Pest Resources

Does Bleach Kill Cockroaches?

Dealing with a household Cockroach infestation is no easy task. If you’ve been looking for a solution to this common household pest, chances are someone you know has suggested bleach will kill roaches.

But does bleach kill cockroaches? Or is this just a myth? And if bleach kills roaches, how do you use bleach to kill cockroaches to make sure it’s as effective as can be?

After all, the chemical composition of bleach is highly toxic, and bleach requires careful handling; using household bleach incorrectly or too much bleach could result in severe consequences to your health. 

Let’s get started!

What Is Bleach?

Chlorine Bleach is a highly potent chemical compound made of chlorine, water, and caustic soda. It is used for removing stains (i.e., bleaching) and killing bacteria.

Bleach is an everyday household staple and can usually be found in liquid form.

Chlorinated lime appears as a white powder and has disinfecting and antiseptic properties.

Sodium hypochlorite is a dilute solution in water with bleaching and disinfectant properties; it has a yellow-green color. Sodium hypochlorite is used to clean wounds and has a strong smell of bleach.

Chlorine Bleach has a potent smell

When you use bleach to kill roaches, remember a bleach solution has a strong, pungent smell. It is an effective repellent for deterring roaches.

What is bleach used for?

Most people use bleach to remove stains on clothes and furniture, but this chemical compound also has to disinfect properties. Some other common uses of bleach include: 

  • Helping flowers last longer. Adding a little bit of bleach to the water in the vase will prolong the life of fresh-cut flowers and keep the vase clean. Bonus tip: this also works for Christmas trees!

  • Cleaning agent for tile grout. Nobody likes thick, black lines of dirt and grime between their tiles. Luckily, a little bit of bleach will get rid of that issue.

  • Mold removal. Bleach can also remove mold build-up in the corners of your kitchen and bathroom. This will also lower the chances of pest infestation.

  • Cleaning toys. Plastic toys such as Lego can find their way to the dirtiest, dustiest corners of our homes. Ensure your kids are playing with clean toys by disinfecting them with diluted bleach (make sure to rinse them off thoroughly to avoid poisoning!) Do not leave bleach near children and pets.

  • Killing weeds. If you have a garden, you know all too well how persistent unwanted weeds can be. A quick and fool-proof solution is to kill them with bleach. This also works for moss and algae on your outside walls.

  • Cleaning floors. To sanitize floors, add some bleach to the water.

  • Sanitizing pools. Bleach is used to disinfect swimming pools.

Where Can I Buy Bleach to get rid of cockroaches?

If you’ve ever been to a grocery store (which, we’re assuming, you have), chances are you’ve seen bottles of Clorox bleach in the laundry aisle.

There are, of course, many other brands of liquid bleach, but Clorox bleach is the most common bleach, and it can be found in larger grocery stores, supermarkets, or home improvement stores.

How does Chlorine Bleach Kill Cockroaches?

We’ve established that using bleach is great for whitening and disinfecting things. But how effective is it to kill roaches?

In general, bleach can kill cockroaches if they ingest it or drown in bleach. However, making either of those things happen can be quite difficult. 

Household Bleach is not a viable long-term solution to a roach infestation. However, if you can’t get your hands on any pesticides, you can still use bleach for killing roaches short term.

Does bleach kill cockroach eggs?

Yes, Chlorine bleach will kill roach eggs. You will need to find the nest to kill cockroach eggs. It is better to apply a pesticide cockroach killer to the cockroach nests as the nest might scatter if you spray them when using bleach.

Killing Cockroaches with bleach in the shower drain

Water in the drain will attract cockroaches. Using Bleach can kill cockroaches in the drain. If you notice cockroaches in the shower drain, pour bleach into the drain to get rid of roaches.

How to use Bleach to Kill roaches?

Although bleach can kill cockroaches, 100% if the cockroaches ingest bleach, getting cockroaches actually to eat the bleach is basically impossible.

Sure, you can pour bleach over pieces of food that you’ll leave around your home, but the strong smell of bleach will alert the pest that it’s a bleach solution, and something is not right. 

A much better option is spraying cockroaches with bleach if you only have a few roaches to kill. Mix bleach with water, pour the bleach mixture into a spray bottle, and spray the bleach mixture around the areas where you suspect cockroaches might be hiding.

Mixing bleach with water won’t kill bugs on contact this way. However, the strong smell of bleach acts as a repellant, and the roaches avoid it and stay hidden rather than venture out of their hiding spot.

There are a few things to keep in mind if you decide to do this. First, never let the mixture sit in the spray bottle for more than a couple of days – the bleach might damage the bottle and even leak out. Secondly, spraying bleach in your home can damage your floors, walls, and furniture.

Thirdly, the strong smell of bleach can be pretty unpleasant, especially for dogs and cats, whose sense of smell is much sharper than ours. And lastly, bleach is highly toxic. At the same time, you know that your pets and children don’t.

Using bleach in your home always comes with the risk of a pet or a child accidentally getting poisoned. If you decide to use bleach after all, keep a close eye on them.

Using bleach safely. Never mix bleach with other chemicals, as it can produce chlorine gas. Chlorine gas can lead to death.

Bleach Alternatives for Killing Cockroaches

Luckily, there are many alternatives to bleach, both more effective and safer for you and your family, that you can use to kill the cockroaches in the home.

Figuring out how to kill cockroaches in your home might be difficult, but it’s not impossible. There are many effective methods without chemical fumes, including home remedies and store-bought solutions, that you can choose to deal with a cockroach problem.

Here’s what they are:

Natural Ways to Kill Cockroaches

There are many things you probably have in your home that can be used to kill cockroaches effectively. These include:

  • BoraxBorax is effective in killing cockroaches when ingested, and it doesn’t have the repelling smell that bleach does. Simply sprinkle some powdered borax on a piece of food or mix it with sugar, and set up this roach killer traps around your home. 

  • Boric acid. Boric acid is also effective in killing cockroaches, and it works similarly to borax. Sprinkle it around or on pieces of food and wait for the trap to work its magic. Keep in mind, however, that neither borax nor boric acid work immediately – the cockroaches will have enough time to return to their hiding spot and likely die there.

  • Baking soda. When a cockroach ingests baking soda, it causes gases to accumulate in the bug’s stomach. This eventually makes the roach explode. Just like the previous two methods, this one takes some time to work, too.

  • Diatomaceous earth. DE is a substance that has dehydrating effects. When pests come in contact with it, it absorbs the waxy layer off their exoskeletons, which causes a slow death to the bug.

  • Essential oils. Essential oils won’t kill cockroaches. However, certain scents, such as citrus and peppermint, act to repel roaches. This, however, is not a permanent solution.

Store-Bought Cockroach Traps and Baits

Sometimes, home remedies simply won’t be enough to get rid of cockroaches in your home. If that is the case, you may need to resort to store-bought solutions. Please follow the manufactures safety precautions. Some of your options will include:

Roach Traps

Cockroach traps usually use scents to attract the roaches and a sticky substance to prevent them from going back to their dens. If you go for this option, make sure to check and replace the traps regularly.


Store-bought cockroach bait works similarly to borax-based homemade bait. Usually, some form of pesticide is hidden within an organic substance that cockroaches are likely to eat. Once they die, other cockroaches will eat its body, get poisoned themselves, and die also.


What kills roaches instantly? Pesticide sprays such as Raid kill roaches when sprayed directly on them. Some higher-quality products also remain effective on surfaces for an extended period of time – usually a couple of weeks.

However, much like bleach, pesticides are highly toxic and could negatively affect your health, as well as the health of your kids and pets.

Cockroach Bombs

Roach bombs are known as a very effective tool for fighting pest infestations. But that might be an undeserved reputation.

They work by spraying toxic chemicals into the air, which then slowly fall to the ground and kill any roaches and other bugs on contact.

However, besides not being as effective as people seem to think they are, bug bombs are also very inconvenient, as they require you to vacate your home for a while.

What’s more, they are highly toxic, not just to bugs but to humans and other mammals, too, so they could endanger the health of all household members.

Should I Call Cockroach Exterminators?

When nothing seems to be killing cockroaches – not using bleach, not natural or store-bought solutions – there is still an option to go for. And it’s probably the best one. Calling professional exterminators will rid you of cockroaches.

Not sure whether the bug you’re dealing with is cockroaches? – professionals will be able to tell and use appropriate treatment methods.

Sure, hiring exterminators might cost more than buying a bottle of bleach, but it will pay off in the long run. This is because cockroach extermination experts won’t just get rid of the problem temporarily; they will also teach you all the tips to ensure not one roach will return.

How to prevent roaches

In general, if you want to avoid these filthy insects in your home, make sure to do the following:

  • Clean your home regularly

  • Remove trash every day

  • Don’t leave leftover food or food debris, even bread crumbs, out on surfaces.

  • Clean up the dining area after meals.

  • Avoid eating in the bedroom.

  • Deal with excess moisture in your home.

  • Seal any crevices and other potential entry points to prevent cockroaches.

After all, it only takes one or two roaches to start a cockroach infestation!

Summary of Does bleach kill roaches?

Will bleach kill roaches? Remember, killing cockroaches with bleach is difficult after all, it is a cleaning agent! They are resilient creatures. Try other cockroach-killer methods for a roach problem.

Like most other pests, cockroaches come into our homes for food, water, and shelter, so as long as cockroaches can’t find any of them in your household, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

Good luck!

Ronald has 25 years of pest control experience under his belt. He scrutinizes each pest control method, product and process. Each pest resource we list on our website goes through an in-depth fact checking process.

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