Pest Resources

How to Get Rid of Cockroaches?

No matter where you live, knowing how to get rid of cockroaches seems to be a skill we all have to master. You have probably heard the theory that for every cockroach you see in your home, there are a hundred of them you don’t see. While we could argue that the situation is not that dramatic, the fact remains that cockroaches are some of the most difficult pests to get rid of. So let’s see how you can do it.  

What Causes Cockroaches

Before we jump into all the methods and techniques for getting rid of cockroaches in your home, it’s important to know what attracted them in the first place. After all, prevention is the best medicine, and knowing what causes roach infestations could help you avoid having to deal with them repeatedly. 

Just like pretty much any other pest, cockroaches come to your home in search of food, water, and shelter. In general, these things increase the odds of a cockroach infestation:

  • Leftover food stored outside of the fridge,
  • Dirty dishes in the sink (especially if left there for a while),
  • Garbage that isn’t thrown out regularly,
  • Pet food and litter,
  • Excess moisture (especially from water leaks in hard-to-reach places),
  • Crumbs and other leftover food from a meal on the table and floor.

How to Get Rid of Cockroaches Naturally

There are probably more ways to get rid of cockroaches than you’d ever imagine, and all of them have certain advantages and disadvantages. One of the biggest concerns among people looking for ways to kill cockroaches is ensuring that the products used aren’t dangerous to their pets or other household members. With that in mind, let us first tackle some natural solutions for killing cockroaches (or simply getting rid of them).

Two American Cockroaches

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Boric Acid

Boric acid is a naturally occurring acid and one of the most effective home remedies for cockroach infestations. What’s even more important – it is completely harmless to pets and humans (although you should still ensure they don’t play with it or ingest it). You should be able to find it at your local grocery store.

Sprinkle some boric acid on a piece of cardboard or a paper plate. In the middle, put fruit or peanut butter to attract the roaches. You can also mix the acid with flour and sugar to make a dough and shape it into little balls. Put the cardboard or balls around your home, and especially in the bathroom and kitchen. When a cockroach comes in contact or ingests boric acid, the compound will stick to its body and attack its nervous system, eventually killing it.

There are, of course, some disadvantages to this approach. Firstly, you will have to look for and remove dead roaches. And secondly, this method can take a while to make a real difference.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is another effective way to deal with a roach infestation, and the method is similar to the one used for boric acid. Mix some baking soda with sugar or sprinkle it on other foods, such as onions (remember, though, that they are toxic to dogs, so be careful not to poison your pet!). After the cockroaches ingest the mixture and die, simply remove the dead bugs.

Diatomaceous Earth

DE is excellent for getting rid of pretty much any bug. It is made of fossilized algae and has strong dehydrating properties. This damages the exoskeleton (the outer layer) of the insect and eventually kills it. What’s more, you don’t have to mix DE with anything – simply sprinkle it in corners and near places where you suspect the cockroaches are hiding.


Sodium borate, a.k.a. borax is good for more than just cleaning the household and washing the laundry. It is also a great pest killer. Mix it with sugar and sprinkle the mixture in all the places where the roaches might be hiding. Much like DE, borax will dehydrate the bug and kill it. All you have to do is find and remove the dead insects.

Citrus Fruit

Unlike the previously listed solutions, citrus won’t necessarily kill roaches, but it will chase them away. Simply mop your floors with a mixture of water and lemon oil. The smell likely won’t be strong enough to bother humans, but it will work wonders against this pest. What’s more, you won’t have to deal with removing dead bugs!

Essential Oils

Essential oils – especially lemongrass and peppermint scented ones – are another great natural cockroach repellant. All you have to do is spray the oil around your home. Much like citrus, this won’t kill the bugs, but it will drive them away from your home.

Store-Bought Solutions to Get Rid of Cockroaches

Natural solutions are great, but most of them mean that you will have to look for and remove dead bugs, especially since they don’t kill the bug instantly but rather give it time to wander off. What’s more, if we’re being completely honest, they’re simply not as effective as store-bought solutions designed specifically to tackle household cockroach infestations. So if the abovementioned natural remedies don’t work, here are your other options.


Cockroach traps usually consist of two elements: the bait, usually scent-based, which attracts the cockroach to the trap, and a sticky substance that prevents the cockroach from leaving the trap. A great advantage of such traps is that you won’t have to dedicate time and energy to locating all the dead bugs – they will be stuck to the trap. However, this method can take a while to make a real difference, especially with larger infestations.


Chemical baits contain insecticides hidden in what, to a roach, looks like food. Once a cockroach eats the bait, it will wander off and eventually die. Other cockroaches will likely eat this dead roach, get poisoned themselves, and die as well. This is an effective solution for somewhat larger infestations, but much like most home remedies, it will leave it up to you to get rid of all the dead insects.


Technically, you don’t have to hide the insecticide in food. You can simply spray some of the store-bought solution everywhere around the home. Spray insecticides such as Raid not only kill roaches on contact but also remain effective on surfaces for some time. This, however, is not a great solution if you have kids or pets.


If you’d rather not deal with dead bugs all over your home, you can opt for roach deterrents. You can either spray them or mop your floors and tiles with them – either will work. Deterrents usually come in the form of liquid concentrates that should be diluted with water. You should be able to find them in any home improvement or grocery store.

Bug Bombs

Let us start off by saying that you should only resort to cockroach bombs if no other method seems to work. They contain highly toxic pesticides that aren’t only dangerous for bugs, but also for pets and humans. What’s more, they require you to vacate your home for some time. In all honesty, if you’re considering using a cockroach bomb, it might be smarter to simply call licensed professional exterminators.

How to Prevent a Cockroach Infestation

If you managed to get rid of cockroaches in your home – congratulations! However, your job isn’t over yet. You may have figured out how to kill cockroaches, but now you have to make sure they don’t come back. To prevent a cockroach infestation, make sure you do the following:

  • Clean your house regularly – especially the kitchen and the bathroom; take the trash out daily and don’t let mold and grime become an issue;
  • Do the dishes – instead of letting them pile up in the sink, put all dishes in the washer right away and do them at least every other day;
  • Address your eating habits – try not to eat outside of the kitchen/dining room; also, make sure to clean up after every meal;
  • Close all entry points – seal any crevices, open pipes, and other possible entry points for cockroaches and other pests;
  • Watch out for moisture – after watering plants, taking a shower, or cleaning the floors, make sure there aren’t any hidden puddles of water left behind.

When to Call Professional Exterminators

As we already said (and we’re sure you’d agree), these pests can be extremely hard to get rid of. If you haven’t been able to figure out how to kill cockroaches on your own, maybe it’s time to consider calling professionals.

Professional exterminators know not only how to get rid of cockroach infestations quickly, but they can also give you some great tips for preventing the issue from reoccurring. Sure, hiring licensed exterminators might cost more than sprinkling some baking soda on a slice of onion, but we assure you, it will pay off in the long run. After all, pest extermination companies have the skills, knowledge, and equipment to get rid of roaches that most households don’t have access to.

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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