11 Scents You Should Consider Using To Repel Roaches

Not many things are as nasty as meeting a cockroach in your house.

They come uninvited, and if they like what they find, they stick around, possibly for good.

Once roaches get comfortable in your house, it can be difficult to evict them. You may have to resort to roach sprays and other chemicals. These options can be quite expensive and require multiple treatments and spraying.

They are also harmful to your family and pets.

The best option: keep roaches from settling in your house.

Often homeowners claim that natural scents help to keep these cold-blooded intruders at bay. Let’s see which scents work best to repel roaches and how.

scents to repel roaches

Can you use scents to repel roaches? Does it work?

Yes, the smell of essential oils, natural herbs, and spices can repel roaches. Cockroaches are known to have a keen sense of smell. This sense makes it easy for them to find food. Luckily, you can use this against them.

Some herbs contain chemicals that are too toxic for these intruders and disrupt their hunting path. If strong enough, it can kill them instantly. As such, roaches are unlikely to stay in areas with high concentrations of these scents.

The bright side with these oils is that they keep the living area smelling great as they kick out your uninvited guests. You also needn’t worry about harmful chemicals on your family and pets.

What are the best scents to repel cockroaches?

The internet is awash with endless examples of herbs and spices that get rid of cockroaches, but few of them are useful.

So which ones work? Here is a list of the most widely used scents, proven effective in repelling cockroaches.


Roaches hate the strong scent of eucalyptus. Research has shown that cockroaches do not like the fresh fragrance of eucalyptus.

How to use eucalyptus:

Eucalyptus essential oils. Use ten drops of eucalyptus oil for 3oz of water. Spray the mixture around the infested areas or corners and crevices where cockroaches tend to hide. It is an excellent natural remedy that will evict them in no time.

Use sparingly around cockroach entry points too.

You can plant a bush. Alternatively, you can plant some eucalyptus in your backyard and garden as a natural barricade to your home.


The smell of lavender brings calm to any room. However, it is a nightmare for bugs. Lavender is a natural repellent for insects like flies and fleas but is not very effective against cockroaches. However, combining it with stronger scents like mint and bay leaves creates a more general insect repellent.

How to use lavender

You can grow lavender in your garden and the backyard.

Create a mixture of lavender with the other oils and spray around your house in places where insects frequent.


The strong essence of cinnamon keeps bugs from creeping around your kitchen. Although cinnamon is more effective for ants, it can keep cockroaches from breeding too.

How to use Cinnamon

Sprinkle the ground with cinnamon powder around the kitchen tops and cabinet corners.

Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint oils give off a fresh and eye-watering fragrance and are useful in fending off cockroaches.

How to use peppermint essential oil

Add ten drops of peppermint oil to 2 parts of water into a spray bottle.

You may add 1 part of vinegar to the mixture for a more potent effect.

Spritz the mixture around the affected areas in your house.

This mixture should repel cockroaches from around your house.

Peppermint spray won’t instantly kill cockroaches but will make the area uncomfortable for them to stick around.


The catnip herb is a natural repellent for cockroaches. Catnip contains the chemical “nepetalactone,” which cockroaches are sensitive to. The herb can therefore prevent a roach infestation.

Catnip also keeps the cockroaches from returning after they leave because they hate the smell.

How to use Catnip:

Add one part of catnip oil to 1 part of water and spray around the house. You may add some alcohol to make more potent mixture.

Alternatively, place small catnip packets around the house where the creatures hang out.

The mixture should force them out of your residence.


Roaches typically avoid spices, as these can be overwhelming for them. For example, the pungent odor of garlic is a nightmare for cockroaches.

How to use garlic

A little garlic powder sprinkled in populated places can turn cockroaches away from your kitchen and house.

Add some onions and pepper to garlic cloves to make this even stronger. Then mix with water and use it to clean your kitchen or spray in infested areas.

Now the smell of this mixture keeps away cockroaches but is too smelly for your living space. Therefore, you want to keep this mixture in the kitchen and perhaps try the other oils for the rest of your house.

Tea tree oil

Cockroaches do not like tea tree oil. It has a toxic smell and is thus an excellent remedy to keep them away.

How to use Tea tree oil

Add a few drops to 4 parts of water. You may include 1 part of vinegar for a stronger effect.

Spritz the mixture around the house with a spray bottle, especially in cracks that harbor cockroaches.

The roaches should stay away from these areas for some time.

Bay leaves

Bay leaves have a strong smell that cockroaches cannot stand. They contain an organic chemical, “eucalyptol,” which repels bugs. Using bay leaves can keep cockroaches away without having to kill them.

How to use bay leaves

Place fresh bay leaves in containers near their hideout.

Crush some bay leaves into a paste and spread them around the roach outlets, in crevices and wall cracks.

Bay leaves are harmless to humans, so you can place them anywhere. But cockroaches cannot stand it, so that will keep them away.


Oregano oil is a powerful roach repellent and works well for up to a week. Roaches hate the smell of concentrated oregano.

How to use oregano

Add a few drops of oregano oil to the water. With a spray bottle, generously spray to areas where cockroaches could be hiding.

Using it in your pantry or other areas where you want to keep cockroaches away would be best.

It should work for about a week and then repeat.

Cedar oil

Cedar has a harsh smell that keeps away roaches and other bugs like moths. It is also such a strong toxic that it can kill cockroaches instantly.

How to use cedar oil

Place cedar chips in areas where cockroaches hide behind cabinets, under the sinks, and on the bed.

Add a few drops of alcohol and rub in affected areas around the house. Doing this could help you use the oil for longer.


Roaches do not like the strong acidic smell of lemon.

How to use lemon

Use four lemons for half a gallon of water to scrub down surfaces around your house.

Place lemon peelings in areas frequented by cockroaches, like under your sink

However, experts claim that the cleaning, not the lemon scent, is the most effective at keeping roaches at bay.


Cockroaches can be quite resilient, and sometimes, applying these scents alone may not be enough to keep them away. It helps to use them in combination with each other, along with other measures.

Roaches can be quite tricky to evict once they settle in your home. It is always best to keep them away in the first place with natural scents and frequent cleaning.

What scent do roaches hate? I would say eucalyptus, which is why it tops this list. It does repel them. I have seen it in action!

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!

3 thoughts on “11 Scents You Should Consider Using To Repel Roaches”

  1. I say ‘Amen’ to the Eucalyptus. Another excellent repellent right up there with Eucalyptus; if not one nose ahead, is Camphor. Oil and Balls. (Together, they are even more potently effective) Trust me, next to my mother in law, not only am I afraid of roaches, I despise them with utter disgust. Mix as much as you want Camphor Oil with less water than oil. Spray cupboards. Under sink. Doors’ entry/exit. Bathrooms/ Crevices . Try to do this at least X3 a week for starters. Keep no garbage at all. And broadcast the camphor balls everywhere in your house. Watch what happens within a month. But this is something one must continue. Less frequently after the initial Eucap/Camphor treatment. We have overcome! Mother-in law- and roaches.


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