How to Get Rid of German Roaches: 6 Natural Ways That Really Work

How to Get Rid of German Roaches: 6 Natural Ways That Really Work

German roaches (Blattella germanica) are a small species of cockroach that are one of the most common types of roaches found in homes. German cockroaches (like most cockroaches) love to live and colonize warm, dark places. If you have an infestation of German roaches, you can often see them scurrying away when you turn on a light or open a cupboard door. Because cockroaches can spread germs and cause allergic reactions, it’s important to get rid of them as quickly as possible.

There are many natural ways to effectively eradicate a German roach infestation. Natural roach pesticides are much safer to use around the house and are generally non-toxic to pets and humans when used properly. Substances like diatomaceous earth, borax, and even soapy water are lethal to roaches and will exterminate colonies of German roaches effectively. You can also make natural roach repellents with essential oils to prevent roaches infesting your home.

In the article, you will learn how to quickly get rid of German cockroaches. These natural roach control methods are generally safe to use around people and animals and will eliminate German roach populations.

Habits of German Cockroaches

Before looking at how to control a German cockroach infestation, you should know a little about their behavior and habitat. This can help you know the best places to look for these nasty pests to target their removal.

German cockroaches are smaller than American cockroaches, which are sometimes called palmetto bugs. According to the PennState College of Agricultural Sciences, German cockroaches prefer to inhabit warm, moist environments that are dark. They and are often found in kitchens and bathrooms where food scraps and water is readily available.1

The disgusting insects are scavengers that feed on garbage, sweet foods, grease, and meat products. Therefore, to prevent German cockroaches taking over your kitchen, you should always keep work surfaces clean and disinfected, fix all leaking pipes, and fill up any small holes and crevices where they can hide.

German cockroaches can also spread disease and infections. The Michigan State University reports that roaches can spread bacteria, viruses and other germs on dishes, food preparation surfaces, and utensils. This can cause gastroenteritis, food poisoning, and diarrhea. Their feces also cause asthma and allergic reactions in some people.2

Cockroaches are also known to bite humans. If you wake up in the morning with a red swollen bite mark, it could be caused by a cockroach, not a bedbug. So, getting rid of bed bugs may not be the answer to your problem!

How to Get Rid of German Cockroaches Quickly

There are two basic methods to control a roach infestation. First of all, you can set out natural roach traps and baits to destroy the nasty critters. Secondly, you can use cockroach repellents to prevent them entering your home and living areas.

Diatomaceous earth for roach removal

Food grade diatomaceous earth (DE) is a safe and effective method to eradicate German cockroaches. Diatomaceous earth is an abrasive substance and it kills roaches by cutting into their exoskeletal system causing them to dehydrate and die. The benefits of using DE for roach control is that the bugs carry the powder back to their colony and it rubs off on other roaches which can kill off the entire colony.

The insecticidal effect of diatomaceous earth on German cockroaches was confirmed in a study from 2014. Researchers found that DE is very effective at eradicating roach populations. They also said that is it safe for humans and non-toxic to animals and pets. DE is also effective if other methods of roach control have been ineffective.3

How to use:

To use diatomaceous earth to kill off German cockroaches, it’s important to use food grade DE.

  • Sprinkle a fine layer of diatomaceous earth where you think the German cockroaches are living or feeding.
  • Repeat every 4-5 days until to get rid of all the roaches.

Remember, diatomaceous earth is only effective at killing roaches when it is completely dry. Therefore, if it gets damp, dry the area thoroughly and re-sprinkle the powder.

You can also use diatomaceous earth to get rid of fleas from your pets, home, and garden.

Boric acid and sugar roach bait

Another effective way to exterminate German cockroaches from your home is to make a bait from boric acid and sugar. Like DE, boric acid also destroys the outer layer of cockroaches to kill them. Boric acid also has pesticide properties and is poisonous to bugs.

The boric acid also sticks to the cockroach bodies and is transported back to the colony to infect the rest of the roaches.

The Journal of Economic Entomology studied the effectiveness of boric acid and sugar for controlling German cockroach infestations. The study showed that boric acid and sugar were more effective than some “traditional” roach control methods. The boric acid and sugar mixture killed off 90% of the roach population within 2 weeks. The researchers concluded that boric acid provides “rapid and effective” way to kill German cockroaches.4

How to use:

To make a boric acid and sugar bait to get rid of German cockroaches quickly do the following:

  • Mix 1 part of boric acid, 1 part sugar, and 2 parts flour
  • Sprinkle a fine layer of the roach poison near crevices where roaches are inhabiting or feeding.
  • Replace the powder every 4-5 days until all the roaches are gone for good.

Please remember that boric acid is toxic if ingested, so only use it in places where pets and children can’t get at.

You can also mix boric acid with honey to make a tantalizing bait for roaches or for getting rid of ants naturally. Boric acid is also an excellent way to get rid of termites.

Soapy water to kill roaches

You can also use soapy water to kill German cockroaches quickly. The advantage of using soapy water as a bug spray is that you can clean surfaces and at the same time to prevent the spread of germs. This is also a great way to kill any cockroach you see scampering over the floor.

You can also use the soapy water spray to help eliminate a cockroach population by spraying the solution into crevices and cracks where you think the bugs are living.

A study from 2002 found that common dishwashing liquid is effective at killing off German cockroaches. The most effective concentration of soap to water was 3% which killed the adult cockroaches within 72 hours.5

How to use:

To kill German cockroaches, you need some liquid soap, water, and a spray bottle.

  • Fill a spray bottle with water, leaving enough room to add liquid washing up detergent.
  • Add the liquid soap and shake well.
  • Spray into cracks and crevices where the roaches inhabit.
  • Keep the natural roach spray handy just in case you need to zap a cockroach dashing across a work surface. Wipe the area clean with a paper towel and dispose of.

You can make the soapy water bug spray even more effective by adding 20 drops of peppermint essential oil.

Using liquid soap is also an effective method to get rid of waterbugs from your property. In my article on ways to exterminate waterbugs, you can find out how to use liquid soap in swimming pools if you have a problem of waterbugs.

Mint oil natural roach spray

Mint oil is a great, natural way to keep cockroaches away from your home. Apart from having repellent properties, mint oil is also toxic to cockroaches. You have the added benefit that spraying mint oil on surfaces leaves a pleasant smell behind and kills off any germs the little brown bugs have left behind.

Scientific research has also confirmed the effectiveness of mint oil in exterminating cockroaches. For example, the Journal of Agricultural and Urban Entomology reported that mint oil is an effective natural insecticide for eliminating American and German cockroaches.6

How to use:

It’s very easy to make a natural spray using mint oil to destroy various species of cockroaches. This is what you should do:

  • Fill a spray bottle with water and add 20 drops of peppermint essential oil.
  • Shake well and spray around all the areas you know where cockroaches are inhabiting.
  • Be vigilant, and continue spraying these areas daily until all the roaches and bugs are exterminated.

The natural mint oil spray repellent is also effective at getting rid of flying ants or sugar ants.


Make a natural roach spray with catnip to eliminate German cockroaches. Catnip, just like peppermint oil, is a natural bug repellent and also has insecticidal properties against roaches.

The Journal of Economic Entomology reported that catnip has powerful repellent properties against German cockroaches. In fact, the study found that catnip is more effective than DEET in eradicating roaches.7 DEET is a common toxic ingredient in pesticides that has known side effects.

How to use:

To make a roach repellent from catnip and get rid of your roach problem for good, please do the following:

  • Put 1 teaspoon catnip per 8 oz. boiling water.
  • Let it steep for 15 minutes.
  • Put the liquid in a spray bottle and spray along baseboards, under appliances, or other areas where roaches may be hiding.
  • Use the natural pesticide regularly until you no longer have signs of cockroaches in your home.

Catnip is also one of the best plants to naturally repel mosquitoes.

Coffee grounds

One way to use your old coffee grounds is to help remedy your cockroach problem. Although there is no scientific research, many people say that spreading coffee grounds where cockroaches tend to live has helped control the infestation.

The smell of coffee will also help to mask the musty stink that cockroaches leave behind.

You can also use your old coffee grounds as a non-toxic way to naturally keep ants away and stop them entering your home.

How to Prevent German Cockroach Infestations

After you have successfully exterminated all cockroaches from your home, you need to think about preventing another roach infestation. You can stop German cockroaches from coming back into your home by using these prevention methods:

  • Seal any external cracks in your home where the cockroaches can get into your property.
  • Prevent roaches from getting into your home by placing mesh over any air vents or floor drains.
  • Keep all work surfaces in your kitchen spotless and put all foods (including those in your cupboards) in sealed containers.
  • Fix any leaking pipes to prevent dampness or moisture under sinks or baths.
  • Fix a tight-fitting lid to your trash can.
  • Use the natural cockroach baits and pesticides to prevent infestations.

Read these related articles:

Article Sources:
  1. ENTO PSU. German cockroaches.
  2. MSUE ANR. Health risks of cockroaches.
  3. Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2014 May; 4(Suppl 1): S228–S232.
  4. Econ. Entomol. 97(2): 581-587 (2004)
  5. Econ. Entomol. 2002 Apr;95(2):390-8.
  6. Agric. Urban Entomol. 18(3): 149–156 (July 2001)
  7. Econ. Entomol. 2002 Apr;95(2):377-80.

Healthy and Natural World