7 Ways to Try to Eliminate Roaches Naturally

Becca Stokes
Written by Becca Stokes
Updated July 27, 2021
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Discover 7 of the best things you can try to get rid of cockroaches sans traditional sprays

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When you find roaches in your home, you may be tempted to do everything possible under the sun to make sure they don’t darken your doorway again. But before you start making a run for traditional pest control methods and go spraying left and right, you should know that there are natural alternatives to getting rid of roaches for good. 

Here are some of the best spray-free ways around for getting those critters out of your home once and for all. Before we get into it, even with these gentler methods, it’s important to keep them out of the reach of pets and kids. You should also not use these methods in the event of an infestation and should rather use them as prevention. 

1. A Clean House

What are you looking for in the place you call home? The list probably starts with a warm place to sleep, shelter from the elements, and a steady supply of food. As it turns out, the same goes for cockroaches. If you want to make your home less roach-friendly, start by keeping your home (especially your kitchen) very clean.

The more potential roach food you eliminate, the fewer roaches will visit your home. Regular cleaning involves sweeping, vacuuming, and removing all traces of dust, debris, food and water. If you keep a compost bin in your kitchen, make sure you clean it regularly and empty it often, too. 

2. Dry Faucets

A leaky faucet is more than a household annoyance; it can also provide a steady supply of water to cockroaches. Roaches look for places to reside where they can have ready access to what they need to thrive, and water is one of those things. If you have a leaky pipe that you think is inviting roaches into your home, contact a plumbing professional in your area.

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3. Diatomaceous Earth

This option has been popular for decades because it’s so effective and environmentally friendly. Diatomaceous earth is actually teeny tiny phytoplankton reduced to little more than silica and grit. Sprinkle this stuff generously wherever you have seen roaches in your home and let it get to work.

The grit that makes up this stuff rubs off their skin, leaving them exceptionally sensitive exoskeletons. Even sunlight can kill a roach once its skin has been exposed to diatomaceous earth. This isn’t an instant fix, but can be effective. 

4. Roach-Repellent Foods

Roaches love food, but just like a picky toddler, there are some things they hate so much they just might stop frequenting your kitchen altogether. These foods include:

  • Citrus

  • Bay Leaves

  • Cucumber

  • Garlic

  • Catnip

Don’t just leave these foods on your counters. Instead, try making sachets out of muslin or cheesecloth. Fill them with bay leaves, garlic and catnip and hang them in your food cabinets and pantry.

While the aromas of these foods can drive roaches away before they ever get to your home, it likely won’t get rid of a large, existing roach problem.

5. Baking Soda

Baking soda is another popular way to kill roaches fast without breaking out those big chemicals. The way baking soda works on roaches is kind of macabre: simply leave a dish of baking soda out in an area where you have spotted multiple roaches. The roaches will eat the baking soda, ultimately leading to their demise.

6. Boric Acid

If you do enough reading online about how to get rid of cockroaches, you’ll find people singing the praises of Borax. What most of them don’t know is that they’re actually giving credit to the active ingredient of that popular soap—boric acid.

This is not an option to use if you have small kids or pets. While it is low toxicity, it is highly corrosive and not for ingestion. If a child eats boric acid you should immediately contact poison control.

To try this method yourself, simply combine one part boric acid and one part granulated sugar. Leave this mixture in an area where you’ve seen roaches. When they consume the solution, they die.

7. Soap

A spray bottle full of soapy water is a roach killer’s best friend. Simply spray on the roaches you see, and the solution will eliminate them. This only kills the roaches you manage to spray, which might be a fun game for a while, but won’t give you the long-term roach banishing power that you’re likely looking for if you’re combatting an infestation in your home.

FAQs About Natural Roach Treatments

How much diatomaceous earth/Boric acid should I sprinkle?

When it comes to how much of these powders you should be sprinkling, a little goes a long way. You want to make sure you don’t leave a large pile that the roaches can easily avoid. Small amounts of powder adhering to their bodies is what you’re looking for, and just a dab will usually do just fine.

Do essential oils get rid of cockroaches?

Some believe that essential oils like peppermint, may work the way that roach-repellent foods do: the roaches do not like the smell that the oil is producing and so they stay away. While essential oils can deter roaches from surfaces, they do not fight an infestation.

When do I call in a professional?

If you see any of these three signs, call in a pest control expert in your area. The first: lots of dead roaches. If you’re finding several corpses, that’s a sign it’s a bigger problem. Second, if you notice roach droppings, that’s another signal there are enough roaches to be living visible amounts of feces, and you may need help. The third sign that it’s time for a professional to get involved is a strange, musty smell in the home that indicates an infestation. The national average cost for hiring a pest exterminator is between $100 and $400.

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