Does bleach kill cockroaches? (Surprising answer inside)

Wonder if bleach kills cockroaches?

Perfect, you're in the right place!

In this Pest Strategies guide, you'll learn:

  • What bleach is and why people would use it for roaches
  • If bleach is a good cockroach killer
  • How to stay safe when using bleach to kill roaches
  • Final things to remember when using bleach for cockroaches
does bleach kill cockroaches

​Cockroaches are everywhere. They can be hiding underneath your sink, inside your cupboards, and basically in almost every corner of your home.

We simply want to get rid of this common household pest because the mere sight of them is just plain gross. More importantly, cockroaches are filthy insects and are known vectors of a variety of serious diseases. 

Although there is a wide selection of proven effective options that you can employ to help you get rid of cockroaches, many people still look to other cheaper options or alternatives (like bleach) 

But can it be used to kill cockroaches?

Let's find out.

First, what is bleach?

In order to determine if bleach can actually kill cockroaches, let's have a look at what it is.

Bleach is a chemical compound which is made by mixing chlorine, water, and caustic soda. Bleach has whitening and anti-microbial properties.

There are many types of bleaches formulated for different types of use. In household application, bleach is used to whiten clothes, sanitize floors and toilet bowls, remove stains, eliminate mold and mildew, and whiten hair. The disinfecting property of bleach is also used in sanitizing pools. 

Household bleach can either be in liquid or powdered form.

Bleaching powder or chlorinated lime appears as white powder while sodium hypochlorite is a dilute solution in water with greenish yellow color. Bleach leaves a strong and unpleasant chemical odor that lingers for a while.

​Can bleach kill cockroaches?

Yes, bleach can kill cockroaches through ingestion or drowning. However, it is not as potent, safe, or as easy to use as traditional insecticide chemicals specifically intended to kill roaches. 

By ingestion, it means that you would have to make cockroaches drink the liquid solution.

Household bleach is commonly used as a cleaning agent and gives off a strong smell that cockroaches hate. Filth and cleanliness don't mix at all, which makes the physical act of killing cockroaches with bleach very hard.

Because of this smell, cockroaches will just scurry away from the trap instead of getting tempted to drink it. Alternatively, your bleach solution can be used as an effective repellent but this wouldn't actually solve your roach problem.

Normal roach bait contain other ingredients specially made to attract cockroaches and so that they eat the poison laced into the bait. Bleach is a terrible attractant and would likely do poorly as a roach killer.

Now we move on to your second option - drown the cockroach.

The disadvantage of this is that you will have to catch these nasty insects one by one. Bleach is a fairly strong chemical and it can drown the cockroach in a matter of seconds. 

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Staying safe when using bleach

Bleach can technically kill cockroaches but you could argue it poses more of a risk to humans than cockroaches.

Physical contact with bleach

​Bleach is a highly corrosive chemical. If you work on the chemical without any protective clothing such as gloves, physical contact with bleach can burn your skin especially if you don't wash it off immediately. As much as possible, use appropriate tools and protection gears while working on your solution.

Ingestion of bleach

Bleach is an oxidizing agent. If accidentally ingested by your pet or any member of the family, it is important to immediately provide the victim enough drinking water or milk to dilute the chemical. Bleach can burn the mouth, esophagus, and stomach of the person who drank the solution. Depending on the strength of the solution and amount of the liquid ingested, adverse effects range from vomiting, delirium, coma, and death.

Inhalation of bleach

​As mentioned above, the chemical gives off a strong smell that can linger for a couple of hours. Exposure to this odor may lead to stinging eyes. If you continue working with the chemical while disregarding the importance of wearing a mask, exposure may lead to burning throat, coughing, and difficulty in breathing. It has also been strongly discouraged to mix bleach with Pine-Sol as it can lead to the production of chlorine gas which can be extremely poisonous.

What you should remember when using bleach to kill cockroaches

Bleach is technically capable of both repelling and killing cockroaches, but it is much less practical of a solution. 

It is only effective in killing cockroaches that you are able to catch. The most of your population will remain safely hidden in the corners and crevices of your home.

Furthermore, bleach can pose a serious risk to the health of not just yourself but also to your family and pets.

​Unless you are willing to strictly observe all of the safety precautions mentioned above, it is strongly recommended to consider other options in eliminating cockroaches.

Other Cockroach Guides

Curious about other roach related articles? Check out our other detailed guides to help you deal with your pest problems.

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