Home Remedies To Get Rid of Cockroaches Naturally

Struggling with cockroach infestation and looking for natural remedies to get rid of cockroaches? Try these 10 cockroach prevention home remedies that are non-toxic and easy to make.

By Hannah S Mathew

Home Remedies To Get Rid of Cockroaches Naturally

Cockroaches are pests that are not only quick to take over the house but also very hard to kill. So, to get rid of cockroaches, professional exterminators use extremely strong chemicals. But, most of these store-bought cockroach remedies and preventive products are hazardous to our health and expensive. As a result, home remedies to get rid of cockroaches are much sought after by everyone.

"Cockroaches are among the most common pests infesting homes, apartments, food processing units and storage facilities. Since cockroaches flourish in areas where food, moisture and shelter are readily available, good sanitation is an important step in preventing and controlling them. Habits like removing food waste, not leaving unwashed dishes or utensils overnight, and good storage practices go a long way in preventing cockroach infestations." — Zakir Hussain, General Manager - Technical Training, at Rentokil PCI.

There are many cockroach killer home remedies. You can easily prepare them at home to kill these disease-carriers that are responsible for causing infections, food-poisoning, allergy, and respiratory problems. Let’s look at a few.

Cockroach removal home remedies

1. Peanut butter trap

This natural remedy for cockroaches is a trap that is easy to make. You’ll have to kill the cockroaches later, though.

What you need

  • Long glass jar – 1
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Peanut butter – 3 tablespoons

Preparation tips

  • Put the peanut butter at the bottom of the jar.
  • Apply a generous amount of petroleum jelly on the inner wall of the jar.
  • The smell of the peanut butter will lure the cockroaches into the jar. However, once inside the jar, they wouldn’t be able to climb the slippery wall and get out.

You can place this trap in any part of your house.

2. Silica aerogel

If you’re looking for ways to kill cockroaches naturally, this home remedy works the best because of the high levels of humidity in our country. The cockroaches come to eat the sugar and swallow the silica aerogel involuntarily. Once swallowed, the silica aerogel quickly absorbs moisture from the cockroach’s body and kills it.

What you need

  • Silica aerogel – 3 tablespoons
  • Sugar – 1 tablespoon

Preparation tips

  • Mix the ingredients and sprinkle them in areas of cockroach infestation.

As a precaution, place this mixture only in places where children and pets cannot reach, as it is poisonous.

3. Garlic in cups

This is one smelly but reliable natural cockroach deterrent. However, it’s also cost-effective and easy to get in place.

What you need

  • Paper cups
  • Garlic-pods (crushed in their peels)

Preparation tips

  • Put a spoonful of the crushed garlic in each paper cup.
  • Place the cups where you often see cockroaches roaming. However, the smell of garlic can be overpowering. So, you may use these only in the kitchen, storage area or the garden.

4. Cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate)

If you’re looking for a remedy to repel cockroaches naturally, that is non-messy and smell-free, look no further than among your baking ingredients. The cream of tartar repels cockroaches.

What you need

  • Chilli powder (optional)
  • White cement (optional)
  • Water

Preparation tips

  • Mix cream of tartar and water to make a paste. You can also mix water and cream of tartar and chilli powder, or cream of tartar, chilli powder and white cement.
  • Fill this paste into cracks and gaps where cockroaches creep out from and go to hide in.

5. Coffee grounds

This cockroach control home remedy is the best because it also doubles as a deodoriser! Plus, you’ll be using something that you’d otherwise throw away. The cleansing quality of the smell of coffee will keep cockroaches at bay.

What you need

  • Paper cups
  • Used coffee grounds

Preparation tips

  • Put the coffee grounds in the paper cups.
  • Place the cups in the corners of rooms, cupboards, lofts and storage areas. You can use this cockroach repellent anywhere in the house.

6. Catnip and mint

Potted plants are among the many home remedies to get rid of cockroaches. The fragrance of catnip (karpooravalli) and mint (pudina) are known to naturally repel cockroaches. Plus, the fragrances also help purify the air.

What you need

  • Small potted catnip and mint plants to keep indoors
  • Larger plants for outdoor areas; you can either plant them in the garden or use potted plants

Preparation tips

  • There isn’t much preparation required for this remedy. Visit a nearby nursery and select the right size of pots and plants to suit your home and garden.
  • Be sure to place one in the kitchen. Place a few in your kitchen garden and near the doors and windows. The plants will also spice up your interior décor.
"To deal with cockroach infestation, it’s important to know the different types of cockroaches.
• Large cockroaches, known as American cockroaches, gain entry through open drain outlets or dislodged drain meshes, and then start breeding in dark damp areas where water is readily available.
• Small cockroaches, known as German cockroaches, make their way in through grocery items moved in corrugated cardboard cartons, egg trays, and LPG refills. They usually seek refuge in dark, damp places.
• Brown banded cockroaches tend to co-habit with the German cockroaches.
As a habit, German cockroaches hide in smaller gaps, cracks and crevices. Hence, targeting these areas will enhance the effectiveness of cockroach treatments. Targeted applications avert the risk of accidental exposure to non-targeted areas and infants or pets. The cracks,crevices and voids can be treated with residual insecticides or with a non-chemical material like desiccant dust (diatomaceous earth).
Cockroaches are best controlled by using a multidimensional approach. These include:
• Cockroach baits
• Mass trapping devices like Exoroach
• Cracks and crevice treatment with diatomaceous earth or a residual insecticide
• Vacuuming and super-heated steam
Engaging a professional to identify the cockroach species in your home and the source of infestation will help you decide the best management practice to be implemented."
— Zakir Hussain, General Manager - Technical Training, at Rentokil PCI.

7. Borax

Borax is an odourless cockroach-killer. This is a home remedy that is non-messy but is unsafe. So, it must be kept out of the reach of children and pets.

What you need

  • Borax – 3 tablespoons
  • Sugar – 1 tablespoon

Preparation tips

  • Mix the two ingredients together and sprinkle it around the house, preferably before going to bed at night. Sweep away the dead cockroaches and the sprinkled powder the next morning.

The mixture can be used anywhere in the house, as long as you use it carefully and sweep it away thoroughly.

8. Natural wardrobe sachets and potpourri

This time-tested home remedy to get rid of cockroaches will prevent cockroach infestation. It also serves to freshen up the linen in your closets.

What you need

  • Dried lemon peels
  • Bay and kaffir leaves
  • Sachets, envelopes or paper cups

Preparation tips

  • Fill the sachets, envelopes or paper cups with the individual ingredients or a mixture of the same.
  • Place these in the far reaches of kitchen cabinets, cupboards, shelves and shoe racks. This remedy is nontoxic and the smell it gives off is very pleasant.

9. DIY sprays

Cockroach removal home remedies are never complete without DIY sprays. They can be sprayed directly on cockroaches to chase them away and even kill them.

What you need

  • You may use any one of these:

i) Soapy water – half cup

ii) Neem oil – 4 tablespoons

iii) Fabric softener – half cup

iv) Mouthwash – half cup

v) Essential oil (peppermint or lavender or eucalyptus or tea tree) – 30 drops

  • Water - half cup
  • Rubbing alcohol – 1 tablespoon

Preparation tips

  • Mix the ingredients and pour them into a spray bottle. Spray the solution on a cockroach or in places where they are usually found.

This natural cockroach control home remedy can be used anywhere in the house, at any time and any number of times.

10. Ammonia water

Use the ingredients mentioned below to flush the drains and get rid of cockroaches. Ammonia water has a strong smell and is poisonous. So, be careful when you use it.

What you need

  • Ammonia – 1 cup
  • Water – 1 cup

Preparation tips

  • Mix the ingredients and pour the solution down the kitchen and bathroom drain which are the main entry-points of cockroaches. The solution will deter cockroaches from taking refuge in the drain and moving into the house.
"Gel baits are effective in managing smaller cockroaches like the German and Brown banded cockroach. However, the larger ones, that is, American cockroaches, require a different approach. Cockroach baits, containing a slow-acting insecticide, combined with food lures applied in or near to the cockroach harbourage also give good results. However, the results start showing only after 7 to 10 days.
In order to get quick results and increase the effectiveness, one should keep the food preparation and dining areas free from food spills and smears.
The key to success with baits is proper placement. For example, bait placement sites for German cockroaches include under/around sinks and toilets, behind refrigerators, dishwashers and stoves, near trash containers, and inside cabinets and storage areas.
While dealing with a large population of cockroaches, more baits are needed along with periodic replenishment of baits consumed by the cockroaches. Do not spray insecticides around the baits, as this could discourage cockroaches from approaching them."
— Zakir Hussain, General Manager - Technical Training, at Rentokil PCI.

Of course, the best way to keep cockroaches out of your home is to keep your house clean. Dispose garbage properly, avoid accumulating trash for recycling, wash your dishes every night, remove dampness, keep food covered and clean the bathrooms regularly. In the odd case that cockroaches still manage to crawl in, use the above-mentioned home remedies for cockroach-free days ahead!

About the author:

The article was written by Hannah S Mathew and published on 22 August 2019. 

Hannah S Mathew is an Assistant Professor of English, a freelance writer, soft skills trainer, learning content developer, mentor, diagnostic counsellor and devoted mom to a teenager.

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