7 Natural Ways To Kill Cockroaches

Are you looking for ways to kill cockroaches without dealing with toxic chemicals?

Good news.

There are plenty of accessible, natural home remedies you can use.

And yes, they’re effective.

Natural ingredients may sound harmless, but many are fatal to cockroaches.

Here are some of the best all-natural substances you can use to get rid of cockroaches for good.

1. Borax

Borax has been a household item for a little over a century.

It’s an all-natural ingredient used in many household products, such as laundry detergent and multi-purpose cleaning solutions.

But borax can do more than just clean your house.

It’s also effective at killing roaches!

But there’s a catch.

Borax can’t kill roaches only by contact; they need to ingest it.

So how do we make them eat borax?

There’s a couple of ways you can do this.

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

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

That’s not because roaches have an appetite for borax. But because roaches continuously groom themselves.

Roaches clean themselves by running their legs and antennae through their mouths.

Grooming helps them remove buildup so they can smell food, find mates, and sense danger.

The good thing about killing cockroaches this way is that it effectively spreads the poison to the rest of the population.

Cockroaches don’t groom themselves until they are in the harborage area, which works well to your advantage.

Another way to kill cockroaches with borax is to use it as a bait.

These critters are not attracted to borax.

You can get around this by combining boric acid 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 together until you reach a playdough like consistency. If necessary, add more sugar to reach the desired consistency.
  2. Peanut Butter – Mix together 1 teaspoon of peanut butter for every 2 tablespoons of borax.
  3. Cocoa Powder and Flour – Mix together 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon boric acid, and 2 tablespoon white flour. Add a few drops of water until consistency reaches a dough like texture.

Once you have your mixture break them off into small balls,  place and them in small bowls or baggies.

Next, hide the bait in high traffic areas such as under the sink, cupboards, cabinets.

Apply larger sized balls in high traffic areas or small pea sized balls in crevices. 


While borax is all-natural, it is NOT safe for you, your children, or your pets to ingest.

Make sure to place the bait where your kids and pets can’t get to them

2. Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring sedimentary rock.

It consists of fossilized remains from small, aquatic organisms called diatoms.

Diatoms consist of a natural substance called silica.

While diatomaceous earth is safe for you and your pets, it kills insects by destroying their exoskeletons.

You can rub them on your pet to fight fleas, ticks, and lice.

More importantly, it is very effective at eliminating cockroaches.

Diatomaceous earth kills insects by destroying their exoskeletons.

This process happens in three steps.

First, the cockroach needs to have contact with DE.

Once DE gets on the roach’s exoskeleton, it absorbs the oily and waxy outer cuticle.

This process destroys the exoskeleton.

Finally, the roach loses water and dies from dehydration.

Here is how you can use Diatomaceous Earth to kill roaches.

Identify High Traffic Areas

Determine where high-traffic areas and common hiding places for roaches.

Ideal places to target include under, on the side, and behind refrigerators and stoves.

If it’s not too humid, spread some under your bathroom sink and closets.


Clean the area.

Removing any oil and water is essential for DE to be effective.

Make sure to give the surface a few minutes to dry.

This step is essential as DE needs to be dry to be effective.

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

Apply DE To Large Areas

Apply a thin layer of DE so that it’s barely visible to the human eye.

If the layer of DE is too thick, cockroaches will avoid it.

Apply DE To Crevices

Using a duster bottle, apply DE to hard to reach areas such as crevices and cracks.

Some places to target are wall voids, crevices between cabinets, and under floorboards.

You’ll also want to apply a thin layer inside outlets and gaps around wiring.

When spraying DE, remember to wear a mask and goggles to avoid irritation.

Apply DE Outside

A great place to start is around your home.

Identify any possible entry points and apply DE inside.

This way, even if cockroaches make it past DE, they won’t make it very far once they are inside.

Next place DE on your garden soil, lawn, shrubs, flower paths, and around trees.

Do not worry, DE won’t damage your landscaping!

But remember, DE is only effective when it’s dry. So only do this treatment on dry days.

Repeat The Process

How often you should reapply depends on how bad your infestation is.

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.


Food-grade diatomaceous earth is safe for humans to consume.

They can pass through your digestive system unchanged and does not enter the bloodstream.

That said, be careful not to inhale DE.

Just like any dust, inhaling DE dust can irritate your lungs.

But the silica found in DE makes it especially harmful.

Also, make sure your pets don’t ingest DE.

Ingesting DE can cause minor irritation to the respiratory tract for pets.

If ingested in large amounts once or gradually, DE can cause more severe problems.

It’s best to store DE in a secure location away from pets and children.

For more information on DE, check out our article: The Complete Guide for Using Diatomaceous Earth on Cockroaches. 

3. Essential oils

Orange Essential Oil

Essential oils are popular as roach repellents.

But, certain essential oils are also effective at killing these critters.

The most effective ones are:

  1. Orange Oil
  2. Oregano Oil
  3. Rosemary Oil
  4. Peppermint Oil

Besides the ones on this list, many other oils can also kill cockroaches.

But, the ones I mentioned are proven to be the most effective.

You can kill cockroaches with essential oils in two ways.

One way is by spraying a thin layer in areas where the roaches live and travel.

To do this, mix 3 ounces essential oil, 20 ounces water, and two tablespoons of detergent in a spray bottle.

If you do not have any pets or kids, you can increase the concentration of essential oil. 

The higher the concentration, the more effective the formula.

Don’t spay too much. Only apply enough to allow cockroaches to crawl through the mixture and get as much oil on them as possible.

When the cockroaches come in contact with or inhale the mixture, they will suffocate.

Another way you can use essential oils is by dropping essential oil on cotton balls.

The vapor will act as a fumigant and kill the cockroaches.

Place these cotton balls in high traffic areas and familiar hiding places.

Reapply these treatments every few days so that the oil remains fresh and vapors contents in the air remain high.

4. Sugar and Baking Soda

Baking soda is another natural substance you can use to kill insects.

And, when it comes to cockroaches, they’re quite deadly.

When ingested, the baking soda destroys the roaches digestive system, which causes them to die.

That’s because roaches don’t have a gastrointestinal system to release the gas from the baking soda.

After ingestion, roaches will die between 24 or 48 hours.

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

The first is to mix equal parts of sugar and baking soda.

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

Place the mixture in a small dish or bottle caps.

Then, put the mixture in common hiding spots such as under cabinets and appliances.

The other way you can use baking soda is by making a small putty.

This method is more convenient if you want to target 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.

Take care not to make the dough too hard. Aim for a mixture that quickly falls apart.

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

5. Detergents

Laundry detergent and fabric softner are a great alternative to conventional household insect spray with toxic chemicals.

Unlike conventional insect sprays, detergents smell fresh in your home.

Plus, it’s easy to remove after you have sprayed it.

Liquid detergent and fabric softener kills roaches by suffocating them when they get into direct contact.

In a study, most roaches were unresponsive after only 7 minutes of coming in contact with the cockroaches.

Likewise, hundreds of these cockroaches were dead after 72 hours of coming in contact with the mixture.

To use these two non-toxic ingredients, combine three parts detergent or softener and two parts water.

Remember, for this method to be effective, the cockroach must come in direct contact with the solution.

Spray the solution in common roach hiding places such as crevice or under appliances, the solution will remain effective until it dries. 

For the best results, spray the solution directly on cockroaches. 

6. Traps

Cockroaches crawl into a trap with bait. Cockroaches fell into a sticky trap.

Another way you can kill cockroaches naturally is by using traps.

One of the most common ways of traps is using sticky traps.

Place these in high traffic areas, and any cockroaches that walk over it will get stuck and die.

For best results, use traps with a scent to attract cockroaches.

Otherwise, you can add sugar or even peanut butter to the sticky trap to attract cockroaches.

Remember to check these daily and throw them away.

Also, consider changing the location of the sticky traps to prevent any roaches from avoiding particular spots.

For example, if you place in on the right side under your stove one day, switch the next day by placing in on the left side.

Roaches will eventually begin to recognize the danger and avoid sticky traps.

Moving sticky traps will keep them as effective as possible.

You can also make a homemade trap with a small jar.

Place 1/3 cup of beer, a small piece of bread, and 1 tbsp of dish soap in the jar.

Line the interior lid of the jar with petroleum jelly so that roaches can’t crawl out.

Roaches are attracted to the beer and bread, and once they fall in, they will drown and die.

I recommend the sticky traps due to their ease of use and flexibility in positioning, but if you are looking to make traps with items in your house, the jar with petroleum jelly is a great option.

7. IGRs – Insect Growth Regulator

Insect growth regulators are a great substance to use to get rid of roaches.

IGR’s does not technically “kill” roaches.

What it does is block the roaches’ ability to turn into an adult and prevent them from being physically able to reproduce.

If immature roaches are unable to molt into reproductive adults, the population will eventually die out.

IGR’s also affect adult cockroaches by blocking the development of viable eggs.

For these reasons, some call IGR’s “birth control” for roaches.

While IGR’s are slow to take effect, it’s excellent at stopping and terminating the infestations.

For easy in-home use, use IGR packets rather than sprays.

Break the pack to activate the hormone and place them where roaches live and travel.

In most cases, 1 IGR packet is enough to treat 50-75 square feet, so apply them accordingly.

It is important to note that IGR’s take time to take work. Don’t expect your infestation to shrink overnight.

It takes over 1-2 months for nymphs to molt and grow, so consider applying this method for around 7-8 months.

Most IGR applications last between three months, so you will only need to reapply a 2-3 times before you eliminate your infestation.

Do not skip on replacing the packets to prevent stragglers from repopulating.


Now you have all the information you need to tackle roaches naturally.

Soon you’ll have a home free of these critters.

All you have to do is apply the methods above diligently. 

Now get your house back from those darn roaches!

I am rooting for you.

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