Eliminating cockroaches in your home is a two-step process. First, stop more from coming inside. Then, use natural methods to get rid of the ones already there.
Are Cockroaches Dangerous?
Cockroaches can be a dangerous source of allergens and asthma triggers. Their feces, saliva, and shed skins are irritants that become part of your household dust and spread throughout your home. They also carry dangerous bacteria, molds, funguses, and viruses, including the one which causes polio.
Why Do Roaches Invade Your Home?
Like most household pests, cockroaches search for a comfortable, safe spot to breed where there’s also a ready food supply. The average household provides all these things:
- Sources of food: Dirty dishes, full garbage cans, pet food, and crumbs.
- Hiding places: Cardboard boxes, clutter, and crowded cabinets.
- Breeding spots: Warm, humid areas like refrigerator drip pans, musty closets, and sweaty pipes.
Cockroach Entry Points
Cockroaches get into your home through cracks in your foundation, gaps around windows or doors, or where pipes and utility wires enter your home. Roaches often hitch a ride indoors in delivery packages left on the front step, cardboard boxes or paper bags from stores, and newspapers that sat in your driveway.
Steps To Get Rid of Cockroaches
To get rid of cockroaches in your home, you need to stop new ones from coming inside by eliminating their entry routes and the things which attract them, then use home remedies as roach baits to trap and kill roaches already living in your home.
Step 1. Seal the Gaps
Check your home’s exterior for cracks and holes where pests can enter. Use caulk for gaps around windows and doors and also to fill any crevices between your home’s siding and foundation. Add door sweeps and weatherstripping as needed, too. Before caulking larger gaps, you may need to add foam insulation, backer rod, or steel wool.
Step 2. Remove Their Sources of Food
Having cockroaches doesn’t mean you’re a poor housekeeper, especially if you live in an apartment or other multi-family structure or in a very warm and humid area. A cockroach infestation is a sign that something in your home is attracting them, though, so wipe up spills on the counters or floor when they happen, don’t leave dishes or food sitting out, and empty your trash cans daily. Having a daily cleaning routine helps prevent pests by addressing such things.
Step 3. Use Smells that Repel Cockroaches
Cockroaches dislike the smell of lavender, peppermint, and bay laurel. Place cotton balls dampened with these essential oils underneath sinks and in the corner of cabinets. (If you have pets, stick with lavender since it is one of the essential oils you can use safely around animals.) You can also scatter fresh bay leaves in closets and cabinets to repel them.
Step 4. Make a Homemade Cockroach Killer
The best way to kill cockroaches that are already in your home is to bait them so they ingest powders that will destroy their exoskeletons and cause their death. The recipe below makes simple, homemade cockroach balls that bait and kill roaches without harming pets or kids when placed as directed.
- 2 tbsp of Crisco or cooking grease (bacon fat works very well)
- 2 tbsp powdered confectioner’s sugar
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 cup borax or diatomaceous earth (DE)
- Combine the grease, sugar, flour, and borax (or DE) with just enough water to make a soft dough that holds its shape.
- Roll the dough into olive-sized balls.
- Put the cockroach killer balls where roaches like to hide (e.g., behind appliances, under sinks, in the back of cabinets). If you have pets or children, you can first put them into a berry box or other perforated container.
You might see a surge of pest activity when you first use the homemade roach killer balls. That’s because the grease lures bugs from their hiding places. Then, since both borax and diatomaceous earth have microscopically sharp edges that tear up their digestive tracts, they’ll dehydrate and leave you with a home free of cockroaches.