Do Mothballs Repel Roaches? Fact, Or Fiction?

Roaches are a total pain. They are quick, get everywhere, and are challenging to get rid of! Many things attract cockroaches in your home, but what repels them?

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 initially designed to rid your closet of moths. If you get moths in your closet, 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Mothballs were originally made with a chemical fumigant called Naphthalene.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 toxic gas for moths and moth larvae.

Mothballs can be hazardous to your health, do whatever you use them for, and 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 fewer 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 must 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

You don’t want roaches in your house.

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

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. This brings me to 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.

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.

It would be best if you made sure nothing attracts roaches to your homes, such as a water supply or food.

Mothballs – A Warning

I mentioned it briefly above, but I’ll repeat it here because it is essential!

Mothballs can be very hazardous to your health. It would be best if you used them correctly. In fact, you should be utilizing ANY pesticide correctly.

The key takeaway point is that whatever you use 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, you could endanger yourself, other members of your household, any visitors to your home, and any pets 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. Instead, 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 from 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 can get into your home, 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 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! While it helps, you can do a ton of other stuff to get rid of them.

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

Remember, when using mothballs to repel roaches, you should take care. DO NOT store or use them where children or pets can access them.

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

Good luck!


About the author

DIY Pest Control Enthusiast Since 1996

After spending the entire night lying awake in a cockroach-infested hotel, I have driven myself to build knowledge on all things pest control. Since then, I've tested pest control techniques to see what works and what doesn't. Now, here I am giving you all the info I have learned!

Leave a Comment