Unless you’re a roach-loving entomologist, chances are you can’t stand having little critters all over your kitchen. Not only are they unsightly, but they are also known to be allergy triggers, especially for those who have been diagnosed with asthma. According to Pest World, cockroaches are said to spread at least 33 kinds of bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella, six kinds of parasitic worms, and seven other human pathogens.

Cockroaches come in many sizes and species, from the Madagascar hissing cockroach to your everyday American cockroach. More than 4,600 species of cockroaches span the world. Even though only 30 are considered pests, each of them gives me the creeps like nobody’s business. Thankfully, there are natural roach killers that can keep the creepy crawlies out of our lives without harming the environment along the way.

angela n. / Flickr (Creative Commons)

Keep in mind that if you’re seeing many roaches every day, you may have a major infestation in your home’s foundation. Under those circumstances, you may want to speak to a professional. Read on to learn more about how you can naturally eradicate and deter roaches from your plants, home, and garden.

Baking Soda And Sugar

This combination will make roaches eat themselves to death. Literally. The sweet smell of sugar and baking soda entices the roach out of hiding to eat it. Once the roach takes a sip of water after dining, the baking soda will react, causing the stomach to burst and subsequently kill the roach.

Roaches are known for being cannibalistic and will often feed off of their dead. The baking soda can lead to more deaths when the initial roach is consumed by his peers. This is one of the most meta natural solutions to killing roaches.

Borax Bait

You’ve probably read about Borax before and its incredible versatility in terms of its useful applications.

20 mule team borax
Alisha Vargas / Flickr (Creative Commons)

Make a roach-killer cocktail by mixing equal parts borax, sugar, water, and syrup together. You can apply the mixture along the side of your house as needed until the bugs are gone. You can also lightly dust the surface of your home with Borax.


Did you know that your cat’s best friend can be your best friend too? At least when it comes to cockroaches. Catnip is a part of the mint family, which is a particular hatred of roaches.

According to Apartment Therapy, placing small satchels of catnip in places where you’ve seen roaches should prevent them from infesting that area. This won’t necessarily kill the roaches, but it will provide a way to keep the roaches away once you have eradicated them from your home.

Utilize Citrus In Your Home

Lemon is commonly used as a chemical-free cleaning alternative and an antibacterial remedy for certain health conditions. Lemon peels can also be used to keep roaches away.

plate of lemons
rawpixel / Unsplash

Cut up a few lemon slices and place them around your home. It never hurts to clean your home with citrus either.

Clean Up Your Compost

Roaches love moisture and damp places. Your compost piles can turn into cozy homes for them, especially when winter comes around. Although pests are drawn to compost, there are ways to contain their contamination.

Compost piles with a 20:1 ratio of carbon to nitrogen materials make the area less attractive to pests. Maintain your compost pile at 140-160 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn your compost once a week to infuse oxygen. A good rule of thumb is to keep your compost away from the house to avoid an easy entrance for roaches.

Diatomaceous Earth

Is it too late for you to just be proactive about your roach infestation? Give diatomaceous earth a shot. Diatomaceous earth is non-toxic to fish and aquatic invertebrates.

Apply a thin layer of DE to areas where you’ve seen cockroach activity. Diatomaceous earth causes insects to dry out and die by absorbing the oils and fats from the cuticle of the insect’s exoskeleton.

Get Rid Of Old Wood

Surprise, surprise! Roaches love your old wood that has been sitting outside for too long. Avoid an infestation by removing your old wood after completing projects. Remove dead and decaying wood around your garden and dispose of it off of your property.

Plant Mint

Similar to other household pests, roaches can’t stand the smell of mint. Consider using peppermint oil or planting mint in your garden to deter roaches from cramping your space.

mint in container
Leigha Staffenhagen / Insteading

Peppermint oil can be used near windows, doors, or other entryways to deter roaches from trying to enter.


While utilizing cockroach traps won’t get rid of all your roaches, they’re effective at lowering the numbers. Creating your own roach trap at home isn’t difficult or expensive, either! Place some old food scraps at the bottom of a jar. Smear an oily substance, like petroleum jelly on the inside of the jar’s opening. This will allow roaches to crawl in but will prevent them from exiting.

Daily Chores To Keep Roaches Away

Keeping roaches out of your home can be tedious, but daily steps such as storing your food in airtight containers (including pet food), cleaning all dirty dishes, and sweeping up any food crumbs from the counters can make a world of a difference.

clean kitchen
Naomi Hébert / Unsplash

While cockroaches aren’t always the cause of poor housekeeping, keeping your trash covered could lead to fewer infestations.

Keeping your home free of cockroaches is a task, but it’s one worth working for.

Written by Jessica T. Brown

Jessica T. Brown is a first-generation, Guyanese-American writer based out of Austin, Texas. Jessica is originally from Rahway, New Jersey but grew up in the outskirts of Houston, Texas. Community efforts and environmental conservation are at the forefront of every decision that she makes. She has worked within the nonprofit community for four years, finding ways to combine art, community outreach, and environmental awareness. Jessica is a graduate of Texas State University with a Bachelor's degree in Public Relations with a minor in Geography.

Her love of working with the community, for the community, is shown through her contributions to TreeFolks, Writers in the Schools, KTRU Rice University Radio, Women Communicators of Austin, Ovarcome, EnviroMedia, and many other organizations in the US.

When Jessica isn't writing, you can find her hiking around America's national and state parks.


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