10 DIY Methods to Get Rid of Roaches Overnight (Plus Prevention Tips)
10 DIY Methods to Get Rid of Roaches Overnight (Plus Prevention Tips)
The last thing you want to see creeping around your house is the dreaded cockroach, but you may want to be able to solve the problem without resorting to toxic chemicals or costly extermination treatments. Fortunately, we’ve come up with a list of DIY home remedies to get rid of roaches as quickly as possible! With the expert input of professional pest control specialists Kevin Carrillo and Hussam Bin Break, explore your options below to rid your home of roaches (and prevent them from returning).
The Best Ways to Repel Roaches Naturally

10 Home Remedies to Get Rid of Roaches

Sprinkle boric acid in areas where you’ve seen roaches. Dust small amounts of boric acid powder along baseboards, behind appliances, and in any other areas where you’ve spotted roaches in your home. When roaches come into contact with the powder, their exoskeleton is damaged and they eventually die. You can also make a DIY roach bait trap with boric acid by mixing two parts of the powder with one part flour. Stir in enough corn or maple syrup to create a peanut butter texture. Use a popsicle stick to put a small dollop of the bait in any of your target areas. The roaches will be attracted to the flour and syrup in the bait and will bring it back to their nest, eventually poisoning most of their colony. Alternatively, make a mixture of equal parts boric acid, sugar, and flour. Roll spoonfuls of the mixture to create small dough balls, then place these dough balls around the house as bait for the roaches. Boric acid is toxic to humans and animals when ingested—take precautions when using it especially if you have pets or small children. You may also want to wear a dust mask when handling the acid.

Spread a 3:1 borax and sugar mixture in roach-infested areas. Stir together three parts borax with one part sugar. Spread the mixture in any spots where you’ve noticed roaches, such as underneath your sink, behind appliances, and in dark corners of your home. Using borax to kill roaches is effective as it will slowly dry out their exoskeleton and kill them, while the sugar will attract them to the bait.

Sprinkle baking soda onto a piece of food and leave it out overnight. Coat any piece of food—like an onion for example—in a few spoonfuls of baking soda. Leave the piece of food in an area where you’ve seen roaches before and let it sit overnight. When roaches eat baking soda, it expands inside them and causes the pest to explode.

Spritz an essential oil spray around infested areas. Mix 10-15 drops of essential oil into a spray bottle filled with water. Shake well to combine, then spray the essential oil mixture around areas prone to roach activity. For example, you may want to target kitchen cabinets, baseboards, and entry points of your home. Peppermint oil is one of the most effective natural roach repellents, and it’s also non-toxic and safe to use around children. However, be cautious using peppermint oil if you have pets, as it can be harmful to cats and dogs. Eucalyptus oil and lavender oil are also known to have roach-repellent properties. You can also use neem oil, which is a potent, naturally-occuring pesticide that’s effective at getting rid of roaches.

Set a DIY cockroach trap with leftover coffee grounds. Put coffee grounds in small paper cups, then place those cups in jars filled with water. Pierce small holes in the lid of each jar and place them against walls, baseboards, or in other areas where you’ve seen the bugs. The scent of the coffee will lure cockroaches to the jars. Once they enter the jar, they won’t be able to escape and will be killed. Check the jars daily so that you can empty them of dead cockroaches as soon as possible.

Sprinkle crushed bay leaves in areas where you’ve seen roaches. Crush some bay leaves and sprinkle the fragments in your kitchen cupboards or other target areas. Alternatively, boil some bay leaves in water and spray the cooled mixture in infected corners of your home. Bay leaves are helpful to deter cockroaches but they won’t kill them, making this method ideal if you’d prefer to let the roaches live (just not in your house).

Spray diluted dish soap in areas of high roach activity. Mix 4 tablespoons (59 mL) dish detergent into 1 litre (34 fl oz) water. Pour into a spray bottle and spritz the mixture anywhere where you’ve seen roaches. Soap is not toxic to roaches, but it will disrupt their ability to breathe if they find themselves sufficiently coated in a soapy substance.

Use diluted fabric softener as a natural roach-killing spray. Mix fabric softener with water and store it in a spray bottle. When you see a cockroach in your home, spray the mixture directly onto the pest. The solution should kill the roach immediately, but it’s not particularly effective against large-scale infestation.

Sprinkle diatomaceous earth anywhere you notice roach activity. Scatter a few spoonfuls of diatomaceous earth in your target areas, or anywhere that you’ve seen roaches in or around your home. This method may take several attempts, so you can repeat this process until you stop seeing roaches appear. Diatomaceous earth can irritate your lungs if inhaled, so wear a respirator mask during application and clean the area thoroughly the next day. Diatomaceous earth is a natural insecticide that quickly kills roaches by dehydrating them.

Mop the floors of your home with a lemon juice solution. In a large bucket, mix 2–3 tablespoons (30–44 mL) of lemon juice with a few gallons of water. Dip a mop into the solution and wash any surface areas where you’ve noticed cockroaches previously. Lemons have anti-pathogenic properties to naturally repel and get rid of roaches. Even after your roach problem is gone, cleaning your floors with lemon juice regularly can help stave off any future pest infestations.

Other Pest Control Options

If homemade remedies don’t work, kill roaches with sticky traps or chemical sprays. Place sticky traps in an area that roaches tend to gather in, such as under the sink or behind the fridge. Alternatively, place a poison bait trap so that roaches are lured by the promise of food and then carry the poison back to their colonies. With either trap, check the area frequently to remove or refresh the trap. You can also use a fogger or insecticide spray that’s made to target cockroaches. These chemical cockroach killers can be found in most grocery and hardware stores, but make sure to follow their instructions exactly. Spraying a roach with insecticide will “kill [it] on contact, but most of the roaches hiding away will sense the chemical and…[they’ll] just run away to another room,” says Bin. If your roach infestation persists, then you may need to hire a professional pest control service to rid your apartment or house of the bugs.

How to Prevent Roaches in Your Home

Keep your home clean and free of clutter. Sweep, vacuum, and mop your home regularly (especially after meals) to eliminate any food particles and crumbs that roaches will be drawn to. Store food in sealed containers and avoid leaving leftovers or other food items out for long periods of time.

Keep your garbage bins closed and well-sealed. Garbage cans are a notable target area for roaches, so make sure that yours are properly sealed and taken out regularly. Avoid leaving spoiled or rotting food in a garbage can for too long, and opt for garbage cans with lids to close off the bin from potential pests.

Fix any plumbing leaks or other areas where water might collect. Cockroaches like living in moist places, so they may be attracted to leaky faucets or water pipes. Avoid leaving standing water in any area of your home and fix leaks as soon as possible.

Seal entry points with caulk, weatherstripping, or sealant. Inspect the outside of your home and look for potential entry points like small gaps, utility openings, and cracks. Fill in these openings with caulk or another sealant to prevent roaches from entering.

Inspect cardboard boxes and packages before bringing them inside. Cockroaches often hitch a ride and “come in on products…from warehouses directly to your home,” explains Carrillo. Carefully look over any delivered items or grocery bags to make sure there aren’t any pests clinging to the packaging. Roaches gravitate toward cardboard, so be especially mindful “if you’re one of those people who stores all of your bags under the sink or you keep a big pile of cardboard in your home,” advises Carrillo.

Look out for signs of a roach infestation. While it’s good to take daily measures to prevent roaches, keep an eye out for signs of an infestation that may require further intervention or professional pest control. Look for droppings that resemble coffee grounds or black pepper, as well as small egg casings and a musty scent around areas that roaches might frequent. “Thoroughly search inside the cabinets under your kitchen and bathroom sink,” instructs Carrillo, as “those tend to be the first areas where cockroach nests will start.” Roaches typically come out at night, so look for them scurrying away immediately after you turn the lights on at night.

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