13 Best Ways to Kill Cockroaches (And What Doesn’t)

There are many ways to kill cockroaches — sprays, traps, gels, even natural remedies. Here are a dozen of the best options.

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How to Kill Cockroaches

A home invader that brings along several health risks, homeowners should get rid of cockroaches at the first indication of an infestation. Traps, gels, pesticides, and natural remedies can be used to capture and kill all types of cockroaches taking over your home. Here are some of the best ways to get rid of this invasive pest and a few solutions that might not work as well as perceived.

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Cockroach Trap: Combat

Combining food with the insecticide hydramethylnon, the Combat Cockroach Trap can help catch and kill cockroaches in and around the house. Just place these traps around where cockroaches are suspected and wait for the pests to find their way in.

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Cockroach Trap: Roach Motel

Adhesive traps are one way to capture cockroaches without poisons or toxins. The Roach Motel cockroach trap lures pests into the small container and keeps them there with a sticky glue. Cockroaches get stuck in the trap and eventually die. This method is a clean and harm-free way to clear out those pesky roaches.

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Cockroach Trap: Hot Shot Ultra Roach Bait

Using a food and water combination, the Hot Shot Ultra Roach Bait traps and kills cockroaches when they ingest the bait. You can set up these bait stations in and around the house where cockroaches have been seen, checking once a month to see the progress. The trap effectively kills roaches in hours and helps eliminate any of the cockroaches carrying eggs.

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Cockroach Gel: Advion Gel Bait

The Advion Gel Bait is an effective bait for those cracks and crevices where cockroaches get in the home. The gel works on various species including the American, German and Brown-Banded cockroaches, luring them with a high-performing bait matrix and poisoning them with Indoxacarb. Use this bait around the foundation of your home or this lavender water TikTok hack to get rid of cockroaches.

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Cockroach Gel: Combat Max Roach Killing Gel

Particularly effective against German cockroaches, the Combat Max Roach Killing Gel attracts and kills roaches trying to enter the home. Used in those hard-to-reach places where cockroaches might be roaming, the gel can help eliminate the pests quickly and easily.

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Cockroach Powder: Boric Acid

A formula of boric acid will lure and kill cockroaches in the home or a business. Apply the powder in likely cockroach hiding spots — under appliances, behind cabinets, and crevices where they crawl. Here’s why boric acid is particularly effective: If a cockroach eats another cockroach killed by the poison, it too will be killed. As with any pesticide, apply carefully and follow instructions for safe use.

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Cockroach Powder: Diatomaceous Earth

An all-natural mineral, Diatomaceous Earth is an effective powder that eliminates cockroaches upon contact. Apply a light dusting of this powder with a scoop or duster in places where cockroaches have been seen. They step in it, and it essentially dehydrates the pests to their death. While generally safe around people and pets, follow instructions closely for a safe application and maximum performance.

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Cockroach Spray: Raid Roach Killer Spray

Fragrance free, the Raid Roach Killer is an effective spray that kills cockroaches on contact and continues to kill on surfaces for up to four weeks. It also helps eliminate nests. The spray is not only effective against cockroaches but other insects as well.

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Cockroach Spray: Ortho Home Defense

A can that sprays at multiple angle, the Ortho Home Defense Max Aerosol kills cockroaches at the point of contact and fares well at preventing pests in the future. The spray is good for indoor use and provides no extra fumes. It’s effective on all types of insects, not just roaches.

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remove scratches in glass with baking soda and water

Natural Remedy: Baking Soda and Sugar

This natural DIY method features a bowl of baking soda mixed with a pinch of sugar, placed near locations where cockroach activity has taken place. The sweetness of the sugar will attract the cockroaches; ingesting the baking soda effectively kills them. It is a simple and safe way to eliminate pests in and around the home. If using this method, make sure to safely dispose of any dead cockroaches.

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Natural Remedy: Fabric Softener

A spray bottle mixed with three parts fabric softener and two parts water can be an effective way of eliminating cockroaches. The chemicals within the fabric softener suffocate the roaches. This method only works if the cockroaches come into direct contact with the mixture.

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Basin of soapy water
-slav-/Getty Images

Natural Remedy: Soap and Water

Similar to the fabric softener approach, a natural remedy for killing cockroaches is a mixture of water and soap, dispensed from a spray bottle. If you see cockroaches in the open, the spray can kill the pests on sight.

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Things that don't kill cockroaches - cucumbers
Photo Courtesy of Bonnie Plants

Roach Killing Myth: Cucumbers

This may come as a bit of a shock, but people have tested using cucumbers as a way to repel roaches away from their home. According to some sources, cucumber peels are supposed to ward off cockroaches because they find the smell repulsive. However, this myth has been busted and is not recommended by usual cockroach control. Find out what smells repel cockroaches so you can keep them away.

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lemon essential oil - what doesn't kill cockroaches
Nikolay Litov/Shutterstock

Roach Killing Myth: Citrus Liquids or Herbs

Another Internet false claim to avoid. Some people have written that citrus water, herbs, or even essential oils can stave off cockroaches from your home. This is just another myth that has been busted by pest control experts.

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Cockroach Resources

For more information about cockroaches and what it means when you find this pest in your home or business, check out these pest control articles.