How To Get Rid Of Cockroaches (and DIY Roach Killer)

How to get rid of cockroaches from
I wish I’d known in college how to get rid of cockroaches, because some of the cruddy apartments I lived in literally swarmed with the things when the lights were off. Of course, if I’d known how to clean properly — and insisted my roommates learn, too — I probably could have cut their population down significantly… or at least sent them to live at the neighbors. Now, even though it’s been over 20 years, I still shudder when I think of how the things skittered around in our kitchens and bathrooms.


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If you live in an area where cockroaches are prevalent, or in an older home or apartment building where they never seem to go away, don’t give up hope. You can get rid of roaches. While it’s almost impossible to completely kill them throughout a structure without heavy toxins, there are many steps you can take to reduce their population and send them looking for somewhere else to live.

How To Get Rid Of Cockroaches By De-Cluttering

Roaches love the smell of paper, which does a great job of holding on to a pheromone they put out to tell their friends when they’ve found a feast. Your first step in reducing roaches is to eliminate these potential bug-magnets:

  • Stacks of newspapers and magazines
  • Paper bags from the grocery store
  • Unused cardboard boxes
  • Other forms of clutter, especially on the floor or bottom of cupboards, where roaches can set up camp.
  • Don’t know where to start decluttering? Follow the 30-Day plan in my book!

How To Get Rid Of Roaches By Starving Them

Roaches love to eat. To get rid of them, get rid of what they like to eat.

  • Don’t leave food sitting on your counters, including fruit bowls.
  • Store dry goods in tightly-sealed containers.
  • Varnish or paint wood shelves to seal them, then wipe them clean regularly.
  • Rinse your cans, bottles and plastics before putting them in your recycling bins.
  • Empty trash daily.

How To Get Rid Of Roaches By Cleaning

A pile of crumbs or splatter of grease is an all-you-can-eat buffet for these bugs.

How To Get Rid Of Roaches With DIY Roach Killer

Once you’ve eliminated the clutter, food sources and breeding areas through the above steps, you’ll want to repel roaches so they don’t return. Rather than call an exterminator to fog your house with toxic chemicals, try making some of these DIY Roach Killer Balls.

DIY Roach Killer Balls

1/8 cup Crisco or bacon drippings
1/8 cup powdered sugar
1 cup Borax
1/2 cup flour (they don’t care if it’s white or wheat)

1. Combine the first four ingredients, then add water until it forms a soft dough.
2. Roll into balls about the size of an olive.
3. Stashing two or three balls where roaches are likely to hang out — under sinks, behind appliances, in food cupboards, etc. (SEE NOTE BELOW)
4. Lightly mist the balls with water daily to keep their “scent” fresh.
5. Replace with fresh balls as needed.

The Crisco or bacon grease and powdered sugar in these balls attracts the roaches and gives them something to eat. But Borax has very sharp edges, so it tears up their insides and kills them. The result? Dead roaches!

Now, please note that Borax and boric acid aren’t the same thing, but they’re related. Boric acid will work much faster than Borax to kill the roaches, but some people don’t feel comfortable using it or would rather use Borax because they already have it from making homemade laundry detergent.

Either way, it’s a good idea to pop the DIY Roach Repellant Balls in a plastic berry container (which has vent holes that let cockroaches get in) and tape them shut before stashing them where kids or pets can get to them. Or put them down when the kids are asleep at night — which is when roaches usually come out, anyway — and pick them up in the morning.

Don’t forget: keeping your home roach-free requires constant diligence, so even if the roach balls seem to work you’ll want to stay on top of proper food storage, clutter and cleaning. Good luck!

Equipment You May Need:



  1. lesyle says

    My friend asked about this issue, I just found this article, called her and read it to her…her internet is not working due to computers problems, so I gave the website to use for herself. Further, I stayed on the phone and walked her through making the cockroach killer, she is so happy now…Thank you

  2. Donna B. says

    I spent years battling roaches when I was much younger and we lived in crappy apartments. I never had any in the refrigerator but the dishwasher seemed a magnet for them. And under the coffee pot. They like warm moist places.

    The house we’re in now was rented for several years before we decided to move into it. The renters stored dogfood in open sacks in the kitchen cabinet along with the human food, also not kept in sealed containers. The whole place was disgustingly filthy even in places that are easy to keep clean. The renters apparently dealt with this by using 40 watt light bulbs. They had created a romantic spa for roaches.

    I had allowed a week for cleaning and bit of cosmetic updating before moving. That turned into 5 weeks.

    What you call decluttering, I call removing the places roaches live. Any place in a structure there is a crack can be home to a roach colony. The worst in this house were the spaces behind the shelves in all the cabinets. I caulked for days. Next was ill-fitting facings in all the rooms because it is an old house and it had settled. Some got replaced, the others got caulked.

    Frankly, I’m not a good housekeeper like you are. I appreciate your hints and, believe it or not, actually use some of them! But even slovenly people can live roach free if there’s no place for the roaches to live. Unless they live in an apartment. I don’t think there’s any way to get rid of them permanently there. Your cleaning techniques will send them to the other apartments looking for food in that case.

    Oh… there were mice in this house too. The DIY borax balls should help there too. I used a slightly different recipe containing borax (it was my mother’s and I should have written it down). I also didn’t have to worry about about children or pets getting to them because the house was vacant, so I used it liberally.

    We will occasionally see a mouse, but they are much easier to get rid of than roaches. Honestly, I think they get in because my husband doesn’t think shutting doors is necessary. This is the same way that durned snake got in the house too.

    But we’ve been roach-free for 23 years!

    • Katie B. says

      Donna, you ought to put a sign up in your kitchen: “ROACH-FREE FOR 23 YEARS!” 😉 Your idea to caulk is a great one. If new ones can’t get in, then the task is to just to kill off those already in the house.

      With mice, my husband’s like yours, constantly leaving doors open because “I’m only going outside for a minute” (which turns into 5 or 10, at least). Thankfully, we have two indoor cats that see wayward mice as a perfect chance to hone their predator skills.

  3. says

    Dearest Katie,
    Great posting; just printed it out for the recipe. We got them in our garage, sure with 8 cats coming in and out there and eating/sleeping… My husband just mentioned the other day that there for sure has to be some kind of trap. Your recipe sounds great and we like to try it out.
    Thanks for your always great tips to manage day-by-day living.

    • Katie B. says

      Hello Mariette!
      Eight cats surely keep your garage mouse-free. Too bad they can’t be trained to chase down cockroaches! Be sure to keep the cockroach repellant balls in some kind of container that the cats can’t get into. Berry baskets work, and so do film canisters with small holes cut into the side.


      • Alexis says

        Actually cats can be. We don’t have mice so when our kitty get bored he goes bug hunting and kills any bugs he finds

  4. says

    Awesome tips! We don’t have roaches luckily but the few times I have seen them, I smash them with my meat tenderized. This way I know that it’s good and dead.

    • DaveM says

      Sorry to say, but if you see a critter in the open, it only means that it couldn’t find any other way of finding food, because other critters have already taken them. In other words, it’s a sign of over-population. If you see even one, you have a problem and should take maximum action.

  5. Dave says

    Awesome tips! My wife has been looking for a good diy roach killer recipe for a while, will definitely share with her! Thanks for sharing!

  6. says

    Hi Katie! Great tips. You are one of the fan favorites at the Sunday Showcase from the Make it Pretty Monday party at The Dedicated House. Pop on in and grab a showcase feature button for your blog. Also, I’m opening up MIP early tonight since most of us will be busy with festivities tomorrow. Hope to see you again at the bash! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  7. says

    Great info! We live in a part of the country where the roaches just *are*…and we have pecan trees… so…it’s just a matter of keeping them at bay. If you have a big problem, you need to remove boxed foods (they will eat the glue on the boxes) and they will eat particle board in cheap cabinetry. The very best roast killer/deterrent I have found is ortho fire ant powder! It smells like collard greens, but if you sprinkle it around the foundation, any space where the roaches might like to hide, etc. they will be GONE in a week. buh-bye roaches. I treat the home every 3-4 months.

    • Katie B. says

      My grandmother swore by the Ortho stuff, but as someone who tries to avoid chemicals and toxins as much as possible, I go for the natural solutions first. With pecan trees, you already have an uphill battle… then again, you have pecans right out your back door. I’m jealous!

  8. celia lowe says

    We live on a cattle ranch and My son shows a couple Brahman heifers that we keep by our house and the roaches from the feed that the heifers spill are awful. We have lived here for 5 yrs and I don’t have roaches in the house thank God

  9. DaveM says

    This is all very good advice. Decluttering, wiping down surfaces, and locking food away is essential. In my experience, nothing beats Boric acid powder for effectiveness, and it’s cheap and odorless, too. The power must be applied in the corners and edges where the critters travel — NOT anywhere you normally can see standing up. You have to get behind, under, and around the back of things. If you have very small pets and children, you have to keep them away from it, but if you’ve applied it properly, it won’t be in any places they normally go.

    The powder works very quickly; within a few days you will see results. A key to its effectiveness is that the powder is carried on their bodies back to the nests, where it is spread to the other critters by grooming.

    One thing to note: critters really hate light and will do anything to keep from being seen. So, if you see even one in the open, it means you have a big problem on your hands. The instant you see one, go to maximum red alert.

  10. C.G.1985 says

    DIY Roach Killer Balls – Is that safe to use under the stove, where heat is present? Also, cannot find Borax at my local Wal-Mart. Any other suggestions on where to purchase it?

    Thanks! :)

  11. nancy says

    I think its important to point out that boric acid and borax do not work on the little german cock roaches. People will tell you it does but even the products made with boric acid specify that it wont work on them. If you have a serious problem no ammount of cleaning will help either. caulking can help them from coming in . I’ve used vinegar and water before and i just dont know if it helped. It definitely never hurt, but they didnt seem to mind it.The ortho fire ant killer works great. The next morning everything is dead, but unfortunately it is only supposed to be used outside. I think it even tells you to change your clothes afterward? THat stuff is pretty potent but more honestly than not really worth the risk. We make it in to something similar to the roach balls described above switching it for the boric acid. Leaving it out on bits of cardboard only overnight and cleaning up early in the morning before any children are around. If you use it never touch it. always cover your hands. Even in apartment where they will come back within a couple weeks it makes for a nice break. Nothing the exterminators have sprayed has come close. I get worried the roaches will become immune to it. It hasn’t happend yet though and my lease won’t be up for awhile so heres to hopin’

    • Katie Berry says

      I think you hit the nail on the head when you said “that stuff is pretty potent”. It contains a number of known carcinogens and nervous system disruptors, too. That’s why it’s specifically labeled for outdoor use — those things build up in a person’s body, both through exposure to them and in combination with other things we’re exposed to. In granular form, they’re particularly susceptible to breaking down, becoming part of household dust and even the air we breathe. “Really worth the risk”? Nancy, I just can’t agree on that.

  12. Tom says

    Hi there,
    I live in London in a ground/lower ground floor apartment. I have recently come across a couple of covkroaches and my housemate has even been bitten by them at night (she ain’t happy – understandably).
    I need to get rid of them fast… unfortunately they are the little German cock-a-roaches so they bacon flavoured acid balls above will not work (right?).
    Removing clutter is a good start and keeping it v clean of course, but is there anything else I can do? I do have a lot of junk in an unused and unventilated spare room/storage room with no windows – which happens to be the next door room to my housemate’s room… coincedence?
    I also have a pane of glass on the inside of the windows in each bedroom, i guess to reduce noise from the road – the windows are at pavement height, a keep heat in as a cheap alternative to double glazing. Should I remove this to increase ventilation?
    Should I get a new ventilation fan for the bathroom (which also has no windows)?

    I haven’t painted a great picture of my apartment – which is actually lovely (when it doesnt have cockroaches- but any advice would be great. THANKS !!!!

  13. says

    Ok I’ve been living in the same house for 20 years and never had a roach until now. I can’t even sleep peacefully knowing that they are running around. I’m going to try the borax balls and the boric powder as well. If all else fails than ortho fire ant dust. Can’t live with these pests anymore. Pray for me …

  14. monica says

    Well, I have not had a bug problem in over four years. Used to see black waterbugs. But again bug free for four years. Now all of the sudden I have these huge brown cockroaches. Don’t know where they are coming from. Have boric acid in my front door and still here they come. My house is not that clean, though I’m not a slob. A lot of old paperwork and junk in garage. I saw one crawling up my wall at around 11:00 p.m.. Well needless to say they travel in pairs (three?) My daughter found the second one. AHHHHHH! I’m probably not going to work tomorrow. Doing a thorough clean and making the bug balls you talked about. Should make my kids stay home from school to help me. Pray for me. Thanks for all your advice.

  15. Ridhwanah Aydin says

    Thanks for the advice. The other day I saw what was my 5th cockaroach spotted in my apartment, darting across the bathroom floor. i panicked so bad. the crazy thing is our apartment is extremely clean. I take the trash out EVERY night and never leave food lying around. But today after seeing that cockaroach i practically spring cleaned my entire kitchen and cleaned behind all appliances. Unfortunately the kitchens built where i live are designed in such a way that its EASY for cockaroaches to hide and lay eggs. the bottoms of the counters that touch the ground, open up and are not sealed up like american kitchens. so basically the bottom of the counters are bare. so cockaroaches get right in there so easily. me and my husband opened up all the bottoms of the counters and what did we find….their nest. I freaked. the weird thing was the baby cockaraches were already dead? any reason why that is? anyway really wishing i had the money to redesign my whole kitchen. Now every month i have to clean down there yikes 😡

    • Katie Berry says

      Try sweeping some talcum powder, cornstarch or even ground up chalk into that little crevice at the base of the cupboards. They’re all non-toxic and tear up cockroach bodies.

  16. Ravenwood says

    Sorry Carl, didn’t see your post. My name is also Carl, so I’ll use a pseudonym 😉

    I WILL be scouring THIS site

  17. matthew b says

    For German cock roaches Boric acid will work it just takes a long time. Being in Texas for the last 15 years and in Florida has made me a unwilling bug adviser. I digress though, so to the point.

    Boric Acid will kill almost anything, but Roaches it will cause them to explode, and remember people, trap, smash and flush any cockroach you see in the open. If its a female one it could be in route with little kids on her, ones you cant see, and when you smash it they will run. German cockroaches may encase as many as 40 eggs in one ootheca, (or egg sack) while the larger American roaches average about 14 eggs per capsule.

    Use 5 paper towels and your hand do wonders, use toilet paper if your worried about your drains. Just scoop them up and take them to the toilet before smashing or outside across the street.

    Cracks and crevices are NOT to be left open, most cock roaches, can squeeze into anything, German ones can get into a space the thickness of a dime, and American ones quarter thick

    To stop them use the balls and also:
    Boric acid this also comes in a handy paste form with a syringe. Use it like caulk and do this for around 3 months. Trace the caulk, even if they caulk looks sealed and do this under all counters, and the sinks. Around toilets and drains you don’t use but once a week. Everywhere, the stove, the whole kitchen, wash room, windows, any place you can think of. And fill in any holes with this stuff, making sure to look up and do vents as well, you want to be sure that when they come out at nigh andt they get some of that stuff on them.

    Then use the powder, its recommended to use it around all entries, windows, base boards, water heater, appliances and furniture. If you do this right it will look like Scarface rented your apartment, and you will have little white lines around everything. But I know this is not realistic for people with kids and pets, but the US EPA, has stated no known carcinogen and does not damage people, pets or children so it should be safe, also its in most commercially grown food like Oranges. go to for more info

    So for this move and vacuum your couch and stands and tables. Then place the acid under the couch and tables. Remember Adult cock roaches will still be able to get under a coffee table on hard wood, its what they do for a living. Then use the calk again around any place that powder would blow away.
    When all this is in place, open all cabinets, and inside doors. Suite cases, boxes bags, etc, even take all packed items, and packing material, and throw it away. Its easier to buy more clean boxes and have no worried. Then use a bug bomb or 3 and don’t come home for 24 to 48 hrs. YOU MUST UNPACK AND OPEN EVERYTHING. So after you bomb you will have a lot of cloths, towels and dishes to do.

    I when I was a 18 yr old punk, got a couch off the street filled with roaches, (we didn’t care we partied all the time, and slept in college and needed a couch) they were so bad they would run across you during the day, but doing the above in less than 6 months they were gone.

    You will know its working when they go from big to smaller and smaller and then you will see little gray and black dots running around, then you got them. When all is clear bomb again just for good measure, I know its not natural but this does work. Got a family friend who has been in pest control in Texas for about 40 yrs, peanut butter and boric acid will work too, make it into a paste and apply anywhere you want to .

    Also get the good Boric acid from the Pest control guys, not the weak stuff. If you see dead one, catch and flush or remove them to a dumpster or across the street ASAP, don’t throw them in the trash can unless you got a zip lock bag
    Now that they are gone keep them that way, if and when you move, from now till forever, unpack all boxes outside BEFORE you bring them in the house. Every time I did a move to a new post in the Army I and my family would do this, and always find one or two, and that is all it takes and you will have thousands later.

  18. matthew b says

    You can find Borax at Walmart, but its with the laundry detergent not the cleaners, weird I know.

    Part 2 of Cock Roaches FACTS and Why WHY WHY!!!!!
    Some cockroach notes on why they are still with you.
    1. I explained the squeezing in cracks, but they also like to be near walls, and touched on all sides.
    2. They can move at 8cm a second and have a reaction time of just 8.2 millisecond and sense movement based on the moving air, and with 6 legs turn on a dime.
    3. German cock roaches have 40 babies a year, American 12 to 15 per yr.
    4. They can LIVE 6 WEEKS WITH NO FOOD, and food for a cock roach is everything from people food to leather, drywall, paper, glue, and HAIR EVEN, they eat anything and can live on it due to bacteroides, which, manufacture all the vitamins and amino acids the cockroach needs to live. Its a bacteria that gives them the ability to eat glue and live, So moving is not going to get ride of them, unless you put your stuff in storage for a few years.
    5. They CAN LIVE for 2 weeks + without their heads. They breath from their sides by spiracles along the sides of the body, and as long as the wound clots, they will keep alive until the dehydrate or are over taken by mold.
    6. Lastly there are 4000 know types of roaches and most are needed in nature and eat whats on the forest floor.
    Other types like
    Megaloblatta longipennis – boasts a wingspan of 18 cm, or 7 inches.
    The Australian rhinoceros cockroach (Macropanesthia rhinoceros) – weighs a hefty 33.5 grams. (1.18 oz) by comparison the American Cock roach weight just 1.8g.
    The giant cave cricket, Blaberus giganteus, – measures 4 inches long at maturity.

    Remember treating them is a all the time thing, and you will never be rid of them, hey they have been around for millions of years and can survive direct radiation, so they know how to hang out.
    The balls work and I hope this little bit on info will help some of y’all get ride of them, also if you have a musty smell in certain rooms of the house it could be a gathering spot for Cockroaches, and a pheromone that they use to mark where to hang out, think of it as a bus stop for them. Place killers there.

    • Mike says

      Here in The Texas Panhandle we have this big black roach we call a waterbug but its a roach kuz its infested houses we have moved in in the past ! My mom and stepdad have been battling the American roach for about 2 years kuz my half sister brought a box that had roaches in it ! They have been paying orkin to come and do his thing but he hasnt done all that good ! Ill try these things to see if its better !

  19. LaniB says

    Thanks for this article and all the follow up details everyone has added. It’s 12.45am and I just found one running up the wall in the living room. No back to bed for me, time to start cleaning the loungeroom. I know most sane people would go to back to bed and deal with it in the morning but I can’t.

  20. LaniB says

    However I must say, I am tempted to go wake my husband who promised he’d do the dishes before bed. Looks like he stayed up and played computer games then went to bed and forgot about the dishes.

  21. nick says

    I had some roach activity in last 2 weeks,always see one the most 2 in the kitchen sink every time i go in the evening,i live in a big complex,they come do pest control for free ,is a mess to move out everything and then heard some neighbor saying pest control come 2x and they scare roaches away for few days then they back so i decide to do my own pest control !
    At 1st i start with acid boric,made baits then i waste money for crap they sale at grocery stores,out everything i try i only find one that actually works which is the combat gel bait…but i end up doing my pest the pro way! I buy my own pro insecticide Suspend SC from amazon,28$ a bottle but with it i can mix 64 gallon! I spray my house everywhere and i have plenty to spray every week if i want too,i also got the pro gel bait Maxforce magnum and want it to try the advion gel baits,pros use this! I also buy a foam sealing sprayer and i seal all the holes/cracks focused under the kitchen sink/cabinets and bathroom,i am roach free now and i have neighbors asking me how to get ride of them since pest control doesn’t do the job right! You need keep clean around especially kitchen ,no food on the counter etc and no dishes in the sink,sink must be clear,clean and dry out every night…that is how you get ride of the roaches,no mickey mouse games,do it the pro way like i did lol

    • Katie Berry says

      Well, I’m glad the pro stuff worked for you. We try to avoid dangerous chemicals like that in my house; when someone in your family comes down with brain cancer, you tend to get VERY skittish about using harsh toxins.

  22. distraughmomma says

    I live in an apartment complex and am on an end. I have one common wall! Anyway. Pest control came a week or so ago and Im still have problems. Tonight I was cleaning as usual (only this time I accidently used some ammonia instead of white vinegar was finished cleaning and walked out of the kitchen and back in (not even 5 minutes later) and bam there were 3 big ones right on my counter! Daylight and all! I haven’t seen many but I know they are around and I have done all the cleaning I can think of doing. Im contacting the manager of the apartments tomorrow but Do I really have so many roaches that they are not finding enough food in the dark that they have to come out during the day to find food??? (There wasn’t even any food out no crumbs nothing)I just finished cleaning _ BTW my house is not dirty im not perfect at cleaning but I don’t live in filth. HELP

  23. Auriellis says

    My townhome is swarmed with roaches and I have tried every possible solution under the sun.

    Nothing works. I live right next to a lake, which is host to thousands of other pesky bugs that LOVE to creep into townhomes during the summer and winter.

    I’ve tried the store brand bug sprays. Nothing. The little black square traps from RAID. Nothing. The bug barrier stuff you spray on cracks. Nope. I’ve even tried fumigating the entire house. Killed some roaches, but didn’t affect their nests.

    I have battled these ugly, nasty abominations for 9 years. Nine. They’re relentless. Nothing I seem to do helps in diminishing their population. Even as I type right now, roaches are crawling along my desk, and I have to sweep them off and stomp on them. Ughh, disgusting!

    If I had but one wish, I would wish cockroaches extinct forever.

  24. Tanya says

    I just now found your page and i love ALL the cleaning techniques u have provided! :) We just moved into an apartment building, my 3 year old and 1 year old. I had a feeling just by the way the apartment smelled we were going to have a problem with cockroaches.. I am so afraid of them I practically run n scream seeing one.. But for the saftey and sanitary fact of my two babies I want a pest free apartment. Will the use of Clorox bleach help?

    • says

      It might, Tanya, but bleach can cause all sorts of respiratory and skin problems. Since you’re concerned about the safety of your babies, I’d strongly suggest avoiding bleach when possible. I have many, many cleaning recipes on this site using natural products that pose less of a toxic risk. Give those a try!

      • larz NZ says

        Hi there, id like to thank you for your tips
        I just cant believe all the storys im reading its like wow.
        as Iv jst moved into my new rental home to my horror its loaded with live and dead roaches.
        I have cleaned most places but not all and have got the rental agency to give it a bomb out.there are still some living but.these tips I will try out asap
        I have had my daughter come over home and she has been saying ewe whats that smell.but I guess my nose is use to that smell I cant smell im thinking its them those critters there still here but don’t no where.
        I was gonna move out as I don’t want to live with these guys but im gona get on to these tips that use have mentioned.
        I will say I have not cleaned out my hotwater cupboard as there are lots of dead roaches in there and I don’t want to go near there.they have left powder and tablets in there I guess I thought it would b better if I just left them there.
        the thought of cleaning it up scares me abit as there is lots in there but reading threw all these advices I best be getting on to it now but not before I get to the market
        Im from New Zealand so ill have to look up and see if we have the boric acid here and where to find it.
        I have seen big black ones outside aswel and looking for tips on keeping them outside.
        I don’t usally close my windows at nights but I will be from now onwards.
        I would like to once again thank you for your tips
        so hope I beat them and not have to move.

    • says

      This DIY recipe uses Borax. You don’t want your pets to eat Borax. As the article says: “it’s a good idea to pop the DIY Roach Repellant Balls in a plastic berry container (which has vent holes that let cockroaches get in) and tape them shut before stashing them where kids or pets can get to them.”

  25. Tammy Loggins-Townsend says

    I would like to know if and when they are in the walls, do or can they cause black mold? If so how bad and who has to pay for it to be fixed? I live in a rented trailer. Please, I NEED HELP!!

    • says

      They don’t cause black mold, but they love to live where black mold exists. It’s VERY important that you get your mold problem fixed — black mold is dangerously toxic and can cause a variety of problems ranging from neurological to respiratory, immune, and reproductive illnesses.

      Since you rent, it’s your landlord’s job to fix it. That said, many landlords don’t take these things seriously (they’re not the ones living with it, after all) so you need to get on the matter yourself if your landlord won’t.

      You might also want to check out the laws in your area to see if the presence if black mold renders a place legally inhabitable. If so, you may be able to legally break your lease. Let me emphasize that you first CHECK THE LAWS OF YOUR STATE and consider speaking with a lawyer.

  26. Arlene B says

    I have made this paste, and I leave it in the cupboards, and along the counter top ridge, and we don’t really have any problems with roaches.

  27. Holly says

    What a great idea! I hate the roaches we’ve gotten in this old house. We’ve used the toxic sprays, gels, and traps and they are expensive and dangerous to continue to the point necessary for total roach annihilation. We have four young girls, two cats, a dog, two turtles…and a partridge in a pear tree. We simply can’t afford all the chemical treatments necessary, plus the time it took us to move everything and spray the entire house, not to mention having to evacuate the kids for several days and trying to juggle pets from room to room when no one wanted to pet sit. I have been looking into using borax as I cannot find DE anywhere locally, and I plan on making my own laundry detergent soon anyway. However, I have concerns about the toxicity of borax. Some things I’ve read say it’s only as toxic as table salt and is not a worry at all because large quantities must be ingested before it’s actually toxic. Other places say it is toxic and is responsible for the deaths of many children and animals. Placing it down as a powder was a little unsettling to me especially with sugar, because my dog would probably eat all of it. She’s not quite a year old, belongs to my kids, sneaks candy, and gets into quite a bit. She was able to remove the screw on cap from the turtle food while we were gone one night and share it with the cats. ~_~ She’s a very smart, but very naive puppy. So the idea for the balls that could be placed in something she can’t get into sounds wonderful to me. However, I’m sure she could chew through a berry basket. Any ideas on something a bit harder for an Australian Cattle Dog (medium to large dog) to get in to? Thanks so much for the idea. :)

  28. Michaela Wilson says

    I’ve dealt with roaches all my life. Ive lived in the same house all mylife I’m only 16. Weve got a city dumpster in the back of our house. (Our house is very clean. ) people dumpster dive in the dumpster they tear up trash bags and just don’t care. Our neighbours arent that clean either. But I have a 2 year old. And he runs around our house with food. Which attracts them. And I just opened my hope chest and they were in there. I don’t know what to do any more please help. I live in the basement so they love it down here. I kill them everytime i walk in our room. And they even sometimes get on our bed and crawl on our blankets. It makes me feel dirty and I don’t know what to do. I’ve even caught one crawling on my son in the middle of the night. Please help me I don’t know what to do!

    • says

      Sprinkle Borax outside at the base of the walls to keep the cockroaches from coming in. Go through the steps in the article to get rid of any cockroaches currently living in your house. Make some of the DIY Cockroach Balls, put them in old plastic food containers with lids (e.g., sour cream or cottage cheese containers) and cut small holes in the sides, then duct tape the lids on so your child can’t get into them. Put those under your bed, under cupboards, in your hope chest, etc., to kill more roaches. Repeat this regularly, because battling cockroaches is NOT a one-time thing.

      As for your 2-year-old running around the house with food: you’re the parent. Teach your child to eat at the table.

  29. mary says

    I have never had roaches until about 3 months ago. Only in 2 rooms of the house. I have cleaned daily, Spray ed Ortho-Home Defense through out my kitchen & living room. Also I have put Boric Acid down in mounds. They seem to be getting worse! Help!

    • says

      I’d be afraid to spray Ortho Home Defense in the kitchen. In fact, I suggest you check the label because I’m fairly confident they discourage use around food preparation areas.

      Try pulling your refrigerator and oven out from the wall and cleaning behind them, including both the walls and floors. Then make some of the roach killer balls from my recipe and place them behind the appliances before you return them to place.

      Get rid of all stacks of papers, keep foods in air-tight containers, put pet food away nightly, never leave dishes in your sink, and take the garbage out every single night.

  30. CornSnake19 says

    Do you guys have anymore sure ways to get rid of roaches?
    I just moved in with my boyfriend about 3 months ago and the town we live in is known for its roach problem. We are trying to keep the house as clean as possible but we can’t quite keep it spotless and food/water free at night due to having our wide assortment of pets (1 cat, 2 dogs (one of which sheds non stop and slobbers everywhere) 5 birds, 2 indoor water turtles and 2 snakes). He works 12 hours a day, 5-6 days a week so he doesn’t have much time to help clean and this is a 4 br house. I’m just one person haha. Ive been cleaning since 6:30 pm and I only just finished with it being 4:30 am. And I didn’t manage to get the place as clean as I would like. This isn’t the best house- its older and seems to have been sloppily built and taken care of. There are holes we can’t fill or cover- we are renting this place currently and the landlord isnt the nicest when it comes to things like that.
    I would love to be able to bomb this place to hell and back but we cannot due to the birds (boyfriend inherited them when his mother passed and no one is willing to take them for a few days). I have bought a pound of boric acid, n ounce of roach growth regulating hormone stuff- roach birth control, and Cy-kick CS… and used them all badically at the same time… and they disappeared for a while yet now are back just as bad if not worse. I’m at my wits end- and I’ve only been dealing with this for 3 months! I don’t know what else to try. I need to figure out something and quick- they’re already making me sick and have breathing problems. Sorry for my long winded comment- but I needed to vent and get it all out there. Wewont be able to get out of this place until at least the new year. Does anyone know what else we can try? I would love to go a more natural route but will try anything at this point. How do we keep from bringing them with us when we do eventually move?

    • CornSnake19 says

      Please help- I don’t know what else to try.
      It’s it straight lemons/oranges? Or can it be the plastic lemon bottles with the juice in it? What else do they not like?
      Has anyone tried diatomaceous earth? Does it work?

      • says

        No one mentioned lemons or oranges. Wipe every surface with 50/50 white vinegar and water. Sweep and mop the floor daily. Try my homemade floor cleaner for that, but use peppermint and/or cypress oil. Make the roach killer balls mentioned in this blog entry, and put them behind your appliances where your pets can’t get to them. Take the trash out every night before bed, and spray the garbage can with a 50/50 vinegar and water solution before putting the new bag in. Get rid of piles of papers, all boxes, and paper bags. Keep ALL food tightly sealed, and be sure you’ve cleaned under your sinks and sprayed them with the vinegar-water mix.

        As for not bringing them with you when you move, that’s a tough one. Don’t keep the boxes sitting around before you pack them, shake everything well before packing, then seal the boxes and — most importantly — get them out of your house immediately so roaches don’t sneak in.

      • CornSnake19 says

        I was talking about a couple sites I found stating scents and smells they dont like. They all mentioned them not liking anything citrusy.
        it seems like as soon as I get a semi ok handle on them in the kitchen and bathroom, they intensify in our bedroom- and I hate bugs so finding them on/around my bed and dresser freaks me out.
        Curious- where do you get essential oils like you’re talking about? What are they? (Sorry if those are bad/stupid questions)

      • says

        The thing about battling roaches is that, as you’ve noticed, they’ll go from one room to another. Your best bet is to spend a day cleaning every room and spraying them all liberally with peppermint oil, then continue using the oil as part of your daily cleaning routine.

        As for where to buy them, I get mine via Amazon. You can find them easily in my Amazon store or just visit Amazon and search for “essential oils”. I use Plant Therapy’s oils for cleaning purposes since they’re less expensive but just as effective as other brands.

      • says

        As you’ve noticed, roaches will migrate from a recently-cleaned area to one that hasn’t been treated yet. Your best bet is to set aside one day to clean and treat every room in your house.

        It’s also a good idea to use peppermint oil in your kitchen and bathroom sprays, along with your floor cleaner, and make them part of your daily cleaning routine.

        I buy my essential oils via Amazon. You can find them in my Amazon store or visit Amazon and search “essential oils”. I like the Plant Therapy brand for cleaning purposes because they’re less expensive but just as effective as the more expensive brands.

  31. Rems says

    Hi, the bastards are not actually living in the house but come in from outside. I bought this nasty powder which kills them in about 20 seconds but I am sure that eventually, one day, I will find myself (or my girlfriend) crawling on my back due to the powder.
    Any suggestion on keeping them out of the house, rather that creating the food for them inside?

    • Rems says

      I have to add that until 3 weeks ago (when we moved in) the house was so dirty that I can understand why roaches loved it. I bet that all roaches of the town were living there… Now the scrubbing and cleaning has been done and they are not coming in mass anymore but there still are some adventurers trying to take over my bathroom or kitchen.

  32. I'm just a cute pumpkin <3 says

    So, this may not be written very well, because i’m a kid but me and my dad just moved into an apartment we liked it for a few days But then we started noticing some cockroaches. of course, i’m terrified of bugs, (AAAHHH) so it was a huge problem for me. but my dad.. not so much… so we didn’t do anything about it. but then more and more came and now me and my dad did everything we could to get rid of those horrible brown beasts but nothing worked. we had a proffesinal (sorry if i spelled it wrong i’m terrible at spelling because i just moved to america two years ago or maybe a year ago) bug killer or something spray the whole house… BUT IT DIDN’T WORK! I WAS SO MAD >:( but anyway, my dad decided he had enough so we cleaned the whole house as much as we could.. HE threw away allot of my stuff i have allot of newspapers, magezens books, plain old boring books, And ALLOT and i mean ALLOT of paper. and under my bed was a junk yard i saw many bugs in my room IT WAS DISGUSTING i thought it was because of my junk under my bed so i cleaned it out it took me two hours! (two hours of my life dead!finished!gone!) but i still noticed some cockroaches in my room :(so anyway that’s my story for the room. NOW THE KITCHEN. i’m a really messy eater. if no one was looking id stuff my whole mouth full of french fries… so what i’m saying is i always leave crumbs and i’m also very lazy so when i’m trying to close a container i just close it half way and stuff like that… and me and my dad notice allot of cockroaches trying to crawl there way in our refregerator some got in, some had bad luck and got squished by my sandals (R.I.P……NOT.) we also see allot of cockroaches in our microwave and by our sink or in our sink or.. any were really. we also see cockroaches in our bathroom and living room. i already wrote a really long …paragraph/story/artical/something so i should probably end it soon… so me and my dad tried allot of things to get rid of those horrible brown beasts but we failed… this artical that you made didn’t really work out for me or my dad but it was still great. and i just felt like waisting some time and wrighting my opinion down… Well, thanks for everything. And if you have any other way we can get rid of them bugs…Then SPILL the beans! 😛 but bye for now.

    Your cute pumpkin <3
    /tebah <–real name… :p

  33. Bat Dance says

    I found this on HuffPost –

    -Borax + Sugar: The exterminator recommended this mix (3 parts borax to 1 part sugar) because the borax acts similarly to commercial roach killing sprays by dehydrating the pests’ exoskeleton. The sugar just acts as a bait. Though borax is a pretty safe product, I erred on the side of caution and sprinkled the mix only in high up places. A few hours later, there were dead roaches galore. Bottom line: Amazingly effective.

  34. Emily says

    I live in a downtown apartment with neighbours on both sides in a cockroach infested building. The building does spray and put down gel but all that does is move them temporarily and kill some. I have recently scrubbed down the entire place, cupboards, walls everything, decluttered, thrown away all my small appliances, most of everything I own is now kept in air tight containers, I am sweeping and mopping every day as well as cleaning my kitchen and bathroom every day.I pour bleach down my drains every night. I put boric acid along every edge and in every corner in this dump but I still have some caulking to do as well purchasing outlet plug things. Now I have got roaches running across my living room floor!!! This seems so hopeless, I cannot afford to move but I can’t live like this please help me, what else can I do?

  35. Eru says

    Making this recipe asap.. thank you! We never have roaches, but for the past couple of weeks we’ve found that there are SO many roaches in our kitchen, we did everything possible, even found what we believe was the nest, killed it, cleaned like mad men, and we are still infested. They also leave off a certain smell into the air that the doctor says is affecting my lungs (I have had problems with my lungs for years) because they’re in a place I spend a majority of my time in…my own home! Can’t wait to try this out. If it doesn’t work, its time to call the wonderful person we all know and appreciate..pest control!

  36. Donni Slater says

    My apartment complex does nothing to help and my next door neighbor is the worst when it comes to cleaning. so I am overrun. I have to say, I haven’t seen these buggers go anywhere near the sugar but they LOVE LOVE LOVE my onions and garlic. I am unsure how well this recipe will work. Perhaps I will substitute the sugar for some sliced onion….

  37. Danniel says

    We have backyard chickens, will this DIY bug killer be safe around them? in other words, if the cockroaches eat it and die, and then the chickens eat the dead bugs (they LOVE bugs) will it harm the chickens?

    Thank you for the great tips too!


  38. says

    I did the original formula but added a spoonful of peanut butter. Peanut butter has a strong odor and lots of oils so the formula will stay wet and attract more roaches. I’m can’t moisten the balls every day. Plus, I put the roach balls on a small piece of paper towel so the roaches will leave a scent next to the bait and attract more of the nasty buggers.

  39. Sam M. says

    Quick question for anyone that can answer.

    What about if a member of your household absolutely REFUSES to clean out a room that is literally half-filled with random stuff? I live with my grandma and her little dog. My grandpa passed away at least seven years ago. She has yet to get rid of ANY of his stuff (I don’t see it happening any time soon, either), and has since moved all of it into my uncle’s old bedroom. That room is pretty much an optimal place for the stupid things to live in. Unfortunately, we do have an infestation, and I need to find a way to get rid of the critters since she won’t.

    Any help to figure it out would be a blessing! Thanks in advance!

    • Katie Berry says

      Sam, this is a tough one. If we were discussing a teen who refused to clean out his or her room, and that was causing an infestation, I’d tell you to send the kid to the movies or to a friend’s house and clean it out for them, then threaten to take away everything but their bed and clothes unless they kept it clean.

      But this is an adult we’re talking about. More importantly, it’s your grandmother who lost her spouse. A death like that can often trigger hoarding for the simple reason that a person has suffered such an enormous loss that it’s emotionally painful to part with anything else. I say this as a woman whose husband passed away 6 months ago; cleaning his clothes out of the closet was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done, and I’ve yet to touch any of his other possessions because of that. (But I will this fall.) Were you to do to your grandmother what I’d suggested with a teen you could very well cause some trauma that she wouldn’t emotionally recover from.

      So, the question is: how bad is the infestation and what’s the nature of the stuff causing it? If it’s food items, clear those out quietly when she’s sleeping or watching TV. Chances are she wouldn’t notice them. If it’s due to other belongings, perhaps suggest that you’d like to sort through his things and move them into plastic storage containers for “safekeeping”. That would give you the chance to get rid of any live critters roaming around while also ensuring that any you didn’t discover would be confined within the containers, rather than roaming throughout the house. Containers would be easier to move around for occasional vacuuming, too.

      In the process, if you find some obvious junk (old newspapers, toiletries, etc.) you could suggest to your grandma that your grandpa wouldn’t want those things littering the house. You might even be able to convince her that things like old suits or sweaters should go to charity where they can serve someone else, and that your grandpa would want to know his things were being useful rather than causing problems in the house. BUT if she’s terribly resistant to even those ideas, just box them up in those plastic containers and realize that, sadly, there will be a time when she won’t be around to object to their disposal.

      I’m sorry you’re going through this, and sorry your grandmother is, too. Kind regards to you both!

  40. Barbara Turner says

    You can also use a mixture of any type of sugar(powdered or regular your choice) and baking soda and put it in places you know the lil bugger are. I’ve found that to be a effective way to kill them too.

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