The Best Way to Kill a Cockroach

You know how people like to say that cockroaches are so tough that they could survive the radiation from a nuclear explosion? Well, guess what? They’re not tough enough to survive soap bubbles! You can kill a cockroach with plain water and bubbles.

Cockroaches are tough!
Cockroaches are tough!

But not that tough!
But not that tough!

I hate cockroaches. And I used to be scared of them. When I saw one crawling around, I could never bring myself to smash it with a shoe or even a rolled up newspaper. Ugh. The mess, the gore, the guts, the possible spill out of cockroach eggs from the dead cockroach, and the contamination of your shoe and house with roach guts.  Plus the risk of one going into attack mode, flying at you, and landing on your hair or down your back. Did I mention I hate cockroaches? So my options were:

a)  call someone to kill it for me  <– downside: requires a person with the same sense of urgency and desire to kill a cockroach right at that moment or else the cockroach will have too much time to escape and hide

b) spray a ton of Raid on it <– downside: toxic smell, even if it’s the water-based Raid that smells better than regular Raid

c) light a candle or lighter and spray Raid at the flame to create a blowtorch and burn the cockroach to death <– downside: scorch marks on wall; also then-boyfriend (now Husband) might suspect you of being a pyromaniac

And then I discovered the best and cleanest cockroach killer– BUBBLES! Bubbles kill cockroaches almost instantly. It doesn’t matter what you make the bubbles from. You can use any kind of shampoo, liquid soap, detergent, dish washing liquid or soap as long as it makes bubbles. This is a good way to use up leftover shampoo or liquid soap that you don’t want to use on yourself.

Killing cockroaches with bubbles is easy, quick, and very satisfying. When you see a cockroach crawling, all you have to do is grab a container of water and squirt some shampoo or liquid soap into the water. Then you mix it up to make it bubbly and fling the bubbly water at the cockroach. Cockroaches breathe through openings on their bodies. The bubbles will coat the openings and suffocate the cockroach! Depending on your accuracy and the speed of the cockroach, you may not get enough bubbles on the cockroach on your first attempt. As long as you get some water on it though, this will be enough to slow it down so you can pour more bubbles on it until it dies. This is an effective method for killing cockroaches that are on walls, high places, and other spots that are beyond arm’s reach. It is easy to fling water at great distances with some accuracy and they fall off the walls as soon as you hit them with some soapy water. You can also use a spray bottle filled with water and shampoo or soap. This method uses less water, so it’s more economical and less messy. It’s best to use lots of soapy water though to ensure that the cockroach is really dead and not just knocked out.

Another plus of this method is that when you’re done, your surroundings are cleaner and smell fresh! Clean up is a simple matter of wiping up the soapy water and getting rid of the dead cockroach. I noticed that cockroaches often secrete something dark and disgusting as they die. This could be the cockroach eggs. From what I’ve read, it’s best to flush it down the toilet.

This is a great cockroach killing method to use when you suddenly come across a cockroach or even a bunch of cockroaches that you want to kill. Of course it’s best to make sure you don’t have cockroaches in the house in the first place by keeping things clean. I also plan to try the tip in this article on making cockroach bait balls out of an egg yolk and 30-50 grams of boric acid because I just killed two cockroaches in my bathroom last week.

This article is not really related to the farm! We haven’t stayed there long enough to even attract cockroaches. I thought of this article when I wanted to share a a “homesteading tip” on The Prarie Homestead. Then I realized that there was a LOT I wanted to write about killing cockroaches!

Ha, it would be fantastic if water had THIS effect on cockroaches "I'm melting!"
Ha, it would be fantastic if water had THIS effect on cockroaches “I’m melting!”

UPDATE: Boric acid powder works very well in eliminating cockroaches. Sprinkle it inside cabinets, on drains, and along walls in areas where you see a lot of cockroaches. Boric acid powder is the main ingredient in Borax, the laundry booster. It is safe to use around pets. It is NOT poisonous to dogs. It is a cheap and not so toxic way to get rid of cockroaches.

ANOTHER UPDATE: I tried soapy water in a spray bottle and it was AMAZING!! Same results throwing water at the cockroach, but with much less water!

15 thoughts on “The Best Way to Kill a Cockroach”

  1. I thought I was the only one crazy enough to think about ways of killing a cockroach … hahaha … can you write about how to kill rats too ? 🙂

  2. Sylvia, just use any liquid. Their tail ends are especially vulnerable and, with very little liquid, they drown. Once you see their antenna soften up…you’ve won. Lory

  3. I’m traveling and my personal items have been exposed to cockroach infestation. I’m packing to go home would be putting my personal items in one of those vacuum bags and vacuuming out the air in. the bag would that kill them

    1. Oh no, how stressful for you! I think the vacuum bag is a good idea. They will suffocate inside the bag. Or, eventually they will starve inside the bag. Although, if there are eggs, the eggs might get sucked up into the vacuum.

  4. I’m not sure which species you succeeded in killing with your soapy water spray. I just sprayed half a bottle of soapy water on an American (over two inches long, not including antennae) cockroach with hardly any effect. Not only did it not collapse, but it appeared to clean itself off as if the soapy water were a mere nuisance.

    I also sprayed it with air freshener and this irritated it more, but still didn’t incapacitate or kill it. For most of this cat-and-mouse game, it was too high up on the wall for me to reach it without stepping on a chair. At that height my sprays were less effective. Also, my bottles could only spray mists, as they lacked a stream function. Maybe if they had it, the stronger stream could have knocked it off the wall sooner and made it easier to kill.

    Anyway, once it came closer to my level, I slapped it with a rolled-up newspaper. It fell on its back, but quickly recovered and scurried off to a hiding place. I don’t know if I injured it because I saw no guts or body parts on the newspaper. The sprays had not weakened it at all, so I wonder if American cockroaches are immune to soapy water due to their size.

    So that roach remains at large and may return to my room. Maybe I should try repelling it with white vinegar.

    1. Hi there! Maybe you’re using too little soapy water. I don’t use a spray bottle. In that bathroom I usually have a plastic dipper. I put in about 2-cups of water, add shampoo or liquid soap, then throw the entire contents at the cockroach. Then when it’s not running anymore, I throw another cup of soapy water at it. If you want to try the soapy water technique again, just leave the cover off the bottle and fling the entire contents at the cockroach. The soapy water should physically cover the cockroach.

  5. Thank you so much, Sylvia. You just saved my life. My roommate and I had hysterically tried to throw all sorts of things at it. I eventually suggested checking the internet and I saw your post. I’m happy to say that the cockroach is well and truly dead.

  6. Get a chicken. Chicken run after them and eat them. This is no joke. They go nuts trying to catch roaches.

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