Got a Roach Problem? Try These DIY Roach Repellents (and Skip the Store-Bought S Leave a comment

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We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

Finding roaches in your home is never fun, and getting rid of them can be quite the chore. If you’ve got a bad infestation, you’ll likely have to call in a professional exterminator to wipe out the problem, but what if you’re just seeing the occasional bug in the kitchen? Skip the store bought options with ingredients you can’t define in favor of the DIY, single-ingredient solutions below.

Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a white powder made from the fossilized remains of diatoms, which are a type of algae. It’s found in many common household products, and if you buy food grade diatomaceous earth, it’s safe for pets and people—just not for roaches, as the powder destroys their exoskeletons. 

Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned your apartment and cleared or sealed up any possible roach food sources like crumbs, trash, or easily accessible pet food, lightly dust it where you’ve seen roaches in your home to get rid of them. Roaches will also take the bait back to the nest to feed others, fighting your pesky pest problem at the source.

Strategically Place Catnip

That’s right, your feline friend’s favorite herb is actually a natural roach repellent. Roaches are sensitive to the chemical nepetalactone, which is the active ingredient in catnip. (Catnip is also a member of the mint family, so this should come as no surprise!) 

Placing small satchels of catnip around the areas of your home where you’ve seen roaches should keep them at bay. Catnip won’t kill roaches, but it’s a great option for preventing them from coming back after you’ve finally gotten rid of them.

Studies have found a boric acid and sugar combination to be a very effective killer of roaches, but more readily available is Borax mixed with sugar, which also gets the job done. Simply mix three parts Borax to one part sugar for bait and be sure to keep your pets out of the vicinity. Sprinkle your mixture in places you’ve seen roaches to keep them at bay. 

Want to make things easier on yourself? There are also some store-bought options that use the same ingredients. Check them out: 

This diatomaceous earth comes in a handy puffer bottle, perfect for getting into cracks and crevices.

This bug control spray is safe for cats and dogs and uses rosemary oil, among other ingredients, to get the job done.

Additional reporting by Carolin Lehmann

Brittney Morgan


Brittney is Apartment Therapy’s Assistant Lifestyle Editor and an avid tweeter with a passion for carbs and lipstick. She believes in mermaids and owns way too many throw pillows.

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