A cockroach problem isn’t an abnormal occurrence. These speedy pests thrive in human conditions and are notoriously hard to catch – so it is important to know how to get rid of cockroaches for good.
If you find yourself battling this pest, it can be easy to call on a professional immediately. However, just as when you’re getting rid of fruit flies, the best cockroach deterrents may be hiding in your kitchen cabinet.
According to pest control experts, you can get rid of cockroaches with five natural remedies – many of which are already pantry staples. From coffee grounds to dish detergent, these cockroach repellents can help get rid of cockroaches naturally, and permanently. Of course, prevention is better than cure, and we have included ways to discourage cockroaches from entering your home in the first place, too.
How to get rid of cockroaches naturally – 5 expert-approved methods
According to certified entomologist and technical director at Braman Termite & Pest Elimination (opens in new tab) Natasha Wright, the fight against cockroaches doesn’t need to involve harsh chemicals and toxins. Here are five organic methods that you can try.
1. Sugar and borax
‘Borax is effective for roach infestations because it will slowly dry the exoskeleton of the insects, affect their digestive system and finally kill them,’ Natasha says.
The entomologist recommends mixing borax and sugar in a 3:1 ratio before spreading the homemade detergent in the spots where you have noticed them.
2. Peppermint oil
Peppermint oil is one of the most celebrated pest control deterrents on the market, so it is unsurprising that this remedy is effective in curing a cockroach infestation, too.
‘A peppermint oil spray can deter roaches in a non-toxic way and is safe to use around children,’ Natasha says. The expert suggests mixing 15 drops of peppermint oil with 10 ounces of water before spraying the formula around infested areas.
3. Dish detergent
If you know how to clean an area rug or remove coffee stains from your favorite fabric, you may already know about the power of dish detergent. However, it has its place in your battle against cockroaches too.
‘A mixture of water and soap can suffocate and kill cockroaches and is especially effective against German roaches. Mix four tablespoons of dish detergent in a liter of water and spray it where you’ve noticed activity,’ the entomologist says.
4. Coffee grounds
Did you know you can use coffee grounds to clean furniture? And that coffee grounds are good for plants? Well, you can also use some residue from your coffee maker to deter these pests – but not in the way you might initially expect. Cockroaches are attracted to the aroma of ground coffee – meaning it can create the perfect trap.
‘Put the grounds in small paper cups and place those cups in water-filled jars, then place the jar against walls or baseboards where you’ve seen bugs,’ she instructs. The scent will lure the pests into the trap where they are unable to escape, so you can dispose of the contents the following day.
5. Lemon juice
‘Lemon juice provides a sweet-smelling elimination option, as lemons possess natural anti-pathogenic properties that keep roaches away,’ Natasha says. Sharing her cleaning tips, the expert recommends adding two to three tablespoons of lemon juice with a few gallons of water in a bucket before mixing and washing the problem areas with a mop in the solution.
Now you know how to get rid of cockroaches (the natural way), only one question remains – which solution with you begin with?
How to get rid of cockroaches permanently?
The best way to get rid of cockroaches permanently is to remove whatever it is that's attracting them in the first place. These require little more than good housekeeping and kitchen cleaning:
- Empty the garbage regularly or keep it sealed. Cockroaches really aren't fussy about what they eat and there's no nastier surprise then lifting the lid on the garbage to find them rooting about in it.
- Don't leave dishes in the sink: roaches are always on the hunt for food and this is just as attractive to them as food left out on countertops (which needs to be put away in sealed containers, too).
- Don't leave uneaten pet food out. It attracts rodents, too.
- Vacuum the floors after meals. It's a pain, to be sure, but if you have a cockroach problem, even the crumbs from the floor of a meal you've just eaten or cooked is enough to keep them fed, just as with mice.
- Deprive them of water. Remember that sink full of water? Dripping bathroom faucets? Bowls of pet water? They're all great sources of water for thirsty cockroaches, too.
What is the best home remedy to get rid of roaches?
The best home remedy to get rid of roaches is boric acid. To create the boric mix, combine it in equal amounts with flour and sugar to make 'dough balls', each around an inch across. Put the dough balls where you've seen the cockroaches; they will feed on them and be killed. It is really important to ensure that pets and children do not have access to the dough balls.
Megan is the News and Trends Editor at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes. As the News Editor, she often focuses on emerging microtrends, sleep and wellbeing stories, and celebrity-focused pieces. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.
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