Does Bleach Kill Cockroaches?

Bleach is cheap, easy to find in stores, and available in most homes. If you’re dealing with a cockroach problem, you may think bleach will be a great insecticide. After all, bleach kills bacteria and germs. It’s known as toxic to ingest and can be damaging to the skin. If humans can’t survive it, certainly cockroaches shouldn’t either.

Bleach can kill cockroaches, so long as it’s chlorine bleach. This chemical solution may deter roaches due to its offensive smell. Its corrosive properties can eat away at their bodies, resulting in death. However, bleach only works if a cockroach is soaked or drowned in it. It’s not an effective insecticide and should only be used in conjunction with a real pest-killer.

Instead, bleach is ideal for deterring roaches from certain areas or driving them towards traps. Bleach can disinfect areas that roaches have frequented, so you don’t touch their diseases or bacteria. If you’re dedicated to using bleach, however, it can kill their eggs. Pouring it down the drain isn’t cost-effective, but can scare out roaches.

Does Bleach Kill Cockroaches?

Bleach can kill roaches, but not all bleach is created equal. The type you use for your laundry may not be the most effective against cockroaches. Technically, “bleach” refers to a solution used to remove colors from a fabric.

  • Oxygen bleach is a “softer” bleach. It will protect colors while making a white fabric more vibrant. This is referred to as “color-safe” bleach.
  • Chlorine bleach is the bleach exclusively saved for “whites,” because it’ll easily remove almost any color.

Whether under the brand name Clorox or not, chlorine bleach has the real punch necessary to get rid of cockroaches. The process by which it lightens clothes can be quite deadly.

How Does Chlorine Bleach Kill Cockroaches?

Chlorine bleach refers to any type of bleach with chlorine as the active ingredient. In nature, chlorine occurs as a poisonous gas. However, when combined with sodium hydroxide, you can control when chlorine is released.

Chlorine is released when it comes into contact with proteins. This includes bacteria, mold, fungi, and of course, pests. When it comes to clothes, the release of chlorine breaks apart the chemical bonds that give a fiber its color.

When it comes to cells, like those of germs and pests, the same chemical bonds are broken. However, while it lightens clothes, it effectively destroys the cells in organic life, killing germs and pests in the process.

does the smell of bleach repel roaches?

Does Bleach Keep Cockroaches Away?

While bleach can harm cockroaches, it won’t deter them for long. In fact, out of all the home-made insecticides, it’s one of the least effective.

Need Direct Contact

To kill roaches, you must expose them directly to bleach for a prolonged amount of time. For example, by spraying them with bleach numerous times until they’re dowsed. This allows the bleach to fully soak into their bodies, where it does the most damage. As you can imagine, it’s difficult to make a cockroach hold still for this.

Likewise, bleach will only take care of the roaches you can see. That can be difficult, since roaches tend to be active when humans aren’t around (like at night). If you see one or two roaches in the daytime, rest assured – there are far more during the night.

Has A Potent Smell

Bleach has a strong smell, which roaches are smart enough to avoid. Be it the underlying chemicals or the overall fumes, roaches appear to avoid the scent of bleach.

That might sound like good news for scaring off an infestation. Unfortunately, it’s not. A full infestation will learn to ignore the smell or work around it. For you, a cockroach’s distaste for the smell of bleach just means you can’t set traps. Putting a bowl of bleach next to a suspected nest will do you no good.


Sure, bleach can harm roaches, but it can also harm objects around your house. Remember that bleach will corrode a wide range of materials. This includes plastic, but most importantly – it includes metal. Popular hiding spots for roaches are metal-based, such as:

  • Ventilation shafts
  • Electric appliances
  • Pipes
  • Drains

Pouring bleach down a drain to fix a nest will kill the roaches. However, it will corrode your pipes, too.

Bleach Will Damage Fabrics

Aside from corroding, the substance will also bleach any fabric it touches. This can include:

  • Carpets
  • Rugs
  • Curtains

Bleach Can Harm People Or Pets

In the name of defeating your cockroach infestation, are you willing to sacrifice your drapes? Well, don’t bring your pets into it. Bleach can harm pests, but its fumes, toxic chemicals, and corrosive properties will hurt other life too. For example:

  • Pets
  • Children
  • Roommates

So, yes, bleach can reduce the number of cockroaches. However, it won’t for long – and only at a great cost. Instead, it’s better to seek out other insecticides.

How To Kill Roaches with Bleach

While bleach isn’t a great insecticide, it can still kill roaches. If you need a temporary solution as you look for more effective means, then we won’t hold you back. Just check out the safety precautions we recommend in a later section.

does bleach spray kill cockroaches?

Will Cockroaches Drink Bleach?

The chemical composition of bleach is highly toxic. If ingested by any animal or person, it can result in organ failure, internal bleeding, and eventually death. While cockroaches are very resilient, they aren’t exempt from this.

Rumor has it the best way to make cockroaches ingest bleach is through bait. This may include:

  • Soaking crumbs in bleach and leaving them in corners
  • Diluting water with bleach and setting it where cockroaches frequently visit

However, this has a very low chance of working. Bleach has a potent smell that will deter cockroaches. No matter how tasty or appealing the bait is, cockroaches will know it’s deadly – or at least nasty.

On rare occasion, a cockroach may chow down anyways. On the whole, however, you’ll be wasting your time. Worse yet, the bait will seem far more tempting to unsuspecting pets or small children.

Will Drowning Roaches In Bleach Kill Them?

Drowning a roach in a tub of bleach is a sure-fire way to ensure that it dies. However, you will first need to transport the cockroach to this tub. That’s unhelpful in multiple ways:

  • Roaches are small, fast, and difficult to catch.
  • Cockroaches are covered in harmful bacteria, making it bad to touch them.
  • Roaches bite, so you won’t like holding them.
  • Once you’ve caught the roach, it’s easier to dispose of it in other ways.
  • There’s no way you’re hand-catching a full infestation.

If, for some reason, you’ve managed to catch a roach, then it’s safer to forego the bleach. A cockroach will drown in any substance. Hot water is recommended, as it will simultaneously scorch and drown the pest. This saves you the danger of splashing around in corrosive bleach.

Will Bleach Spray Kill Roaches?

Bleach can kill roaches on contact. The most effective way to accomplish that is with a spray bottle. To use this method:

  • Pour a diluted solution of household bleach and water into a spray bottle. While non-diluted bleach may be more effective, it can cause damage to your bottle.
  • Bleach will damage some types of bottles, even those that are made of plastic. Glass will be ideal.
  • As a rule of thumb, never leave a bleach solution in a bottle for a long period of time. Unless it’s the original container you bought it in, pour out the solution after a few days.

Keep in mind that spraying a cockroach once or twice will be insufficient. You’ll need to completely dowse the bug. Because roaches are fast and small, this can be tricky to achieve.

Does Bleach Kill Cockroach Eggs?

In the same way bleach is toxic to adult cockroaches, it’s equally damaging to roach eggs. However, you’ll find it’s difficult to hunt down these eggs.

Once you’ve found the nest, it’s better to apply a strong insecticide to eradicate the infestation. Spraying it with bleach may only cause the nest to scatter and reform elsewhere. You may even find it breaks into multiple nests, worsening your infestation.

If your heart’s set on destroying the roach eggs with bleach, then it can be done. You’ll need to soak them in a tub of bleach. Make sure to leave them for 30 minutes to an hour. Then dispose of the mess.

Does The Smell Of Bleach Repel Roaches?

The technical smell of bleach does appear offensive to cockroaches. Just as importantly, cockroaches will find it difficult to root themselves in a well-cleaned home.

They’ll struggle to find leftover foot, mold, fungus, or spilled sugars, all of which are ideal food sources. These kinds of messes happen in every home. If you’re recently cleaned it top to bottom with bleach, however, it’s unlikely that you missed the big messes. This creates a two-fold advantage:

  • You’ve robbed the cockroaches of food
  • You’ve replaced this food with a smell that’s offensive to them

Does Pouring Bleach Down The Drain Get Rid Of Roaches?

Pouring straight bleach down your drain can deter cockroaches. However, this isn’t the most effective approach. Here’s why:

Bleach Must Be Diluted

You should dilute bleach before pouring it into drains. By doing so, you’re lessening how effective it is against the cockroaches. By not diluting it, you risk damaging your pipes – especially over time.

You Need A Lot of Bleach

To rid your drains of cockroaches, it takes an incredible amount of bleach. It must then be poured for a prolonged amount of time to create equal coverage. After all, you don’t want to just annoy the cockroaches – you want to deter or possibly kill them.

The amount of bleach that demands isn’t cost effective. It’s better to purchase a normal insecticide.

does bleach kill cockroach eggs?

How To Use Bleach with Insecticides Against Roaches

Normal insecticides will be your best option for killing roaches. However, that doesn’t mean bleach is wholly ineffective. In fact, you can pair insecticides with bleach to get more immediate results.

Use Bleach As A Repellent

As mentioned, roaches avoid the smell of bleach. This can be used to your advantage. For example, you can trap cockroaches by herding them in certain directions.

  • Start by setting up roach traps at key points in your home. This may include the kitchen, bathroom, or living room.
  • Then, rub down all other hiding spots with a bleach wipe. This may include corners, underneath furniture, behind appliances, and so on.
  • Wait for the roaches. They will avoid the bleach-touched points and be funneled into others. This could make your traps more effective.

Just be sure not to spread bleach on clothing or colored surfaces, like wallpaper.

Use Bleach As A Disinfectant

Bleach is a great sanitizer. Despite the many alternatives, it continues to be the choice of disinfectant for hospitals, according to Clinical Microbiology Reviews. That can be invaluable to you during a cockroach infestation.

After all, roaches are pests that can bring serious diseases into a household. In fact, cockroaches can harbor and transmit about 40 species of bacteria, according to Boletín de la Oficina Sanitaria Panamericana. While you’re battling them with insecticides, you’ll need to keep their footprints off your countertops.

After you’ve killed a roach, make sure to disinfect the space around you for your family’s health. If you’re concerned that it’s too strong, you can try a vinegar-water mixture instead.

How To Use Bleach Safely Against Cockroaches

When using corrosive materials, it’s always wise to take precautions. If it’s inhaled, kept on skin for a prolonged amount of time, or otherwise handled incorrectly, bleach can:

  • Burn the skin
  • Cause dizziness
  • Induce vomiting
  • Lead to confusion
  • Affect your balance
  • Even result in death

Thankfully, with the right protection and knowledge, you can easily avoid the dangers of bleach.

Always Wear Gloves

Wearing gloves can help you avoid any chemical reactions from spills. As a bonus, it can protect your hands from touching cockroach poop, the cockroaches themselves, or their nasty bites. Otherwise, you may be exposed to disease or illness.

  • Be sure to wash your hands before putting on the gloves.
  • Do so again after wearing the gloves. This will help ensure the set remains fully sanitized long term.
  • If you’ve just killed a cockroach or applied bleach, be sure to thoroughly wash the gloves. Even thick rubber gloves may corrode under bleach residue.

Wear Face Protection

Bleach can release chlorine gas, which is a toxic and corrosive material. When breathed in, it can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat. This can lead to:

  • Watery eyes
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing

This is why it’s recommended to at least wear a mask. As roaches frequent confined, unventilated spaces, it’s a good idea to wear goggles as well. A splash of bleach in your eyes may result in blindness if left untreated.

Don’t Leave Bleach In The Open

After you’re finished using the bleach, always store it and the container away safely. It should not be left in the open where it can be accessed by children or pets.

Ensure The Bottle Is Fully Sealed

Likewise, you should double-check if the cap is securely fastened. New child-proof versions often make clicking sounds as you shut them. If you don’t pay attention, you could mistake it for being sealed when it’s not. That could:

  • Allow children to get into the bottle
  • Let it spill on you when you pick it up
  • Get knocked over and damage the area around it
  • Allow fumes to escape the bottle. This could result in the bleach losing its potency. Likewise, it may be inhaled by nearby humans or pets

Know Bleach First Aid

When dealing with bleach, accidents do happen. The following are first aid measures to apply in the worse-case situations.

Skin Contact

If bleach makes contact with your skin, quickly wash it with soap and water. In serious cases, this may result in a bleach burn. These appear as red welts larger than three inches in diameter.

If you think you have a bleach burn, contact a physician. If left untreated, they could grow infected.

Bleach In Eyes

If bleach comes into contact with your eyes:

  • Rinse with lukewarm water immediately
  • Remove contact lenses as soon as possible
  • Avoid rubbing your eyes
  • Do not use anything other than lukewarm water
  • Rinse as many times as necessary until the burning subsides

Any other compound could make matters worse, resulting in a chemical reaction from the bleach. That could further irritate your eye or cause blindness.


If ingested, provide the victim with milk and rinse the inside of the mouth. Contact poison control and bring the victim to the hospital. There is no home treatment for bleach poisoning.