Finding cockroaches scurrying around your kitchen is never pleasant, so it’s only natural to look for a method that will get rid of them fast. While pesticides can do the job, the potential health threats they pose to people and pets makes gentler alternatives more appealing. Bleach is one of those alternatives.
Bleach requires careful handling, but it doesn’t leave chemical fumes lingering the way pesticides do. While it is possible to kill cockroaches with bleach, there are also better ways to drive these bugs out of your home.
Killing Cockroaches with Bleach
Not surprisingly, drinking bleach will kill a cockroach. While this sounds good in theory, simply putting out cups of bleach around the kitchen or leaving out bleach-soaked breadcrumbs won’t tempt cockroaches into sampling your offerings because the odor deters them. What’s more, bleach used in this way poses a danger to children and pets.
Drowning is another way bleach can kill cockroaches. This is best done with pure bleach or a solution of bleach and water. Although you may have come across the suggestion to use bleach mixed with Pine-Sol as a roach killer, these two chemicals should never be mixed because they can form poisonous chlorine gas.
If you have a bucket of bleach solution handy, dropping a cockroach into it will kill the cockroach. The obvious downside here is that you’ll need to catch and kill each cockroach individually.
Even if you’re not put off by the idea of trying to grab roaches with a paper towel, the method is so inefficient it won’t significantly cut down on your home’s cockroach population. Filling a spray bottle with bleach and squirting each cockroach can speed things up a little, but you’ll still miss the majority.
The cockroaches that wander out onto your floors and counters are just a fraction of the number lurking inside your walls, under your floors, behind your refrigerator or in other common cockroach nesting spots. Getting rid of your roach problem means getting of the nests, not just the few insects you happen to see.
Wiping Out Cockroach Nests
If you know where the cockroaches in your home are nesting, bleach can come in handy for drowning them or driving them out. Cockroaches are drawn to water and may occasionally nest in the pipes. If you’ve seen cockroaches crawling out of the sink or shower drain, pour in a cup of bleach followed by several cups of water to kill any roaches in the pipes. Keep in mind, however, that bleach corrodes pipes so this method should be used only as a last resort.
If you happen to discover a cockroach nest inside your home, fumigation is typically the most effective option for killing the insects living there. A cockroach nest tucked away inside a refrigerator or stove is nearly impossible to reach well enough to clean by hand.
After fumigation, however, wiping down your appliances with a mild bleach solution helps ensure there are no stuck-on crumbs of food remaining to attract more roaches. Mix 1 tbsp. bleach in 1 qt. of water and spray the solution onto the surfaces you want to disinfect. Let the surfaces air dry for at least two minutes, then wipe up any remaining moisture.
Keeping Cockroaches Out for Good
The occasional cockroach showing up doesn’t necessarily mean you have an infestation or a nest in your house. Chemical roach baits may be enough to get rid of these few interlopers. Place roach baits under the sinks, under your appliances, and in room corners.
Applying a fine dust of boric acid your under your appliances, near plumbing, and in cracks and crevices around the room also helps kill cockroaches by damaging their exoskeletons as they crawl past. While largely harmless, boric acid should be kept away from food preparation areas and places pets frequent.
The most effective way to get rid of roaches is to take away their source of food and water. Keep all food and trash covered, and take out the trash regularly. Once a day, mop your floors and wipe down your counters with a mild bleach solution or other disinfectant.
If you’re constantly seeing roaches or can’t seem to get rid of them, you most likely have an infestation that will require an exterminator to eliminate. While bleach is a big help in keeping your home clean, which discourages cockroaches, it’s not an ideal cockroach killer by itself.