How to Deter and Get Rid of Cockroaches

How to Deter and Get Rid of Cockroaches
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From Old Fashioned Tips

Cockroaches are another pest that love moist and humid conditions. It's important to get a handle on them as soon as you are aware of a problem.

But again, when you have kids and pets in the house it's always best to try non-toxic methods before going the chemical route.

Boric acid is inexpensive and there is no doubt that it works IF applied correctly. First, you need to find out where they are hanging out, then you need to dust the powder in these areas. Here is the key-- more is not good in this case. You want to put just a small amount-- a dusting-- of the boric acid. Do not leave piles or enough to be seen clearly. One method is to use a plastic bottle with a small tip like the ones made for camping and picnics to hold mustard or ketchup.

Apply the boric acid in a thin layer in corners and in the areas you are seeing the roaches. Later when you start to see the dead bugs and the problem seems to be taking care of you can wash down those areas. Also, remember to fix any drips that might be causing moisture in these areas.

This is another non-toxic method you can try. It's a spray that you can use in areas that are a problem, but smell may be an issue. Mix a clove of garlic, a chopped onion, one tablespoon cayenne pepper in a quart of water. Steep for one hour, then strain. Add the mixture to a spray bottle, put in 1 tablespoon of dish soap, shake and spray where needed.

It's important, especially in areas of the country where roaches can be more numerous, to keep the laundry room, areas under sinks and the kitchen as free of crumbs and tiny bits of food as you can. I like making a spray with a few drops of peppermint essential oil. You can add it to a good organic cleaner (I use Watkins) by itself or with a blend of other oils such as tea tree, lavender or rosemary. All of these are known for their cleaning properties, plus they leave such a nice scent!


When I was a poor newlywed we could only afford a very low budget apartment in our first move to Dallas. I had always lived in rural Oklahoma and had never even seen a roach before, but anyone who has seen those Texas size roaches can tell you they are scary even to those who have seen roaches before. I tried every trick and eventually got rid of them- where they were so thick that they were even in the common outdoor halls of those buildings. Our management company sprayed regularly and it would slow down the population but did not make a real dent it the problem. After a few months of this nasty problem, I decided I could not take it any more. So here is what worked for me.

First, you need keep the house very clean. Sweep and take out any trash, no matter how little, every night. Hang all damp laundry up to dry. Never ever leave food or dirty dishes around, this includes pet food, water, and dishes. Keep pet food in containers with tight fitting lids. Keep dry goods, such as cereal or crackers, in Ziploc type bags. Remove as much clutter as possible to eliminate hiding and nesting areas.

Next, the boric acid clumps when you put it in to the squeeze bottle and is very hard to apply this way. It was more efficient to mix it with peanut butter and put it on a small square of cardboard or plastic in the backs of cabinets, behind the trash can, stove, and refrigerator.(Make sure pets and children can not get to these.) It's the same principle as the prepackaged roach baits but a lot less expensive.

And last, pour a couple of tablespoons of bleach in every drain in the house every night. They don't have to have a leak to get a water source.

After you notice they are gone, they are probably not, but the reduced numbers find it easier to hide. A week or two after you see fewer adult roaches, previously laid eggs will start to hatch and it seems that they are coming back. You can tell because you see mainly babies. Just keep it up, especially in an apartment where you can not control how the neighbors keep house. After a couple of months, you can probably quit worrying about the damp laundry and bleach in the drains. But if they do come in again, go back to the previous pattern.

Also, if you have any roaches and you move, they move with you. It is easier to get control if you start with these steps before unpacking anything and keep at it for a few months even if you are not seeing any roaches. ~Shelley


I almost always enjoy and can use your tips. However, I will be forever grateful for your recent issue containing recommendations for the use of Boric Acid for roaches. I proceeded to look up some further information, actually trying to find out where one would buy boric acid and found this site. I believe that your readers may find it an excellent supplementary reading for your recommendation. It also has a recipe from Heloise that some may prefer over peanut butter. It appears to be less messy. ~Betty

Just in case you didn't or the readers know...Mule Team Borax is boric acid. It is fairly reasonable priced and easy access. It also works wonders with roaches and silver fish in the home. I made dough balls with a little grease, sugar, flour and boric acid. Just put them were children and pets do not reach. It took a little while but it worked. Much easier than letting off bombs and all that extra cleaning up. And much cheaper than hiring a company to a long term contract. ~DJ


Living in NYC in a 2 family house surrounded by apartment house I have fought this battle for 46 years! I have finally found the VERY BEST WAY! Roaches do not like the smell of bay leaves. I read this somewhere on the internet (I don't remember where) and so, having nothing to lose, I put bay leaves around in my kitchen, in cabinets, under and behind appliances, especially under the sink. I even stuffed them under the baseboard where possible. Within a few days there was no roach activity. However, when the weather changed, I did observe some, though not nearly as many as previously. So I decided to make a bay leaf "tea". I put an entire jar of leaves in a 5 quart pot and boiled it for about 4 hours, adding water as necessary. I then went outside and sprayed the side of my house (I have a corner house whose side faces where the garbage from the apartment house is put out for collection. This did the trick and there has not been a single roach in my house now for about 4 years! Furthermore, I am not worried about poisoning anyone or anything! I wish I had known this years ago, but better late than never! Also, I allowed the wet bay leaves from my tea to dry on a cookie sheet and scattered them also around my house. Waste not, want not. ~mgcherry



About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at


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