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What Smell Keeps Roaches Away?

Smells That Keep Roaches Away

Roaches are never a welcome sight for homeowners. Bugs that are dirty, hard to kill, and a challenge to get rid of, roaches are one unwanted pest that you don’t want to deal with. Whether you’ve noticed a few, or a lot, it’s time to get those roaches out of your house. One natural way of dealing with the problem is with smell – just like humans, roaches have smells they dislike also. Keep reading to find out what you can use to deter roaches from taking up residence in your home.

What smell keeps roaches away? Luckily for us, roaches tend to dislike smells that we enjoy, like – citrus, peppermint, garlic, and coffee. Eucalyptus and tea tree oil, as well as stronger disinfectants like vinegar and bleach are good at keeping roaches away too.

Knowing what smells work to keep roaches away is the first step, the next is figuring out the right mixture to spread or spray and in what areas will be most effective at keeping them out. Before we talk about that, let’s make sure we understand how roaches get in and what attracts them to the inside of your home.

Why Are Roaches Attracted to My House?

What Smell Keeps Roaches Away?Like many other insects, roaches are attracted to food, water, warmth, and shelter. By knowing what things attract roaches, you can do your best to eliminate those things.

In your home, roaches will seek dirty dishes, garbage, crumbs, pet food, leftovers, and shelter in warm, moist areas.

In the same way that we get rid of other bugs, cleaning up after ourselves, de-cluttering, drying up excess moisture in the air, and using traps are all useful methods to prevent roaches from coming into your home.

Something to keep in mind with roaches, they can be harmful to you and your family more than other bugs. Known to be “dirty” – roaches carry diseases, contaminate food, spread bacteria, and more.

If you encounter roaches, you should do your best to get them out of your home and make sure they don’t come back.

How Do Roaches Get Into My Home?

Roaches are very resourceful creatures that can find the littlest ways to get inside your homes. Because they are relatively small, they can find their way inside through small holes and cracks, openings in doors and windows, traveling within pipes and holes in walls, and traveling on you or your pets.

Identifying areas where roaches are likely to smuggle their way in and hide will help you take special care to clean and maintain them. You should look behind refrigerators, inside drawers, under sinks, and in other dark spaces. Roaches forage for food at night and will eat a variety of different things – which helps them to survive in clean homes.


Choosing household cleaners with the smell of citrus are effective at chasing roaches away. It also helps your house smell fresh and clean! Going to the grocery store, you will find several different cleaner options with the smell of citrus – lemons and oranges are the most common scent.

Just like any other cleaner, you can spray down your counters, mop, even light citrus candles to help deter roaches from the area.

get rid of roaches with citrus cleaner

roaches hate citrus smells


Peppermint oil is an extremely strong scent and has been found to repel the large majority of roaches that come in contact with it. Though it can be strong, it’s also quite enjoyable for us and helps freshen up the home.

You can go to your grocery store and buy 100% peppermint oil with no additives. Once you get home, add it to a spray bottle. Then, take the spray bottle and begin to add it to entrances to the home, window sills, baseboards, and especially areas around the kitchen.

Another good thing about peppermint oil, it not only repels roaches but it’s also toxic to them. Whenever roaches come in contact with the oil for an extended period, they will die.

peppermint smell to repel roaches

peppermint smell to repel roaches


Garlic is one of the most effective smells against cockroaches. Simply taking garlic powder and sprinkling it around infested areas will see a quick improvement. You can also place whole cloves in certain areas of your home.

It is important to remember to replace the powder and/or cloves monthly or as needed because as the garlic rots, it changes the smell and could attract other unwanted pests.

Coffee Grounds

The smell, as well as the texture of coffee grounds both effectively drive away roaches. The fresher the grounds, the better. Obviously, finding coffee grounds is easy and accessible. You simply take the grounds and spread them in the areas you see roaches most often.

Like the garlic, be sure to replace the grounds as the smell fades, otherwise, the roaches may be brave enough to move past them to find food.


Cockroaches find the smell of eucalyptus to be extremely disagreeable. Luckily, most of us find it quite pleasant and there are many different ways you can use the scent. From essential oils to planting it near or around the house, to spraying it as a barrier near homes – roaches will steer clear of the smell of eucalyptus.

It is easy to mix the essential oil with water and put it into a diffuser, turning it on now and then to keep the roaches away. You can also put it into a spray bottle and spray it like other insecticides: near doors and windows, and other common places you may find roaches.

roaches are repealed by eucalyptus

Eucalyptus Essential Oil for roaches

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is one of the stronger smelling essential oils. The most effective way of using tea tree oil against roaches is to combine it with vinegar and water. Mixing 1 part vinegar, 4 parts of water, and 2 drops of the tea tree oil in a spray bottle and spraying in areas around the kitchen and other affected areas will see an improvement.

Diluting the oil with vinegar and water won’t be quite as strong, but it will be better for your home as it won’t stain anything and still helps to kill and deter roaches.


Roaches are not fans of the smell of vinegar, however, using vinegar alone is often not strong enough to keep roaches away. Taking vinegar and mixing it with essential oils and other scents mentioned here will be more effective.

Though it’s not as pleasant as some of the other scents you can use to deter roaches, vinegar does act as a disinfectant and can be safer than bleach.


Areas that smell strongly of bleach will see roaches avoiding them specifically. We know that using bleach is effective for many different reasons, but we also know that it isn’t the most harmless type of cleaner. Whenever you do use bleach, be sure to read the directions carefully and use it minimally – also keep it out of reach of children.

It’s also important to note that roaches are extremely resilient. Though they may avoid certain areas for a while, if they are sufficiently hungry and feel as though they can brave the smell, they will do so.

Related Questions

What Is The Fastest Way to Get Rid of Roaches?

One of the best, fastest, and easiest ways to get rid of roaches is with baking soda. And, you likely already have some in your home! You can spread baking soda in areas where you’ve seen roach activity, or mix it with some onions and put it on a plate in the same areas – you will start to notice roaches dying off.

How Long Does It Take to Get Rid of Roaches?

Roaches are difficult, resilient, and resourceful little pests that can turn into a big problem quickly. The truth is, once you see a couple of cockroaches, there is likely already a large nest nearby that could be out of control.

If you are able to act fast and before the population gets established, you can get rid of roaches anywhere from 7 to 10 days, but you could get rid of most of them in a day. While using home remedies can be useful, it is better to have a professional come out and take care of the issue with the right tools. Most of the home remedies are better for preventing roach activity rather than killing them.

How Much Does It Cost to Get Rid of Roaches By a Professional?

Depending on the size of the infestation, roach extermination can cost anywhere from $150 to $300, even up to $600 if it’s out of control. On average, you can expect to pay $300 for about 2 treatments that should effectively get rid of the roaches and their nest.

Once you’ve had roaches, it would be smart to have a professional come spray and treat every season to ensure that they don’t come back and that there aren’t any further issues.

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.