Home » Roach Removal Tips & Tricks » Can You Use Essential Oils for Roaches? Does It Kill or Repel?

Can You Use Essential Oils for Roaches? Does It Kill or Repel?

A cockroach feasting on a large crumb on the floor.

Essential oils have gained a lot of popularity because of their many helpful uses. They make a great natural alternative for those of us who like to be conscious of the types of products we use on our bodies and the spaces we live in. 

Can you use essential oils for roaches? Certain essential oils, such as eucalyptus, tea tree, cinnamon, and rosemary, can effectively repel roaches, but few are toxic enough to kill them. Peppermint, citronella, and rosemary are thought to be the most toxic. Essential oils can be used to sanitize after infestation.

If you want to use essential oils for roaches, you’ll need to know exactly which essential oils you should try and the best practices for using them in your home.

That’s exactly what you’ll learn in the following.

Using essential oils is only one natural method for roach control. Click here to explore our other roach articles and to see more natural options for battling roaches.

What Essential Oils Work Best for Roaches?

There are many different types of essential oils, each with unique uses and benefits. Fortunately, several of them can be used in the house and garden as a natural method of pest control.

However, not all insects respond to the same essential oils, so if you want to see results with your unwelcome roach visitors, you need to know which to use.

These are the essential oils that research has shown to be the most effective natural cockroach repellent:

  • Cedarwood oil
  • Citronella oil
  • Peppermint oil
  • Cinnamon oil
  • Thyme oil
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Lemon oil
  • Tea tree oil
  • Orange oil
  • Cypress oil
  • Catnip oil
  • Rosemary oil 

The scents and chemicals found in these specific essential oils have proven to be effective roach repellent.

While these oils all bother or confuse roaches and help to keep them out of certain areas, not all of them have been found to be toxic to roaches as well.

It’s also important to note that some of these oils might need to be combined together to make them stronger and more effective

This large set of 30 essential oils contains many of the oils that are effective against roaches and comes in a lovely storage box.

Any that you don’t wind up using for pest control can be added to a diffuser to lightly scent your home.

Essential Oils Set -Essential Oils - 100% Natural...

Check Price on Amazon

Let’s take a look at how to implement essential oils into your pest control techniques.

Also, be sure to read through our articles “How To Get Rid of Roaches” and “Best Roach Killer” to see additional all-natural approaches (and pesticide products) that will aid you in ridding your home of these pests.

Do Essential Oils Kill Roaches?

Both researchers and homeowners have had some level of success when using essential oils as a repellent for roaches. 

When it comes to actually killing roaches, only a few types of essential oils have been found to be effective.

There are some variables you can adjust to make essential oils more successful at killing roaches. 

  • Amount used – Even if oils have a lower level of toxicity to roaches, they can increase in effectiveness when used in higher amounts. 
  • Mixing – Some oils even have a higher chance of being toxic to roaches when mixed together with other varieties of essential oils.  

Use the following chart as a guide when determining which essential oils to use for your roach problem:

Type of Essential Oil Level of Toxicity Need to Be Mixed?
Peppermint oil High No
Eucalyptus oil Medium No
Rosemary Oil High No
Tea Tree Oil Low Yes, try peppermint and citronella oils
Cedarwood Oil Medium No
Cypress Oil Medium Yes, try peppermint oil

In general, essential oils will still work best to repel roaches.

And once they are gone, there are complementary methods you can add in to help keep them away. We’ll get into all of that below. 

How to Use Essential Oils with Roaches

If you’ve encountered cockroaches, you know that they are one of the most resilient (and speedy!)  species of insects out there.

Though roaches rarely bite, they do spread disease and can multiply quickly. (find out when roaches will bite here)

In fact, many people aren’t aware that the presence of just one baby roach is indicative of an infestation, but it’s true. We explain why here.

Controlling them can be very difficult at times, so when using essential oils, you need to have an effective, multi-pronged strategy in order to see results. 

Roaches may come in through windows and doors, but they like to hide in cabinets, under sinks, and in dark places, so you want to use the oils in each of these areas.

They are also drawn to water sources, which explains why even clean houses can have roaches, so be sure to check all plumbing for any leaks.

There are two ideal methods for using essential oils with roaches.

Make Your Own Bug Spray

Making your own bug spray using essential oils is very simple!

The only products you will need are an empty spray bottle, the essential oils you want to use, and a base.

The base can be water, although using rubbing alcohol or white vinegar is also an option if you want to make a stronger repellent. 

The amount you choose to use may vary, but a good rule of thumb is to use 3 ounces of water for every 10 drops of the essential oil.

To make the stronger spray, try using one-part alcohol or vinegar, one-part water, and the oil.

Use Cotton Balls

For this method, all you will need is a bag of cotton balls, the essential oils of your choosing, and a base. For your base, you can use water, rubbing alcohol, or white vinegar. 

  1. Make a mixture using 3 ounces of the base and 10 drops of the oil. If using rubbing alcohol, dilute the alcohol with an equal part of water.
  2. Then, simply soak cotton balls in the repellent and place them in your home in the areas you have seen the roaches.

Other Methods to Try

While the above methods are the most effective at roach control, there are other options to try.

An essential oil diffuser (this stylish diffuser provides 12 hours of consistent scent per fill) or homemade essential oil candle gently disperses scents into the air to drive away pests, lift your spirits, and make the room smell wonderful.

Essential Oil Diffuser,Anjou 500ml Cool Mist...

Check Price on Amazon

The scents in the air can deter and confuse roaches, but to be toxic and kill the bugs, most oils would need to make contact directly with the roaches.

Advantages of Using Essential Oils with Roaches

There are many positives to using essential oils with roaches. 

  • Accessibility – They are very easy to buy because of their popularity in home wellness and aromatherapy. 
  • Friendly to the planet – They work as an all-natural pesticide, meaning you can limit the amount of strong toxic chemicals that you’re spraying into your home. 
  • Easy to use – They don’t need special sprayers or professional treatments. They are simple to apply and don’t leave a thick, yucky residue.
  • Friendly to other living things – Most have significantly lower toxicity levels compared to chemical insecticides and bug sprays. Plus, they smell really good!

Experimenting with these oils is a simple task.

You can mix different oils, increase or decrease the number of drops in your bug spray solution, and change how often you spray or how much you use with ease.

It won’t take you long to find what works for you.

Things to Consider When Using Essential Oils With Roaches

You should take some things into consideration when using essential oils for roaches in your home and garden. 

  • They should not be ingested – While they are all-natural products, essential oils are only meant for use on the outside of the body. 
  • You still should keep pets and kids away – Since many of these oils are toxic when consumed, you should always look out for those who might accidentally get into the oils.
  • Research the products you are buying – When purchasing oils, it is also possible that they come in a bottle mixed with other ingredients that are harmful, so be aware.
  • Roach infestations are often hard to handle – You will probably have to apply the essential oils very frequently, depending on how big your roach problem is or how well the treatment is working. 

Essential oils aren’t an efficient, quick-working killing machine for roaches, but they can help you manage the problem.

Once you’ve noticed the pests have moved on, there are a few things you can do to help keep them away.

After Essential Oils Have Sent the Roaches Away

If the oils have done their job, it’s time to perform a few important tasks around your home to keep the roaches from coming back:

  • Do a deep cleaning – This is the time to clean everything, inside and out, especially in the areas you know roaches were hiding – furniture, appliances, carpets, floors, and any surface you can reach. 
  • Empty your cabinets – Take everything out and clean everything – especially crumbs and roach droppings (find out what roach poop looks like here). Don’t put anything back until all is dry. 
  • Disinfect – Once you’ve cleaned, disinfect everything. This is where your essential oils can come in handy again. Create a natural disinfectant spray to hit everything with once all is clean, rinsed, and dry. 
  • Seal any cracks and any spaces around pipes – There are plenty of ways roaches find their way in. Eliminate all of them that you can find. 

Keep your essential oil disinfectant spray on hand to wipe down surfaces each night.

If your home is clean, sanitized, and sealed off, you will have greater success at keeping roaches and other household pests away.

Essential oils are a great part of a holistic approach to roach control and elimination.