When cockroaches are in your yard and make their way into your home, you need a quick way to get rid of them.
Roaches can be a health hazard and may cause your allergies to flare up.
What is the best roach killer? Ideally, roach killers should be safe to use indoors and out and safe for children and pets. The best natural options include baking soda, diatomaceous earth, and sprays that utilize essential oils. The best pesticide options include baited traps, sprays and granules.
The thought of living among roaches sends chills through most people. Getting rid of them as fast as possible should be top priority as they are not sanitary to be around.
In the following, we’ll show you how to best avoid a roach problem, points to consider when deciding on a product, and roach killers that we have found to be effective and easy to use.
The more informed you are about roaches, the better equipped you’ll be to win the battle. Click here to view all of our tips, info, and advice on dealing with roaches.
Best Practices for Preventing an Infestation
Cockroaches are usually brown or almost black and can be a few millimeters or a few inches long.
They have six legs and are usually found in dark and moist areas.
Finding small specks that resemble coffee grounds or small inky stains (yes – that’s roach poop – read more here) under appliances and along baseboards is often a telltale sign of roach activity.
You may find them inside more often when it’s cold since they need warmer temperatures to survive.
Though roaches can carry and spread diseases and trigger allergy symptoms, they rarely bite (we explain more here), so you don’t need to be fearful when going after them.
The photo below is the most common cockroach found in the United States.
American Cockroach – Periplaneta americana
There are a few simple steps you can take to prevent cockroaches from making their home on your property.
If you already have roaches, these steps can help drive them away and prevent more from coming.
What if you’ve only spotted a few tiny roaches in your home? Do baby roaches mean you’re already infested? Find the answer here.
Keep Everything Dry
Moisture draws in cockroaches since they can’t live in dry areas.
To prevent cockroaches from coming into your home, make sure water can drain away from your house so it doesn’t puddle up.
You should also make sure water can’t puddle around stepping stones, planters, and other things roaches can hide under.
Close Up Openings
If you have any cracks or holes in your home, seal them up as soon as possible to prevent roaches from crawling into your home through them.
You can use silicone caulk to close up these spaces.
Roaches can also crawl up drains, so if you’re able to cover drains when you’re not using them, you can prevent roaches from finding their way into your sink or tub.
Make sure trash bags and trash cans don’t have holes in them either because they’ll be able to crawl inside, eat, and mate, which of course will compound the problem.
Don’t Leave Food Out
The main reason roaches find their way into homes is because of food availability.
This explains why roaches are found in clean houses as well as messy ones. It’s all about food (and water).
Roaches come into your home when there’s food left out long enough for them to find it.
You can prevent this by the following:
- Vacuum and sweep frequently.
- Don’t leave dirty dishes on tables or in the sink.
- Don’t leave pet food out in the bowls all day.
- Take out the trash often.
Roach Killer – What to Look For
There are several different kinds of roach killer on the market you can choose from.
It’s not quite “one size fits all,” so it’s important to find something that will work for your specific situation.
Types of Roach Killer
Roach killer comes in several forms:
- Liquid spray: Liquid spray is available for indoor and outdoor use. It applies wet and dries quickly. The spray will kill roaches on contact, but the residue that’s left behind will continue to kill roaches until it’s gone.
- Aerosol spray: Aerosol spray comes out as a gas and is meant to kill roaches on contact. It may kill roaches as long as residue is left behind, but it’s not typically intended for long-term control.
- Sticky traps: Sticky traps are safer options to use since the chemicals they may contain aren’t spread around like they are in sprays or granules. They’re only effective when roaches crawl on them, so you may need to supply some bait so you can be sure they’ll work.
- Tablet bait: Tablets contain a lure for roaches and a chemical that will kill them. Some use natural ingredients, like borax, while others contain pesticides. Roaches eat them and die shortly after. These are great for hard-to-reach areas, like behind counters or under refrigerators.
- Granular bait: Granular bait is for outdoor use and is often used on the perimeter of the yard. It creates a barrier that will draw roaches to it. The roaches are then drawn away from your house, will eat the granules, and will die soon after.
- Foggers: Foggers disperse tiny droplets of pesticides into the air to penetrate places where insects like to hide. They are effective, but anything in the area not protected will be covered by the chemicals. See which foggers are the best here.
Some products are more effective than others.
Liquid and aerosol sprays will kill cockroaches on contact, so they’re perfect to use if you frequently see a stray one roaming around.
Many sprays are used for short-term control, although there are some that are meant to be sprayed around the base of your home that will last for a few weeks.
Sticky traps won’t suffice for large infestations.
They can only trap as many roaches as the surface can hold, so you would need to replace them frequently if there’s a large population you’re trying to kill.
Roaches may see the dead ones on the trap and stay away from it, causing the trap to not be efficient.
Determining the effectiveness on a product will require you to read the information on the label.
If the label of the product says it’s intended for indoor use, don’t expect the product to work well outside.
Also consider the size of the product in relation to how many roaches you see around your home.
Safe for Use Around People and Pets
Many roach killing products are available as a pesticide or as a natural solution.
Pesticides are always a health and environmental concern since they contain harmful chemicals.
Natural products are safe for the environment, but they can still be dangerous for humans and pets.
For example, boric acid is dangerous in large quantities, and some products may cause allergic reactions.
However, all-natural sprays that contain plant-based ingredients, like essential oils, can be quite effective and are definitely safer than chemical options.
(Are essential oils really powerful enough to take out roaches? Yes! Learn more in this article.)
If you find a pesticide product that seems like it will work well, consider looking for an alternative solution that’s made with natural ingredients since those are often safer than pesticides.
Ease of Use
Regardless of which type you use, roach killers require very little effort to apply.
Most of them are a “one and done” solution that don’t require upkeep, but continual control will require you to reapply the roach killer frequently.
Roach killers aren’t reusable unless you make a DIY trap or purchase a store-bought trap.
These kinds of traps aren’t sticky but instead rely on bait to attract roaches and cause them to fall into the trap.
If it’s deep enough, they won’t be able to escape. You can empty out the dead roaches, wash the trap, add new bait, and set it up to trap them again.
Sticky traps have to be thrown away once they’re full of roaches.
Containers that held pesticides should be discarded since they contained harmful chemicals.
Most roach killers can’t be reused since the product itself will be eaten by roaches or eventually washed away when it rains or when you mop.
If you’re looking to save some money, try natural solutions made with ingredients found around your home.
Many ingredients in DIY solutions are inexpensive, and if you already regularly buy the items, you won’t have to spend extra money buying a disposable roach killer you can only use once or twice.
Now that you know how to decide on a roach killer, let’s look at some of the best options for indoor and outdoor control.
Be sure to read our article “How To Get Rid of Roaches” for great DIY solutions and product recommendations.
Best Indoor Roach Killer
Indoor roach killer should be highly effective since roaches are unwelcome guests in your home.
They should also be safe for you and your family to be around. Let’s take a look at some options.
You may have had an older relative tell you about the versatility of baking soda, and they were right. Sure, it can clean, but it can also kill cockroaches.
When cockroaches eat it, it hurts their stomach and causes them to die. It’s also abrasive on their exoskeleton, which might injure them enough to kill them too.
Baking soda must be added to something else since it doesn’t attract the roaches by itself.
You can use a similar-looking ingredient like sugar or cornstarch, or make use of some table scraps by sprinkling them on top.
Use even amounts of bait and baking soda so the lure will be effective. Place the mixture in an area where you usually see roaches.
- Inexpensive form of pest control.
- Easy to make.
- Easy to clean up.
- Not effective without bait.
- Doesn’t work as well if roaches don’t eat enough.
Not every roach killing spray has to be a lethal risk to humans. This spray by Wondercide relies on natural ingredients to get the job done.
It uses oils including cedarwood and lemongrass to kill roaches.
It doesn’t contain harmful chemicals, but it does contain sodium lauryl sulfate, which is a natural ingredient but known to be a skin irritant.
This ingredient is probably in your shampoo and toothpaste, but since Wondercide won’t be put on your skin, it’ll be safe to use in your home.
- Contains natural ingredients including essential oils.
- No chemical smell.
- Kills on contact and will work for a couple of weeks.
- Contains a skin irritant.
Although it isn’t natural, this is a good roach killer to use in your home because the pesticide is protected by a dome.
If you have children or pets, this product by Hot Shot is worth considering.
It contains bait and poison so that it will draw the roaches to it; they’ll eat the bait, and then they’ll die soon after.
Place the bait stations in places where they won’t be touched, such as under sinks or refrigerators, in cabinets, or by baseboards in the corner of the room.
You’ll need to check the bait monthly to see if you need to replace it.
Hot Shot recommends using five in the kitchen and one in the bathroom. Of course, the size of the infestation will affect this.
- Dome prevents kids and pets from touching the pesticide.
- Discreet – can easily be hidden.
- Contains harmful pesticides.
Roach tablets work in a similar way to the bait trap listed above, but this one is more simplistic.
It doesn’t have any type of cover, so it’s a bait and pesticide that’s easy to access.
Place the tablets where you see roaches, and they’ll eat it and die after they consume the pesticide.
Depending on the size option you choose, a box has 96 or 145 tablets, making them an inexpensive solution for killing roaches.
If you don’t let them get wet, they can stick around until they’re eaten up.
- Budget friendly.
- Easy to use.
- Small enough to fit in cracks and holes.
- Kids and pets can easily get to them if not hidden.
These sticky traps by Harris will catch just about any kind of roach you may have in your home. A single trap is 10 x 4 inches, so it will be able to hold quite a few roaches.
Although they’re large, they’re only an inch tall, so they can easily slide underneath furniture and appliances, so you can easily use them in any room you need them.
Keep kids and pets away from them since the sticky surface will stick to them; however, you don’t have to worry about harmful chemicals with this product.
- Large surface will trap many roaches.
- Can slide underneath furniture and appliances.
- No harmful chemicals.
- May need to use your own bait if roaches aren’t coming to it.
Best Outdoor Roach Killer
If you can stop roaches outside before they come in, you’ll save yourself a lot of discomfort in the future. Here are some of the best options.
This bait by InTice is meant to be picked up and carried to nests by foraging roaches.
Apply it along the perimeter of your home or your grass and it will last up to three months.
The granules are moisture and heat resistant, so it’ll be able to endure all kinds of extreme weather.
This product does contain pesticides, so you shouldn’t use it around kids, pets, and gardens.
- Cost effective.
- Will kill roaches in the nest.
- Weather resistant.
- Not safe for kids and pets.
Boric acid is a natural chemical, so it’s safe to use outdoors. However, it can harm humans and pets if it’s ingested, so you’ll need to be careful when using it.
Boric acid will stick on the roach’s legs, and they’ll eat it when they clean themselves, which will cause them do die shortly after.
You can sprinkle it near their nest, or mix it with sugar to lure them to it so they’ll carry it back to the nest.
It’s safe to use outdoors around plants, but be mindful of other wildlife that might come into contact with it.
- Kills roaches soon after they eat it.
- Harmful to anything that eats it.
- May irritate the skin.
Diatomaceous earth is perfect to use around gardens, flowerbeds, and anywhere else that requires you to be hands on.
It isn’t harmful to people, but it’s a death sentence for cockroaches. The powder breaks up their exoskeleton and eventually dries them out, causing them to die.
It can kill any kind of insect, so it’s a great product to have on hand if you’re into gardening or are combating multiple pest issues.
It can kill beneficial insects, however, so that’s one thing to keep in mind.
Apply it directly to the soil and avoid touching leaves and flowers, and the helpful bugs should be safe.
- Nontoxic for people and pets.
- Kills roaches and other insects.
- Safe to use around plants.
- Can be an irritant if inhaled.
This liquid spray can be used indoors and outdoors.
It can kill all stages of roaches, so if you can spray near the nest site, you’ll have a larger chance of killing the entire roach population.
This spray is meant to kill on contact but will act as a repellent until it’s washed away. It’s perfect to use on patios or by doors.
- Kills on contact.
- Can repel roaches for a few weeks.
- Pleasant citrus scent.
- Doesn’t offer long-term control.
This is another spray that’s perfect for the outdoors. This one has a peppermint scent since it relies on peppermint oil to kill roaches.
This one contains sodium lauryl sulfate, so avoid spraying it on yourself so it won’t irritate the skin.
Since this spray comes in a smaller bottle, it will work best on patios, porches, and in garages. You’ll need to reapply after it rains since it’ll wash away.
You can also use it as a repellent to prevent roaches from finding their way inside.
- Peppermint scent.
- Organic ingredients.
- Kills on contact.
- Not meant to cover large areas.
Killing roaches doesn’t have to involve expensive pest control companies. You can easily kill them with budget-friendly products or ingredients in your pantry.
Remember to cover your skin when handling pesticides and to follow package directions carefully.