What Smell Do Roaches Hate? 11 Natural Ways to Repel Them

What smell do roaches hate? Is there really something that will keep them away? 

Did you know that certain scents, natural repellents, and citrus fruits can repel roaches more effectively than chemicals? By understanding what roaches dislike and incorporating these elements into your home management plan, you’ll be on your way to a roach-free living space.

This article will explore several things that roaches can’t stand. You’ll learn about natural cockroach repellent and specific deterrents as you read on. You can use these home remedies to make your home a roach-free sanctuary. So, let’s dive in and discover those roach-repelling secrets!

What Smell Do Roaches Hate? What Scents Repel Them?

what smells do roaches hate

Roaches may be persistent, awful, disease-ridden pests, but there are certain smells they can’t stand. Using these scents in your home can create a less inviting environment for these unwanted guests. Since the American cockroach tends to come out of drains, you should place a few drops of these oils into your drains each night. 

Below, we’ll explore different smells that roaches tend to hate. Remember that some repellents also work as essential oils that keep fleas away.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint Oil - Essential oil for repelling roaches

Want to know what smell roaches hate? Well, peppermint oil is a natural deterrent for roaches. Mix a few drops of peppermint oil with water in a spray bottle as a natural repellent. Then, apply it to areas where you suspect roaches are hiding or entering your home. This simple solution can help repel roaches without resorting to harsh chemicals. 

You can also use mint plants around your yard to repel roaches that are crawling outdoors. Plus, you can then use small sachets of mint around the target areas where you spot the cockroaches.

Rosemary Oil

Rosemary Oil - what do roaches hate

Check out this study on roach mortality using various essential oils: “Evaluation of Some Plant Essential Oils against the Brown-Banded Cockroach.” As you can see, rosemary oil has a good effect on repelling brown-banded roaches and killing them. Essential oils provide a potential alternative to conventional insecticides.

This research shines a light on the effectiveness of essential oils in dealing with the ever-persistent brown-banded cockroach. Among the stars of this botanical arsenal, rosemary oil emerges as a noteworthy champion, showing promise not only in repelling these pests but also in delivering their ultimate demise.

Plus, this discovery opens a captivating avenue for those seeking alternatives to conventional insecticides. The aromatic allure of essential oils has long been celebrated for their multifaceted benefits, and now they stand poised as potential warriors against a relentless household menace.

Crushed Garlic Cloves – (What Smell Do Roaches Hate?)

Crushed Garlic Cloves - things that roaches hate

The pungent aroma of crushed garlic cloves is a great way to repel roaches. You can place crushed cloves in small dishes or on small pieces of foil and leave them tucked in the problem areas.

Replace the cloves once their aroma weakens to maintain the repelling effect. However, if you don’t want the pungent smell of garlic taking over your home, opt for some of the more aromatic essential oils below.

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender Oil- Essential oil for roaches

Lavender oil is another natural scent that roaches dislike. Like peppermint oil, you can mix a few drops with water and spray them around potential entry points and hiding spots.

The bonus of lavender oil is its calming effect on humans, making it a perfect addition to your roach-repelling arsenal. While the smell of lavender may be something cockroaches hate, many humans love it!

Eucalyptus Oil – What Smell Do Roaches Hate?

Eucalyptus oil is another repellent essential oil that cåan help repel keep roaches

Eucalyptus oil is another repellent essential oil that can help keep roaches at bay. Mix a few drops with water and spray it around your home, focusing on doorways, windows, and other potential entry points. The strong scent of eucalyptus is unappealing to roaches and will encourage them to stay away.

Cedarwood Oil


Cedarwood oil is derived from cedar trees and has a rich, woody aroma that most insects, including roaches, dislike. Use a diluted cedarwood oil and water solution to spray around your home to repel cockroaches.

You are making sure to target suspected hiding places and pathways. This pleasant scent will help deter roaches while giving your home a fresh, natural scent.

Citrus Peels (Lemon Peels)

Citrus Peels (Lemon Peels) _ things roaches hate

It’s a good thing that roaches do not like the strong citrus scent found in lemon, orange, and grapefruit peels. Especially since these items are easy to come by, you can place fresh citrus peels around your home or even create a citrus-infused solution to spray in targeted areas.

Remember that these peels will eventually lose their scent, so replace them regularly for the best results.

Oregano Oil – What Smell Do Roaches Hate?

Oregano Oil for repelling roaches

Anecdotal evidence suggests that oregano oil is a natural remedy to repel roaches due to its strong scent and potential insecticidal properties.

While there isn’t as much scientific research on oregano oil’s effectiveness as a roach repellent compared to some other substances, it may have some deterrent effect on roaches when used as part of a broader pest control strategy.

To use oregano oil as a potential roach repellent, mix a few drops of oregano oil with water and spray it in areas where you’ve seen roach activity. Remember that, like other natural remedies, its effectiveness may vary and may not be as reliable as commercial insecticides.

Tea Tree Oil

things roaches hate_ Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is believed to repel roaches due to its strong smell and potential insecticidal properties, which can disrupt their senses and discourage them from entering or staying in treated areas. Put a 2-3 drops of tea tree oil in the kitchen sink; this will help keep them at bay. 

Catnip Leaves

things roaches hate_Catnip Leaves

Some folks also say that catnip leaves can repel roaches. Catnip contains nepetalactone, a natural repellent for certain insects, including roaches. However, it’s important to note that the effectiveness of catnip as a roach repellent may vary, and it may not work as effectively as commercial pesticides.

Fresh Bay Leaves

Fresh Bay Leaves as a repellent

Fresh bay leaves can potentially repel roaches due to their strong aromatic properties. However, limited scientific evidence supports the effectiveness of bay leaves as a standalone roach repellent. Most reports on fresh bay leaves as a smell that roaches hate people report as anecdotal evidence. 

Roaches are primarily attracted to food sources, moisture, and hiding spots, so addressing these factors through proper sanitation and sealing entry points is critical to roach control.

Using bay leaves alone may not provide comprehensive protection against roaches, but you can use them as part of a broader pest control strategy. Placing fresh bay leaves in areas where you commonly see roaches may help deter them to some extent. However, combining this method with other proven roach control measures, such as using baits, traps, and insecticides designed for roaches, is essential for more effective results.

Will Citronella Candles Repel Roaches?

Citronella candles are primarily known for repelling mosquitoes and other flying insects due to their strong scent, which masks the attractant scents that draw these insects towards humans.

While citronella candles may deter some pests, they are not typically effective at repelling roaches. Roaches are more attracted to food, moisture, and hiding places than specific scents, so addressing sanitation and sealing entry points is generally more critical for roach control.

To prevent or eliminate roach infestations, it’s advisable to use targeted roach baits, traps, and insecticides specifically designed for roaches. Citronella candles can still help outdoor areas keep mosquitoes and other flying insects at bay. Still, they are unreliable for roach prevention or control indoors.

Clean Environment: One of the Things That Roaches Hate

If you have a cockroach problem or even a cockroach infestation, you’ll want to use a multi-pronged approach to eliminate them. Study “Why do I have roaches in my clean house?”.

Regular Cleaning

A clean environment is crucial to keeping roaches away. Make sure you regularly clean your home, especially the kitchen and bathroom. These areas have food residue, grease, and moisture that attract cockroaches. Instead of focusing on what smells roaches hate, instead try to get rid of their food source.

Sweep and vacuum the floors, wipe down countertops, and keep appliances clean. Even a greasy fingerprint on an appliance can become a roach’s food source.

Pay special attention to the hard-to-reach areas, like under the fridge, between the cabinets, and behind the stove. Remember to:

Sealing Of Food

Properly storing food is a critical factor in keeping roaches away. Since scavenging insects like cockroaches are attracted to crumbs, spills, and accessible food sources, take these measures to keep them at bay:

  • Store food in airtight containers
  • Keep pantry shelves clean and tidy
  • Regularly clean the refrigerator
  • Seal pet food containers – Does dog food attract roaches?


Roaches prefer a moist environment. Reducing humidity and moisture in your home creates a less inviting space for them. To keep your home dry and roach-free, follow these tips:

  • Fix any leaks in pipes or faucets
  • Use a dehumidifier in damp rooms
  • Regularly clean and dry spills on the floor
  • Ventilate rooms to allow air circulation

Final Thoughts on What Smell Do Roaches Hate?

So, understanding the smells that roaches hate can be a valuable tool in your arsenal for effective pest control. Whether it’s the pungent aroma of peppermint oil, the overpowering scent of an essential oil spray, or the aromatic qualities of cedarwood and oregano, these natural repellents can help create an inhospitable environment for roaches in your home.

While no single scent may provide an absolute solution to a roach infestation, combining these methods with good hygiene practices and professional pest control measures can significantly reduce the presence of these unwelcome guests. 

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