13 Ways to Kill Roaches Instantly

So, you saw a cockroach in your home, and you want it gone pronto!

I get it.

No one wants these pests walking around their house for another second.

The good news is there are plenty of practical ways you can kill roaches instantly.

And in this article, we’ll go over ten of the most effective of them all.

Are you ready?

Let’s dive in.

1. Cockroach Spray – Raid, Hot Shot, Bengal

Pesticide sprays, such as Raid,  Hot Shot, and Bengal are among the most popular household items used to kill cockroaches. 

That’s not surprising as these sprays are easy to buy, use, and store.

Plus, the results are instant.

One spray and the insects die immediately.

These sprays use a group of synthetic insecticides called pyrethroids, which causes the roaches’ nervous system to shut down.

It’s important to note that while these sprays are great at killing insects on the spot, they do not eliminate infestations.

They are also toxic to pets and humans.

They can be used on plants in moderation but excess amounts can kill or damage your plants. 

Raid and Hotshot contain pyrethroids, which are used in most insecticides.

This ingredient can have side effects such as extensive coughing, shortness of breath, and congestion.

Studies also suggest that high exposure to pyrethroid can increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

Other side effects include short-term headaches, allergies, and dizziness.

For all these reasons, you must take extra precautions when using it to kill roaches.

To be safe, wear a mask and gloves when spraying.

If you spray on a surface were kids or pets are active make sure to clean the area where you sprayed with soap and water.

Doing so will get rid of any remaining toxic chemicals.

Finally, open any doors and windows to ventilate the area properly.

If you are spraying into crevices or outside where you won’t be in contact with the spray there is no need to clean it. 

Most insecticide sprays have a residual effect, killing anything that walks over for 6 months after the initial treatment. 

The effectiveness of the residual effect depends on the cockroach species and tolerance. 

2. Natural Insecticide Sprays – Pyrethrin Based Products

If you want to use insecticide contact sprays but are worried about its side effect, I have good news.

There is a natural, organic alternative that is safe for both pets and humans.

The organic insecticide is made of the compound pyrethrum or Pyrethrin, found in some plants.

Similar to Pyrethroid, Pyrethrin kills roaches by targeting its nervous system.

The chemical causes instant paralysis and death.

Unlike Pyrethroid, Pyrethrin breaks down rapidly and does not persist in the environment.

This spray is also ideal for spraying directly on plants.

One of the most effective natural cockroach sprays is XLO Plus Pyrethrin spray

XLO spray is an industrial-strength Pyrethrin and is an excellent alternative to Raid and Hotshot.

Note that these sprays are only effective if you are spraying directly to the roaches.

Also, while it’s low on toxicity, Pyrethrin can cause allergy to some.

And while it is safe, avoid directly inhaling the chemical as it can cause minor irritation.

To be sure, wear a mask before spraying,

Also, be sure to look at the ingredients before purchasing a Pyrethrin based spray.

Sometimes, manufactures will sneak in other synthetic pesticides to increase their efficiency.

If you can’t find premade pressurize sprays in your local store, consider making your own using a pyrethrin concentrate.

I recommend the Evergreen Concentrate

To do this, mix 3 to 5 Tbsp of pyrethrin concentrate per 1 gallon of water.

Transfer the mixture into a spray bottle for use.

You can also enhance your homemade cockroach spray, adding 2 Tbsp of PBO or Piperonyl Butoxide for every gallon.

Some concentrates already have PBO added, but if not, you can add your own.

3. Fogger’s

Total release fogger (a.k.a “bug bombs”) allows you to target roaches in larger areas.

Unlike insecticide sprays, you do not need to be in direct contact with the roaches for this to be effective.

That said, foggers often will not work at eliminating an infestation.

It works best at terminating roaches that are spread out in large spaces.

Foggers are best used in places where people don’t frequently visit, such as outdoor sheds, garages, and attics.

I do not recommend using foggers in places where you eat and sleep as the toxic chemicals will settle into your belongings.

These chemicals will leave fabrics contaminated with dangerous chemicals that are difficult to clean.

When you release a fogger, close all the doors and windows.

Sealing the space will deliver the best results.

It’s also vital that you leave the room immediately.

To be safe, wear a protective mask, goggles, gloves, and long clothing.

Once the fogger goes off, stay out of the area for at least two hours (or follow instructions from the manufacturer).

After a few hours, open windows and doors for ventilation. I also recommend using a fan for better airflow.

Cleaning exposed areas with soap and water to remove toxic residue.

I recommend using a professional-grade fogger, especially if you have been using contact insecticide with no success.

Cockroaches can develop resistance to the pyrethroids with repeated exposure.

By opting for a professional-grade fogger, you can introduce more effective and powerful insecticides.

4. Sticky Traps

Another prevalent method of killing cockroaches fast is sticky traps.

Stick traps trap any cockroaches walking over it.

They usually come with a scent to attract cockroaches. But you can always add bait to the middle to draw more roaches in.

While the cockroaches will not die immediately with sticky traps, they won’t be able to get out.

As such, it’s a quick way to get rid of roaches.

That said, sticky traps are not effective method infestations.

For one, they cannot get cockroach eggs or nymphs.

It’s also possible that you’ll have too many roaches, and killing them with a trap is inefficient.

That said, sticky traps are a great first step to eliminating infestations.

These traps allow you to identify the severity of the infestation and the type of roaches you have.

Such information reveals exactly what treatment is best to eliminate your infestation.

Sticky traps are also great at eliminating outdoor pests such as wood roaches in your home.

Wood roaches can’t breed inside your home so that they won’t stay long.

If they get stuck, they will eventually die.

But if you want to get rid of them fast, using sticky traps will work well for you.

On the other hand, if you German cockroaches, it’s unlikely that sticky traps will help you.

German roaches can reproduce faster than sticky traps can kill.

There are two types of sticky traps you can use.

The first is the flat glue board, and the other is a foldable house.

Flat glue boards give you more surface area to catch cockroaches, but the roaches will be out in the open.

In contrast, foldable houses will keep the roaches out-of-sight.

However, they are harder to use and fit in certain areas.

5. Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth is a natural, non-toxic pesticide used to kill many insects, including cockroaches.

DE can eliminate 60% of roaches in your home within 24 hours, 80% within 48 hours, and at one week, 100% mortality rate.

This powder is effective at eliminating infestation because it allows for horizontal tranfers.

That is, when one roach gets in contact with DE, the powder remains on their body and gets transferred to other cockroaches.

Diatomaceous earth kills insects by destroying their exoskeletons.

The killing happens in two steps.

First, DE absorbs the oily and waxy outer cuticle layer found on a cockroaches exoskeleton.

Second, once the outer layer is destroyed, cockroaches lose water and die from dehydration.

Although to humans and pets, DE is just like any other powder, to insect, it has microscopic, razor-sharp edges.

Two things determine how effective DE is on insects.

Cockroaches must make contact with DE for it to work.

The DE must be dry for it to remain effective on cockroaches.

For best results clean the area before applying the DE.

Then give it a few minutes to dry.

If your attic, basement, or bathroom is too humid, use fans to minimize moisture before applying DE.

Place it in familiar hiding places to make sure roaches will come in contact with it.

You’ll also want to apply a thin layer of DE so the cockroaches will avoid it.

Another thing you could use with DE is a duster.

A duster will help you get DE into tiny holes, small crevices, and gaps on your walls.

How often you should reapply depends on how many roaches you’re dealing with.

In general, you’ll need to apply DE about once a week for a full month to achieve the best results.

Reapply DE outdoors if it rains or becomes too humid.

6. Gel Bait – Advion Gel Bait

Gel bait is one of the best ways to eliminate cockroach infestations.

This control method is highly effective because it implements tertiary kills.

Here’s what I mean.

When a cockroach ingests gel bait, they die within 24 hours.

But not before they return to their home and defecate.

Gel baits turn cockroach feces into poison.

And because juvenile roaches (nymphs) rely on feces to survive, the contaminated feces will kill them too.

The termination doesn’t end there.

Once the nymphs die, they pass on the poison to the other cockroaches that eat their bodies.

Gel bait takes one of two forms.

  1. Bait Stations
  2. Syringe or Tube

Bait stations are small stations where roaches can go and retrieve the gel bait.

While these traps are easy to move around, they don’t fit in many areas where roaches go.

For instance, bait stations do ‘t fit in small holes, crevices, and gaps on the walls.

To get around this, I recommend using tubes or syringes in conjunction with the bait station.

Syringes allow you to get into tiny cracks and holes where roaches frequent.

Great places for application for gel baits are on the top, bottom, and corner of your cabinets.

Your floorboards and under your appliances are ideal locations too.

The recommended amount is a pea-sized drop for every two feet.

Gel bait remains effective for two weeks, so reapply accordingly.

7. Onslaught Insecticide

Onslaught Insecticide is excellent at killing roaches without direct contact.

When sprayed on surfaces, it will kill any roach that gets in contact with those areas.

On average, the roaches will die within 24 hours.

But, in some cases, cockroaches can die within a few hours of coming into contact.

It is especially potent because it uses a technology called microencapsulation, which slowly releases the active ingredient.

As such, this insecticide can be effective for as long as 3-6 months.

Onslaught insecticides have toxic chemicals, so I recommend only using them outside.

Spray the insecticide on holes, crevices, and voids on your wall.

You’ll also want to mix the formulation with water and use a pressurized hand sprayer for application.

I recommend adding 1.0 fl. Oz for every gallon of water.

Although, you may want to increase to 1.5 fl oz of insecticide if you have heavy infestations.

Remember to shake the container of Onslaught Insecticide before diluting with water.

Finally, shake the spray thoroughly before and while spraying to ensure proper dispersion.

8. Roach motels

Roach motels work as a trap.

It attracts cockroaches with bait and traps them once they enter the door.

Roach motels are similar to sticky traps, but they are more sanitary.

You can also choose between disposable and reusable traps.

Disposable roach motels are high because you don’t have to worry about dealing or even seeing the roach inside the trap.

But, reusable traps are great if you have a significant infestation and do not want to go through countless traps.

Another benefit of reusable roach motels is that you can vary the type of bait you want to use.

If you feel that cockroaches are no longer attracted to a specific food or smell, you can switch it up.

I recommend you place at least two roach motels high traffic locations such as under your bathroom and kitchen sink.

Note that although roach motels are great at catching roaches, they are not excellent at eliminating an infestation.

If you want to rid of all the roaches in your home, I recommend using roach motels in conjunction with other extermination methods.

Some great options to use are Gel bait, borax, and Diatomaceous Earth.

9. Liquid Bleach

Liquid bleach is not just an effective cleaning product.

They are also an excellent solution for killing roaches instantly. 

Here’s how:

  1. Mix two parts bleach to 1 part water into a spray bottle. 
  2. Spray this directly on cockroaches to suffocate them.
  3. Spray the formula on the floor where cockroaches frequent. Keep in mind, this will only work when it is still wet when they walk on it. 

When using bleach, I do not recommend mixing it with other cleaning chemicals.

It will not make the solution any more potent. 

Not only that, but it can also make it more dangerous for you. 

Combining certain chemicals with bleach can release dangerous fumes. 

For example, combining bleach and pine sol can release chlorine gas, which is toxic.

When working with bleach, stay safe by wear gloves and a mask. 

10. Baking Soda

Baking soda will kill roaches between 24 or 48 hours of ingestion.

When ingested, the baking soda destroys the roaches digestive system.

But because roaches don’t have a gastrointestinal system to release the gas from the baking soda, they die.

There are two ways you can use baking soda to kill cockroaches.

The first is with sugar and baking soda.

The sugar will attract cockroaches while the baking soda will kill them.

Mix equal parts of sugar and baking soda and transfer it in a small dish or bottle caps.

Then, place the dish in common hiding spots such as under cabinets and appliances.

The other way is by mixing equal parts of baking soda, flour, and sugar in a bowl.

This makes a putty and is more convenient to target small areas such as small crevices and holes.

To begin, add equal parts of baking soda, flour, and sugar in a bowl.

Then add a few drops of water and mix.

Add more flour or water until you reach a doughy consistency.

Aim for a mixture that quickly falls apart to make it easy for the cockroach to eat it.

Tear the putty apart and place them in cracks and crevices, or any high traffic areas.

11. Cockroach Predators

Humans have used biological pest control for over a century.

Biological pest control is a method of controlling pests using other organisms.

And when it comes to killing roaches, you can undoubtedly rely on a list of predators.

A common pest you can use to combat roaches is the house centipede.

The house centipede is safe for humans and pets yet effective at getting rid of many unwanted pests in your homes such as spiders and cockroaches.

They are fast, deadly, and small making them perfect devices to eliminate pests.

My favorite roach predator to use is the Huntsman spider.

While these spiders look scary, they are harmless to humans.

Huntsman spiders prey on all sorts of insects, but they especially love roaches.

If you can get past their scray nature, they’re certainly your ideal weapon to kill roaches instantly.

Another good organism to use for biological pest control is parasitic nematodes.

Some infect humans and animals, while others infect insects, including roaches.

Nematodes are an effective solution for controlling cockroaches. 

Insect-eating nematodes don’t pose any danger to humans or pets. 

But they are deadly to roaches.

Nematodes enter insects through the openings in their bodies. For cockroaches, this is often through the spiracles.

Once inside, they release a deadly bacteria that kills the roach within 48 hours.  

One study showed that placing nematodes in bait could deliver a ninety percent mortality rate in German and American cockroaches. 

This result and the fact that they are harmless to humans and pets make nematodes one of the best biological pest controls for roaches. 

For more ideas on this topic, check out our article: 16 Animals That Eat Cockroaches.

12. Boric Acid

Borax is one of the best ways to kill roaches.

It is easy to use, inexpensive, has low toxicity to humans, and effective at killing bugs.

Borax is deadly to roaches when consumed.

While roaches will not eat borax on purpose, they do it by accident.

There are two techniques you can use when applying borax to kill roaches.

The first technique is to spread a thin layer of borax where roaches live and travel.

Roaches regularly groom themselves by running their antennae through their mouths and eyes.

So while the immediate contact with borax will not kill them, they will eventually consume the boric acid that gets on them.

Studies show that at 2 grams per meter, squared roaches have a 30% mortality rate within 24 hours and a mortality rate of 100% after 15 days.

The second technique is to mix borax with food.

Here are a few recipes you can try:

  1. Egg yolks – Boil four eggs and remove the eggs yolks. Then add ½ cup of boric acid and ½ cup of sugar and mix until you reach playdough like consistency. If necessary, add more sugar to achieve the desired consistency.
  2. Peanut Butter – Mix 1 teaspoon of peanut butter for every two tablespoons of borax.
  3. Cocoa Powder and Flour – Mix 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, one tablespoon boric acid, and 2 tablespoons white flour. Add a few drops of water until consistency reaches a dough-like texture.

13. Smash It!

One of the fastest and cheapest ways to kill a roach is to smash it.

If you are only dealing with one roach and want to get rid of it immediately, you can follow your instincts and smash it with your shoe.

Talk about instant!

That said, this method is messy and quite gross.

Cockroaches are full of disease-causing bacteria.

You don’t want to walk around with a shoe you used to smash a roach without cleaning it thoroughly.

And you’ll also want to clean the area where you smashed it very well.


There you have it, ten different ways you can terminate cockroaches instantly.

You’re now armed with all the information you need to get rid of these pests fast.

All you have to do is follow the steps above, and you’ll soon get your home back from these critters.


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