[13] Smells That Cockroaches Hate

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Unfortunately, cockroaches are common. Have you spotted a cockroach in your house? There is no need to panic. Small changes in your home will help you get rid of them permanently. Just like humans, roaches also hate certain smells. So, what smells that Cockroaches hate?

Cockroaches have a strong smell sense. They use it to locate food. And even communicate via smell. So, you can use this fact for your own benefit by using the odor that roaches detest. They will never go near a place that smells of Lavender, Tea Tree, Cinnamon, Catnip, Eucalyptus, and many more. 

In this article, I will explain how to use scents to deter cockroaches from your home. So, read till the end. 

Can Cockroaches Smell?

Yes. Cockroaches can smell. In fact, they have a strong sense of smell which they use for daily life activities. Research by Hoffmann on Active smelling in the American cockroach concludes that cockroaches have similar behavior of smelling as mammalian. So, just like you would sniff to reach the smell, roaches also use their antenna. It oscillates and guides them to the odor. 

This research was conducted by trapping a few cockroaches in a tunnel with three smells. Hence, it proves that cockroaches respond to the odor in the environment. They also use it for communicating among their communities. Cockroaches produce a musty smell, which helps them find other roaches in the area. Also, cockroaches use their olfactory receptors to reach food. 

So, What Are The Smells Roaches Hate?

Cockroaches are persistent. If you see one or two lurking around your house, that doesn’t mean there won’t be more. There can be hundreds of them hiding somewhere in your home. So, to get rid of them, you will have to figure out a permanent solution. Cause it is hard to kill each one of them and their eggs.

Roach killers might be an easy solution. But often, bugs become resistant to it. So, the natural and easy way is to use scents to force them out of your home in the first place. Plus, they might never show up again.

Following are a few scents that cockroaches hate: 


Cockroaches hate the smell of lavender. The main constituent of Lavender is Linalool. It gives the lavender a fresh aroma. And also have bug repellent properties. There are many ways in which you can use lavender. The most basic tip is to plant lavender in your garden or backyard. It will give your house a nice look, a fresh aroma, and little to no roach problem. 


You can also use lavender oil. Either one can use it in a diffuser or by making a lavender oil spray. Take 150 ml water and pour 10 to 12 drops of lavender oil into it. Spray it in your bedroom, bathroom, or kitchen anywhere you want. You can also use it directly on cockroaches. To use dry lavender inside the home, make small sachets. You can place these sachets in cabinets, pantries, under sinks, near drains, wardrobes, and even behind appliances. 

Citrus Containing Fruits

Many bugs, including cockroaches, hate the smell of citrus. If you have any citrus fruit in the house, you can use them now. Fruits containing citrus are lemons, oranges, grapefruits, pomelos, and limes. 

Citrus Containing Fruits

The most basic way is to plant a few limes in your house. The growing plant will infuse the house’s aroma with the sharp citrus smell. It will automatically keep the bugs away. The best way to use scent in a natural form is to use lime juice. Combine lime juice and water in a spray bottle. Use it like cockroach repellent. 

You can also use citrus essential oil. Soak a few cotton balls with the essential oil and place them in the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. You can also make a roach-repellent spray by mixing water and citrus oil. 


Eucalyptus contains powerful ingredients which give it a strong fragrance that cockroaches hate. The potent smell causes cockroaches to run away and hide. It works best in the form of oil.


It is said that pure Eucalyptus oil can even kill cockroaches. To make cockroach-repellent spray fill a spray bottle with 100ml water. Add 12 to 20 drops of essential oil to it. This step is to dilute the oil. Spray the solution everywhere needed. You can also soak some cotton balls in Eucalyptus oil. And place them in drawers. 

Bay Leaves

Bay leaves are another natural repellent against bugs. It is an aromatic herb used in medicine and commonly in food. Cockroaches loathe the fresh bay smell. They will run away and hide as soon as the bay smell reaches their olfactory receptors.

Bay Leaves

You can also use bay leaves in many forms. Grow bay plants in your yard or kitchen garden. Even placing the bay plant on window sills will be effective. Fresh bay has a bitter smell that can diffuse around your house.

Dry bay leaves can retain this smell for up to a year. So, you can also make dry bay leaves sachets to place in drawers, cabinets, and shelves. Another way is to crush fresh bay leaves into a fine powder. You can spread this powder on cockroach nesting places. Or turn it into a roach-repellent spray with water.


A fresh salad ingredient can be a potent repeller and killer of cockroaches. Cucumber is available in almost all households. You can use it to get rid of the pesky little bug in your house. Cucumber contains a chemical trans-2-nominal. Cockroaches and many other bugs hate this compound.


So, to repel cockroaches from your home, place a few cucumber slices near cockroaches’ nests or hiding points. You can also make a cockroach-repellent spray using cucumber and water. Take 200ml tap water and 7 to 8 cucumber pieces to it. Let it sit for 3 to 4 hours. Transfer it to a spray bottle and use it anywhere needed. 


Cockroaches hate the potent flavor and aroma of coffee. Putting coffee grounds on the window sills, doors, and corners will keep the cockroaches away. It is also an inexpensive way to keep bugs out of your house. There are many ways to make DIY cockroach traps using coffee. 


Take a deep bowl or jar, and mix water, coffee, and sugar in it. The sugar in the solution will attract roaches. Make sure that the water quantity is high. So, cockroaches will drown in it. Place these jars near the cockroach nest or anywhere you think they can crawl. Repeat this process for a few days to completely get rid of cockroaches.

Tea Tree Leaves

Tea tree is an antiseptic and is also effective against pests. It has a strong aroma to it which cockroaches hate. To use tea tree oil against cockroaches, you can either use it in a diffuser.

Tea Tree Leaves

To make the house air smell of Tea trees. It will keep many other bugs away as well. You can also make a tea tree spray. Take a spray bottle, pour one cup of water, 2 tbsp Vinegar, and 20 drops of tea tree oil. Shake the solution and spray it anywhere needed. 


Bleach has a very strong smell. Cockroaches will leave the place immediately after smelling Bleach. It also contains an abrasive chemical that can destroy cockroaches’ outer skeletons. It is impossible to kill cockroaches using Bleach as they will willingly leave once they pick up the smell.


So, to keep roaches out of your house, use Bleach in mopping floors and cleaning the bathroom. The smell might be too strong for you as well. But it will cause roaches to leave for good. Avoid using it if you have children or pets in the house. 


You might love mint in your pasta or ice cream. But cockroaches hate the smell of mint. So, you can grow some peppermint plants around your house. The strong peppermint aroma in the air will keep many pests away. Keeping fresh peppermint leaves is also effective against cockroaches in the kitchen.


You can also use peppermint oil. Many studies have proven peppermint oil as an effective cockroach repellent. Soak some cotton balls in peppermint oil and place them in the drawers. Or make roach repellent spray by adding 15 drops of peppermint oil in 150ml water. Spray it near doors, windows, behind appliances, and anywhere needed. 


The pungent smell of garlic keeps many bugs away, including cockroaches. The sharp smell will cause cockroaches to run away. And they will probably never come out until the smell is gone. It also forces them to move out of your home. So, smash garlic cloves into fine pieces and place them in infested areas.


It has immediate effective results. Cockroaches will leave once they cannot find a way to a food source. You might have to repeat this process for a few days to move them away for good. But garlic can only repel cockroaches. It cannot kill them. 

Garlic oil is also effective against cockroaches. Soak a few rags in pure garlic oil. And place it in the kitchen, especially near drains. 



Cedar can act as a natural repellent as it has a harsh odor which cockroaches hate. It has been in use for years as a natural insect repellent. Cedar is available in many forms; balls, chips, and blocks. You can purchase any type to help you eliminate cockroaches from home. You can place cedar anywhere in your house. To remove cockroaches from the room, place them under the bed, in the wardrobe, or closet. It can also be used in the kitchen and near drains.


Cinnamon has a strong scent which makes it effective against cockroaches. You might enjoy the smell of cinnamon in your food, but it is too much for a cockroach. It is better to use cinnamon in its pure form. Commercially available cinnamon powder contains sugar which can cause an adverse effect.


So, sprinkle some cinnamon powder in infested areas. Look for the cockroach nest around your house and place cinnamon sticks near it. The strong scent will cause roaches to suffocate and die. Or it will force them to move away for good. You can also soak a few cotton balls or rags in cinnamon oil. It will give you the same effect. 

Chrysanthemum Flower 

We all love the Chrysanthemum flower for its aroma and colors. But insects hate its scent. Chrysanthemum flower contains a chemical known as Pyrethrin. It is not toxic to insects, but they tend to stay away from it. To use chrysanthemums against cockroaches, plant them in your house.

Chrysanthemum Flower 

You can also place them inside your home in containers. To make repellent, pick a few chrysanthemum flowers when they are in full bloom. To dry the flowers, place them in a cool dark room, preferably with air conditioning. Let them sit overnight until they have no more water left. Grind the flowers and sprinkle the powder in infested areas. 

Cockroaches Repellent Essential Oils

Essential oils are effective roach repellent. In fact, they can work better than expensive harsh chemicals. The abrasive pesticides are harmful to your skin and lungs. They are also not safe to use around pets and children. So, essential oils will not only help in calming your nerves after seeing roaches. It will also force these cockroaches to leave your home for good. There are many essential oils. 

But Rosemary, Lime, Tea tree, Lavender, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, and Catnip oil work against cockroaches. You can use them in many ways. The trick is using them in a diffuser. It will make your house smell good, help you sleep well at night, and keep roaches away.

Next, you can dilute them with water to make a solution. And spray it in the infested areas. Or you can soak rags and cotton with pure essential oils to place them near cockroaches’ entry points.

How Scents Repel Cockroaches?

Cockroaches are intelligent and aware of their surroundings. They are also good at adapting. Their sensitive olfactory receptors assist them in locating food, nest, and predators. It is the reason the food aroma attracts bugs to your kitchen. Fortunately, roaches hate many smells that humans tend to enjoy.

So, as soon as their receptors pick up a strong odor, it will cause them to run away. There is a limit of scents that they can pick up and enjoy. But if it becomes too powerful for them, cockroaches will leave to search for another place. To deter cockroaches from your home, you can use chemical insect repellent. You can also use natural scents like mint or lavender. 

What Smells Are Roaches Most Attracted To?

Cockroaches are most attracted to the smell of sugar, grease, starch, meat, and cheese. The pungent smell of rotting fruits and vegetables also allures them. The aroma of food in your kitchen or garbage will move them in your house or restaurant. So, if you want to keep cockroaches away, clean your kitchen regularly. 

Throw away food waste on time. Old rotten food can cause cockroach infestation in any place. Cockroaches have a strong sense of smell. They can pick up the smell of food from miles away. If cockroaches find food and water, they will never leave your home. Also, keep the food items in air-tight containers, even in the fridge and pantry. 

Can Scented Trash Bags Keep Cockroaches Away?

Yes. Scented trash bags can keep cockroaches away. They mask the smell of food in it. Many people throw away leftover food, peels of fruits and vegetables, and old food in the garbage can without putting them in air-tight seal bags. The smell from the garbage can attracts more pests than one can imagine. 

To keep cockroaches away from your garbage bin, don’t throw away the food items in the garbage bin until the throwing away day. Till that time, collect all the kitchen garbage in scented trash bags. The sharp smell of these bags overpowers the smell of food, keeping cockroaches away. 

What Smells Keeps Roaches Away Permanently?

There are many scents that deter cockroaches. But using scents to eliminate cockroaches permanently is only possible if you use them for a long time. It is also essential to keep your home clean. The sharp odor will deter more cockroaches in less time.

Cockroaches absolutely hate the smell of Garlic, Lavender, Chrysanthemum flower, Vinegar, Bleach, and Eucalyptus. These all are effective against cockroaches in the long run, but only if you use them every few days. It is to ensure that no pesky bug can enter your home again. You can also plant mint, bay, and lemons around your house to keep roaches away. 


Cockroaches have sensitive olfactory receptors. They use it to search for food and look out for predators. You can use this in your favor by using a strong smell around the house, causing roaches to leave your place. There are many sharp-smelling artificial roach repellents available commercially.

But, it is better to use natural repellent as they are safer and gives effective results. You can plant garlic, lemons, bay, and mints in your garden to deter cockroaches from your house. Or you can use essential oils around the house in a diffuser or by making a roach-repellent spray. 


What Smell Do Roaches Hate The Most?

Cockroaches hate the smell of Bleach. The pungent smell of Bleach is too much for their sensitive smell receptors. So, to deter cockroaches from your house, dilute Bleach in a bucket of water and mop your home with it. You can also use it in bathrooms and drain. Avoid using it if you have children.

What Natural Smell Do Cockroaches Hate?

 Cockroaches hate many natural scents. The strong smell of mint, lavender, garlic, lime, cinnamon, chrysanthemum, and eucalyptus causes them to run away. You can either plant them around your house. You can also make a natural DIY repellent from them. 

What Is The Best Natural Cockroach Killer?

The best Natural cockroach killer is Dichotomous earth powder. It is a white powder made of tiny aquatic organisms. The crystalline particles of Dichotomous earth penetrate the outer skin of the cockroach, causing severe water loss. Dehydration leads to cockroach death.

Does Perfume Deter Cockroaches?

Yes. Perfumes can deter cockroaches. The strong scents will cause cockroaches to run away. Either they are natural or artificial. It might not be the best idea to empty your perfume bottle to deter cockroaches. But you can use it in an emergency.

What Candle Smell Do Roaches Hate

Cockroaches hate the smell of citronella and lavender candles. The strong scent of these natural compounds keeps cockroaches away even infused in the candle. Burning a candle for a few hours will diffuse the smell into the house air, causing cockroaches to run. 


Tavakoli, Mohammad Mahdi, DAVARI, BEHROOZ, Nasirian, Hassan, SALEHZADEH, AREF, MORADKHANI, SHIRIN, & ZAHIRNIA, AMIR HOSSEIN. (2021). Investigation of insecticidal properties of Rosmarinus officinalis L. and Lavandula angustifolia Mill. essential oils against German cockroach in laboratory conditions. FEYZ, 25(3 ), 994-1002. SID. https://sid.ir/paper/965108/en