Does Baking Soda Kill Roaches? (Dos and Don’ts of Using Baking Soda to Eliminate Roaches)

Baking soda is a very effective solution for getting rid of cockroaches. Cockroaches are a nuisance no matter where you spot them. But what if you could get rid of them just as easily?

All you need to do is take a trip to the kitchen and fetch some baking soda and make sure the cockroaches ingest it.

But the problem lies in the fact that insects like roaches rely on their sense of smell to look for food, and the smell of baking soda does not really attract them.

So how should you use baking soda to kill cockroaches? Read on to find out.

Does Baking Soda kill Roaches
Cockroach eating whole wheat bread / Gan Chaonan /

Does Baking Soda Kill Roaches?

Yes, baking soda is fatal to cockroaches.

These insects cannot see in the same manner as other living beings. They rely more on their senses such as smell and touch to navigate their surroundings. There is an interesting study that claims that nocturnal insects like cockroaches can indeed “see” at night by the use of evolved photoreceptors adapted for night vision.

The spatial and temporal awareness of the insect is compromised giving it increased sensitivity. In simpler words, this means that cockroaches “see” through their other senses.

Now you know why you fumble to walk around in the dark but cockroaches manage perfectly fine and in fact, they love to forage for food in the dark, rather than when it is light.

The smell of starch, and sweet attract them the most. There is also meat and cheese among a cockroach’s favourites. They also love to feed with grease, human waste and food waste such as rotting vegetables and such.

Unfortunately, the smell of baking soda is not among the ones that are attractive to roaches but you could always trick them by slathering the areas these pests like to visit with food and baking soda together.

How Fast Does Baking Soda Kill Cockroaches?

How Fast Does Baking Soda Kill Cockroaches
Cockroaches on the dishwasher / Kaninw /

There is no definite deadline for the baking soda formula to work on killing roaches as the amount of formula they ingest can always vary. In any case, if we do have to put a time limit on how long it takes for baking soda to kill roaches, it would be anywhere between 12 and 24 hours.

There are some factors that determine this duration and it is mostly, as mentioned above- the amount of soda the cockroaches ingest. But it also more or less depends on the quantity of baking soda you put into the roach-killing solution in the first place.

The quickest way to make sure that roaches ingest maximum amounts of baking soda is to mix it with bait. This will bring down the overall time needed for eliminating the cockroaches.

There are two kinds of bait you can use to attract these insects in order to kill them – wet and dry.

Wet baits such as peanut butter and vinegar are generally more effective than slathering the concoction over dry baits such as biscuit crumbs or sweets.

But the baking soda loses its effectiveness fast when placed with wet baits and thus should only be applied when you are sure the cockroaches will ingest it. This will take around 12 hours to accomplish.

With dry baits, the soda does not get activated just as fast but its effectiveness remains for a longer time and thus this process may take up to 24 hours to be completed.

How to Use Baking Soda to Kill Roaches?

How to Use Baking Soda to Kill Roaches
Baking soda in a wooden spoon / Emilio Echeverri /

By now, it is quite certain that baking soda is an effective homemade cockroach killer or repellent.

However, the important thing is to know the best way to apply it in order to get the best results.

Curious? Here are some ways to use this common kitchen ingredient to eliminate roaches.

Baking Soda and Sugar Liquid Solution

You will need half a cup of baking soda and sugar each along with a quarter cup of water. Mix the three thoroughly and pour the mixture over a piece of cardboard or a regular dish.

Now you have to place this set-up where the roaches in your house are mostly seen and wait for them to eat their fill. In about 12-14 hours you will start seeing convulsing cockroaches or dead ones lying around the area.

You can also use honey instead of sugar as it has an even stronger smell.

Baking Soda and Sugar Powder

If making a liquid concoction with water seems too much of a hassle then you can also kill cockroaches using a baking soda and sugar mixture. The sugar here has to be powdered to fine dust.

Mix the two thoroughly and sprinkle the powder in the mouths of sink drains, corners and such where the pests frequent most.

You could also lay it out on a plate as bait. The effectiveness of this is almost as fast as the liquid solution but the baking soda in the powdered form will remain active for a longer duration.

Onions and Baking Soda

Cockroaches love onions and you can use this information to make a killer bait for the annoying insects. Onions emit a tangy and pungent smell that can fill an enclosed space in no time.

So, this solution is ideal for roach infestation in cabinets and such enclosed spaces. Cover the area with baking soda and place halved onions without removing the stem. It is best if you cover the onion in the baking soda.

Baking Soda and Plain Water

For those who are sick and tired of slimy-looking cockroaches crawling out of their sink drain, this method of applying baking soda as an anti-cockroach agent will be perfect.

Mix equal parts water with baking soda in a sealed container by shaking it. When the mixture starts frothing, pour it down the drain and close the drain lid.

It is preferable if you do this when it is dark and time for the cockroaches to climb out. Since these pests are on the lookout for water anyway, they will drink this water and ingest the baking soda along with it.

Baking Soda with Dry Baits

Dry baits can also be used. Cookies, pieces of sweets, crystalized sugar, and pieces of cheese have to be kept in places of pest infestation along with copious amounts of baking soda.

Cockroaches will come for the food and hopefully ingest the baking soda which will kill them.

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How Does Baking Soda Kill Cockroaches?

Baking soda kills cockroaches by expanding inside them. That is a short and simple explanation. But if you wish to know it in more elaborate terms then here it is.

 Have you ever seen baking soda frothing and bubbling when water is added to it? This happens because the baking soda expands when brought in contact with water.

In scientific terms- baking soda or sodium bicarbonate causes a carbonic acid reaction when introduced in a liquid which eventually becomes an exothermic reaction that causes the chemical in each product to bind and release energy in the form of a gas.

There is also a rise in temperature within the baking soda, although insignificant.

Now imagine the same thing happening within a cockroach’s digestive system when it ingests baking soda and any liquid right after. The expansion and buildup of gas inside the insect cause immense internal pressure until its internal organs are crushed and its exoskeleton is broken.

This process is almost immediate and if you have the chance of seeing a cockroach drinking water right after ingesting baking soda, you will see it flip on the ground on its back and squirm or convulse until it stops moving. That’s when you will know it has died.

How Much Baking Soda and Sugar Needed to Kill Roaches?

There is no exact amount of baking soda and sugar that you should be mixing to kill cockroaches because it really depends on the extent of the infestation.

But the one thing that should be kept consistent in all cockroach-killing solutions and powder is that the quantity of sugar should be equal to or more than the quantity of baking soda. 

This is done so that the smell of baking soda does not overpower the smell of sugar in which case cockroaches will not even approach the bait as they find the smell of baking soda repulsive.

Do Roaches Eat Baking Soda?

No, cockroaches do not eat baking soda. In fact, baking soda is toxic and fatal to cockroaches which is why it is so often used as a substance to kill cockroaches.

But since these pests are not intelligent creatures, they cannot distinguish between what is fatal to them and what is nourishing.

They will eat it as long as it smells nice to them. That’s why baking soda is mixed with edible baits such as sugar, honey, onion, cookies, sweets, meats and cheese.

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Wrapping Up

If you have a cockroach infestation, it could be a sign of poor hygiene conditions in your kitchen or bathroom. Roaches love dark and damp places and to avoid infestation you must avoid leaving your bathroom or kitchen wet overnight.

They also like filth and thus hygiene is important to maintain in order to avoid cockroaches.

But if you do end up suffering from a roach attack then simply use baking soda to get rid of them. The process to get rid of them using baking soda has been detailed above. Hopefully, it will work out for you.

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