Essential oils to kill cockroaches

Cockroaches are a common pest and although a spotless kitchen and regular trash removal are excellent preventive methods, even the cleanest homes face an occasional roach problem. Many people worry about the impact of toxic chemicals used in pest extermination on health, environment and pets. Use of essential oils is a natural choice for removing cockroaches from your home.

Natural Remedies

Cypress, citronella, peppermint, citrus hystrix and lemon grass oil can be used as natural remedies for cockroach control. According to a 2007 study conducted by Thailand's National Institute of Health, citrus hystrix is the most effective essential oil used in controlling the pest, repelling 100 per cent of certain types of cockroaches. An 2001 Auburn University demonstrated that mint-based oils also showed good results in killing cockroaches over a 24-hour period. Many essential oil preparations for cockroach extermination combine different oils for maximum efficacy.

Preventive Use

Preventing cockroaches is an important first step in natural extermination methods. Soak cotton balls in a solution of peppermint oil and citronella. Place the cotton balls in kitchen cabinets, under the sink or other places where you have seen cockroach activity. Some oils are harmful if ingested by cats, so place cotton balls out of their reach.


Essential oils can be combined in a variety of sprays for cockroach control. In one recipe, half a cup of water is combined with 10 drops of peppermint oil and five drops of cypress oil. In a stronger version, salted water is mixed with equal amounts of cypress and peppermint oils. Another variation calls for soapy water with the cypress and peppermint oils. Studies show that essential oils have different effects on various kinds of cockroaches. Experiment to find the best oils for exterminating the roaches in your home.

Essential Oil Roach Motels

Roach motels are a common choice of cockroach eradication. A natural, nonchemical roach motel can be created using essential oils. Take a small plastic container with a lid, an empty butter or yoghurt container works well, and punch holes big enough for roaches to enter. Soak cotton balls in peppermint oil and place in container. Put the natural roach motels around the home in places where you've seen cockroaches. Under the bathroom sink and on kitchen counters are typical spots for roach motels.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Tracie Harris lives in Atlanta and has been writing lifestyle articles since 2008. W.W. Norton is publishing her work in "The Seagull Guide" due out in 2011. Her writing has also appeared in "The Historian" and The Good Cook. Harris is a former social studies teacher. She holds a B.A. in history and secondary education from Agnes Scott College.