11 Essential Oils for Cockroaches: Repelling Guide for Homeowners 🪰 The Buginator (2022)

Cockroaches are just one of the pests that you can bring home. They can hide inside dry goods you buy at the grocery store or furniture that you buy brand new or second-hand. Essential oils for cockroaches include oils that repel roaches and others that kill them.

11 Essential Oils for Cockroaches: Repelling Guide for Homeowners 🪰 The Buginator (1)

Check out some of the best essential oils to keep roaches out of your house.

Table of Contents

What Essential Oils Repel Roaches?

If you want to repel cockroaches and make sure they don’t enter your home, there are a few essential oils you can try.

  1. Eucalyptus oil is a good repellent. It leaves behind a strong and lingering scent that will keep working for days.
  2. If you want to repel roaches outside, try citronella oil. The downside of citronella oil is that the effects aren’t long lasting. Some have noted that effects wear off within a few hours.
  3. Cypress mulch works well on roaches and other bugs when used outside. As you probably don’t want to keep mulch indoors, you can replace it with cypress oil. This oil is a natural remedy that repels roaches.
  4. Cedar oil is also a nice choice. While it has a soft and natural odor, cedar oil repels roaches and other types of bugs.
  5. Some like using lavender oil. While there aren’t any studies that show the oil will repel roaches, it works on many insects. As a bonus, lavender can also help you sleep better and fight stress.
  6. Some homeowners like catnip oil. It might be worth a try.
11 Essential Oils for Cockroaches: Repelling Guide for Homeowners 🪰 The Buginator (2)

5 Essential Oils That Kill Roaches

  1. Peppermint oil is one of the best ways to kill cockroaches. This oil has such an intense scent that it can make your eyes water as soon as you remove the cap.
  2. Tea tree oil has some nice health benefits but will also work on cockroaches. You can use it diluted in water or with a combo of water and vinegar to kill roaches.
  3. Rosemary oil: Another oil that kills cockroaches is rosemary oil. When used on certain types of roaches such as the brown band version, studies found that it killed all of the roaches in a specific area.
  4. Oregano oil is among one of the best essential oils for cockroaches. Not only is it effective, but it will last for up to a week before you need to use it any more.
  5. Mint oil also works well as long as the mixture you use contains a minimum of 3% mint oil. This type of oil will kill any cockroaches it comes into contact with and will keep killing as the bugs carry the oil to their homes.

Essential Oil Caution for Pet Owners

While some essential oils are effective at repelling and killing roaches, they can also present a risk to your pets, both cats and dogs.

Some essential oils are poisonous to dogs. This includes oil of cinnamon, citrus, pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, tea tree (melaleuca), wintergreen, and ylang ylang. These oils are toxic whether ingested by mouth or spread on the skin.

American Kennel Club

Essential oils that are known to cause poisoning in cats include oil of wintergreen, oil of sweet birch, citrus oil (d-limonene), pine oils, Ylang Ylang oil, peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, pennyroyal oil, clove oil, eucalyptus oil, and tea tree oil.

Pet Poison Helpline

Always verify with your vet or another trusted source before using an essential oil around your pets.

How to Use Essential Oils for Cockroaches

The best way to get rid of cockroaches with essential oils will depend on the type of oil that you choose.

You should never use essential oils as-is because they can damage different surfaces around your house.

If you worry about damaging furniture or other soft surfaces, try applying a small amount of oil and seeing what it does.

You should use a carrier oil such as olive oil. Though it dilutes the essential oil, it will still be effective at killing or repelling cockroaches.

  • To use peppermint oil or another type of mint oil, add a small amount of oil to a spray bottle and top with water.
  • You only need around 15 to 20 drops of essential oil.
  • Spray the solution on your walls and around spots where you saw roaches.
  • Make a stronger solution with two parts water and one part vinegar before adding your mint oil.

You can spray the mixture around your house or soak cotton balls in it and lay them around the places where you spotted roaches.

  • As eucalyptus oil is so strong, you often need as little as five drops in a bottle with water or a combo of water and vinegar. You have the option of using either distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
  • Lavender oil also works well when diluted in water. A more effective repellent uses a combo of lavender oil with basil, lemon, rose and citronella oil. If you choose this mixture, use a few drops of each one in a spray bottle before adding water.

No matter which type of oil you use, always dilute the oil with either water or water and vinegar before using it in your home.

11 Essential Oils for Cockroaches: Repelling Guide for Homeowners 🪰 The Buginator (3)

Where to Use Essential Oils for Cockroaches

You should use essential oils anywhere you see roaches or signs of a cockroach infestation.

  • Look for signs of their droppings or smear marks, which occur when they walk through their waste. Many homeowners see these marks in their cabinets and on their walls and floors.
  • Tiny pieces of black matter are another sign, which you’ll see when the roaches shed their skin. You may also detect a strange odor.
  • During more serious infestations, you can even see roaches running around your home. Though they usually only come out at night, they will also come out during the day if you have a bigger infestation.

When using essential oils in your kitchen, focus on the areas around your appliances, including your fridge and stove.

  • Spray the oil inside your cabinets and around the edges of your drawers. You’ll also want to open the cabinet under the sink and spray the solution around your pipes.
  • Cockroaches can easily come through gaps between the pipe and wall. Essential oils are also safe to use on your counters.
  • Cockroaches commonly live in bathrooms, too. Check behind your toilet to find the spot where the water line enters the wall.
  • Apply your essential oil mixture around that pipe. You should also spray it on your counters and inside any cabinets or drawers.

As roaches need a consistent water source, you’ll also see these bugs living around leaks.

If you have a leak under your sink or inside the wall, take care of it as soon as possible and then use your essential oil mixture.

You may want to check other areas of your home for roaches, including your closets and living room.

  • Cockroaches love closets because those areas give them a dark spot to hide and live. They can often move through the gaps under the doors to reach different rooms.
  • Check the inside of any dressers or vanities that you have as well. You should also check your laundry room and focus on both your washer and dryer along with your water heater.
  • In your living room, look under your couch and chairs. It’s also helpful to use essential oils around your TV console or table.
  • Cockroaches can hide inside electronics such as gaming consoles, too. Here are 7 ways to get roaches out of electronics.

Which Essential Oil is Best for Roaches?

Does Peppermint Oil Repel Roaches?

Peppermint oil is one of the few essential oils toxic enough to kill cockroaches. If you aren’t a fan of peppermint, you can use spearmint or any other type of mint oil.

Many love peppermint oil because it has a fun scent that reminds them of the holidays.

Several studies found that peppermint oil works especially well on both American roaches and German roaches. Peppermint oil both repels and kills cockroaches.

Learn more about peppermint oil for roaches – including links to the studies.

Does Cedar Oil Kill Roaches?

Known as both cedar oil and cedarwood oil, this essential oil does not kill roaches but will repel them.

This is the same scent that repels moths and other bugs from closets and cabinets. You should dilute it with a carrier oil or water before spraying it around your house. Cedar oil has a strong scent that can last for days or longer.

Does Tea Tree Oil Repel Roaches?

Tea tree oil can repel roaches but may not work on all types. The cockroaches in your home may move so fast that they get by before you can spray them with this oil.

It’s helpful to apply the oil to any crevices or cracks where roaches hide. This ensures that most roaches spell the oil.

Does Lavender Oil Repel Roaches?

Lavender oil is a popular essential oil because it helps you feel relaxed and calm. It works on many types of insects but may not be effective on roaches unless you use it with other oils.

Most recipes call for equal parts lemon and rose oil along with citronella and basil oil. Those oils work together to repel roaches.

Does Eucalyptus Kill Roaches?

Eucalyptus oil is toxic and serves as a natural way to kill roaches.

Not only does it work on most types of roaches, but it lasts longer than other essential oils do. You usually only need a few drops mixed in a spray bottle with water.

This combo will work for up to a full week.

11 Essential Oils for Cockroaches: Repelling Guide for Homeowners 🪰 The Buginator (4)

Controversy Over Essential Oils for Roaches

While essential oils are popular among homeowners, not everyone agrees.

In this short post by ScherZinger Pest Control, they discount all essential oils as “not the best way to solve your problem”.

They make a good point, noting that tea tree oil is poisonous to pets. In fact, they missed many others that are also poisonous to cats and dogs. These include cinnamon, citrus, pennyroyal, peppermint, and sweet birch. See the full list above, as provided by the American Kennel Club and Pet Poison Hotline.

But instead of using natural, inexpensive methods, they recommend hiring them for a monthly fee. Seems like their strong opinions (no sources included) could have another motive.

Especially when there are studies (Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Auburn University) that have proven the effectiveness of mint oil to kill roaches.

Of course, if they can share some data, we would be happy to include this in the post.

Using Essential Oils for Roaches

Essential oils can repel and kill roaches. You can choose one that has a scent you love and combine it with just water or both water and oil. Essential oils for cockroaches can work as a spray, but you can also use the oil on cotton balls you use around the house.

Be sure to confirm that the specific oil you plan to use is safe around your pets, children, and furniture.

  • About the Author
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11 Essential Oils for Cockroaches: Repelling Guide for Homeowners 🪰 The Buginator (5)

Bryan Haines

Bryan Haines is a co-founder and writer at The Buginator. And is working to make it the best resource for taking back the outdoors from biting, stinging pests.

He also blogs about travel at Storyteller.Travel and photography at GudPixel. Bryan is a partner at Storyteller Media, a publishing company he runs with his wife, Dena.

FAQs

What is the best essential oil to repel cockroaches? ›

The best essential oils to repel roaches are peppermint oil, oregano oil and catnip oil. Essential Oils for Killing Roaches. The best essential oils to get rid of roaches are rosemary oil, cedar oil and eucalyptus oil.

Do essential oils actually repel roaches? ›

Spray Essential Oils

Research has found that some essential oils—especially rosemary oil—are effective at repelling roaches. Rosemary oil was found to offer a 100% roach mortality rate at the concentration range of 2.5% to 30%. So mix it with water and spray away at your problem areas!

What smell drives away cockroaches? ›

Cockroaches have an incredible sense of smell that they use to find food. You can take advantage of this fact by using scents they dislike such as thyme, citrus, basil, mint, and citronella to repel them from your home.

What smell do big roaches hate? ›

Peppermint oil, cedarwood oil, and cypress oil are essential oils that effectively keep cockroaches at bay. Additionally, these insects hate the smell of crushed bay leaves and steer clear of coffee grounds. If you want to try a natural way to kill them, combine powdered sugar and boric acid.

What kills cockroaches instantly home remedies? ›

For best results, combine equal parts borax and white table sugar. Dust the mixture any place you've seen roach activity. When the roaches consume the borax, it will dehydrate them and kill them rapidly.

How do you use essential oils for roaches? ›

Using Essential Oils for Roaches

Essential oils can repel and kill roaches. You can choose one that has a scent you love and combine it with just water or both water and oil. Essential oils for cockroaches can work as a spray, but you can also use the oil on cotton balls you use around the house.

How long does peppermint oil keep roaches away? ›

What they found is surprising—and great news for the millions of homeowners across the U.S. looking for an easy, safe, natural way to repel cockroaches. During each day of their 14-day experiment, the mint oil repelled 100% of the roaches. 100%! That's a significant result.

Does Irish Spring soap repel roaches? ›

Irish Spring soap repels mammal pests, such as mice, rabbit and deer. It does not repel insect pests.

Does Pine Sol keep roaches away? ›

Pine-Sol and Fabuloso are strong, all-purpose household cleaners. Similar to bleach, these products kill roaches on contact. Some homeowners suggest spraying Pine-Sol around the outside of your house to keep cockroaches away.

What dont cockroaches like? ›

Roaches are deterred by scents that humans enjoy, such as citrus. For kitchen deterrents, cockroaches dislike the smell of cinnamon, bay leaves, garlic, peppermint, and coffee grounds. If you want a strong-smelling disinfectant, choose vinegar or bleach.

How do I get rid of roaches in my kitchen cabinets naturally? ›

Water and Soap Spray — A simple mixture of water and dish soap will dry the roaches out, killing them. Mix equal parts into a spray bottle and have at it! Lay Down Eggshells — it may sound a bit odd, but cockroaches are repelled by eggshells, too. Place some inside the cabinets and this should stop them from entering.

What are cockroaches afraid of? ›

It's a fact that cockroaches are afraid of humans and other mammals or animals that are bigger than them. They see us as predators and that fear triggers their instinct to scatter away. However, they dislike strong and distinctive scents such as citrus, peppermint, lavender and vinegar.

Why are there suddenly so many cockroaches in my house? ›

Some factors that can attract cockroaches to clean houses include: Moisture. Leaking sinks and appliances create conditions in which roaches thrive, since they offer a readily available source of water as well as the warm, sheltered spaces that provide the ideal harborage for cockroach nests. Untidy landscaping.

Do roaches hate vinegar? ›

Distilled vinegar does not kill or repel roaches, making it completely ineffective. Distilled vinegar will help keep your kitchen clean, giving cockroaches less to snack on. However, roaches can live for months at a time without any food at all, and they will eat almost anything to survive.

Do roaches hate bleach? ›

While bleach is ineffective when it comes to killing cockroaches, it does repel them. But, bleach should only be used with extreme caution, as it is toxic when ingested, and has the potential to bleach or damage anything it touches. When it comes to deterring roaches with smells, bleach may not be the best option.

What spices do roaches hate? ›

Cayenne, Garlic, and Onion Powder

Walk around your home and sprinkle all cockroach-prone areas with this spice mixture. Cockroaches can't stand the smell of these spices and will avoid all areas sprinkled with them.

What food kills roaches instantly? ›

Peppermint, clove, cinnamon, rosemary, and thyme have been found to have lethal properties. You can either make your own “instant roach killer spray,” or use a packaged product like Zevo or Wondercide.

What does rubbing alcohol do to roaches? ›

Even if you manage to catch up to the roach, the larger species may be able to take squirt after squirt before they start to slow down. To summarize, you might kill a roach or two, but isopropyl alcohol is dangerous and not terribly effective for an infestation.

How do you get a cockroach out of hiding? ›

You can lure cockroaches out of hiding with sticky traps, bait, or DIY lures. Commercial bait traps are made of high-grade poison that has a tempting aroma. This lures out roaches that eat the bait, bring traces back to their colony, and then die.

How do you make homemade roach killer spray? ›

Homemade Roach Spray

A typical homemade cockroach repellent uses one teaspoon of liquid dish soap and one cup of water. However, this is only effective if it can be sprayed directly on the roaches. Adding baking soda or Borax to the mix will effectively kill the roaches where they live.

How do you drive roaches away? ›

The easiest way to get rid of roaches is by making sure your home is clean.
  1. Wash dishes and put them away after meals.
  2. Clean crumbs and spills immediately.
  3. Take out the garbage before going to bed.
  4. Remove grease from the stovetop.
  5. Seal food in containers.
  6. Mop on a regular basis.

What candle smell do roaches hate? ›

Some people use citronella candles and lit these at home. For those who have citronella oil, they soak cotton balls or towels with it. For those who prefer to use this product as a spray, they have citronella sprays which makes it easy for them to spray and fill the house with the substance's smell.

What does peppermint oil do to cockroaches? ›

Peppermint oil acts as a repellent because the bugs know it will kill them and run away when they smell it. If they decide to stick around, the oil will eventually kill them, If you found one roach, there are probably many more.

Do cockroaches like lavender? ›

Luckily, roaches are repelled by lavender, which you can use in a variety of ways! Cockroaches have an excellent sense of smell that they use to find food and follow trails from roaches.

What is the purpose of putting a bar of soap in your bed? ›

While there's no scientific evidence to back it up, some people say that adding a bar of soap under your sheets helps soothe their RLS-related cramps. Grove Co.'s Lavender soap is a good choice, as the soothing scent of lavender has a calming effect that'll help you relax and drift off to sleep.

Does bar soap keep roaches away? ›

A combination of soap and water is often touted as an effective roach killer. Soap can be used to get rid of cockroaches. A soap and water mixture can melt away roaches' protective outer coating and block their spiracles. Unable to breathe, the roach will eventually die.

How do you get rid of German roaches overnight? ›

We recommend using gel baits, non-repellent insecticides, dust baits, roach bait stations, insect growth regulators (IGR), select dust and roach pheromone traps for residential and commercial areas. Very often, high levels of control can be achieved by baits alone for the typical homeowner.

Does peppermint oil really repel roaches? ›

Not only is peppermint oil a natural cockroach repellent—it's also toxic to roaches (and for the record, to bed bugs, too). The same Auburn University study found that mint oil killed both German and American cockroaches when they came into contact with it for an extended period.

Do roaches hate the smell of lavender? ›

Luckily, roaches are repelled by lavender, which you can use in a variety of ways! Cockroaches have an excellent sense of smell that they use to find food and follow trails from roaches.

Does tea tree oil repel cockroaches? ›

Tea tree oil, one of the more popular essential oils, has been said to kill roaches; however, it's completely ineffective.

Does eucalyptus oil repel cockroaches? ›

Eucalyptus oil is a good repellent. It leaves behind a strong and lingering scent that will keep working for days. If you want to repel roaches outside, try citronella oil. The downside of citronella oil is that the effects aren't long lasting.

How do I use peppermint oil to get rid of roaches? ›

Another method uses cotton balls.

You can then place the cotton balls in different areas of your home where roaches live. Though peppermint oil is strong, it wears off quickly. You can add a few drops every night to keep repelling and killing roaches.

Does Pine Sol repel roaches? ›

Pine-Sol and Fabuloso are strong, all-purpose household cleaners. Similar to bleach, these products kill roaches on contact. Some homeowners suggest spraying Pine-Sol around the outside of your house to keep cockroaches away.

Does Irish Spring soap repel roaches? ›

Irish Spring soap repels mammal pests, such as mice, rabbit and deer. It does not repel insect pests.

What does cockroach hate? ›

It's a fact that cockroaches are afraid of humans and other mammals or animals that are bigger than them. They see us as predators and that fear triggers their instinct to scatter away. However, they dislike strong and distinctive scents such as citrus, peppermint, lavender and vinegar.

Do banana peels get rid of cockroaches? ›

If you only have a few cockroaches, this is the way to go. Coat the inside of the jar in petroleum jelly and place a banana peel in the bottom. Place the uncovered jar in a dark place. The scent of the banana peel will draw the cockroaches in but, the inside of the jar will be slippery and not allow them to escape.

Does vinegar keep roaches away? ›

All About Vinegar

Unfortunately, it doesn't actually kill these problem insects. It's more of a cleaning tool than anything else, and it won't actually help eliminate your roach problem. It can, however, help deter roaches and get rid of germs in the kitchen when used as a cleaning agent.

Do roaches hate bleach? ›

While bleach is ineffective when it comes to killing cockroaches, it does repel them. But, bleach should only be used with extreme caution, as it is toxic when ingested, and has the potential to bleach or damage anything it touches. When it comes to deterring roaches with smells, bleach may not be the best option.

What brings roaches out of hiding? ›

Coat the inner walls of the jar with petroleum jelly. Place the jar near known cockroach hiding spots. Before you leave your trap, place food (such as bread or baby food) inside the jar. You can also pick a used jar with leftover peanut butter, jelly, or flavored spread inside.

Does sleeping with lights on prevent roaches? ›

Cockroaches are nocturnal and seek to avoid light. However, that's not because light harms them. It's because cockroaches understand that they can't hide or evade predators in open sight. Leaving a night light or lamp on throughout the night won't drive them away.

What season do roaches come out the most? ›

As long as the temperature indoors is above 50 degrees, roaches can remain active year-round, although they are more prevalent in the spring and summer months.

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