Cockroaches are just one of the pests that you can bring home. They can hide inside dry goods you buy at the grocery store or furniture that you buy brand new or second-hand. Essential oils for cockroaches include oils that repel roaches and others that kill them.
Check out some of the best essential oils to keep roaches out of your house.
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What Essential Oils Repel Roaches?
If you want to repel cockroaches and make sure they don’t enter your home, there are a few essential oils you can try.
- Eucalyptus oil is a good repellent. It leaves behind a strong and lingering scent that will keep working for days.
- If you want to repel roaches outside, try citronella oil. The downside of citronella oil is that the effects aren’t long lasting. Some have noted that effects wear off within a few hours.
- Cypress mulch works well on roaches and other bugs when used outside. As you probably don’t want to keep mulch indoors, you can replace it with cypress oil. This oil is a natural remedy that repels roaches.
- Cedar oil is also a nice choice. While it has a soft and natural odor, cedar oil repels roaches and other types of bugs.
- Some like using lavender oil. While there aren’t any studies that show the oil will repel roaches, it works on many insects. As a bonus, lavender can also help you sleep better and fight stress.
- Some homeowners like catnip oil. It might be worth a try.
5 Essential Oils That Kill Roaches
- Peppermint oil is one of the best ways to kill cockroaches. This oil has such an intense scent that it can make your eyes water as soon as you remove the cap.
- Tea tree oil has some nice health benefits but will also work on cockroaches. You can use it diluted in water or with a combo of water and vinegar to kill roaches.
- Rosemary oil: Another oil that kills cockroaches is rosemary oil. When used on certain types of roaches such as the brown band version, studies found that it killed all of the roaches in a specific area.
- Oregano oil is among one of the best essential oils for cockroaches. Not only is it effective, but it will last for up to a week before you need to use it any more.
- Mint oil also works well as long as the mixture you use contains a minimum of 3% mint oil. This type of oil will kill any cockroaches it comes into contact with and will keep killing as the bugs carry the oil to their homes.
Essential Oil Caution for Pet Owners
While some essential oils are effective at repelling and killing roaches, they can also present a risk to your pets, both cats and dogs.
Some essential oils are poisonous to dogs. This includes oil of cinnamon, citrus, pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, tea tree (melaleuca), wintergreen, and ylang ylang. These oils are toxic whether ingested by mouth or spread on the skin.American Kennel Club
Essential oils that are known to cause poisoning in cats include oil of wintergreen, oil of sweet birch, citrus oil (d-limonene), pine oils, Ylang Ylang oil, peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, pennyroyal oil, clove oil, eucalyptus oil, and tea tree oil.Pet Poison Helpline
Always verify with your vet or another trusted source before using an essential oil around your pets.
How to Use Essential Oils for Cockroaches
The best way to get rid of cockroaches with essential oils will depend on the type of oil that you choose.
You should never use essential oils as-is because they can damage different surfaces around your house.
If you worry about damaging furniture or other soft surfaces, try applying a small amount of oil and seeing what it does.
You should use a carrier oil such as olive oil. Though it dilutes the essential oil, it will still be effective at killing or repelling cockroaches.
- To use peppermint oil or another type of mint oil, add a small amount of oil to a spray bottle and top with water.
- You only need around 15 to 20 drops of essential oil.
- Spray the solution on your walls and around spots where you saw roaches.
- Make a stronger solution with two parts water and one part vinegar before adding your mint oil.
You can spray the mixture around your house or soak cotton balls in it and lay them around the places where you spotted roaches.
- As eucalyptus oil is so strong, you often need as little as five drops in a bottle with water or a combo of water and vinegar. You have the option of using either distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
- Lavender oil also works well when diluted in water. A more effective repellent uses a combo of lavender oil with basil, lemon, rose and citronella oil. If you choose this mixture, use a few drops of each one in a spray bottle before adding water.
No matter which type of oil you use, always dilute the oil with either water or water and vinegar before using it in your home.
Where to Use Essential Oils for Cockroaches
You should use essential oils anywhere you see roaches or signs of a cockroach infestation.
- Look for signs of their droppings or smear marks, which occur when they walk through their waste. Many homeowners see these marks in their cabinets and on their walls and floors.
- Tiny pieces of black matter are another sign, which you’ll see when the roaches shed their skin. You may also detect a strange odor.
- During more serious infestations, you can even see roaches running around your home. Though they usually only come out at night, they will also come out during the day if you have a bigger infestation.
When using essential oils in your kitchen, focus on the areas around your appliances, including your fridge and stove.
- Spray the oil inside your cabinets and around the edges of your drawers. You’ll also want to open the cabinet under the sink and spray the solution around your pipes.
- Cockroaches can easily come through gaps between the pipe and wall. Essential oils are also safe to use on your counters.
- Cockroaches commonly live in bathrooms, too. Check behind your toilet to find the spot where the water line enters the wall.
- Apply your essential oil mixture around that pipe. You should also spray it on your counters and inside any cabinets or drawers.
As roaches need a consistent water source, you’ll also see these bugs living around leaks.
If you have a leak under your sink or inside the wall, take care of it as soon as possible and then use your essential oil mixture.
You may want to check other areas of your home for roaches, including your closets and living room.
- Cockroaches love closets because those areas give them a dark spot to hide and live. They can often move through the gaps under the doors to reach different rooms.
- Check the inside of any dressers or vanities that you have as well. You should also check your laundry room and focus on both your washer and dryer along with your water heater.
- In your living room, look under your couch and chairs. It’s also helpful to use essential oils around your TV console or table.
- Cockroaches can hide inside electronics such as gaming consoles, too. Here are 7 ways to get roaches out of electronics.
Which Essential Oil is Best for Roaches?
Does Peppermint Oil Repel Roaches?
Peppermint oil is one of the few essential oils toxic enough to kill cockroaches. If you aren’t a fan of peppermint, you can use spearmint or any other type of mint oil.
Many love peppermint oil because it has a fun scent that reminds them of the holidays.
Several studies found that peppermint oil works especially well on both American roaches and German roaches. Peppermint oil both repels and kills cockroaches.
Learn more about peppermint oil for roaches – including links to the studies.
Does Cedar Oil Kill Roaches?
Known as both cedar oil and cedarwood oil, this essential oil does not kill roaches but will repel them.
This is the same scent that repels moths and other bugs from closets and cabinets. You should dilute it with a carrier oil or water before spraying it around your house. Cedar oil has a strong scent that can last for days or longer.
Does Tea Tree Oil Repel Roaches?
Tea tree oil can repel roaches but may not work on all types. The cockroaches in your home may move so fast that they get by before you can spray them with this oil.
It’s helpful to apply the oil to any crevices or cracks where roaches hide. This ensures that most roaches spell the oil.
Does Lavender Oil Repel Roaches?
Lavender oil is a popular essential oil because it helps you feel relaxed and calm. It works on many types of insects but may not be effective on roaches unless you use it with other oils.
Most recipes call for equal parts lemon and rose oil along with citronella and basil oil. Those oils work together to repel roaches.
Does Eucalyptus Kill Roaches?
Eucalyptus oil is toxic and serves as a natural way to kill roaches.
Not only does it work on most types of roaches, but it lasts longer than other essential oils do. You usually only need a few drops mixed in a spray bottle with water.
This combo will work for up to a full week.
Controversy Over Essential Oils for Roaches
While essential oils are popular among homeowners, not everyone agrees.
In this short post by ScherZinger Pest Control, they discount all essential oils as “not the best way to solve your problem”.
They make a good point, noting that tea tree oil is poisonous to pets. In fact, they missed many others that are also poisonous to cats and dogs. These include cinnamon, citrus, pennyroyal, peppermint, and sweet birch. See the full list above, as provided by the American Kennel Club and Pet Poison Hotline.
But instead of using natural, inexpensive methods, they recommend hiring them for a monthly fee. Seems like their strong opinions (no sources included) could have another motive.
Especially when there are studies (Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Auburn University) that have proven the effectiveness of mint oil to kill roaches.
Of course, if they can share some data, we would be happy to include this in the post.
Using Essential Oils for Roaches
Essential oils can repel and kill roaches. You can choose one that has a scent you love and combine it with just water or both water and oil. Essential oils for cockroaches can work as a spray, but you can also use the oil on cotton balls you use around the house.
Be sure to confirm that the specific oil you plan to use is safe around your pets, children, and furniture.
- About the Author
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Bryan Haines is a co-founder and writer at The Buginator. And is working to make it the best resource for taking back the outdoors from biting, stinging pests.
He also blogs about travel at Storyteller.Travel and photography at Storyteller Tech. Bryan is a partner at Storyteller Media, a publishing company he runs with his wife, Dena.