Call Me a Cockroach-Killing Machine…Essential Oils to Get Rid of the Roaches

Well…it’s been a week and I think I can safely say that essential oils can keep cockroaches out of my house!

It all started a couple of weeks ago. Heavy rains always force the critters inside and our house, though rarely effected, happened to be the one they chose this year. One lone roach in the bathroom, a scream (did it really come from me??), and my handsome hubby to the rescue, and the cockroach was safely flushed.

Fast forward two days and a few more inches of rain. Roach #2 joined his unlucky comrade in the commode. And hubby sent me an email, (yes, really), to please call the pest control company ASAP.

Now, I am happy to do that. I will not live in a roach-infestation. BUT…here’s what the company told me. First, the earliest appointment available was in 4 days and second, we had to empty every cabinet. Once the technician was finished, we would have to leave the house for 4-6 hours. And take the bird with us. And re-wash all the dishes we took out of the cabinets.

What?? And then it’s safe to put this stuff back?? If it’s that toxic on our systems that we had to leave, I was concerned for our health as well as the very delicate respiratory system of our bird.

So, I Googled what essential oils might work for pest control. And I found that cypress oil, peppermint oil, and saltwater seemed to work. I mixed 1/2 cup saltwater with 10 drops each of the oils and put it in a spray bottle. I sprayed every nook and cranny of my bathroom, the kitchen, and doorways as I was cleaning.

I wasn’t sure about the staying power of the mixture, so I re-sprayed that evening before bed and twice more in as many days. So far, we haven’t seen any roaches. So I’m hoping this will work as a long term solution.

The only downside was my choice of delivery system. My spray bottle was plastic with a fine mist nozzle and it clogged. Changed bottles and no more problems!

The recipe:

  • 1/2 cup saltwater (I dissolved 1 tbsp sea salt in 1/2 cup warm water)
  • 10 drops cypress oil
  • 10 drops peppermint oil

I have also read that you can use tea tree oil (melaleuca) or eucalyptus.

So for now,

Call me happy in a roach-free environment


19 thoughts on “Call Me a Cockroach-Killing Machine…Essential Oils to Get Rid of the Roaches

    • The salt disperses the essential oil evenly in the water. Without it the oils would sit on top of the water. Also, salt works just be aware that if you spray dark wood or places noticeable when the water dries you’ll get white salt spots.

  1. Hello, I tried this method and so far I have not seen a cockroach in my house. However I realized that the peppermint smell from the solution goes away rather quickly. Will this still be effective in keeping away cockroaches? How often should I spray around the house?

    • Even if humans can’t smell it their senses are more sensitive than ours (given their smaller size and they are closer to the ground) so they will still be repelled by lower concentrations. Given it’s oil the staying power is long and it will take a long time to evaporate or disintegrate.

      I used to use this technique for ants at an old house I used to live at but didn’t realize it worked for roaches too. Hoping that the Eucalyptus combined with the Catnip tea bags I’ve laid around the perimeter will do the trick.

  2. Bless your heart for posting your experience with this and for letting us know how it turned out…your once a week spraying is helping to know also. I just saw my first big one inside this year, and his fate ended with a big smash of my shoe and a visit to the commode as well, haha. This sounds like a great plan to stop anymore of this little guy’s friends from taking up residence. Thank you so much! 🙂

  3. Same question, why type of bottle works for the oil sprays and thank you for posting this promising method!!! We live in Tucson and it’s a chronic issue. Can’t wait to see the results of this technique.

  4. I wish I had known more and had more faith in EO before my beloved cat Moxie died from eating water bugs that were actually attracted to the pesticide I used outside my bedroom door. Which is now my belief that pesticide attract and EO detracts. Since September 2013, my life has forever changed and the pain of her loss so great. It could’ve been prevented. Of my 3 cats, she would be the bug killer. Not at this home, but I once found several roach pods (unborn babies!!!!) left behind but never any adult roaches. It seriously grossed me out!!!! I realized she had to have got to them. After that, I never saw any again. I’ve watched her go after bugs, so it was her. None of the other cats came down with the illness. I feel so guilty for it, but I have to still find forgiveness in myself that cats will be cats and it was an accident. Essential Oil could’ve saved her life and she would be with me today. Ok…I’m shedding tears now. Thanks for your post.

  5. We are considering using your spray idea! Are they coming back with the warmer months? Just curious! Thank you!

  6. Thank you so much for this post. I live in the tropics and its a constant battle against ants and roaches.
    This really worked!!! Will make it a weekly regular application.

  7. Did you do any further experiments like just placing peppermint-oil (or the whole mixture) in distinct places in your house, rather than spraying it?

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