Does Alcohol Kill Cockroaches [Know The Facts]

Spread the love

Cockroaches can damage your furniture and insulation by making holes in them. If roaches get into electronics, the circuitry can burn out. There are many ways to get rid of roaches at home. But does alcohol kill cockroaches and their eggs?

Yes, rubbing alcohol can kill cockroaches to some extent but it’s not most effective. This is because alcohol is not a pesticide by nature and is not toxic to them.

This article gives a lot of information about alcohol, its different types, and the kinds of alcohol that kill cockroaches.

Alcohol and Its Types

There are four kinds of alcohol: rubbing, denatured, isopropyl, and ethyl. Ethyl alcohol, often known as grain alcohol or ethanol, is the type of alcohol most of us are familiar with.

Rubbing Alcohol


Rubbing alcohol is a common household item used in many ways, from cleaning your blinds to getting rid of those annoying permanent stains. 

Rubbing alcohol naturally kills bacteria. This means it kills bacteria but doesn’t always stop them from growing. Alcohol is also effective against fungi and viruses. 

You can clean things like scissors, temperature sensors, and other surfaces with alcohol. But alcohol isn’t always good enough to use as a hospital-grade cleaner. 

Denatured Alcohol


Denatured alcohol, also known as “pungent alcohol,” is a mixture of chemicals that make it unpleasant to drink. 

Most of the time, 5 -10 percent methanol is used to denature alcohol. When ingested in large quantities, methanol is highly poisonous. 

Denatured alcohol is used primarily for disinfectant, cleaning windows, sterilizing medical equipment, and many other things. When diluted to approximately 65-70 percent, it is used as rubbing alcohol.

Isopropyl Alcohol


Isopropyl alcohol is a flammable organic compound, has no color, and smells strongly of alcohol.

 Mixing isopropyl alcohol with water makes antiseptic rubbing alcohol. It’s used in hand lotions, aftershave lotions, and other beauty products. It’s also used to change the chemical structure of ethanol. 

Ingesting even a small amount of isopropyl alcohol can cause severe pain and damage to the delicate tissue that lines and protects the throat and airway. When taken in large amounts, it can even cause seizures, a drop in blood pressure, and a heart attack.

Ethyl Alcohol


Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, is a flammable liquid, has no color, and tastes terrible. When yeasts ferment sugar, they naturally make ethyl alcohol. In addition to being used in alcoholic drinks, it is also used as an antiseptic and disinfectant in medicine.

The addition of ethyl alcohol to gasoline and other types of motor fuel is frequent. More than 98% of gasoline in the United States contains ethyl alcohol.

Are Roaches Attracted To Alcohol?

Alcohol use in beverages has an effect on attracting cockroaches. It won’t scare them away. Alcohol is cockroaches’ favorite beverage, and they are frequently drawn to it as a source of food and sugar.

Entomologists think that roaches are drawn to alcohol because it has a lot of sugar. Cockroaches are only attracted to alcoholic drinks like beer, not other types of alcohol because they have a lot of sugar in them. Entomologists also say that hop extract is another thing that makes cockroaches like alcohol. 

On the other hand, other types of alcohol smell bad to cockroaches and can kill them quickly. For whatever reason, alcohol is toxic to roaches and can kill them if they come into contact with it. You can put alcohol in a spray bottle to kill any roaches you see or the area where you think they are hiding.

What Effect Does Alcohol Have on Different Types of Cockroaches?

The American cockroach, the brown-banded cockroach, the German cockroach, and the Oriental cockroach are the most common types of cockroaches found in the United States

Type Of CockroachesEffect Of Alcohol

American cockroach
There are a variety of ways in which alcohol might impact American cockroaches. When cockroaches consume alcohol, it makes them sleepy and clumsy because it makes them drunk. They are in a more vulnerable state when confronted by predators. Additionally, it hinders the cockroaches’ capacity to generate offspring.

Brown-banded cockroach

It is most uncertain whether or not alcohol affects brown-banded cockroaches. 
On the other hand, alcohol consumption is likely to harm their growth, behavior, and lifespan. 
Brown-banded roaches can’t live in alcohol because it has a neurotoxin that can kill them.

German cockroach

The German cockroach is susceptible to being poisoned by alcohol. 
When cockroaches are exposed to low to moderate amounts of alcohol, they move more slowly and can’t move around as much. 
Cockroaches are unable to survive prolonged or high doses of exposure. This is because alcohol causes the insects to lose water from their bodies.

Oriental cockroach

Alcohol can hurt Oriental cockroaches in many ways. 
First, it may cause them to become lightheaded and disoriented, leaving them more vulnerable to predator attacks. 
In addition, alcohol can cause damage to the reproductive organs and wings of these insects.

How To Use Alcohol To Kill Cockroaches?

You can use alcohol to get rid of roaches in one of the two following ways: 

Method 1
Method 2
The first way is to put them in a bowl with alcohol and let them drown. Divide an alcoholic beverage bottle between two or three cups or small bowls.

They are more active at night, so put the alcohol in bowls where you want it to be overnight. When you check on the bowl the following day, the cockroaches will be dead and drowned.
The second way is to spray them with alcohol. Get a spray bottle and put rubbing alcohol in it. Make sure the spray is on the splashing bottle.

Find roaches and spray them down one by one. Hit the roach’s spiracle so that it blocks the hole and dies from suffocation.

Is It Safe To Kill Roaches With Alcohol?

Alcohol is technically an efficient roach killer because it is low-cost, easily accessible, kills roaches quickly, doesn’t leave behind any residue, and doesn’t harm the environment in any way. But there are still better choices.

Alcohol could hurt other animals. It is mainly used to kill germs and get rid of sticky things, so it is naturally corrosive and poisonous. Alcohol can make a person’s skin, eyes, nose, mouth, and throat itch. If you breathe in its fumes, you might also have trouble breathing.

Alcohol is very flammable. It would be easy to start a fire if you sprayed it on plug outlets, lights, or any other place where a fire could start. In the end, despite the fact that isopropyl alcohol can be used to kill roaches, using this method is not recommended.

What Makes Alcohol an Effective Cockroach Killer?

Several sources say that the parts of alcohol called ethanol and methanol are to blame for how quickly roaches die. 

A lot of alcoholic drinks, like whisky, beer, wine, and others, have these two ingredients. Alcohol is a strong solvent that can dissolve the waxy cuticle that covers the exoskeleton of a roach. 

As a result, the roach will lose its moisture and eventually die. When cockroaches consume ethanol or methanol, their nervous systems are messed up, and they die almost right away.

Does 70% Alcohol Kill Roaches?

Yes, 70% of alcohol kills cockroaches. Cockroaches have hard shells called exoskeletons that are kept flexible by oils they make inside their bodies. This oily skeleton is also how they keep water inside their bodies.

Alcohol gets rid of these oils, making the skeleton brittle and letting moisture leave until it dries up. If you spray the roach with enough isopropyl alcohol, it will kill it. But you have to spread the roach and cover it with enough alcohol to make it suffocate.

Can Ethyl Alcohol Kill Cockroach?

Yes, ethyl alcohol kills cockroaches. Ethyl alcohol can only be tolerated in small amounts, while large quantities are deadly. Ethanol is poisonous to insects in general, but cockroaches are especially sensitive to it, and even a small amount is enough to kill them.   

Most of the time, the best general killing and preserving agent is ethanol mixed with water and between 70 and 80 percent alcohol. 

Using a simple spray bottle full of ethanol to spray roaches as they crawl across your floor can be a great way to weaken and kill these pests.

Summing Up

Cockroaches are a potential health hazard in addition to being an annoyance. But you can get rid of these pests for good with the help of alcohol. Different kinds of alcohol can kill cockroaches, but using alcohol as a pesticide also has many other benefits. 

As a pesticide, alcohol can kill cockroaches. Cockroaches of different kinds can be killed with different kinds of alcohol. There are many good things about using alcohol as a pesticide: it is cheap, easy to get, kills quickly, doesn’t leave anything behind, and doesn’t hurt the environment.


Boric acid can kill roach eggs fast. It’s a powder that dries out roaches. If you put it where roaches are, it can stop the eggs from growing. But be careful! It’s not safe for pets or people. Make sure kids and animals can’t get to it.

To remove roach eggs, use a vacuum. If your vacuum has a HEPA filter, it can pick up the eggs better. After vacuuming, put the vacuum bag in a plastic bag, put it in the freezer for half a day, then throw it away. Cleaning your house, especially the kitchen and bathroom, will help too. Roaches like to put their eggs in cracks, so seal them up to stop this.

There are chemicals called IGRs that can kill roaches and their eggs. Two common ones are Hydroprene and Methoprene. They stop roaches from growing and make their eggs not work. If you use them with other bug killers, you can get rid of roaches and stop new ones from coming. But always read the label and maybe ask a bug expert to make sure you use them right and keep other animals safe.

Roach eggs can last about 30 days. They are called oothecae. Inside them, baby roaches grow and get ready to come out. Depending on the type of roach and where they are, it may take more or less than 30 days for the babies to hatch. Things like how warm or wet it is can make it faster or slower. If we don’t take care of these eggs, lots of roaches can come out and cause problems.

Even though it looks simple, one roach egg can have between 10 to 50 baby roaches inside. For example, a common roach we see in homes called the German cockroach, can have around 30 to 40 babies in one egg. This means that if we don’t handle even one egg, we could end up with a big roach problem very fast.


Okaru AO, Lachenmeier DW. Margin of Exposure Analyses and Overall Toxic Effects of Alcohol with Special Consideration of Carcinogenicity. Nutrients. 2021; 13(11):3785.

Smuga-Kogut M, Bychto L, Walendzik B, Cielecka-Piontek J, Marecik R, Kobus-Cisowska J, Grajek K, Szymanowska-Powałowska D. Use of Buckwheat Straw to Produce Ethyl Alcohol Using Ionic Liquids. Energies. 2019; 12(10):2014.

American Addiction Center

AUTHOR=Venturi Michela, Bruzziches Francesco, Orlandi Catuscia, Altini Mattia, Rubegni Pietro, Melandri Davide, TITLE=Economic Burden of Denatured Alcohol-Induced Burns: A 20-Year Retrospective Study, JOURNAL=Frontiers in Medicine, VOLUME=9, YEAR=2022

Price, L., Gozdzielewska, L., Alejandre, J.C. et al. Systematic review on factors influencing the effectiveness of alcohol-based hand rubbing in healthcare. Antimicrob Resist Infect Control 11, 16 (2022)