Cockroaches

Peppermint Oil for Roaches: Does it Really Work?

Dealing with roaches at home is complicated as they can require pesticides. These are harmful and using them in homes with pets and children is not recommended. Peppermint oil is a natural alternative that can deter roaches.

Peppermint oil is used as a natural alternative to pesticides in repelling roaches. The essential oil is mixed with water and sprayed around the house a few times per month to keep common roaches such as the American cockroach and the German cockroach away.

None of these common proven methods that control roach invasions can be considered truly safe indoors. Pesticides release toxic fumes, gel baits can be handled by kids or pets, and aerosol sprays come with further inhalation risks for all residents.

Common solutions against roaches include the following.

  • Boric acid pesticides
  • Gel baits
  • Aerosol sprays

Essential oils such as those made from peppermint oil are considered a safer alternative, albeit with repelling results. Essential oils only repel roaches, they don’t kill roaches.

Does peppermint oil repel roaches?

Peppermint oil represents plant extracts with compounds such as monoterpenoids. These are the concentrated aromatic profiles of a plant, in this case, peppermint,

Menthone is another compound shown to deter roaches. It’s a more potent version of menthol. These concentrated aromatic profiles of peppermint oil make it a solution that keeps roaches away, but they don’t kill roaches.

Peppermint oil

Cockroaches are known for staying away from 100% pure peppermint oil.

Lab studies that put together roaches in areas with peppermint oil show all cockroaches stayed away.

However, these studies also show that none of the roaches was killed by brief exposure to peppermint oil. It would take a long time of constant exposure to peppermint oil for roaches to be killed.

Roaches can run at speeds of up to 3 miles per hour. This means they can quickly escape an area with pepper oil fumes.

Roaches have a sense of smell.

They can distinguish smells they like and hate. Cockroaches hate the smell of peppermint, lemon, and bay leaves. They love the smell of food, garbage, and sewage.

As a result, cockroaches naturally lean towards areas with smells they like and move away from areas with smells they don’t like.

How to use peppermint oil to repel roaches at home

Peppermint essential oil is used in different methods to help make a home roach-free. It’s either used by itself (on cotton balls), mixed with water, or it’s mixed with water and vinegar in a sprayer.

Mix peppermint essential oil with water

The most common mix of peppermint oil is water. 10-15 drops of peppermint oil are added to a maximum of 10 ounces of water.

This mix is then put in a sprayer which allows easy application around the house.

Spray key areas around the house

Peppermint oil and water are sprayed in key areas around the house first. This means you need to spray around the doors and the windows first. It’s often worth spraying along the walls as well as roaches prefer to move along the wall.

cockroach hiding in kitchen

Areas with food such as the kitchen need to be thoroughly sprayed. You need to spray behind furniture and under the furniture.

Since peppermint oil isn’t toxic you can also spray other rooms around the house, this includes the basement.

Consider dipping cotton balls in peppermint oil

Spraying frequency depends on multiple factors such as heat and moisture. It’s best to spray at least a couple of times per month in the warm months as these are the periods roaches are most active in.

A more permanent solution that requires only using peppermint oil once per month is by using cotton balls. Clean cotton balls are dipped in a mix of peppermint oil and water (plus vinegar) and laid around the house, particularly under the furniture.

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Does peppermint oil mix with vinegar to repel roaches?

If your home has already had roaches it might be wise to consider stronger solutions.

White vinegar is added to water to make potent roach repellent. 2 parts of water are mixed with 1 part of vinegar and 10-15 drops of peppermint essential oil.

This is sprayed similarly to peppermint oil-water mixes all around the house.

Can using too much peppermint oil for roaches be harmful?

Essential oils should always be diluted when used against roaches. While harmless in general, they can be toxic if consumed (by children) and they can cause a series of side effects.

  • Respiratory problems
  • Headache
  • Allergic reactions (runny nose, skin rashes)

Potential side effects of using (too much) peppermint oil can be mitigated by following these steps.

Wear gloves when mixing essential oil and water

Protective gloves should prevent the essential oil from getting in direct contact with your hands. This should keep all skin side effects away when preparing the mix of water and peppermint oil.

Don’t apply it in homes with children under the age of 6

Children under the age of 6 are shown to have thinner skin. Their immune system handles less stress than an adult’s immune system.

Keep the sprayer away from the hands of children

By far, the biggest concern with essential oils is leaving it in an area children can access it. While natural, peppermint essential oil should not be ingested. Accidentally ingesting peppermint oil causes heartburn.

Consider ventilating the house

Opening doors and windows for fresh air is also recommended soon after spraying peppermint oil against roaches. This prevents fumes buildup and possible peppermint essential oil side effects such as headaches.

Summary

Peppermint oil can be used to keep roaches away from the house. It’s a real alternative to pesticides. Lab tests show peppermint oil doesn’t kill roaches, but it keeps them away.

Application location, as well as application frequency, are the most important variables to consider for peppermint essential oil. It should be sprayed around the house and in the kitchen to set a perimeter against roaches.

Peppermint oil needs to be applied at least twice per month as it tends to wear off quickly.

One of the hidden benefits of constantly re-applying peppermint essential oil around the house is the masking of scent trails.

These are trails other roaches use around the house that new roaches guide from to get inside. Applying peppermint oil masks these scent trails and confuses any incoming roaches by keeping them away.

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