Roaches are a total pain, right? They are quick, they get everywhere, and they are difficult to get rid of! Roaches are attracted to quite a few things in your home, but what are they repelled by? Can you use anything to stop them from settling in your home? Do mothballs repel roaches, or is that a myth that will only waste your time? In this post, we are going to take a look at this.

What you will learn in this post:

  1. What are mothballs?
  2. Do mothballs repel roaches?
  3. How you can use mothballs as part of your roach control.
  4. The dangers of using mothballs.

Do Mothballs Repel Roaches fact or fiction

What Are Mothballs?

Mothballs are little balls made up of a pesticide, and deodorant. They were originally designed to rid your closet of moths. If you get moths in your closest, you will notice holes in your clothes as they get devoured by the moth babies!

Mothballs were originally made with a chemical fumigant called Naphthalene. As this chemical was flammable (which is pretty dangerous in closets, right?), it was replaced by an organic compound called 1,4-Dichlorobenzene. This compound evaporates into a gas that is toxic to moths, and the moth larvae.

Mothballs can be hazardous to your health, do whatever you use them for, ensure that you read the label.

Do Mothballs Repel Roaches?

Simple answer, yes, mothballs do repel roaches, but they are not that easy to use as part of your roach control, and they can be very dangerous. Always read the label!

If you have common areas where you get a lot of roach activity, it is worth using it. However, roaches get everywhere! It is, therefore, something that might not be that useful as part of your cockroach control.

There are less toxic substances that can be used to help repel roaches, such as peppermint, or eucalyptus oil.

How To Use Mothballs To Repel Cockroaches

1. Use In Confined Spaces

To successfully use mothballs to repel roaches, you need to use them in confined spaces.

The scent of the mothballs needs to remain strong enough to repel them in a small area. Also, the larger the area, the more the gas dissipates. This results in the mothballs becoming less effective.

2. Use In Areas Where Roaches Enter Your Home

It goes without saying, you don’t want roaches in your house, right?

If that is the case, and I’ll assume that it is, then you will want to add mothballs in a few places where it is possible for roaches to enter your home.

Take a look around your home for roach entry points, such as small holes, or gaps under doors. Be careful where you add the mothballs, they should not be used where folks might come into contact with them. Which brings me onto the next tip…

3. Do Not Use Where Kids Can Access Them

Mothballs can be extremely dangerous to kids, and pets too.

The ingredients can cause some serious health conditions. For instance, a 3-year-old boy suffered from acute thrombolytic anemia when he ingested 1,4-dichlorobenzene crystals.

Needless to say, you need to keep mothballs away from children and pets!

4. Do Not Rely On Them For Total Control

While mothballs are good for repelling roaches, they should not be the only thing you use to sort out your roach problem.

You should make sure there is nothing that attracts roaches to your home, such as a water supply, or food.

Mothballs – A Warning

I mentioned it briefly above, but I’ll mention it again here because it is extremely important!

Mothballs can be very hazardous to your health. It is vital that you use them correctly. In fact, you should be using ANY pesticide in the correct way.

The key takeaway point here is that whatever you are using to get rid of pests in your home, ALWAYS READ THE LABEL! ALWAYS FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS GIVEN TO YOU BY THE LABEL!

If you do not follow the correct directions, then you could be endangering yourself, other members of your household, any visitors to your home, and any pets that you may have.

Frequently Asked Questions


Do mothballs get rid of roaches?

Do mothballs repel roaches? Yes, but mothballs do not get rid of roaches. They can help to deter roaches from certain areas of your home. You should use them in areas where you have noticed a lot of roach activity. Always use them in areas where children and pets cannot access them, as they are hazardous to health.

What scents do roaches hate?

Apart from mothballs, roached also hate peppermint oil and bleach. These can be used to help keep roaches away from your home. Ultimately, you should stop them wanting to get into your home by removing some of the things that attract roaches to your home.

Why do I have roaches in my clean house?

There are 2 main reasons why roaches are in your home, clean or dirty! Food + water. If the roaches have easy access to food or water, and they can get into your home, then they will. Always store food correctly, and cut off entry to any water source. That means fixing any small leaks, etc.


Do mothballs repel roaches? Yes, they do, and they can absolutely help with roach control in your home. Also, you should always read the label when using pesticides!

Like I said above, the use of mothballs should not be considered total cockroach control! Whilst it helps, there is a ton of other stuff that you can do to get rid of them.

  1. Remove things that attract roaches to your home
  2. Use roach traps
  3. Keep your home clean

As a reminder, when you are using mothballs to repel roaches, you should take care. DO NOT store them, or use them where they can be accessed by children or pets.

Mothballs are mostly pesticides. Ingesting them can lead to health problems.

Good luck!

About the Author

Pest Pro

Since 2008, I have become far too obsessed with DIY methods to get rid of pests! From cockroaches, woodlouse, ants, and other crawling pests, to flying pests such as mosquitos, I have searched far and wide for the best ways to combat these critters.

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