Cockroaches thrive in environments that provide food, humidity and warmth, such as kitchens, bathrooms and heating ducts. The common household pests should be removed immediately because they carry and spread germs that can cause people to become sick. The typical means of eliminating cockroaches is by chemically or physically killing them. If neither method appeals to you, then you can get rid of cockroaches without killing them.
Cover the inside rim of a jar with petroleum jelly. Fill the jar with 1/4 cup of water and 2 tbsp. of coffee grounds. Place the jar in an area of cockroach activity, which can be determined by the presence of their exoskeletons or excrement. Because cockroaches are highly attracted to moist coffee grounds, they will crawl into the jar. They cannot crawl out of the jar, however, due to the slipperiness of petroleum jelly. Once cockroaches are captured, wipe off the petroleum jelly, which will allow the cockroaches to crawl out. Dispose of the jar containing cockroaches far from your home or business, such as an outdoor trash receptacle that is not nearby.
Crush 2 or 3 bay leaves, and sprinkle the crushed leaves on areas of cockroach infestation. Cockroaches are highly repulsed by the scent of bay leaves and avoid being within the scent's proximity.
Sprinkle catnip on areas infested with cockroaches. The scent of catnip has the same effect as bay leaves on cockroaches.
Seal all holes and cracks where pipes and electrical work go into walls with caulk. Those openings, such as the ones typically found around electrical outlets, can serve as homes for cockroaches as well as a means for them to travel from one location to another location.
Clean regularly. Crumbs and grease are desirable food sources for cockroaches. If the cockroaches do not have a food source, they are less likely to inhabit a location.