Finding roaches in your home is never fun, and getting rid of them can be quite the chore. If you've got a bad infestation, you'll likely have to call in a professional exterminator to wipe out the problem, but what if you're just seeing the occasional bug in the kitchen? Most store-bought sprays and traps are full of toxic ingredients, so if you've got pets or kids, dealing with roaches is especially concerning. Fortunately, there are natural, safe ways to rid your home of roaches and keep them from coming back.
Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth is a white powder made from the fossilized remains of diatoms, which are a type of unicellular, hard-shelled algae. It's found in many common household products, and if you buy food grade diatomaceous earth, it's safe for pets and people—just not for roaches, as the powder destroys their exoskeletons. Once you've thoroughly cleaned your apartment and cleared or sealed up any possible roach food sources like crumbs, trash, or easily accessible pet food, mix a little cocoa powder or flour with the diatomaceous earth, and lightly dust it where you've seen roaches in your home to get rid of them. Roaches will also take the bait back to the nest to feed others, fighting your pesky pest problem at the source.
Spray Essential Oils
Research has found that some essential oils—especially peppermint oil—are effective at repelling roaches. Peppermint oil can also be used as a natural insecticide, although not in the same ways as diatomaceous earth. Leaving mint oil out or spritzing it around won't kill roaches that come in its path, rather, it'll just keep them away. But if you spray a peppermint oil on a roach when you see one, it can be an effective and natural alternative to using commercial roach sprays. To repel roaches, try mixing two parts water with one part white vinegar and 10 drops of peppermint oil to a spray bottle, and spritz it around the affected areas of your apartment.
Strategically Place Catnip
That's right, your feline friend's favorite herb is actually a natural roach repellent. Roaches are sensitive to the chemical nepetalactone, which is the active ingredient in catnip. (Catnip is also a member of the mint family, so this should come as no surprise!) Placing small satchels of catnip around the areas of your home where you've seen roaches should keep them at bay. Catnip won't kill roaches, but it's a great option for preventing them from coming back after you've finally gotten rid of them.