When you hear the word “cockroach,” most people are filled with instant dread, picturing these dirty creepy crawlers scurrying across the kitchen floor at night or crawling through the pantry, feasting on your dry goods.

Cockroaches are some of the most common household pests, and they are so widely feared for good reason. Not only is it difficult to get rid of cockroaches, but these pests are also dirty and carry bacteria that can be harmful to humans.

Luckily, there are a few surprising ways to prevent cockroaches from entering your home, including the use of scents that deter cockroaches from entering. Here are seven scents you can spray, light, or spread around your home that will act as effective cockroach control.

1. Lavender

One scent cockroaches are known to hate is lavender, which is good news for homeowners who grow lavender plants or keep lavender-scented candles and sprays in their home! Lavender is a really hardy crop that is easy to grow in Pennsylvania and can be placed in gardens, planters, and even aero gardens.

You can also try diffusing lavender essential oil throughout your home for a natural air freshener and cockroach repellent. Try lavender-scented soaps and sprays if all of the above are not an option.

2. Citronella

Citronella works to deter mosquitoes, as well as cockroaches and flies. Burning citronella candles near your outdoor living spaces can be a great way to keep cockroaches away, and you can also grow citronella plants in your garden.

3. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus can be used in essential oil form in a diffuser or combined with water in a spray bottle as an all-natural cockroach spray. Simply spray the solution to areas where you suspect cockroaches and see if that does the trick. Use eucalyptus as an effective treatment for existing cockroaches and to prevent future ones from entering your home.

4. Citrus

Citrus fruits like lemons make for great cockroach deterrents, as these pests are said to dislike the smell. To use citrus to prevent cockroaches, there are a few things you can try. Keeping dishes of lemon juice in your kitchen can deter these pests, as well as placing lemon peels around your home in areas where you believe cockroaches may be hiding. Of course, you may also consider growing a lemon tree adapted for your specific climate.

5. Garlic

If you cook with garlic often, you may be repelling cockroaches without even knowing it! Cockroaches are known to dislike the strong scent of garlic, so crushing cloves of garlic and placing them in areas of your home where cockroaches dwell may be effective in preventing these pests from invading your space.

6. Mint

It has been said that cockroaches dislike the strong smell of mint, so using this scent in your home can be effective in keeping these pests away. Whether you grow mint plants or use mint-scented cleaning products, you can enjoy this fresh scent in your home while keeping cockroaches out of your home.

7. Oregano

Regarding scents that cockroaches hate, oregano is one of the most powerful. Add a few drops of oregano oil to a spray bottle with water and spray generously on infested areas. Oregano can also be grown in planters and gardens to keep pests away.

Natural Cockroach Prevention Tips

Relying on essential oils and herbs may not be enough to deter every kind of cockroach or pest. Therefore, we’ve compiled a few additional tips to keep these pests at bay.

  • Keep Your Home Clean – Keeping your home clean is a homeowner’s best defense against cockroaches. Since cockroaches are attracted to food and garbage, keeping your home as clean as possible will lower your chances of these pests invading your space. Try to keep up with a regular cleaning schedule, and be sure to wash your dirty dishes soon after using them, as cockroaches are commonly found in kitchens.
  • Eliminate Standing Water – In addition to food and garbage, cockroaches are also attracted to moist or damp areas, so you should take extra care to remove any standing water from in or around your home. Things like full sinks and bathtubs, leaking faucets, and even bird baths can all attract cockroaches to your home, so try to eliminate standing water wherever possible.
  • Seal Garbage – One of the easiest ways to allow cockroaches to enter your home is by not sealing your garbage. This is especially true regarding kitchen garbage, as cockroaches are drawn to the excess food and trash inside. To prevent this from happening, purchase a garbage can with a lid that tightly closes and seals in the smell, and be sure to remove garbage bags from your home before they become too full or overflow.
  • Seal Cracks and Entryways – Cockroaches can squeeze through even the smallest cracks and crevices, so be sure to inspect your home for any possible entryways for these pests to get inside. You can seal these cracks yourself using a store-bought caulk, while spray foam can be used to seal larger cracks.
  • Store Food Properly – Keeping your food contained and sealed is essential for preventing cockroaches. Using things like bag clips, vacuum-sealed containers, and pantry organization bins are all great ways to keep your dry goods out of reach from these sneaky pests.

When all else fails, don’t hesitate to contact a professional. Local cockroach exterminators can treat cockroaches quickly and safely and inspect for any leftover cockroaches to ensure your home is completely clear.

Learn more about signs of cockroach infestation to see if professional services are required.


Can smells keep cockroaches away?

Some strong scents, such as lavender and mint, have been known to repel cockroaches. Therefore, growing these plants or misting their scent with essential oils can keep them away. 

Does bleach kill cockroaches?

In theory, Bleach kills and repels cockroaches, but it’s not 100% foolproof in practice. However, cleaning your home with bleach will make it more likely that roaches will stay away. 

Does Pine Sol kill roaches?

Pine Sol can kill roaches on contact, though it’s not a practical solution for a wide-scale infestation. 


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