With the warm, moist environment that comes with living in the tropics, also comes an army of bugs — cockroaches included. So we zap those pesky bugs with anything we can find, usually insecticides. But what smells really repel cockroaches?
We certainly don't want roaches crawling around our homes. But at the same time, do we really want to expose our kids to the poison of insecticides? Here are some clever ways to repel cockroaches naturally.
Repel Cockroaches Naturally with Ingredients Found in Your Kitchen!
There are some ingredients in your kitchen that can be used to trap, repel, and kill those pesky critters at your home. All you need to do is to mix them up and place it where cockroaches usually hide.
From what smells really repel cockroaches and what can poison them, we've made the ultimate guide to help you finally get rid of these critters. For this list of what smells really repel cockroaches, we've also included those that use natural ingredients so that your family stays safe in the process.
1. Essential Oils
What smells really repel cockroaches? Did you know that cockroaches hate the smell of peppermint, lavender, eucalyptus, and tea tree oils? That is because it disrupts and masks the scent trails which cockroaches use to hunt for their food. Roaches die when they are exposed to higher concentrations of essential oils, particularly peppermint oil.
Use essential oils to repel cockroaches naturally by putting a few drops of peppermint oil on a cotton ball, and wiping down places where cockroaches usually hide or enter your home.
You can also make a spray by mixing 15 drops of peppermint oil and 10 ounces of water in a spray bottle. Mix thoroughly and spray in possible entry points and dark areas.
Peppermint oil can be use as a home remedy to repel cockroaches naturally | Image source: Pixabay
Borax is an effective natural cleaner and a safer alternative to many conventional cleaners. It contains boric acid that when ingested by cockroaches, destroys the cellular lining of their guts.
To kill roaches with borax, mix two tablespoons of borax and two cups of sugar in a litre of water and pour the mixture into a spray bottle. You may add two to three drops of peppermint oil in the mixture too. Mix thoroughly and spray in suspected areas. You can also use it to repel ants too!
Mix borax with sugar in a litre of water to make a borax solution spray. | Image source: YouTube
3. Diatomaceous Earth
This is a non-toxic substance that can be use to kill and repel cockroaches naturally. When the roach comes in contact with this substance through ingestion, its body dries out, killing it eventually.
To use this effectively, mix diatomaceous earth with some sugar to attract cockroaches. Sprinkle a thin layer of it around the entryways of your home or anywhere you think roaches hide. Make sure you re-apply this remedy daily as it tends to absorb moisture from the atmosphere.
Diatomaceous earth is a non-toxic substance that can be use as a natural insecticide. | Image source: Shutterstock
4. Baking Soda
Baking soda is a leavening agent used in baking cakes and can also be use as an effective home cleaning remedy.
It can also kill roaches. Just mix one part baking soda with one part of sugar. The sugar attracts the roaches and the baking soda kills them. Place the mixture in small bowls or jar lids or sprinkle it in corners and baseboards.
Mix baking soda with sugar and sprinkle in corners and dark areas. | Image source: Shutterstock
5. Petroleum Jelly
You can make traps using petroleum jelly by adding sugar in the jelly and smearing it on pieces of cardboard.
Place these traps where roaches normally hide. They get attracted to the sugar and stuck to the petroleum jelly. But make sure to keep this cockroach trap out of children and pets' reach.
Sample of cockroach trap using petroleum jelly and sugar mixture | Image source: Pinterest
Catnip has been widely used as a natural insect repellent for centuries. It contains Nepetalactone, an active chemical that repels insects without harming humans and pets. It is one of the most effective remedy to repel cockroaches naturally.
To use this, boil catnip leaves for 10 minutes and let it cool before transferring the mixture to a spray bottle. Spray it around the house.
You can plant catnip in your garden or buy catnip leaves in grocery stores. | Image source: Flickr
Neem is also known for its natural insect repellant properties aside from being used as a traditional medicine in India and other South Asian countries.
Similar to catnip, boil neem leaves for 10 minutes and let it cool. Use a spray bottle to spray the mixture in areas where roaches and insects roam.
Neem trees are abundant in Southern Asian countries like India and Sri Lanka and are known for its medicinal properties. | Image source: Flickr
8. Chrysanthemum Flowers
Chrysanthemum contains Pyrethrins, a chemical compound that attacks the nervous system of insects when in direct contact.
Use dried chrysanthemum flower heads to repel cockroaches naturally by crushing them into powder and mixing two tablespoons of the powder in a litre of hot water.
Put a pinch of detergent powder into the mixture and mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture in a spray bottle and spray around possible infested areas.
Who would have thought these lovely chrysanthemum flowers could be a natural cockroach repellent? | Image source: Pixabay
9. Bay Leaf
Bay leaf enhances the flavour and aroma of our cooked dishes but cockroaches and other insects hate the smell. Crush some bay leaves and place in corners and dark areas.
The aroma of bay leaf smells unpleasant to cockroaches. | Image source: Pixabay
10. Silica Gels
Silica Gels or Desiccants are commonly seen as beads in a small paper packet that control the humidity of goods to avoid spoilage. They absorb moisture and dry out anything that comes in direct contact. When roaches come in contact with the substance, the gel dries out their body, killing them eventually.
You can use desiccants effectively by mixing the beads with sugar and sprinkling the mixture around the house, away from children and pets.
Desiccants can be an effective cockroach killer too! | Image source: Pixabay
How To Prevent Cockroaches from Coming Back
Aside from knowing what smells repel cockroaches, you can also ensure that they stop coming back. Relying only on natural insecticides is not the solution to a cockroach infestation in your home. Roaches love warm, humid places where they can find food and breed. And prevention is key to ensure roaches stay away for good.
When you see one or two roaches freely roaming in your home, you shouldn't take it lightly. It probably means there are many others running about in hidden corners of your home.
Cockroaches can transmit bacteria and spread diseases to your family. Here are tips to prevent them from coming back to your home:
- Keep your house clean. Clean the dishes straight away after meals and clean up spills and crumbs to limit food for cockroaches. Sweep the floor and mop it regularly to disrupt scent trails of food.
- Take out the trash regularly and keep the trash bins closed at all times. Cockroaches often lurk in places where they can find food, and our garbage is one of their favourite spots.
- Store food in tightly-sealed containers. This will prevent cockroaches and other insects from contaminating your food.
- Cover all the cracks and crevices around your house. You can use paint or cement to block entry points of insects to your house.
- Cover your windows with mesh screens. Mesh screens keep the insects out while allowing fresh air to come inside your house.
Source: Home Remedy Nation, Tips & Tricks, Sciencing.com, wikiHow
ALSO READ: Household pest control: What all parents must know about it