properties that work wonderfully to disinfect your home.


  • Pour some Listerine solution into some water and dilute it. Now, spray this solution everywhere you think there might be cockroaches hidden – under the sinks, along the baseboards, on the counters, inside the cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms, and so on.

Suggested read: 12 most effective home remedies for mouth ulcers

15. Soap solution

Soap can have a toxic effect on cockroaches, thereby flushing them away from drains and sewers.


  • Using soap powder, make a heavy soap solution and use this as a spray against roaches. Soap has the power to clog the roaches’ pores, thereby making it impossible for them to breathe.

These are all the home remedies you can use to get rid of cockroaches. Whether you want to repel them without killing them or kill them once and for all, we’ve got you covered with these highly effective remedies.

Featured image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Article Name
15 Highly Effective Home Remedies For Killing Cockroaches
Cockroaches turning your home into a dump? Worry not, and try some of these home remedies for killing cockroaches that are highly effective!
Chaitra Ramalingegowda

Chaitra Ramalingegowda

I fell in love with storytelling long before I knew what it was. Love well written stories, writing with passion, baking lip-smacking-finger-licking chocolate cakes, engaging movies, and home-cooked food. A true work-in-progress and a believer in the idiom 'all those who wander are not lost'. Twitter: @ChaitraRlg