Does Bleach Kill Roaches? Does it Repel Them?

Updated on by Jared Belson | Please note that there may be affiliate links on this page.

If you find roaches scurrying around your home, it’s normal to panic and reach for the first thing available. You may already worry about using pesticides inside your home, so why not try something you already have? Before you grab the bleach to solve your cockroach problem, read this.

What is Bleach?

Bleach is designed to remove or lighten colors. It is a chemical combination of chlorine, water, and caustic soda.

There are several kinds of bleach available. The type of bleach you have in your home is probably either a powder or a liquid. You typically use it in your laundry, or for cleaning purposes.

Does Bleach Kill Cockroaches?

Technically, the answer is yes. Bleach may kill roaches via either drowning or ingestion. It is nearly impossible to get a roach to drink bleach. They hate the smell of bleach and will scurry in the opposite direction. Even if you add some bait, they will still be able to smell the bleach.

Bleach is a really strong chemical. Once a roach is immersed in bleach, it will drown within a couple of seconds. The downside is you have to catch each cockroach and drop it into a bucket of bleach. This could take a while if you have a lot of roaches!

How Can I Use Bleach on Cockroaches?

Drowning a Nest

While catching and drowning cockroaches one by one may be difficult, if you are able to locate a nest, you can drown a lot of them. You may notice a cockroach coming out of a drain.

Cockroaches may nest in drains, pipes, sinks, or other moist areas. Dumping bleach into their nest will drown them.

A Word of Caution

However, be cautious when pouring bleach into drains, since it could corrode your pipes. Only do it occasionally and as a last resort.

When Bleach Does Not Work on Cockroaches

You may be tempted to soak crumbs or other bait in bleach to see if the cockroaches will eat it. Do not attempt this! It may be hazardous to your children and pets, and the roaches will still be deterred by the smell of bleach.

Spraying the roaches with bleach, or a bleach and water mixture will not work, either. Remember, they have to either ingest the bleach or drown in it. A misting won’t accomplish either. Plus, you could damage your home and furniture by spraying bleach everywhere.

Using Bleach to Prevent a Cockroach Infestation

If you’ve conquered a roach infestation, congratulations! You are probably wondering how to keep them away for good. Bleach is effective as a roach repellant.

Wipe down all food areas with a bleach and water solution. The roaches hate the smell and will not want to set up residence again.

Drains, pipes, and other dark, moist areas should also be wiped down with a bleach solution. You may want to repeat this ritual regularly until you’re certain the roaches are really gone.

Is Bleach Dangerous?

You can find bleach in most homes. Many people use it regularly without incident. However, it is still a chemical and it is best to use safety precautions when handling bleach.

Inhalation Risk

Bleach emits a strong odor that lingers for hours. It can burn your eyes and airway with extended exposure. It’s best to wear a mask while working with bleach. Never mix bleach and Pine-Sol. This can create poisonous chlorine gas.

Ingestion Risk

If a pet or family member accidentally ingests bleach, immediately provide a lot of drinking water to try to dilute the bleach. Bleach can burn the mouth, throat, and stomach. Call a healthcare professional if bleach has been ingested.

Contact Risk

Bleach is corrosive. It’s best to wear gloves while handling bleach. It can cause chemical burns on your skin.

How to Keep Roaches Out for Good

Roach Traps and Sprays

For trapping and killing small roaches, I recommend Combat Max Roach Bait. Place traps under sinks, in corners, and under appliances.

For a basic, old-school spray, use Raid. If you prefer a more natural approach, I suggest this spray.


If there are no food particles, or cozy nesting areas available, roaches are much less likely to linger. This is where bleach comes in handy.

  • Wipe down kitchen and food prep areas with a bleach and water solution. Clean drains, pipes, and any other moist, dark area where you see roaches congregating.
  • Keep trash covered, and take it out regularly.
  • All food must be stored away in sealed containers.


The most fool-proof way to get rid of roaches for good is fumigation. Fumigation is the process of clearing an area with chemicals. This should be done only by professionals.

Final Notes

Bleach is a great tool in your arsenal against a roach invasion! However, it probably won’t solve the problem if used by itself. Take some of these other measures as well to really wipe out cockroaches!

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