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How to Get Rid of Roaches Naturally: Expert Guide

There is nothing more unwanted in a house than roaches, but once they find their way inside, how do you get rid of them? More importantly, how do you get rid of them naturally? We’ll show you how to prevent roaches from invading your home and also how to eradicate them without using harmful chemicals.

Roaches are one of the most resilient invaders around. They are almost impossible to drown, they can go a month without food and they can run up to 3 miles per hour. Exterminators are having to constantly update and revise their methods to eliminate cockroaches because of their ability to adapt. So how are we going to get rid of them? We’ll use some tried and true methods we can help make your home roach free naturally without risking your wellbeing or health.

How To Get Rid of Roaches Naturally

There are two courses of action you can take to eliminate your roach problem. The first step is both preventative and will also help with your current roach problem. First you must take time to clean your house, eliminate water leaks and seal your entry points. The next step is to bait and kill the roaches with a variety of natural products. Once the roaches are eliminated it’s critical to maintain a clean environment to ensure that new ones won’t return.

Home Remedies to Get Rid of Cockroaches

You can utilize a single remedy or a combination of these remedies to fix your roach problem. Utilizing boric acid, baking soda, diatomaceous earth, and borax will make a difference. We’ll start with one of the most effective ways. 

Here are a few ways to kill roaches that we recommend:

1. Boric Acid

Boric acid is a simple, effective, and natural product that will kill cockroaches. Create a boric acid trap by sprinkling it on a paper plate and place food in the middle for bait. Another method is to mix one part powdered sugar with three parts boric acid. Sprinkle the mixture behind and under the refrigerator, dishwasher and stove. Also, sprinkle it under the sink and inside the cracks around the cabinets and pantry. You can sprinkle it on the countertops, but this may not be the best idea if you have little ones running around. Though non-toxic, boric acid can be irritating to the skin.

how to get rid of cockroaches with boric acid

2. Kill Cockroaches with Baking Soda

Another natural home remedy is baking soda. Since baking soda is a multifunctional product, it is not surprising that among its many attributes it can also get rid of cockroaches. Create a baking soda trap by mixing equal parts sugar with baking soda in a lid or a dish. Place another lid or dish filled with water close by. The smell of the sugar will draw out the roaches and tempt them to eat the mixture. Eating the mixture and then drinking the water will cause a reaction that kills the cockroaches. Since cockroaches often eat dead cockroaches, the reaction will continue into the infestation. Refill the dishes with more bait and water as the dead cockroaches start to appear. Place more of the mixture in dishes around the areas where you usually find cockroaches. Continue refilling the dishes until your home is completely free of cockroaches.

how to get rid of cockroaches with baking soda

3. Kill Cockroaches with Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a natural product that is abrasive to cockroaches. Diatomaceous earth breaks down the waxy layer of the roach’s exoskeleton and then proceeds to kill the roach through dehydration. The Diatomaceous Earth that is used for eradicating cockroaches is EPA-registered, food-grade DE. Just a light dusting of Diatomaceous Earth on the cockroach will be sure to damage the exoskeleton and dehydrate it until it dies. Create a Diatomaceous Earth trap by using a little powdered sugar as bait and spread the DE on any surfaces you have seen cockroaches. The sugar will attract roaches and then the DE do the rest.

Kill Cockroaches with Diatomaceous Earth

4. Borax

Maybe you’ve heard how versatile Borax can be for all your household needs, but did you know that it is also a powerful cockroach eliminator? Borax is another natural method for killing roaches. Borax works as an effective killer but roaches to have to eat it for it to go to work. You can create an effective borax trap by adding powdered sugar to the mix to attract roaches. The roaches will ingest the borax which is a poison that kills the roaches dead in their tracks.

can borax kill roaches

Are Borax and Boric Acid the Same Thing?

Borax and Boric Acid are not the same thing. Borax is sodium borate which is a natural mineral and boric acid is made from borax. Borax is more common and useful around the house. Boric acid is a form of borax but it’s been purified with hydrochloric acid.

boric acid and powdered sugar to kill roaches

Use borax and powdered sugar to kill roaches.

Can I get rid of roaches by cleaning?

The best way to prevent cockroaches is to keep your home as clean as possible. You will need more than just a clean house to eliminate them if you already have an infestation. A sanitized home will lower your chances of roach infestation. When cleaning, use citrus scented cleaning products to help repel cockroaches. Cockroaches are attracted to food and grease, so making sure your kitchen is clean every day is crucial. Before going to bed, take a few minutes to wipe down the countertops, wash the dishes, clean the stovetop and sweep the floor. If you make this process a regular routine, it should take no longer than fifteen minutes every night. Otherwise, make sure you take time out to do a deep clean. Sweep and mop behind appliances, especially the oven, refrigerator and microwave, vacuum and clean the carpet under sofas and furniture, and pick up any clothes or clutter from off the floor. Since cockroaches are attracted to water, mop and dry up any damp areas in your home like under the bath mat or around the sinks.

How do cockroaches get in the house?

Cockroaches use a variety of methods to get into your house. They crawl through cracks, small holes, door and windows. They can slip around pipes, under baseboards or any entry point they can find. They are also able to ride in on bags, suitcases and backpacks. If you live in an apartment you’re at risk of roaches moving from one apartment to the other through small holes in shared walls. This makes it important to seal up the cracks and holes in your home. Check anywhere you have seen cockroaches. With a tube of a caulk and a caulking gun in hand, look for any space that could allow cockroaches to get in. Check the pantry, cabinets and where the walls and floors meet. Also, make sure to check under the sinks in the kitchen and bathrooms.

What are Cockroaches Attracted to?

Roaches are in search of water and food to meet their needs. They can find water from a leaky pipe, sink or pet water bowl. Cockroaches are attracted to food in dirty dishes, trash, pet food, crumbs, open containers, spills and unattended food left on a counter. They are able to crawl almost anywhere. So make sure all food is sealed and put away. If you have a roach problem, when the lights go out roaches are on the move searching your house for food and water.

dirty dishes attract cockroaches

Eliminate what roaches are attracted to

Cockroaches are attracted to water which is why many people find them under sinks. When it comes to cutting off water sources for roaches, here are three things you can do: repair any leaking pipes, do not overwater indoor plants, do not let water stand in your sinks, remove pet water from the floor at night, and watch for areas where moisture accumulates due to humidityNow you can address the food issue. If you can cut off their food supply you can remove another reason to be in your home. Here are some ways to eliminate their food supply: don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink, get a trash can you can close and seal, clean your floors and counters daily especially before bed, don’t leave pet food out and clean all greasy areas around the stove and microwave.  

What is the Cheapest Way to Kill Cockroaches?

So which one is the more cost effective choice? We did some research into the methods above and came up with a pricing guide to help find the cheapest way to kill cockroaches. Diatomaceous earth turned out to be the least expensive option with baking soda coming in second.

Diatomaceous earth – $2.69 per lb
Baking Soda – $2.99 per lb
Borax – $3.44 per lb
Boric Acid – $8.99 per lb

Can you kill cockroaches with Petroleum Jelly?

You can kill cockroaches with petroleum jelly. Although not a repellent or toxic product for cockroaches, using petroleum jelly is a great product to use in the trapping of cockroaches and kill them. Here is how the petroleum jelly trap works. Find an empty glass jar or bottle and place a little bait at the bottom. Run petroleum jelly around the upper half of the inside and tape a straw to the outside as a ramp. This creates a way for the cockroaches to easily climb in for the food and the petroleum jelly prevents them from climbing out.

Can you kill a cockroach with soap and water?

Maybe it’s time to do grocery shopping and your cupboards are bare, not to worry. You can kill roaches with soap and water, all you need is some soap to create a mixture of soap and water. Spraying this mixture directly on the roaches will eventually suffocate them since they breathe through their skin.

Is one roach a sign of infestation?

Since cockroaches are nocturnal creatures, you may not always see them during the day. If you see one there is a good chance there are more cockroaches in hiding. Late at night is you best chance to see them. If you see a roach during the day that means that one has been forced out in to the open usually due to overcrowding.  There are several other signs of an infestation.

Here are some signs that you have a cockroach infestation:

  1. Cockroach droppings which look like coffee grounds or pepper
  2. Oval-shaped egg casings
  3. Cockroach carcasses
  4. An oily or musty odor in your kitchen, bathroom or other areas.

If you see one cockroach, there are likely many more that you can’t see.  A local pest control company can inspect your home and identify any signs of a cockroach problem.

What is a natural repellent for roaches?

Once you have taken all the necessary steps to prevent cockroaches from being attracted to your home, you may want to consider adding a layer of repellent to prevent future infestations. Here are four ways to repel cockroaches naturally.

Does Catnip Repel Cockroaches?

One way to repel cockroaches naturally is by using catnip. Catnip is an easy-to-use and extremely effective method for repelling cockroaches. First, you will need to boil about a liter of water. Then place 8 teaspoons of catnip in the boiling water and allow it to boil for around ten minutes. Turn off the heat, letting the catnip solution cool down completely. Pour the solution into a spray bottle and spray thoroughly in any area where you have seen cockroaches.

Essential Oils to Repel Cockroaches

Another way to repel cockroaches naturally is by using essential oils. Essential oils is a proven cockroach repellent. The strong smell of essential oils disrupts the cockroach’s hunting path. If the concentration of the oil is strong enough it will also kill the cockroach. The most effective essential oil scents are tea tree, lavender, eucalyptus and peppermint. Any one of these will do the job well. As soon as you have selected your preferred oil, apply the oil to a cotton ball and wipe down anywhere you’ve seen cockroaches appear.  Alternatively, you could make a solution by mixing 15 drops of essential oil with about 10 ounces of water in a spray bottle. Then use the spray bottle to spray liberally any necessary areas.

Citrus Cleaners to Repel Cockroaches

Citrus cleaners are another way to repel roaches. Cockroaches hate the smell of citrus. Any citrus scented household cleaners will help rebel cockroaches from your bathroom and kitchen. Placing citrus peels in strategic places around your home is also an effective repellent.

Can you Repel Cockroaches with Cinnamon?

You can repel cockroaches naturally by using cinnamon. The scent of cinnamon is more than cockroaches can handle so sprinkling some where you have an issue will help keep them at bay.

Does Vinegar Kill Cockroaches?

While vinegar is a great cleansing agent for household use, unfortunately, it does not kill cockroaches. However, since they do not like the smell, it does help deter cockroaches. You can also use it to help keep your kitchen clean which will keep roaches at bay.

How do I get rid of roaches permanently?

Utilize diatomaceous earth, baking soda, borax or boric acid to permanently get rid of cockroaches. You can make sure they stay out permanently by using borax or boric acid traps or by sprinkling it behind appliances and under cabinets on a regular basis. This will make sure they don’t return. You should also maintain a clean house and make sure that water isn’t present to eliminate what they are attracted to. Following these instructions will leave your home permanently free from cockroaches.

Are There Any Specific Foods That Attract Cockroaches?

All food in general attracts cockroaches. However, they are most attracted to meat, cheese, sugar, starches and grease. Cockroaches are also attracted to the smell of rotting fruits and vegetables.

For more tips on getting rid of Cockroaches read our article on Getting Cockroaches Out Of Appliances: Step-By-Step Guide.

Written By

Hi there! My name is Matt and I write for Expert Home Report. I enjoy writing about everything related to home improvement, home tips and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either spending time with my family, doing a DIY project or learning a new skill.