Does bleach kill cockroaches? (Quick read)

Cockroaches are the filthiest pests that can infest your home. Once they get into your home, they attack everywhere from underneath the sink, behind refrigerators, dark drawers, in cracks and crevices- they are literally everywhere!

Roaches wallow in filth, dirt, and excrement, making them incredibly gross once they start foraging for food in your cabinets. So it's only natural to look for a method that can exterminate these disease carriers fast! 

There are many options; for instance, professional pest controllers are highly trained to get rid of roaches and prevent re-infestations, and the best cockroach pesticides can also get the job done. 

But perhaps you want a more cost-effective and natural solution. Well, bleach is a good alternative so let's find out if bleach can kill cockroaches and how to use it for the best extermination results. 

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First Things First, What Is Bleach? 

To determine if bleach can kill roaches, you'd need first to understand what bleach is. 

Bleach is a chemical that's typically used for industrial and domestic purposes to remove stains or colors from a fabric. Generally, liquid bleach is a solution consisting of sodium hypochlorite or hydrogen peroxide, while bleaching powder only contains sodium hypochlorite. 

Bleach chiefly eliminates color from fabric,  effectively disinfects floors, sanitizes toilet bowls,  removes stains and mildew, and even whitens hair. But is it strong enough to kill cockroaches? 

How Do Cockroaches React When They Come In Contact With Bleach? 

The most important thing to note is that the main chemical in bleach is sodium hypochlorite. When sodium hypochlorite comes in contact with organic tissues, it releases chlorine which is a strong oxidant. 

When cockroaches or cockroach eggs come in direct contact with bleach, the sodium hypochlorite oxidizes their shell's outer layers. This irreversible oxidative stress is fatal for cockroaches. Note that bleach must make direct contact with the roaches in order to be effective. 

Cockroaches are not attracted to bleach. In fact, they hate the pungent smell of bleach and will avoid it at all costs.

So, Does Bleach Kill Cockroaches? 

Yes. Bleach does kill cockroaches, just not in the same way insecticides or traditional baits do! 

While bleach may be a convectional cockroach control alternative, it is not as potent or reliable as treatments formulated explicitly for roaches. 

Bleach can kill cockroaches through ingestion or drowning, which means that you'd have to make the nasty creature drink the solution somehow. 

Alternatively, if you drown cockroaches in bleach, they stand no chance of survival. Practical ways to kill cockroaches using bleach are pretty limited. And clearly, insecticides, baits, and natural alternatives like diatomaceous earth will be more effective options. 

Bleach has a reputation for producing a pungent smell that can keep any pests away. Our foods tend to give off a smell that attracts cockroaches.  Unsurprisingly, the strong bleach smell can effectively dwarf that of food. But you'd need to pour the bleach all over your precious peanut butter or bread to not attract roaches- that's wasteful. 

Additionally, unlike your regular cockroach treatment, bleach cannot be transferred from one cockroach to another. Say you successfully make a cockroach eat your bleach treatment–––– the six-legged creature will die on its own. This means that though tiring, your chances of killing a cockroach infestation using bleach are slim to none. 

Things To Consider When Using Bleach To Kill Cockroaches

Though bleach can kill cockroaches, it is not a reliable method, and it cannot possibly exterminate an entire infestation.

Additionally, your bleach baits will only kill the cockroaches that you can catch. That's because a bleach bait keeps cockroaches away instead of attracting them. Hence, the roaches would rather stay safely hidden in other spots in the house than eat the smelly bait. 

Most homeowners consider bleach a safer alternative than regular pesticides and baits. But bleach chemicals can also pose you and your loved one with serious health risks. 

For instance, bleach is poisonous and corrosive enough to burn sensitive tissues in your body. In fact, bleach can kill! 

So, you want to be very cautious and observe safety measures if you're going to kill cockroaches using bleach. 

How To Use Bleach Safely To  Kill Cockroaches

While bleach can kill cockroaches, it potentially poses more danger to the homeowner than the invading pests. 

Therefore, you must observe the following safety measures to ensure your cockroach killing mission is safe for you, your loved ones, and your pets: 

Avoid Physical Contact With the Bleach

As stated above, bleach is a strongly corrosive chemical. It can corrode metal. Physical contact with bleach can irritate your skin and eyes, and prolonged contact will burn/damage the skin. 

Therefore you want to wear protective gloves throughout the process to avoid any contact with the chemical. In case of contact, wash it off immediately with plenty of running water. 

Do Not Ingest Bleach

Bleach can be fatal! It is a strong oxidizing agent, and if accidentally ingested by your pet, it can cause convulsions, nausea, vomiting, and can kill them! It can also worsen symptoms in humans such as asthma, and depending on the concentration of the product, bleach can also cause coma, delirium, and even death. 

If bleach is accidentally ingested, immediately give the victim plenty of drinking water or milk to dilute it! If anyone experiences serious breathing difficulties seek medical help immediately. 

Do Not Inhale Bleach

Bleach exudes a pungent, chlorine-like smell. Exposure to bleach smell can result in stinging eyes, while continuous exposure to bleach fumes has been associated with fluid-build up in lungs that can cause lung irritation, shortness of breath, and other health problems. 

Wear a mask when using bleach to kill cockroaches. You also want to ensure that you're treating a ventilated area with sufficient airflow- open windows/turn on a fan. 

Be warned against mixing bleach with certain cleansers like Pine-Sol as it can produce a toxic chlorine gas that can be fatal. 

The Best Way To Use Bleach To Eliminate Cockroaches

As seen so far, bleach best works as a cockroach repellent than a cockroach killer. However, there are some ways that you can effectively use bleach against roaches:

Destroy Their Nests

Once you inspect and identify cockroach hiding spots in your home, you can clean the areas thoroughly with bleach to drive the disgusting creatures out! 

Bleach is highly effective at keeping cockroaches away, and they won't return to the 'nest.' Alternatively, you can drown the annoying pests in bleach. 

Note that the bleach smell will eventually fade after a few days. And while you can reapply the treatment, bleach is corrosive and can destroy property.

Clean Pipes and Sinks


Cockroaches can squeeze through the small cracks in pipes and crawl up into your home. They are attracted to moisture and love to dwell near kitchen and bathroom sinks and drains. 

The best thing to do is pour some bleach into the pipe/down the drainage, and the pest will keep off. Ensure to flash water after pouring the bleach. Remember that frequent treatment using bleach can weaken surfaces. 

In Conclusion

Bleach can kill cockroaches. But it's not a practical or dependable method for homeowners. For this method to be effective, the bleach must drown the cockroaches, or they must ingest it. However, when used to deter cockroaches, bleach can give highly effective results. 

You must be careful when using this method, as bleach has been reported to cause health risks like eye and nose irritations, and in serious cases, it can be fatal. 

Though extremely demanding and tiring, bleach cannot exterminate a whole cockroach infestation. The most effective thing to do is seek help from a pest expert or use the best cockroach pesticides. 

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