Cockroach Home Remedies: What Works And What Doesn’t?

May 16, 2023
Cockroach Home Remedies: What Works And What Doesn't?

With cockroaches being a universal house pest that everyone has dealt with at least once in their life, it is no surprise that there is an abundance of home remedies you can find online. However, many of these do-it-yourself (DIY) solutions are less effective than the internet says, with many being downright myths not worth your time. However, a handful of them can help you safely remove and prevent cockroaches or, at the very least, reduce the number of roaches in your home. Read on as we sort out facts from fiction regarding the most popular cockroach home remedies you can find today.

1. Diatomaceous earth

Apart from being effective against roaches, diatomaceous earth works for fleas, ants, and bed bugs. This white, powdery substance is better known as insecticidal dust made of diatoms or small, ground-up fossils of marine algae.

When roaches come into contact with the dust, their microscopic and sharp particles erode their exoskeletons that retain body moisture. The damage thus causes the cockroaches to become dehydrated until they die. While diatomaceous earth is an effective home remedy against roaches, its effects do not happen overnight.

You will need to sprinkle plenty of it in the roaches’ active areas so they walk over it and wait for some time before they die out. It is important to note that you should only use food-grade diatomaceous earth when trying this remedy, as other variants, such as garden-grade and pool-grade, pose a considerable health risk if breathed in.

2. Baking soda and sugar

This home remedy is controversial, with one side swearing on its effectiveness while the other claims it only worsens things. The way it works is that baking soda and sugar are combined into a mixture and set as bait for roaches. The theory is that baking soda becomes an insecticide once it reacts with water and forms carbon dioxide gas in the roaches’ gut. After reaching a certain point, their bodies can no longer handle the pressure from the expanding gas and die.

Under lab conditions, this solution is effective, but it is unclear if the results hold up in real-life scenarios. Another issue with this home remedy is that roaches now commonly avoid sugar as a genetic trait passed down to them by their predecessors. Thus, while this combination can kill a few cockroaches, they learn to avoid it soon after.

3. Bay leaves

Supposedly, the smell of bay leaves repels roaches, but no concrete data supports their repellent properties. According to most people, this ‘remedy’ rarely, if at all, makes a difference. And while the essential oil of bay leaves can potentially kill certain pests, this entails applying the distilled oils directly onto them. Therefore, scattering a few bay leaves simply will not be enough.

4. Lemon juice

Cleaning your home with water and lemon juice is another popular home remedy that can have some effect, not because of the lemon, but the cleaning part. The limonene in lemons repels cockroaches, but only in sufficiently high concentrations. Moreover, with citrus essential oils being classified as ‘top notes’ by connoisseurs, they evaporate quickly. As such, lemon or citrus essential oils are a terrible remedy for roaches, but regular cleaning always works to remove their hiding places and potential food sources.

5. Coffee grounds

It is believed that coffee and its aroma are toxic and a natural repellent against roaches, hence why some websites recommend placing coffee grounds all over your home to keep these pests at bay. However, the International Journal of Science and Healthcare Research published a study in 2020 testing this solution and found that it did not meet expectations.

The myth of their effectiveness likely stems from the fact that caffeine is proven to have some insecticidal properties. Studies have found that plants use caffeine and other similar substances to repel mealworms, mosquito larvae, and other pests, but unfortunately, cockroaches are not among them.


Given that home remedies are free and easy to apply for the most part, it makes sense for many people to try as many of them first when dealing with roaches in their home. But seeing as only a select few are effective yet not always reliable for quick extermination, it is always better to call in the professionals instead.

Don’t give roaches in your home time to multiply and spread and let PestClinic handle them today. With our team of professional exterminators on the case, you can rest assured that we have got your cockroach infestation under control. In addition to roaches, our pest control services cover rodents, insects, termites, and many other common and uncommon pests in Singapore. Reach out to us at any time if you have inquiries or require our services.

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