(Last Updated On: September 23, 2022)

If your home has suddenly become a haven for these stubborn household pests using home remedies for roaches will help you eliminate and prevent cockroaches altogether. Not only are home remedies effective, but they are also guaranteed to get rid of roaches fast and without the use of an exterminator. Using they will prevent harsh chemicals from entering your home while at the same time freeing your home from cockroaches.

What Causes Roaches?

Cockroaches can affect any household anywhere in the world. In fact, there are over 1 million households that are infested with these pests. No matter where you are in the world, if your home environment has the right elements that allow cockroaches to thrive, then you are bound to see one of the four types of cockroaches making their way into your home.

The four types of cockroaches are:

  • American Cockroach- The American Cockroach can grow up to two inches in size. They have a unique color in comparison to other cockroach species as they are a reddish-brown, amber color. They also have two large dark spots on their shoulders and they are the shiniest of the roach species.
  • German Cockroach- German cockroaches are about ½ an inch in size and have two dark stripes down their back. German cockroaches thrive in wet or moist areas such as a damp basement or bathroom. These cockroaches are always seen in quite high numbers.
  • Oriental Cockroach- Oriental cockroaches are about one inch in length and the females are slightly larger than the males. This species of cockroach are a deep brown, nearly black color and they cannot fly. Many times Oriental cockroaches are found in pipes and drains and give off a musty odor due to the pheromones used to communicate with each other.
  • Brown Banded Cockroach- The Brown Banded Cockroach is about 5/8 an inch in length and has two bands that are the defining characteristic of this species. The bands are actually yellow in color despite their namesake and are located on the mid-abdomen and bottom of the abdomen.

Regardless of the type of cockroach, you have spotted in your home, the underlying causes are the same. Cockroaches can be caused by several different factors and when they are combined they create a perfect environment for the cockroach to thrive.

Cockroaches are attracted by several things which include:

  • Food-Having access to a reliable food source is what drives cockroaches to a certain area. Trash cans, crumbs, unsealed food containers, or simply leaving food out in the open can attract cockroaches.
  • Lack of Predators- When there are no predators (humans, cats, or other animals) to keep them at bay, cockroaches will make a nest in that space due to the safety. This is why cockroaches are often found in basements, garages, or attics.
  • Access to a Water Source- Cockroaches cannot live without access to water. This can be as simple as a leaky pipe or a small puddle of stagnant water, and even a pet’s water bowl. They do not need much water so if there are even a few drops, cockroaches will take advantage of that water source.
  • Dark Areas- Cockroaches are usually nocturnal and prefer to live in dark places.
  • Keeping an Untidy Home- The accumulation of dirt, dust, and crumbs make for a perfect living environment for cockroaches. The more clutter you have, the more places that cockroaches have to make a nest.

Signs of Cockroach Infestation

No matter the species of cockroaches that are in your home, there are several similar signs that will indicate that there is a nest or infestation. The signs and symptoms you should look for when trying to identify cockroaches are:

  • Fecal Droppings– Roaches will travel around your home and they will leave behind their droppings. The size of the faeces will vary depending on the size of the cockroach. However, despite the size of the roaches, the faeces will be black in color and resemble coffee grounds or ground black pepper. If you begin to see several fecal droppings in one or more areas of the home, there will definitely be a nest nearby.
  • Egg Casings- Cockroaches reproduce by forming what is called an ‘ootheca’, commonly known as an egg casing that holds several eggs. You will be able to spot unhatched eggs, or just the empty egg casings that have been left behind which are clear indicators that you have a roach infestation. The ootheca’s can be visually identified by their brownish color and long shape.
  • Odor- Although one or two cockroaches will not give off an odor, when there is an infestation, you will begin to notice a strong, musty odor. This is due to the pheromones the cockroaches use to communicate. If you are able to smell cockroaches, the infestation has gotten to a severe point as there will be a high population of adult cockroaches.
  • Dead Roaches- While cockroaches are nearly strictly nocturnal with movement happening mostly during the evening, any cockroaches that are dying and weak will no longer be able to move quickly and they can be found dead in the morning. Often times you will find dead roaches under a sink, behind a fridge, or somewhere similar. If you are finding dead cockroaches, this means a full life cycle is being completed and there is most definitely an infestation.
  • Spotting Roaches During the Day-As previously stated, cockroaches are nearly strictly nocturnal creatures. However, if you spotting live cockroaches during the day, this indicates that the nest has become over populated and they are being forced to find another place to set up their home. Spotting cockroaches during the day is a definite sign that their numbers are great and a severe infestation is occurring.

Keeping a close eye on any damp and dark areas of your home that are ideal places for roaches to nest or feed will help you indicate if there is an infestation or not. Usually, there will be more than one sign exhibited, but it depends on the number of cockroaches that are present in your home.

How to Get Rid of Roaches Naturally

20 Easy and Effective Ways to Use Home Remedies for Roaches that Get Rid of Roaches Fast

Noticing the signs of cockroaches does not mean you should panic. Cockroaches affect nearly 1 in 5 households and are very common. That being said, there are several herbal remedies that will stop them in their tracks and even prevent reinfestation. In fact, these remedies work so well that you can get rid of any roaches present without an exterminator.

1. Placing Fresh Garlic Cloves in the Affected Area


Garlic cloves have a strong odor that repels roaches almost instantly. Cockroaches cannot stand the smell and will leave the area right away.

Required Ingredients:

  • Several fresh cloves of garlic


  • Peel all the garlic cloves.
  • Place the cloves in the affected areas and surrounding areas.
  • Leave for two to three days and replace with more fresh cloves of garlic.
  • Repeat this for at least ten days to repel cockroaches.

Notes: If you do not have fresh garlic, garlic powder can also be used.

2. Sprinkling the Area with Bay Leaves

Bay Leaves

Bay leaves are another pungent herb that roaches despise. The odor put off from the bay leaves will repel roaches and drive them out of your home.

Required Ingredients:

  • One handful of fresh or dried bay leaves
  • Mortar and Pestle


  • Gather your bay leaves and crush them into a powder using the mortar and pestle.
  • Once you have crushed the leaves, place them in the nest areas, high traffic areas, or any other affected areas of the home.
  • Leave the bay leaf powder for five to seven days before removing.
  • Repeat for one more week to keep the cockroaches from coming back.

3. Making a Catnip Spray


The naturally occurring chemicals in catnip are offensive to roaches and will repel them. Making the catnip into a tea and then using it as a spray will keep cockroaches from entering your home and any cockroaches present will be happy to leave.

Required Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce fresh or dried catnip
  • 1 ½ to 2 cups of hot water
  • Strainer
  • 1 clean, plastic spray bottle


  • Add the catnip to the hot water and let steep for three to four minutes.
  • Strain the catnip leaves and let cool.
  • Once it is cool, add the catnip tea to the spray bottle.
  • Directly spray the catnip tea to the affected areas.
  • Leave the spray to dry.
  • Spray the affected area again in two to three days.
  • Keep this spray on hand to repel roaches regularly.

4. Making a Mint Spray

The strong odor of fresh mint is another great cockroach repellent. The intense odor given off from the mint irritates the cockroach’s sensitive sense of smell and they will be driven out of your home.

Required Ingredients:

  • One bunch of fresh mint leaves
  • 2 cups of hot water
  • 1 clean, plastic spray bottle


  • Add the mint leaves to the hot water and let steep for four minutes.
  • Let the mixture cool before adding to the spray bottle.
  • Spray the affected area liberally and let dry.
  • Spray the affected areas again in two to three days.
  • Regularly using this spray will keep roaches from coming back.

Notes: If you do not have access to fresh mint leaves, the mint essential oil can also be used.

5. Making a Petroleum Jelly Trap

The petroleum jelly trap works wonders for trapping and killing any pesky roaches that are making their way around your home. The stickiness and thickness of the petroleum jelly will trap the roaches in place and allow them to die in the trap.

Required Ingredients:

  • Petroleum jelly
  • Spoon
  • Several pieces of cardboard cut into squares
  • Food item such as bread, something sugary or other item that will attract the roaches


  • Take a piece of cardboard and apply one tablespoon of petroleum jelly.
  • Add your food item to the middle of the trap.
  • Place your traps in the affected areas.
  • Leave your traps for at least a week and return to check them every few days.
  • Once there are one or more roaches on the trap, remove and replace.

6. Making a Pyrethrum Spray


The Pyrethrum flower, if you can find it in your area, is one of the most lethal cockroach repellents on this list. Making a Pyrethrum spray will not only repel and drive out roaches, but it will also kill them on site. This spray is useful for severe infestations and if you are actually seeing cockroaches.

Required Ingredients:

  • Several fresh or dried Pyrethrum flowers
  • 2 cups of hot water
  • 1 clean, plastic spray bottle


  • Add the Pyrethrum flowers to the hot water.
  • Let steep for five minutes and cool.
  • Once the tea has cooled, add it to the spray bottle.
  • Spray any areas that you have seen roaches.
  • Keep this spray on hand to spray the roaches directly to kill them almost instantly.

Notes: Although the Pyrethrum flower is a potent repellent, it will degrade quickly once it makes contact with sunlight and oxygen. Thorough and frequent spraying is required to get rid of and kill roaches.

7. Making an Ice Cream Trap

ice cream

If you have any leftover ice cream in your fridge that no one wants to eat, it will make for an excellent cockroach trap. The sugar content will attract the cockroaches and the stickiness will trap them. Once the ice cream melts, it can even drown the cockroaches.

Required Ingredients:

  • One leftover tub or carton of ice cream


  • Set the tub or carton of ice cream in a high traffic area or near the nest.
  • Leave the ice cream trap for several days.
  • Check the ice cream trap frequently and once there are several roaches in the trap, remove and dispose of the ice cream trap.

Notes: Ensure that the ice cream carton or tub is not too full of ice cream so it does not overflow when it begins to melt. It is also important to keep the ice cream trap in a place where it cannot be tipped over easily.

8. Making an Edible Borax Trap

While Borax is often used in many ways to repel several insects, including roaches, this remedy will show you how to make an edible Borax trap that will kill roaches fast. Many supermarkets carry Borax, but if you cannot find it in your area, you can find it online.

When the cockroaches ingest the Borax, a quick death will soon come. As a matter of fact, during a 2004 study, twenty adult female cockroaches were given access to water containing Borax. At all concentrations >2%, boric acid killed cockroaches faster than the other borates with a 90% mortality rate over a fifteen-day period.

Required Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon Borax
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ tablespoon of water
  • Small bowl


  • Combine the dry ingredients in the small bowl and slowly add the water.
  • Mix together until a dough forms.
  • Roll the dough into small balls and place them in the affected areas.

Notes: Once the cockroaches eat the dough, they will soon be dead so do not be surprised if you see an influx of dead cockroaches around your home.

9. Dish Detergent Spray

The dish detergent that you are using to wash your dishes is a perfect way to get rid of roaches. If the cockroaches come in contact with the soap, the soap will quickly surround and suffocate them.

Required Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons of dish soap
  • Warm water
  • 1 clean, plastic spray bottle


  • Add the soap and the warm water to the spray bottle.
  • Mix well until several bubbles form.
  • Spray the affected areas with the soap.
  • Leave to dry and come back to remove any roaches.
  • Repeat the use of this spray daily until roaches are no longer found in the sprayed areas.

10. Making a Baking Soda Edible Trap

baking soda

Baking soda has the same effect on cockroaches as Borax. It is important to remember to keep the baking soda dry in order for it to work properly in stopping cockroaches in their tracks.

When the cockroaches ingest the Baking Soda carbon dioxide will be released into their intestines which will then break down their internal system causing death.

Required Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • Small bowl


  • Combine the baking soda and the sugar in the small bowl.
  • Sprinkle the mixture in the affected areas.
  • Leave for several days before removing.
  • Repeat this remedy one or two more times depending on the amount of roaches in your home.

11. Cleaning House


Keeping a clean and tidy household is one of the most important steps in removing and preventing cockroaches. When you remove any food or water sources and any hiding spots, you will make an unideal home environment for roaches.

Required Ingredients:

  • Broom
  • Mop
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Vacuum


  • Clean your home from top to bottom paying attention to remove crumbs or any leftover food.
  • Keep your trashcan clean and sealed.
  • Regularly vacuum, sweep, and mop your home to maintain a clean home and sterile environment.

Notes: When you are cleaning your home, add one of the natural sprays to the cleaning regime to add an extra-potent kick to preventing cockroaches.

12. Applying a Mixture of Garlic, Pepper, and Onion


The combination of garlic, pepper, and onions will create an extra powerful cockroach deterrent. The offensive odor will get rid of any present cockroaches and prevent them from returning.

Required Ingredients:

  • 1 clove of fresh garlic
  • 1 whole onion
  • 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 quart of water
  • Small bowl
  • 1 clean, plastic spray bottle


  • Peel and chop the garlic clove and the onion and add it to the bowl.
  • Add in the cayenne pepper
  • Add the water and stir well.
  • Let this marinade for one hour.
  • Add the mixture to your spray bottle and spray any affected areas.

13. Using a Homemade Pesticide

Making a homemade pesticide is not only safer than harsh chemical sprays, but it will eliminate any present roaches and prevent them from returning without an exterminator.

Required Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of corn starch
  • 2 tablespoons of plaster of Paris
  • Small bowl


  • Combine the corn starch and the plaster of Paris in the bowl.
  • Mix well and sprinkle over any affected areas.
  • Leave this mixture for at least one week before removing.
  • Repeat weekly until roaches are no longer present in your home.

Notes: Make sure you are sprinkling this mixture in any cracks in the floor or wall in addition to any nesting sites. This will prevent them from coming and going.

14. Making a Listerine Spray

Combining Listerine (or any other brand of mouthwash) with water and a small amount of dish soap will create an extra powerful cockroach repellent. This mixture will not only repel cockroaches but will kill them through suffocation as well.

Required Ingredients:

  • 1 part Listerine
  • 1 part water
  • 2-3 drops of dish soap
  • 1 clean, plastic spray bottle


  • Add the Listerine, water, and dish soap to the spray bottle.
  • Gently shake to combine the ingredients.
  • Spray this mixture in any affected areas and leave to dry.

Notes: This mixture can also be used to directly spray any roaches you see.

15. Making a Coffee Grounds Trap

Coffee Grounds

The pleasant smell of the coffee grounds will attract cockroaches. When you combine the coffee grounds with an easy-to-make trap, you will easily and quickly remove several cockroaches from your home.

Required Ingredients:

  • Used coffee grounds
  • 1 small-medium sized jar or container
  • Water


  • Add the coffee grounds to the jar and fill halfway with water.
  • Place the jar in an area where cockroaches frequent.
  • Leave the jar for at least one week before disposing.
  • Replace the jar weekly as needed.

Notes: Make sure to place the jar in an area that will prevent the jar from tipping over.

16. Using Lemon Juice to Clean the Home


Lemon juice is yet another natural repellent against cockroaches. The strong acidic smell will deter any present roaches and prevent them from coming back. Cleaning the home with lemon juice will keep roaches from entering your home.

Required Ingredients:

  • Juice and rinds of 4 lemons
  • ½ gallon of water
  • Bucket and mop


  • Cut the lemons into wedges and squeeze the juice into the bucket.
  • Add the squeezed lemon wedges into the bucket as well.
  • Combine the lemons and the lemon juice with the water.
  • Use this mixture to mop any areas in your home that are tiles.

Notes: You can also use this mixture to spray countertops and other areas of the home.

17. Using Beer-Soaked Bread


Making a simple trap by using beer-soaked bread will attract roaches to the trap and kill them quickly.

Required Ingredients:

  • 2 pieces of bread
  • ½ a can of beer
  • 1 small bowl
  • 1 jar


  • Break up the bread and add it to the bowl.
  • Pour the beer over the bread and let the bread absorb the beer.
  • Place the beer soaked bread into the jar.
  • Place the jar in an area where roaches are frequenting.
  • Check the jar every few days and remove after one week.
  • Repeat weekly until cockroaches are no longer seen in the trap.

18. Buying a Gecko


Geckos are a natural predator for cockroaches and if you are keen to allowing one to freely roam your home, they will quickly eradicate the cockroaches. It is important to refrain from using any toxic methods or remedies if you choose to purchase a gecko as they can be affected negatively by ingesting any toxic substances.

Required Ingredients:

  • One healthy and agile gecko


  • Set up a cage area for the gecko and make a water bowl for them to use.
  • Allow the gecko to free roam your home to find food (the cockroaches) and check on the gecko from time to time to make sure they are healthy and have enough food.
  • Eventually, the gecko will eradicate the cockroaches and you will need to provide a food source for the gecko.

Notes: While this remedy follows nature’s course, it is not practical for everyone. Please make sure you are able and willing to take on the responsibility and care for a reptilian pet before choosing to use this method.

19. Applying a Cheap Wine

red wine

Using a cheap bottle of wine to kill cockroaches is a simple and easy way to get rid of them. The sweet smell of the wine will attract the roaches and when they drink or ingest any of the wine, they will soon die due to the alcohol content.

Required Ingredients:

  • 1 cheap bottle of any type of wine
  • 1 clean, plastic spray bottle


  • Place some of the wine in the spray bottle.
  • Spray any affected areas with the wine and let dry.
  • Remove the wine and any dead cockroaches after it has dried.
  • Repeat daily until there are no more roaches found in the sprayed areas.

20. Cedar

Cedar can be found in chips, balls, or blocks at several supermarkets or home stores. The smell of the cedar deters cockroaches but will also give your home a pleasant smell. Cedar will keep away roaches as well as other household pests.

Required Ingredients:

  • A block, ball, or chips of cedar


  • Place the cedar in areas such as cabinets, under the sink, under the fridge, or other areas that attract roaches and leave in place.
  • Leave the cedar in place for several weeks before replacing.

Any household can be affected by cockroaches but this pesky problem can easily and quickly be solved by using any of this list. Choose to use any of these simple methods before you use harsh chemicals. You will quickly find that your home is free of roaches without the chemicals and without the exterminator.

Annalise O'Conner is a Registered Dietitian and Personalized Nutritionist. She is a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, teaching nutrition in the School of Public Health and APAN (Asian Pacific Islander American Network) Email: [email protected]

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