Remedies to Kill Roaches Immediately

If you've discovered roaches in your home, you likely want to be rid of them ASAP -- as in yesterday wouldn't be soon enough. Desperate though you may be, there is no immediate cure for a cockroach invasion. This may actually be a good thing, as scientists have found that a single dose of insecticide may be able to kill up to three generations of roaches. Cockroaches reproduce quickly, so killing future generations is a crucial part of eliminating these unwanted house guests. Eliminating roaches is a process, and you'll have to embrace this truth and be patient in order to rid yourself of the pests. There are, however, a few fast-acting tricks you can use in conjunction with a more far-reaching approach.

Vacuum Visible Roaches

The simplest and most immediate solution for a cockroach problem is to suck the insects up with your vacuum cleaner's hose attachment. Be ready with the vacuum, and inspect areas under sinks, behind appliances, inside cupboards and anywhere else in your home where you are seeing roaches. When you are done, seal your vacuum cleaner bag inside a plastic bag and dispose of it right away. This won't eliminate your entire roach population, but it will significantly reduce their numbers.

Fire and Ice

To get rid of roaches lurking inside appliances and electronics, seal the devices in a plastic bag and place them in the freezer for a few hours. Set large appliances outside for a few days when the temperature is at or below 20 degrees Fahrenheit to kill the roaches living inside. If you live in a warm climate or discover your roach problem in the summer, you may need to use heat to kill the roaches rather than freezing them. Roaches exposed to temperatures above 115 degrees Fahrenheit will die in less than an hour. Some extermination companies can bring heating equipment to your home that will create and maintain temperatures warm enough to kill much of your roach population.

Natural Killers

Although considered safe for use around humans and pets, boric acid and diatomaceous earth are both fatal for roaches. Once you have used temperature or your vacuum to kill all the roaches you can immediately kill, lightly dust cracks where additional cockroaches may be hiding with one of these two powders. Apply the powder near water and food sources as well, but avoid using these chemicals on surfaces where food is prepared. Dust lightly and avoid applying the dust with a spoon or making mounds as roaches will avoid piles of dust in the same way that humans walk around, rather than through, snow drifts.

Bait Stations

Bait stations for killing roaches are readily available in hardware stores and are quite effective. Purchase baits in sealed bait stations to prevent children and pets from accessing the contents. Place the bait stations in areas where you have seen cockroach activity or roach droppings. Check the bait stations regularly and remove and replace them when they are empty or when gel baits have dried. Roaches will hide in empty bait stations, so be sure they are not left lying around. The University of Nebraska recommends looking for the following active ingredients when buying baits for cockroaches:

  • Abamectin
  • Fipronil
  • Hydramenthylnon
  • Sulfluramid


Extreme temperatures and vacuuming will get rid of many roaches immediately, and baits and natural insecticides will get rid of roaches that linger. Once they're gone, you can take steps to keep roaches from coming back by making your home a less hospitable environment. To keep roaches outside, make sure your window screens are in good shape and seal cracks and other openings to your home with caulk to deny the roaches access. Empty and clean food and water bowls used for outdoor pets every night and use outdoor garbage cans with sealed lids.

Inside, discourage roaches by storing food and trash in airtight containers and wiping up crumbs and spills right away. Fix plumbing leaks and drips, and use a dehumidifier if necessary to make sure standing water does not collect on basement floors or in other areas. Eliminate clutter and vacuum often to remove food crumbs or roach eggs that your insecticide treatments may have missed.