8 Best Cockroach Repellents

The cringe-worthy cockroach. Learn what products and methods are best for repelling these loathsome intruders from your home.

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Illustration of cockroaches running away from a house
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What Repels Cockroaches?

Cockroaches carry diseases, spread bacteria that can contaminate food and act as an allergen source to trigger asthma attacks. They’re bad news all around.

Rock-solid methods for repelling cockroaches include:

When deciding which method to choose, consider the type and size of your infestation. Bug expert Ed Spicer of Pest Strategies recommends taking a two-, three- or even four-pronged approach because roaches can be tough to get rid of. Employing more than one tactic greatly increases your chances of success.

Here are our choices for the best cockroach repellents.

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Best Indoors

Defend your home with Wondercide Indoor Pest Control. Although the manufacturer claims it kills roaches along with repelling them, it probably won’t do a lot of damage to the little buggers since the spray features naturally-derived, plant-based essential oils like cedar, peppermint, rosemary and lemongrass. All are well-known repellents in the cockroach world, but not particularly lethal or poisonous.

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Best Outdoors

When sprayed around the perimeter of your property, Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer creates a barrier against cockroaches that limits their return for up to a year. Use the battery-operated, continuous one-touch spray wand to cover up to 5,000 square feet and kill the roaches in your yard. Odor-free and non-staining, when applying be sure to keep pets away from the area until the spray is completely dry.

“It works!” wrote one happy Amazon reviewer. “The same day we got it delivered, I sprayed the entire perimeter of the house outside, plus inside the house corners and closets, plus the garage. Well, it’s been a few months, and I haven’t seen one bug since. I even still have half a gallon left. Get it. This works.”

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Best Ultrasonic

No more spraying or setting out stations. The Environmental Protection Agency-approved Ultrasonic Pest Repeller sends a clear message to roaches that they’re not welcome in your home.

Neatmaster’s advanced technology emits waves of low, ultrasonic frequencies, creating a sound that only cockroaches (and other pests) can hear. The pest repeller covers an area up to 1,200 square feet, with three color-coded light settings that correspond to the size of the cockroach infestation you have: slight, normal or terrible.

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Best Pouches/Stations

If you’re ready for a mess-free way to make roaches hit the road, look no further than Eco Defense Pest Control Pouches. Eco’s patented encapsulation process combines aromatic essential oils (see below) in a simple-to-use pouch. Each of the 12 packs repels roaches for up to 12 months, and are especially effective when placed in small spaces like closets, pantries and RVs.

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Best Around Children and Pets

Safe to use around pets and humans, essential oils have long been touted as an effective roach repellent. First Botany Peppermint Essential Oil — a compound extracted from the peppermint plant — works because, quite simply, cockroaches hate the smell. Confidently sprinkle the oil around food and drink without worry; it’s non-toxic with no additives. First Botany also sells eucalyptus, tea tree, lavender, lemon and rosemary oils, all known to be great at sending these gross insects packing!

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Best Value

Keep it clean! A bucket, water, detergent and a little elbow grease is still the best and most budget-friendly way to discourage cockroaches from invading your home.

Cockroaches thrive around food and moisture sources. So by vacuuming, mopping, washing dishes and removing clutter regularly, you’re eliminating what attracts roaches in the first place. You know what Benjamin Franklin said: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When it comes to avoiding a roach infestation, Ben’s right!

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Exterminator spraying a home
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Best Splurge

Sometimes throwing money at a problem is the way to go. Perhaps you live in a multi-family dwelling or suspect a large infestation. You’ve tried repelling cockroaches with DIY solutions to no avail. If that’s the case, calling a professional pest control expert to assess the situation is recommended.

If you’re willing to spend the money, a monthly or quarterly spraying program can run from $600 to $1,200 annually. A reputable extermination service can produce results that are safe and effective. Go to Pest.org to find a top-rated exterminator in your area.

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Best Home Remedy

Did you know chrysanthemum flowers produce a natural chemical that has strong repellent powers against cockroaches? It’s called pyrethrum, a common active ingredient that’s used — in its artificial form — in many manufactured insecticides. Plant colorful mums in your garden or keep them in pots around your kitchen. They’ll create a natural and beautiful deterrent to roaches.

Toni DeBella
Toni DeBella is a culture and lifestyle writer, reviews expert and DIYer covering everything from pests to pool cabanas to painting. For over a decade, Toni was the owner of a successful faux finishing, mural and children’s furniture business before moving to a career in writing. Her work has appeared in The Telegraph, Fodor’s, Italy Magazine, DK Eyewitness travel guides and others. She lives in a medieval hill town in Italy where her bicycle “Raoul” serves as her primary mode of transportation.