So, you have a cockroach problem. And you want to get rid of cockroaches. Fast.
This DIY roach guide covers everything you need to know- all in one place.
You’ll learn effective, safe, and natural DIY home remedies to repel, kill, and prevent future roach problems.
You should probably bookmark this page (“CTRL + D”) since it can be handy to reference throughout your journey to get rid of these pests.
Use it as a resource and feel free to ask me questions in the comments section at the end.
This page is nearly 10,000 words long, so there’s plenty of information about roaches and lots of ways to repel, kill, and prevent roaches.
Feel free to skip around or read it completely to know everything you need to know.
All in one place.
So without further ado, let’s get started and get rid of your roach problem.
Last updated: 12/30/19.
What’s a cockroach?
I’m pretty sure you know what a cockroach is. It’s a large, disgusting, hard-shelled, fast, creepy-crawly, sometimes flying, and downright ugly pest that seems almost impossible to completely get rid of.
Common household cockroaches include the German, American, and Oriental roaches, but there are also a few more that reside all over the United States.
They’re nocturnal pests that feed on your leftovers after you go to bed and you may catch them running around during the day or scattering when you flip on the light switch at night.
Cockroaches have a unique anatomy and body structure.
Often depicted as a terrifying, disgusting pest in horror movies, they’re definitely something different.
They have an ovular body with 6 limbs and 2 antennae that are often very long. They use their antennae to detect scent in their environment.
Roaches also have very good vision, with an excellent night time vision to navigate in complete darkness with over 1000 lenses per eye, which allows them to see a large field of vision.
They have vision all around their body, like cameras that all feed into one large picture.
They can detect the slightest scents
On their abdomen, they have two sensors called cerci, which allows them to detect changes in air pressure.
This is why they’re so good at detecting the slightest movements around them.
Their mouth allows them to move sideways and can also process scent and taste.
They have a digestive system similar to humans, with salivary glands, esophagus, and stomach.
Cockroaches also have spiracles on both sides of their body for breathing.
Most species have developed wings, however, some species only a single sex can actually fly.
Males typically have developed wings and can fly short distances, although they rarely use them.
Females will often have undeveloped wings that aren’t capable of flying.
Can cockroaches fly?
Some species can fly, others can’t.
You’ll have to identify your cockroach pest to determine if they can fly or not.
And even after knowing the species, you’ll have to see if both sexes can fly, or just one specific sex.
Keep reading to see which common roaches are capable of flying.
Cockroach life cycle
Cockroaches have a very basic life cycle that’s straightforward to understand.
It all starts with the egg case from a pregnant female. Females lay between 20-40 eggs on average in a batch, which are carried around in egg cases called ootheca.
The case will be deposited in a safe area and protected by the female adult until the hatchlings emerge from the ootheca.
Typically, this is often around a food source with accessible water.
The newborn roaches hatch after a few weeks depending on temperature, environmental conditions, and species.
After they hatch, they’ll seek food and water as a nymph. They’ll shed their skin many times until the final molt. They become darker in color as they age and their shell gets tougher.
Development into an adult depends on the conditions, such as temperature, food and water sources, and other factors. They’ll likely adapt to match their environment colors and blend in.
Typically, they’ll take just a few weeks to reach sexual maturity.
After that, they’ll mate and the cycle repeats.
Molt count, egg count, reproduction rate, time to adulthood, and incubation times
For example, American roaches take anywhere from 20-60 days to hatch, while German roaches may only take about 30 days.
Some species also carry more eggs than others.
So egg count, incubation time, and roach habits vary depending on the species and environmental conditions.
There is no “exact” days to hatch, egg count, or other specifics. They’re all variable depending on multiple factors.
Popular cockroach pest species
There are quite a few roach species that are commonly found as pests throughout the United States and other parts of the world.
Here you’ll find a brief introduction about each type of roach so you can identify which roach you have in your home.
In the US, the most common types of pest roaches in the home are the following.
The German cockroach has a light and tan color with two parallel stripes going down their backs that are darker in color.
They have wings, but rarely use them to fly, but they’re capable of flying, however.
They have an ovular shape with a pair of antennae with 6 legs, and are about 0.75” in length at adult size.
Nymphs are darker in color and have the stripes present also. Females are darker in color than males.
German cockroaches are found throughout the US with higher concentrations in warmer and humid states.
They need moisture and water, so they’re often discovered in kitchens, bathrooms, and humid environments.
They’re also found in restaurants, hotels, nursing homes, hostels, airports, and food-processing facilities.
American cockroaches are probably the most common type of roach in the US, as the name states.
They’re also known as the “palmetto bug” or “water bug” in other areas of the world.
Believe it or not, the American cockroach isn’t native to the US and was likely a pest that was an invasive species from Africa via ship.
The American cockroach has a dark brown or nearly black coloration with a figure 8 pattern on its head that’s slightly lighter in coloration.
This is the easiest way to ID an American cockroach. They have an ovular shape with 6 legs and a pair of antennae and are found worldwide.
Adults range between 1-2 inches, but sometimes exceed that length, making them the largest of the common roach pests.
Adults can fly short distances as they have wings, but rarely do. They can also bite, just like the German cockroach, but rarely will bite humans unless provoked.
Brown-banded roaches are different from American and German roaches because they have two light bands that run across their back.
Brown-banded roaches can fly, but only the males have the wings to do so.
Females have smaller wings which are almost vestigial at this point, which prevents them from being able to fly.
They have a long pair of antennae that’s longer than their body. They range up to ½” and have an ovular body with long legs and two antennae with an ovular shell.
They’re found throughout the US only.
The Oriental cockroach often gets confusion over the name- it’s actually believed to be from African descent and proves to be a larger species.
They’re also called “water bugs” as they prefer dark, humid, and moist environments.
Other names for the oriental cockroach are “black beetles” or “black beetle cockroach” as they’re completely black and often get confused to actual beetle pests, like carpet beetles or cigarette beetles.
They’re known to be a pest throughout the US and invite your house by sneaking under doors, going into windows, or even entering through your sewage and drainage systems.
These roaches are easily identified because of their completely black appearance with luster and ovular bodies. They’re about 1” long and have 6 legs with a pair of antennae.
They’re often found in northern areas of the US, but have been reported even in southern states. Males have shortened wings and their abdomens are exposed.
Females have no wings and are defined to be longer than males, but this isn’t always apparent from the naked eye as both sexes are small overlap.
Neither males nor females can fly, thus oriental roaches have vestigial wings.
Dubia roaches aren’t considered a pest and are commonly found throughout the reptile trade as live feeders for lizards, iguanas, snakes, fish, amphibians, spiders, and other pets.
They’re also known as the Tropical Spotted Roach and won’t infest a home if they were to escape.
If you think you see a dubia roach, it could be an escapee from your neighbors or the locals. They can’t jump, fly, nor climb and avoid lights at all cost.
They’re also quite and odorless. The dubia roach won’t inhabit your home, so chances are, you’re not dealing with a dubia problem.
Pennsylvania wood cockroach
The Pennsylvania wood cockroach is a common pest found in PA.
Adult males are about 1” long and females are slightly smaller, at around 0.75” in length. They have a tanned, dark color with lining on the wings. Adult males have wings while females have shorter functionless wings.
Pennsylvania roaches often feed on organic matter, such as woodpiles, compost, and another similar food source. They’re often found throughout shingles on homes and rarely enter the actual home.
They eat firewood and other wooden materials found in homes that are built in wooded areas, which is most of PA.
What attracts cockroaches in your home?
Roaches are attracted to their basic necessities, which you’ll read more about throughout the entirety of this DIY pest control tutorial.
They aren’t influenced only by your house providing a stable place to breed, eat, and drink, but they’re also affected by variables like temperature, natural cockroach predators, and the environment.
Even if you have the cleanest house, you can still get roach problems.
When the weather starts to heat up, roaches tend to seek out shelter where it’s cooler, so that’s when they start appearing in homes and becoming a problem.
Other variables like natural predators in the area who prey on roaches may also drive them to migrate into your home.
Simply keeping your house clean isn’t enough- there are some things you just can’t really do much about.
So that’s why it’s important to take care of the roach problem form within the home to prevent them from laying eggs and making the problem worse.
Do cockroaches like clean or dirty houses?
They really have no preference.
You could have the cleanest house on the block and you may still get the occasional cockroach. If you have cockroaches, it depends on a variety of factors- not just your home’s overall cleanliness.
That doesn’t mean that you should be careless about keeping your home clean.
What roaches really want to look for are three things:
- Shelter for their nest
If your house supplies all three of these things, they’ll gladly make your home their home.
Now, one thing to remember is that those who skimp on cleaning their home and keeping it hygiene typically have more food lying around (leftovers, unwashed dishes, table scraps), more water that’s accessible (water or liquid spills, unwiped bathrooms, leaking faucets, and more places for roaches to hide and create a nest (unkempt storage, messy rooms, and cracked foundations).
Clean or dirty? Doesn’t matter.
As you can see, the possibilities are endless.
All of these contribute to making a perfect place for roaches to live.
This is probably why the stereotype is that you find roaches often more in dirty homes.
Typically, if your house is dirty, you’re not keeping up with maintenance and hygiene, which will then provide a place suitable for roaches to breed.
But that doesn’t mean if your home is spotless, you won’t get roaches.
They’ll still crawl around and look for somewhere to eat, drink, and breed even for people who keep their home extremely clean. It’s just that the chances are lower of roaches invading because there are less of the three necessities (food, water, and shelter) that are within reach for the roaches.
Roaches don’t really care
Roaches don’t care if your home is clean or dirty, it just how happens that dirtier homes tend to attract more roaches because they provide everything a roach colony needs.
Of course, other variables also come into play that can affect more or fewer roaches in your home:
- Availability of resources outside of your home
- Neighbors who have roach problems
- Natural cockroach predators
- Previous roach problems
- Native roaches to the area, city, or state
What does it mean if I see a cockroach during the day?
That’s typically a sign of overpopulation. These pests are nocturnal, meaning that they only come out during the night.
If you see roaches crawling around your home or garden during the daytime, this means that they were either disturbed from their sleep, or the population has gotten so large that they need to look for food or water during the daytime- outside of their natural circadian rhythm.
This means that there are a ton of roaches you can’t see hiding somewhere nearby.
Seeing a roach during the day is typically a sign that the roach colony has expanded to where they can’t find enough food or water only during the night, so they need to also seek out resources during the day.
If you see one roach during the day, you can be pretty sure that there are dozens more nearby in the nest.
You’ll need to act fast and start following something DIY methods to get rid of roaches. We cover a bunch of them in this guide that are proven effective against cockroaches.
And we’ll cover some natural DIY solutions also. Keep reading.
Do cockroaches bite?
No, the common household cockroaches don’t bite and don’t sting.
As you probably know, they scatter as soon as the lights come on and will immediately run away from danger and take shelter and hide.
But that doesn’t mean they won’t bite humans.
Cockroaches have the ability to bite, but probably won’t. If you pose a threat to them, they may bite to escape. If you do happen to get bitten by a roach, you should disinfect the bite right away and then watch it to make sure it doesn’t get infected.
Seek medical attention right away if you notice any signs of infection, swelling, foul odor, or other signs of a possible bacterial transmission.
Cockroaches have been known to feed on your skin when you sleep and also eat up any earwax around your ears. While they’re not directly biting you, this is still disgusting and leads to germ and bacteria transfer.
Thus, while roaches aren’t directly dangerous since they don’t bite, they can still harbor a ton of bacteria.
Are roaches dangerous?
Yes, roaches can be dangerous because they transfer nasty bacteria to humans.
They’re typically considered dirty pests and will hide in a variety of germ-ridden environments.
They’ll hide in trash cans, compost bins, bathrooms, sewers, drains, dumpsters, and other contaminated areas.
Because they hang around these dirty environments all day scouring for food and water, they pick up bacteria all over their bodies.
As they make their way throughout your home, they’ll bring this bacteria in with them and track the germs all over your floors, counters, kitchen, bathroom, etc.
As you can see, mixing cockroach bacteria, germs, and viruses all over your food-prep areas (appliances, cutting boards, utensils, countertops, dishes, bowls, and kitchen tables) wouldn’t be a good afterthought.
Thus, while roaches won’t harm you directly, they can harm you indirectly by leaving bacteria everywhere they walk.
Cockroaches are known to carry bacteria and viruses that can cause allergies, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and even some nasty ones like Salmonella.
How hard is it to get rid of roaches?
This question comes up a lot and the answer varies depending on how long you’ve let them invade your home or garden.
There’s no definite answer, as many factors come into play, such as:
- How big your home is
- How clean your home is
- The number of roach nests present
- Type of roach pest species
- What methods you use to exterminate them
- How persistent you are in trying to get rid of them
- Whether or not roaches are native to your area
- And so on
As we discussed earlier in this pest control guide, there’s no certain “difficulty” or “ETA” to get rid of them in regards to how long it’ll take, only rough estimates.
If you keep a persistent approach and use a variety of DIY traps, poisons, killers, sprays, and repellents for roaches, you’ll have an easier resolution time and can get rid of roaches a lot faster.
If you’re lazy and only use a few solutions here and there, it’ll take much longer to find out what you can do to drive the roaches out (or kill them).
Roaches will take some effort to get rid of
To be frank, roaches are persistent and difficult to get rid of.
However, the solution to dealing with any roach problem is the same:
- Identify the type of roach you have
- Locate and destroy the nest
- Set up roach traps, kill lone roaches, and clean up the house (remove food/water sources) to minimize the population
- Patch up and fix any possible entry points
- Set up roach repellents to prevent further problems
- Set up traps to monitor progress over time
Following these steps should prove to be effective.
You can get rid of most roach problems without hiring professional exterminators. But that depends on you and how much effort you allocate to this problem.
Can you suffocate roaches?
Yes, cockroaches can be suffocated quite easily.
Even plain water and some bubbles can kill them.
Unlike humans, roaches breathe through their small pores in their shell. If you put a cockroach in water with some dish soap, the bubbles will block their pores and they’ll suffocate.
If you see a roach, you can try coating it with your own cockroach poison at home.
What you’ll need:
- 1 cup dish soap (you can also use shampoo, detergent, liquid soap, or even bubble water)
- 1 cup water
- Spray bottle
Here’s how to make it:
- Mix the dish soap and water together.
- Cover the container, then gently swirl it.
- Pour the solution into a spray bottle.
How to use the solution:
- Find a roach.
- Spray it directly onto the roach as many times as you can.
- If done correctly, the roach will suffocate from the solution.
Note: Don’t spray the roach if it can escape into electrical components, as the soap and water mixture may conduct electricity. Also, be aware of your surroundings for anything else that may be dangerous.
Keep in mind that regular plain water won’t work as well as bubbles to suffocate roaches.
You’ll want to use a mixture of a bubbly nature, AKA something that produces lots of bubbles.
The more bubbles, the better chance you have of suffocating those pests.
How do you get rid of roaches fast?
There’s no way to absolutely get rid of your roach problem overnight.
Nearly all roach takeovers will take a concentrated effort on your end for at least a week to exterminate them for a smaller infestation.
Utilize the DIY methods throughout this pest control article and use what’s working.
The more you play around with the different techniques and scale up the ones that work, the faster you can get rid of them.
How long does it take to get rid of cockroaches?
Depending on the scale of the infestation, here’s how much time it’ll take to get rid of cockroaches on average with full effort:
- A small roach invasion (few roaches, one nest): 1 week
- A moderate roach invasion (moderate roaches out during the night, one nest): 1 month
- A large roach invasion (many roaches at night, some seen during the day, multiple nests): Many months
Again, this depends on environmental conditions, your efforts, and the effectiveness of the roach traps, poison, and repellents you use.
You can very well get rid of a large infestation in just a month, whereas you can also take weeks to get rid of a small infestation.
There’s no absolute rule to how long it takes to get rid of roaches, as many factors are into play.
What kills cockroaches instantly?
There are a few different things you can do to kill a roach instantly.
To be honest, there aren’t many different ways you can kill them right away. Most approaches will take a few days to effectively kill the entire colony.
But if you just see a single roach crawling around and you want to kill it instantly, here’s a list of the most effective ways to quickly eliminate a roach.
Manually (your shoe)
This is probably the most effective way to kill a roach instantly that I know of.
Sure, it’s primitive and probably not what you were expecting, but using a manual way to kill a roach would be the fastest way possible. If you’re dealing with a roach infestation, keep a “roach shoe” nearby at all times.
This will let you swat them and smush them as soon as you see one.
After you kill it, be sure to wash and disinfect the shoe to kill any bacteria.
Don’t use your everyday shoes- use a shoe that you don’t use anymore as you’ll want to keep it with you at all times (and because it’ll take a beating).
Some other suggestions for objects that are excellent at smushing roaches:
- Heavy-duty fly swatters
- Filled water bottles (can also be dropped on the roach)
- Bug zapper rackets
- Flimsy sandals (excellent flexibility)
- Rolled newspapers or magazines (classic approach)
Hot, boiling water will kill roaches within seconds (nearly upon contact).
Of course, the difficult part is always having boiling water nearby when you see a roach scuttle across your field of vision. If you have a hot water boiler, you can definitely dispense a cup of hot water into a cup, sneak up to the roach, then just pour it all over the roach.
This method is also effective to flush out roaches that escape and hide between a crack or under an appliance.
You can get a cup of boiling water and splash it between the crevice or below the object to burn the roach.
The water travels as you pour it and may come into contact with the pest, so it’ll get burned regardless.
Be sure to collect the roach body or else other roaches may feed on the dead roach later on.
Of course, you’ll want to exercise common sense to not burn anything and also steer clear of electrical components.
Pouring a ton of hot water also will flood the area quickly, so watch out for the water traveling away from the roach and seeping into other areas.
You can suffocate the roach using a mixture of bubbles and water.
This will kill the roach within seconds and is also a safe approach (depending on what you use to generate the bubbles). If you just use bubble water or dish soap, this approach is relatively safe for pets and children, as long as they don’t ingest the solution.
You simply make a bubble mix and spray directly onto the roach to suffocate it.
I’ll cover how to make this DIY roach killer later in this guide.
You can make it as natural as you want, or you can use more potent mixtures if you want a quicker and fast-acting pesticide.
Homemade cockroach killer spray
You can make your own spray at home by simply mixing water and dish detergent in equal parts in a spray bottle. When you see a roach, spray it directly with this mixture to suffocate it.
Of course, it won’t kill it instantly as the roach needs to suffocate just like the method stated above. If you want to kill it immediately, you don’t need a special spray.
Just use hot, boiling water as a natural home remedy.
How to get rid of roaches overnight
To put it simply, you probably won’t.
To fully exterminate roaches, you’ll have to get a plan together and act accordingly.
There’s a step-by-step process if you want to fully get rid of your roach problem. If you’ve been reading along, you’ll have an idea of what to do.
However, if you just have one or two lone cockroaches in your house, you can get rid of them instantly using the methods outlined above.
Use bottle traps, borax traps, boiling water, etc. and you’ll be able to kill them faster than overnight. But again, this only works for those with just a few pests running around.
How to get rid of cockroaches in kitchen cabinets
If you have them in your kitchen cabinets, your best approach would be to first clean it up.
You’ll want to do the following:
- Throw out all leftover/unused food products
- Seal up remaining food in airtight containers
- Add some natural roach repellent in the cabinet
- Set up some DIY traps to catch other roaches
Following this approach, you should continue to monitor your traps over time.
This will let you see if they’re still sneaking around your cabinets. Eventually, you should see no more roaches getting trapped. If you do continue to catch them in your traps, consider using a different repellent.
Here’s a video demonstrating a workflow to rid kitchen cockroaches (Via HowTo Curt):
For cockroaches in the car, the only thing you can really do is clean it.
Keep the car clean and vacuum up any food or debris in it. If it’s clean, there’s no reason for roaches to infest your car.
At night, keep your car doors shut, windows rolled up, and moonroof shut. You’ll want to prevent any entry points for them to get into your car.
Other than keeping it clean and keeping the entryways sealed at night, there’s no other reason it should be difficult to keep roaches out of your car.
How to get rid of cockroaches outside
Roaches that are outdoors are better than indoors, right?
You may be dealing with natural native roaches to the area, or perhaps your neighbor’s roach problem.
Regardless, here’s what you’ll want to do to get rid of roaches that are outdoors:
Protect and “roach-proof” your home
- Find and seal up any foundation or structural cracks on your home to prevent a possible home entry
- Repair any window or door screenings that are damaged
- Fix any vents that need repair
Eliminate the nest
- Use the steps outlined in this guide to find the roach nest
- Destroy the nest
Set up traps
- Use a combination of DIY roach traps outdoors to trap lone roaches and prevent them from forming a nest
- Continue to monitor your traps over time to see if the population decreases
- Set up roach repellent around your home’s perimeter and outdoors
How to get rid of roaches in your home or apartment
This part of the DIY pest control guide covers the process to rid roaches from your apartment, home, kitchen, bathroom, and more.
The process is all the same, as the location doesn’t really matter for the most part.
You’ll be following the same process by finding the nest and destroying the nest, cleaning up the area, setting up traps and repellent, and monitoring the progress over time.
Of course, you’ll have to adjust your plan of attack depending on what part of the home you’re treating.
For example, you don’t want to use dangerous chemicals in food-prep areas like the kitchen.
Read on to see how you can get rid of these pests in your home.
Natural roach repellents
There are many things that repel roaches naturally.
Here’s a list of the safest ones for humans and pets that are effective against roaches:
- Bay leaves (strong natural repellent)
- Catnip (proven to be an effective repellent)
- Garlic (strong scent repels roaches)
- Mint (strong natural roach repellent)
- Diatomaceous earth (cuts up the roach with fine crystals)
- Neem (a powerful plant that kills young roaches and stops roach breeding)
- Lemons (roaches hate the smell of lemon)
- Cucumbers (bloats roaches and kills them)
Do you research first to make sure it’s safe for you and your pets. For example, garlic isn’t safe for dogs.
There are also a few oils that are good to use against roaches:
- Eucalyptus oil (mix with water by adding 12 drops to 3 ounces of water)
- Tea tree oil (use it as a spray with equal parts water)
- Clove oil (use 8 drops per liter of water)
- Citrus hystrix oil (spray directly where you suspect roaches to be)
What smells keep roaches away? What scent do roaches hate?
They hate a variety of scents, namely vinegar, rubbing alcohol, bleach, and other strong-smelling objects like mothballs.
We’ll cover each of these throughout this tutorial as we move along. You’ll see what scents you can use around your home as a home remedy to naturally repel cockroaches.
What household items can you use to get rid of roaches?
Here’s a list of common household goods you can use to eliminate these pests.
These are the most common and popular things you can buy at any store for cheap. Use them to naturally kill roaches effectively. Here are some things that cockroaches hate the most.
Will borax kill roaches?
Borax would probably be the most popular household item that kills cockroaches. And for good reason.
Borax will basically cut up roaches on their shell upon contact.
They can touch borax or eat it- both of which will be fatal to the roach. The best part is the roach gets tons of micro-cuts from eating the fine borax crystals, which penetrate their shell and cut up their viscerals.
When the roach finally gets killed by borax, other roaches will eat the one that was killed, which will then apply the same borax treatment to the others.
Borax can effective wipe out an entire roach nest.
Keep reading to learn how you can apply these methods to your own home.
Do coffee grounds keep cockroaches away?
No. Cockroaches actually are attracted to coffee and the smell of it.
They’ve been found to even nest within coffeemakers, so definitely don’t use coffee grounds as a natural repellent to roaches. You’ll find it ineffective and probably just attract more roaches.
It’s a common thought that roaches would be replaced because of the odor, but multiple sources have reported that they actually like coffee grounds.
Instead, use them as part of your DIY traps as bait. Keep reading to get the scoop.
Will mothballs keep roaches away?
Mothballs are hit or miss.
Some readers have reported that they work, while others state the opposite. Mothballs are cheap and readily available at any department store, so why not give it a try?
How to use mothballs to repel roaches
Nothing special is required.
Just place them where you want to repel roaches from, such as:
- Under appliances
- Within furniture cushions
- Crawl spaces
- Wall voids
- Around doors or windows
Be sure to keep the mothballs away from kitchens, even if they tend to frequent that area.
Mothballs can be dangerous to humans, so you don’t want to place them near your food-prep areas.
Will baking soda kill cockroaches?
Yes, baking soda will kill roaches.
The key is to trick the pest into ingesting the baking soda.
Baking soda basically will mix with their acids and expand on the inside of their shell.
Since roaches have no way to release excess air, they’ll blow up and die. The problem is that roaches won’t eat baking soda by itself, so that’s why you need to make a baking soda trap for them.
Keep reading and we’ll cover this.
Can rubbing alcohol kill roaches?
Rubbing alcohol is a common DIY pesticide for cockroaches that are often spread around online. However, using isopropyl alcohol should be avoided as a roach killer.
Will rubbing alcohol (such as 91%) kill roaches? Yes. If you spray directly onto the roach enough times directly, the roach will suffocate from the alcohol on their shell. This may be helpful if you’ve caught the roach in a trap and want to kill it.
But for dealing with a roach on the loose, it’s probably not a good approach to kill the pest as it’s highly inaccurate and difficult.
Avoid using rubbing alcohol
And there are also many other cons to use this as a DIY cockroach pesticide overall.
One major reason is that rubbing alcohol is dangerous towards humans, so if you spray this stuff everywhere, it’s very easy for kids, pets, and others to get into contact with the solution.
Rubbing alcohol is also extremely flammable. If you spray the solution accidentally into an electrical socket, wire setup, or appliance, you could easily spark a fire.
This is important because depending on how many times you can actually spray the alcohol directly on the roach, you may or may not kill it in time before it escapes.
You also have to be right next to it and get up close- to which most cockroaches will run away before you can even do that.
Even worse, if you’re trying to spray a roach directly and you drench the roach completely in rubbing alcohol but it escapes, it could wander into an electrical environment that could start a fire in your home.
Not effective for cockroach control
So just to use this approach would require you to:
- Spray this stuff repeatedly all over the place when you spot a roach (which is hard because you need to sneak up close)
- Deal with the possibility that the roach will escape into a flammable hazard
- Deal with the possibility that you may spray this into a fire hazard accidentally when trying to spray the roach (heat of the moment)
- Harmful towards pets and humans
So there are many negatives to using any percentage rubbing alcohol for roach control (91%, 70%, and 50%).
Rubbing alcohol also dries extremely quickly, so you can’t spray this stuff beforehand and just leave. Isopropyl alcohol evaporates within minutes, so you need to always spray it directly onto a roach, which means more work for you and a harder time to get rid of roaches.
Where do cockroaches nest in your house?
Just let this video tell you (credits):
Cockroaches will find a nest as their priority when they invade your home. As we mentioned, they need water, food, and a hiding place to nest and breed a colony.
If you want to completely get rid of roaches, you’ll have to find where their nest is and destroy it.
The nest will have a ton of cockroaches and egg cases. If you just kill one here and there, they’ll always breed more until you eliminate the nest of them.
What do cockroach nests look like?
The cockroach nest will be pretty easy to identify- it’s a piece of work.
There are few things to look for, such as shed skin, roach feces, smears or dark spots, various debris, leftover food, and possibly even egg cases that are waiting to be hatched.
You may also see roaches occupying the nest, depending on the time of day and if the nest is active or abandoned. Sometimes they leave the egg cases within the nest, and other times they’ll stick them to furniture, cabinets, cupboards, or drawers.
Where can I find a cockroach nest?
Roaches will often look for warmer areas to nest that have narrow corridors or crevices. Roach nests are commonly found in a few areas in the home:
- Behind refrigerators
- Underneath stoves and ovens
- Kitchen cabinets
- Kitchen or drawers
- Behind appliances in the kitchen
- Behind kitchen counters
- Around heat radiators
- Tucked in corners
- Crawl spaces under the home
- Wall voids
- Debris piles outdoors
- Leaf litter
- Compost bins
- Wood piles
- Untrimmed trees or plants
- Dog or cat food containers
Garages, attics, and/or basements
- Near water heaters or vents
- Near damaged plumbing
- Behind toilets
- Bathroom drawers
- Nearby sinks or showers
Cockroach nest killer
After you’ve found the cockroach nest, you’ll want to destroy the nest accordingly.
To completely eliminate cockroaches from your home, you’ll want to destroy the nest and all the egg cases so no more roaches are born.
There are a few commercial cockroach nest killers available on the market, but I prefer doing things the DIY way with a natural approach.
How to destroy the roach nest
You can completely destroy the nest by first sterilizing the colony, then disposing of all the egg cases.
You can do this by pouring bleach on the egg cases around the nest. Be sure to check all the hidden areas where a female adult may have stuck her egg case to.
Check under appliances, furniture, or walls nearby. If you see an egg case stuck to a surface, you can remove it carefully with gloves and place it into a disposable container.
Clean up the nest with gloves. Place all egg cases into a container (both the ones on the nest and any others you find). Use a mixture of bleach and water to sanitize the area and clean up any smears, shed skin, food, debris, droppings, and dead roaches.
After you’re doing cleaning up, place a roach trap just to monitor for additional roaches who may be returning to the nest.
Continue to collect all the egg cases and place them into a container, including the ones you just bleached on the nest.
After you’ve gotten them all, fill the container with bleach and let it sit in the sun. The UV light from the sun and the bleach will kill the developing roaches.
After 24 hours, you can dispose of the container safely. Take all precautions when doing this, as bleach is powerful and you don’t want to touch it nor breath the mixture.
At this point, you’ll want to monitor the trap now and then to see if any pests have returned.
Home remedies and DIY solutions for cockroaches
Here you’ll find some of the most popular natural DIY roach killers and repellents. We’ll cover what works and what doesn’t.
As always, you should be using natural approaches for the safest way to get rid of them when possible so you can keep your family and pets safe.
Please review this list carefully and choose the solutions that are available to you.
Can vinegar kill cockroaches effectively?
Vinegar doesn’t kill cockroaches. It’s not used for that. If you’re looking to make some DIY roach killer, look for another approach on this list.
But that doesn’t mean vinegar is ineffective. You can use vinegar as a cleaner to sanitize your kitchen, bathroom, and other surfaces like your sink and food prep areas.
Vinegar has a strong odor and will mask the scent of food and other things that cockroaches look for. This is how you can use vinegar to help get rid of roaches.
You can spray natural vinegar across all your surfaces that you think may have had roach activity to kill the germs.
Or if you just witnessed a roach crawling across your counter and killed it, you can use vinegar as a sanitizer to clean up and kill the germs and bacteria the roach left behind.
Tip: For an even more powerful roach cleaner, heat the vinegar to at least 130 degrees F for a solution that’ll even kill Salmonella within minutes.
Salmonella is one of the bacterial strains that they can bring into homes, so this is an effective way to get rid of roach germs.
Do roaches hate the smell of bleach?
Yes, this is something that bleach can do to deter roaches. But you definitely don’t want to go using this everywhere just to get rid of cockroaches.
Bleach has a strong odor and roaches absolutely have the scent. If you’re not going to soak them in bleach, you can use bleach as a cleaner for your kitchen and bathroom and whatever else you need to clean.
The leftover scent will repulse and repel roaches from the area, as they’re very sensitive to odors.
But don’t just go leaving bleach everywhere just for the sake of scaring off roaches, because this will cause more harm than good. Bleach is very corrosive and will discolor many surfaces.
Only use bleach when you need to and clean it up when you’re done. There will still be a scent that repels roaches even after you get rid of the bleach.
Does bleach kill cockroaches?
Yes, bleach kills roaches. But don’t go using bleach all over the place.
The problem with using bleach as a DIY roach killer is because roaches are actually resilient to bleach until they’ve been in contact with it for a long time.
Remember, the outer shell of a roach allows it to survive a nuclear blast, so what makes you think a splash of bleach is going to do?
To kill a roach with bleach, you need to drown them in a ton of it, which doesn’t make any practical sense.
You won’t be able to catch every single roach, place it in a jar, and drown the pest with a ton of bleach. You also can’t force them to eat the bleach either.
This is very similar to using rubbing alcohol to kill roaches- it’s very ineffective, but it can kill them.
Bleach won’t do anything if you just splash the roach with the stuff. You need to force them to ingest it either by drowning them or making them eat the bleach.
You don’t want to be pouring bleach all over your home, as it’ll wear down furniture, stained surfaces, and is outright poisonous to humans and pets.
I’d advise against using bleach to kill roaches, as it’s a very specific approach and not effective at all.
Baking soda and onions
Using baking soda and onions has been a long-standing DIY method to kill roaches.
Believe it or not, the two ingredients combined make for a powerful and potent combination that’s deadly to roaches.
The baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is the key substance that’ll kill roaches if they eat it. The trick is to get them to eat it.
The baking soda will mix with their acidic juices and they’ll release gas. Since roaches can’t release gas through belching, they’ll literally explode within.
To make this DIY roach killer, you’ll need the following ingredients, which you probably know by now:
- Quality baking soda/sodium bicarbonate (1 small box)
- Purple onion (1 onion)
- Water (1 cup)
- Small container
Here’s how to make the poison:
- Dice the onion.
- Pour the water into the blender, followed by the diced onion.
- Blend the onion and water a few times.
- Add baking soda as you continue blending. You want to liquefy both the baking soda and onion until you can no longer see the sodium bicarbonate and diced onion pieces.
- Continue blending and adding baking soda until you end up with a semi-thick mixture.
You can also play around with various ingredients depending on whether or not the roaches will eat simply baking soda and onions.
The baking soda is the key component that kills them, but we need bait to lure them into eating it.
Optimizing the effectiveness of the poison
You can also add other foods to the mixture to attract and bait roaches, such as:
- Sugar (powdered)
- Bacon grease
- Sweet fruits
- Food oil
- Other strong-scented or sweet foods
How to use the poison:
Take the pasty mixture and apply wherever you suspect roaches to be present.
Apply it directly to strategic places around the home, such as the following:
- Entrances to cracks or crevices
- Below appliances
- Around cupboards or cabinets
- Around the bathroom or kitchen
- Below doors or patio doors
- Around window sills
- Along the wall and floor edges (roaches like to skim along walls)
The mixture will stain surfaces, so be careful where you apply. Roaches will come into contact with it and ingest the mixture through their shell, to which will be fatal over time and kill them.
This is a safe and natural way to get rid of roaches.
Baking soda has always been one of the most effective home remedies for killing roaches.
The trick is to combine baking soda with another sweet component so the roach will eat the food and baking soda at the same time.
You’re basically tricking the roach by luring the bug using a sweet-tasting bait that forces them to eat the baking soda.
What’s a natural repellent for roaches?
Use any of the above repellents to make an effective, safe, DIY solution to keep these pests away.
You can use bleach, vinegar, rubbing alcohol, onion, and baking soda, or set up natural roach traps.
All of these are detailed in this pest control guide, so just look for it to find the appropriate section.
Home remedies for American, Oriental, or German roaches
Any of these approaches will work as home remedies for German roaches.
There’s nothing special about them and you can apply any of the control methods outlined in this guide. goes the same for other roaches like American and Oriental strains also.
The species doesn’t matter- what does is that you act accordingly and start the process.
DIY roach traps
Here you’ll find the real meat of the guide, as you’ll learn how to make your own DIY cockroach traps at home. I chose only the most effective ones from my experience to save you the time from having to try what works and what doesn’t.
These traps are all relatively safe for pets and kids and mostly natural also, so don’t be afraid to test them out and see if they help exterminate the roaches in your home.
Using kitchen grease proves to be an effective roach trap you can easily make at home as a remedy to trap them.
This trap doesn’t kill them right away, but rather provides you the chance to kill them manually or let them dehydrate over time from no water being available.
You just need a few things to make this trap:
- Empty can (standard can for canned foods)
- Roach bait (sugar, syrup, bacon, or anything that has a strong scent)
- Kitchen grease (any leftover grease from cooking will do)
Here’s how to make the trap:
- Take the empty can and line it very well with the kitchen grease on the inside.
- Place the bait at the bottom of the can.
- Place the can where you suspect roaches to be active at night.
How it works:
Roaches will smell the bait and climb into the can to eat it. They can’t climb back out because it’s too slippery for them due to the kitchen grease.
Tip: Make multiple traps and place them around your home to monitor where they’re most active.
You can kill the trapped ones by suffocating them (covered in this guide), or spray them with a roach killer safely.
Just be careful to not accidentally release them back out or they’ll quickly scurry away.
Bottle cockroach trap
This trap is similar to the can trap above, but this one can trap multiple roaches and prevents any escapes completely.
The setup is similar but uses more heavy-duty materials. This DIY trap proves to be one of the best and simplest solutions.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Empty 2-liter soda bottle
- Duct tape
- Lure or bait (any sweet or strong-scented tasty food)
Here’s how to make the DIY roach trap:
- Using the knife, cut the top off the soda bottle. You’ll want to cut it where the bottle starts to taper towards the cap (basically, the entire “funnel” shaped part of the bottle).
- Apply Vaseline to the inside of the bottle evenly along the bottle’s edges.
- Add the bait to the bottom of the bottom.
- Place the top you just cut off back onto the bottle upside-down, so it’s inverted and funnels the roach into the bottle.
- Tape the top back onto the bottle around the neck. Also, line the bottle with tape on the outside to make it graspable for the roach.
How to use the trap:
Simply place it anywhere you suspect roaches to be active.
How it works:
The roach sniffs out the bait and will climb the tape on the outside of the bottle.
They’ll reach the upside-down top and fall into the bottle. Once inside, they can’t get back out because of the slippery edges and because the top of the bottle is inverted.
This trap proves to be escape-proof. You just need to make sure you put tape on the outside so they can climb into the trap, as the outer bottle can be slippery without anything for them to grip onto.
This trap is very effective and super easy (and cheap) to make. The trap works wonders because every single roach that eats the bait will be poisoned over time.
Here’s what you’ll need to make a borax trap:
- A large platter or plate
- Borax (any pure borax will work, find it in the laundry aisle)
- Roach bait (any sweet-smelling bait will be OK)
Here’s how you make the cockroach trap:
- Place the borax in a ring around the outer circumference of the platter. In other words, make a circle of borax on the plate near the edge.
- Place the bait in the center.
- Put the trap where you think roaches will eat the bait.
How the trap works:
The roach will see and smell the bait.
To get to the bait though, they’ll have to cross over the borax, which will slowly poison them over time.
They’ll go back to the nest and die, and other roaches will eat the body and also get poisoned. This can actually kill the entire roach colony in your home.
Be sure to replace the borax and bait overtime to prevent reducing effectiveness and spoilage.
You can check out a video demonstration of the DIY roach trap here (credits):
Natural cockroach predators – what eats them?
There are many natural predators that’ll eat roaches without hesitation.
You may be able to eliminate and eradicate your roach problem by attraction natural predators to your area.
Depending on where the roaches are living, this may or may not be an effective approach.
You probably don’t want to introduce other pests or other weird things like shrews just to get rid of cockroaches in your home- so it may not be advised to do this.
However, some people definitely will take the extra step and bring in these predators to eliminate the cockroach problem, then also get rid of these predators when the job’s complete.
Other times, if the infestation doesn’t take place in the home, such as outdoors, attracting these other bugs to prey on the roach may be effective. It really depends on your circumstances.
Here are some natural predators that’ll eat cockroaches:
- Leopard geckos
- Monitor lizards
- Panther chameleons
- Black sugar ants
- Parasitic wasps, which also feed on other large pests like June Bugs
Out of this list, the most effective predator would be the leopard gecko.
These are readily available at most pet stores and people will buy them just to release them into the home, as they’re a non-invasive species.
Just provide them an area to bask with a food and water source, and they’ll scour the home for roaches.
The best part about leopard geckos is that they can fit into cracks, crevices, and underneath application that you normally can’t get to.
They’re also nocturnal lizards, so they’ll be out and about to feed on roaches during the night.
After the roaches are eliminated, you can contain the leopard geckos back to a terrarium.
How do you keep roaches away while you sleep?
When you sleep, science says that roaches will eat your skin and lay eggs in your ear.
To prevent this, there are a few things you can do to keep roaches away when you’re sleeping.
For starters, use a fan. Keep a fan on low power and have it on a swivel so it covers a good portion of your sleeping area.
Cockroaches tend to avoid any air movements, so using a fan helps.
Another thing is to block any entrances to your room, such as under your door or damaged window screens.
Repair screens and use a towel to block your door at night.
Lastly, use traps around your bed to catch any leftover roaches that made their way to your room.
How to get rid of cockroaches forever
There are many things you can do to keep your home free from cockroaches- permanently. It mainly comes back to maintaining and keeping your home in good condition.
Since roaches tend to look for a reliable water and food source, along with a place to hide, if you keep your home tidy and also seal up all possible entryways, you’ll be literally roach free (or pretty close to it).
Here are some general tips to keep your home free from cockroaches, for good.
Protecting your kitchen from roaches
- Clean up all leftovers, and never leave food out overnight
- Clean up any spills, table scraps, or food particles
- Wipe up any spill residues or scents
- Clean all counters, stovetops, microwaves, toasters, blenders, refrigerators, and any other appliance after use from food stains
- Mop the kitchen floor quick every single time food is prepped
- Place natural roach traps around the kitchen in key locations to monitor further roaches
Protecting your bathroom from roaches
- Wipe up any spills from showers or sinks
- Don’t let the bathroom get humid, leave the door ajar to let the air escape
- Shut the bathroom window at night
- Don’t throw trash in your bathroom’s trash can that’s edible to roaches
- Always flush the toilet
- Maintain basic bathroom hygiene
- Repair damaged screens on windows
Protecting your attic or basement from roaches
- Dispose of all clutter
- Store up all loose objects in strong cardboard boxes or plastic bins
- Never leave food of any kind available
- Seal up all cracks and entry points throughout the attic or basement
- Caulk cracks in the foundation or walls
- Repair any damaged vents or soffits
- Seal up holes near the windows or doors
- Repair any plumbing problems
- Place traps to monitor roach population over time and check your effectiveness
Protecting your garage from roaches
- Place extra roach bait and traps
- Seal up any cracks in the walls, foundation, or windows
- Repair damaged screening
- Dispose of any unnecessary clutter
- Package and store everything in boxes or plastic totes
- Seal up any entryways using high-grade caulk
- Remove any sources of food
- Don’t keep pets in the garage
- Remove any pet food or pet products
- Secure any trash cans or compost bins
- Repair any plumbing problems
- Replace any broken vents or screening for your windows
Protecting outdoors from roaches
- Secure all trash cans, compost bins, and recyclable bins
- Dispose of all clutter
- Get rid of woodpiles
- Add plenty of roach traps around your perimeter
- Use natural DIY roach repellent
- Seal up any cracks in your foundation
- Replace all screenings for your windows and doors
- Seal up crevices and cracks around your patio doors, windows, or doors
- Remove all pet food at night and clean up any leftovers
- Seal up all accessible food sources (pet food, chicken feed, etc.)
- Clean up any pet or animal waste
- Maintain a healthy garden (remove leaf clutter, keep lawns mowed, etc.)
- Seal up wall cracks
- Remove roach hiding places
- Use common sense and act accordingly
Commercial roach killers and traps
Commercial roach killers come in hundreds of brands and dozens of applications.
Do your research before buying. Opt for all-natural solutions. Read reviews. There’s not much I can suggest if you plan to buy commercial brands.
Commercial roach sprays
I’ve used a dozen or of the most popular roach sprays and every single time, it just results in a huge mess.
The spray gets all over the place as you’re trying to chase down the roach and you literally end up spraying the poison all over the area. This is one of the reasons I highly don’t recommend using a roach spray.
The other problem is that they don’t kill on contact.
Every single time, I’ve had to literally drown the roach with a ton of pesticides just to kill it. Sure, it kills on contact- but only after you empty half the can on a single roach.
The roach will start running right away when you first start spraying the shell, and it’ll try to find cover nearby. If it does, then it’ll escape and track roach poison everywhere. If it doesn’t, then you can continue spraying.
After 8 seconds or so, the roach will finally collapse.
But during those 8 seconds of chasing the pest down, it has a lot of time to run away (and lots of time for you to get roach killer all over your furniture and stuff).
The problem with roach sprays is that they take way too long to actually kill the roach, and assuming the roach escapes, now it’ll track roach poisoning all over your kitchen, bathroom, and home (alongside the regular bacterial properties that roaches harbor).
This is why I don’t recommend using any roach spray- at all.
Did you get rid of your roach problem?
That’s about it.
After a painstakingly long time to put this thing together, I hope this DIY roach control guide has proven to be helpful for you. If you have any further questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll try to help you out.
For those who’ve dealt with roaches before, feel free to chime in and leave your words of wisdom!
With patience and persistence, you should be able to get rid of your roach problem naturally- for good!
Thanks for reading.
Currently an active researcher in the pest control industry for the past 8 years- with a focus on using natural and organic methods to eliminate pest problems.
I share handy DIY pest techniques I come across here to help out others (and possibly save them from a mental breakdown).
Fight nature with nature.