What smells repel cockroaches | 9 things you have in kitchen

What smells repel cockroaches
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Have you got a problem with cockroaches in your home? If so, you may be looking for ways to repel them, and you’ll be pleased to learn that this can be done through certain scents. However, that means you need to know what smells they hate!

Cockroaches are repelled by many smells, including herbs like mint, citronella, basil, thyme, and lavender. Cockroaches also dislike bay leaves, so if you have any of these things, you can use them to deter cockroaches from entering your home.

What smells repel cockroaches?

  1. Basil
  2. Thyme
  3. Mint
  4. Citronella
  5. Leavander
  6. Bay leaves
  7. Citrus
  8. Orange peel
  9. Lemon peel

As you’ll have seen, there are a lot of smells that you can use to repel cockroaches and deter them from taking up residence in your home. Cockroaches are not a pest that most people welcome in their houses, and I know that I personally feel horrified even at the thought of them. I’m not usually bothered by insects, but I draw a line at cockroaches.

Fortunately, you can repel cockroaches with a lot of different smells, and many of these are things that you may already have in your kitchen. If you don’t, you can probably source them from your local store for a small amount of money. Of course, it’s important to think about any pets you have in the home, and make sure you are using things that are safe for them.

If you want to repel cockroaches, you should consider aromatic herbs first of all. These are highly effective, and can usually be bought for little money from local stores.


If you have some basil, fresh sprigs of this can be laid around entry points to your home. Basil is a strongly scented herb that will keep all kinds of pests, including cockroaches, at bay. It contains something known as linalool, which a lot of insects dislike.

If you don’t have fresh basil, try sprinkling some dried basil around these areas, but be aware that it may not be as effective. Fresh basil will need to be refreshed every few weeks to ensure it stays powerful.


Thyme contains a chemical that is known as carvacrol, and this is something that many roaches seem to hate. We grow thyme in our garden, and if I’m concerned about a possible roach invasion due to spilled food or something else, picking sprigs of thyme and putting them around the doorways seems to be effective.


Mint is well known for repelling insects, and you will be able to keep significant numbers of pests away by having mint in your house or growing it close to your doorway. Mint is a strong-scented plant that contains two repellents – menthol and menthone. Both of these upset cockroaches and drive them away.

You can use sprigs of fresh mint, or you can use any form of mint oil, such as peppermint oil. Dab this on walls or window frames wherever you think cockroaches might be tempted to come in, and they should stay away.


You have probably already used citronella candles to keep mosquitoes away from your home, and the great news is that the same herb can keep cockroaches away too. However, I wouldn’t recommend it in its candle form, since cockroaches tend to be at ground level. Instead, choose citronella as an essential oil.

Dab or spray this oil around doorways and other entry points to your home, and you’ll find that cockroaches veer away from it. Its strong scent is highly unpleasant to them, and they will avoid it. This has the additional benefit of keeping other bugs away too.


Loved by humans, lavender is another wonderful way to repel pests like cockroaches, and it can also work on other insects too. If you have a lavender plant in your garden, consider bringing its cuttings inside as a means of getting rid of all sorts of pests.

Lavender can be used in sprigs around doorways, or purchased in its oil form and sprinkled or sprayed in areas that you are concerned about. However, it is worth noting that lavender may not be safe for your pets when it is concentrated into an essential oil, so use it with caution if you have cats or dogs.

One of the nice things about using lavender is that it will make your home smell wonderful, and if you have a bush, you can get cuttings any time you need to replenish your current stock. We have many lavender bushes in our garden, and we use the cuttings all around our home. I haven’t seen a hint of a cockroach since we started doing this.

Bay Leaves

Bay leaves are another excellent option because you can often purchase these in your local store. They are readily available and effective against many kinds of pests, including cockroaches. However, the downside is that they aren’t safe to have around dogs, as they can cause obstructions if they are ingested.

If you are thinking of using bay leaves to deter cockroaches, make sure they are not accessible to your dog. Keep your dog out of the room, or keep the bay leaves off ground level. Bay leaves are also unsafe for cats, but few cats will try to eat them, so this may be less of a concern.

To use bay leaves, allow them to dry, and then crush them into a fine powder. This can then be sprinkled anywhere that you see cockroaches.

What smell do roaches hate most?

It’s hard to say what smell is most hated by cockroaches, but a lot of people say it is citrus. Citrus can be used in the form of orange or lemon peels, which can be left around your home. Citrus fruits have strong compounds and oils in their skins, and these make them highly effective for deterring cockroaches.

You can place peels around your home, or purchase citrus-scented cleaners or citrus-scented essential oils. Because humans find these smells so appealing, it shouldn’t be hard to find something suitable. We use a lemon scrub for all our sinks, and it helps to keep the drains fresh – and deters the roaches that might otherwise be looking for a drink there.

Can I use citrus in any form?

Yes, any kind of citrus should work as long as it is transferring its scent to the surrounding environment. A lot of people like spray-on citrus cleaners, because it’s easy to target a wide area with one of these.

However, you can also just put lemon peels around your home. Alternatively, create some homemade cleaner, by steeping citrus peels in vinegar for a few weeks. This has powerful cleaning properties and it will get rid of insects of all kinds!

What forms does citrus come in?

You can use fresh citrus, or any commercial citrus. My personal favorite, however, is citrus essential oils mixed with water. We have orange, grapefruit, and lemon, and I add a mix of these when cleaning to create a fresh scent and get rid of nasty things like cockroaches.

It is important to be cautious about using citrus around household pets, however. Most cats and dogs will stay away from citrus, but be aware that it is dangerous for them and you shouldn’t use it in areas that they frequent.

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