Getting rid of cockroaches may be one of the biggest problems you may face in your house. Stereotyped to be dirty, stinky and an all-rounder definition of disgusting, cockroaches are no one’s favourite insect. But before we start looking at how to get rid of cockroaches, let’s first take a look into what attracts cockroaches. Prevention is after all better than cure.

What Attracts Cockroaches?


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No matter how hardy roaches are, they are still living creatures that require liquids to survive. This is why no matter how clean your house is, you may still find them in your toilet, around your kitchen sinks, and even your pet water bowls or damp floor cloths. Leaky pipes and drippy faucets also hold great attraction to roaches as a source of water.

Leftover food

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Aside from liquids, the next most important thing that a cockroach needs to survive is food. While it is true that roaches can eat anything from cardboard to hair and even faeces, roaches do have a preferred source of food. When they can get them, cockroaches love eating meat, starchy food and sweets. This is why you commonly find them around dustbins and refuse areas as this is prime feeding ground for them.

How to Get Rid of Cockroaches?

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While cockroach prevention through taking the trash out is easily done, keeping them away from moist areas is another issue as these agile and resourceful creatures can squeeze through the smallest holes. So if they have already invaded your home, what can you do to repel them from your home?

Boric Acid

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Boric acid is one of the most recognised ways to get rid of cockroaches. You can easily get boric acid from Shopee or Lazada at very affordable prices, typically below RM20 for a good amount of the powder. Next you will need to mix an equal portion of boric acid with sugar and flour, and knead it into a dough.

You will then need to break the dough up into small balls after you get a good consistency, and place them around the house where the roaches can feed on them. The sugar and flour in the mixture will attract the roaches, and the boric acid will kill them when they feed on it.

Do however bear in mind that this is also poisonous to other living beings. Humans who ingest boric acid may experience diarrhoea, nausea, and vomiting. So if you have a house pet or a child in the house, do remember to place the balls in a high spot to keep them away from your pets and children.

Baking Soda

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Baking soda is another component that is fatal to cockroaches. This method is less popular than the boric acid method, as it is slightly messier. For those who wish to use their leftover baking soda to get rid of those pesky roaches, what you need to do is sprinkle it around the areas where the roaches are frequenting your house, and sprinkle sugar in the same spot. Similar to the boric acid method, the sugar will attract the cockroaches, and when they consume the baking soda, they will die.

Do however note that baking soda, as the boric acid, is also poisonous to humans and house pets. Typical signs of baking soda poisoning includes stomach pain, diarrhoea and vomiting as the body attempts to correct the high concentration of sodium by pulling water into the digestive tract. If the body absorbs too much baking soda, kidney failure and seizures will begin. So if you are looking to use the baking soda method, do make sure that the area is out of reach of your children and pets.


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Vinegar is a safer option of repelling cockroaches as compared to boric acid and baking soda, as vinegar is not poisonous to humans or pets. Unfortunately, vinegar is also not fatal to cockroaches – it only repels them. If you are however living in a house with children or pets, vinegar will be the safer option to getting rid of cockroaches.

All you will need to do is mix vinegar with water in a 70:30 ratio and spray it around your kitchen area. As cockroaches hate the smell of vinegar, this will help keep them away. Also a major perk is that vinegar is a cleaning agent which will help keep your kitchen clean. However, if you find the smell of vinegar offensive, you will not like this method very much as the smell will linger for a while. You will also need to re-spray the areas every 2 weeks as the scent fades off.


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This is another very safe method to keeping cockroaches away – the scent of citrus. While many of us adore the scent of citrus, cockroaches find citrus smells to be offensive enough to keep away. This is an easily incorporated method, especially with the many citrus-scented cleaning agents in the market – from orange-scented dishwasher to lemon-scented kitchen table spray cleaner.

If you love eating oranges or lemons, another method is to keep the fresh peels and place them around strategic spots in your house which cockroaches frequent. You will need to replace them when the peels dry up, but you will have a nice smelling and roach-free house. Another major perk is that if your children or pets pick up the peels, all that will happen is that they will have a bit of fun with it with no risk of poisoning.


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This scent is a favourite of many, whether in the form of dried flowers, essential oils, or in a cup of tea. But what many do not realise is that as with the citrus scent which many of us adore, roaches despise the smell of lavender almost as much as we adore it.

The lavender scent method is especially great for bedrooms and toilets. Simply get a diffuser and drip a few drops of lavender oil into it for a peaceful night, great sleep, and roach-free room. Otherwise for your toilet, simply visit Mr. DIY and get a lavender-infused deodoriser. Your toilet business will be so much more enjoyable with the gentle scents of lavender and the absence of cockroaches.

Getting Rid of Pests at Home

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There are a multitude of pests that plague houses, from roaches to lizards, ants to spiders. In the spirit of helping our readers get rid of common pests in their homes, we have also created a guide to getting rid of ants. If you have tried any of the methods above or have a better idea of how to get rid of cockroaches, drop us a comment below!

For more stories like this, visit the PropSocial Articles page.

(Written by Isabelle, 15th April 2021)

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