Does Bleach Kill Roaches? Exploring the Efficacy

Cockroaches are a menace to households no matter who you ask. These creatures are unpleasant to look at and also are the carriers of various germs, bacteria, and fungi which are bad news for our health. If a place is infested with cockroaches then it is a certain fact that the hygiene of the said area is not up to the mark.

Since this is the case with cockroaches, it is normal for homeowners to want to use whatever they find at hand in order to deal with these insects once and for good. There are many chemical agents that can get rid of cockroaches one such product is Bleach.

It is easily available in homes because it is very effective in cleaning sinks, basins, and commodes etc. It is also often used to kill roaches. But the question is, are they truly always effective against these creatures? Let us find out.

Does Bleach Kill Roaches
Bleach Bottle / Jonathan Weiss /

Does Bleach Kill Roaches?

Yes, Bleach can kill roaches but you have to really put painstaking efforts to make sure that the roach consumes the bleach. This is why although bleach is fatal to cockroaches, it is also kind of ineffective at times.

Bleach can eliminate the roaches because it is a causative agent and creates a carbonic reaction inside the cockroach when ingested. Due to generated heat and expansion of the chemical in the roach’s stomach, its internal organs collapse causing the roach to die.

On top of that, these insects are incredibly sensitive to smells. When they emerge in the dark to forage for food, they can detect what is edible and pleasant to them using their good sense of smell and then they use their unique compound vision to go towards the food.

Therefore, it makes sense that cockroaches are averse to the smell of bleach and rarely go near it. This is the sole reason why Bleach may prove to be a bit difficult when trying to kill roaches.

Does Bleach Keep Roaches Away?

Yes. Bleach can definitely keep roaches away. But the question is, why? Bleach is a very common household item that is often used for cleaning stubborn stains from surfaces, basins, and sinks. It is also used in treating fabric.

Other uses of Bleach involve eliminating weeds, most types of viruses, and also insects such as cockroaches. This study on the toxicity of bleach elaborates more on this topic. Now, we all know that cockroaches are sensitive to certain smells and will either be attracted to them or be repulsed by them.

Bleach happens to be a smell belonging to the latter category as roaches seem to absolutely detest how pungent this chemical smells. This is why, it is a good idea to use bleach for cleaning areas such as bathrooms and kitchen counters beside the sink because these two are places where maximum cockroach infestation occurs.

Bathrooms have nourishment for roaches in the form of soap, which is made from animal fat, dirty water, and sometimes even feces. Similarly, the kitchen has enough food waste, and peels of vegetables to feed the roaches well. They get attracted to the smells of these and crawl out of their dark corners in the night, mostly from the sink pipes.

But if you use bleach to clean the aforementioned areas, the strong smell will remain for some considerable time during which there are lesser chances of you spotting cockroaches there.

This will however not kill any cockroaches as that requires a more direct method of application such as making the cockroaches ingest a bleach solution, or spraying it on them. Drawing the roaches in bleach also helps but most won’t go for it as it needs more effort on having to trap or catch the insects.

Why is Bleach Ineffective Against Roaches?

It will be misleading to say that Bleach is completely ineffective against cockroaches as when it is applied correctly, it can kill cockroaches very fast. It is after all toxic, even to human beings so there is no reason why cockroaches will not find this fatal.

 However, there are still some opinions about the ineffectiveness of Bleach.  Let us find out why that is:

Wrong Application Method

The surest way to get rid of these annoying insects using bleach is to introduce the bleach directly into their vicinity. But this too has to be done in a certain way as simply sprinkling bleach where you think cockroaches will appear will do nothing to get rid of the problem.

You have to make sure that the roaches are either ingesting the bleach or soaking in them.

This is one of the main reasons why people say that bleach is not working on roaches. Simply cleaning an area won’t cut it. The direct methods of application are using cockroach traps to  catch the insects and dowsing them in a tumbler of bleach solution.

Or you could also generously spray the solution on the trapped roaches. It will have the same results.

Wrong Type of Bleach

Technically speaking, the bleach that we know of is a softer version of the toxic chemical that is used as a treatment on fabrics. This is the oxygen-based version that helps to protect the colors.

The other type of bleach is a chlorine-based one which is more potent in terms of eliminating cockroaches.

Although chlorine bleach is also used for fabric treatment and is reserved for especially white clothes.

In nature, chlorine is poisonous but when in bleach it is mixed in with sodium hydroxide which makes it possible to control the release of chlorine.

However, when it comes in contact with protein, as found in cockroaches, chlorine is released which causes a chemical reaction that destroys the cells in them. Essentially, the cockroach dies of organ failure.

So it is important to check which type of bleach you are using to get the most effective results.

Short Duration of Application

Another possible reason why Bleach is not working when trying to just keep cockroaches away is that the time you use it for is too less. If bleach is used to clean kitchen countertops and bathrooms in hopes that the smell will drive the insects away, then this practice has to be continued for at least 2-3 weeks for positive long-lasting results.

But that often becomes impossible as bleach smells quite pungent and not many can keep tolerating their house to smell like that for days on end.

Don’t miss:

Are Roaches Attracted to Light or Dark
What Smells Repel Cockroaches
Does Baking Soda Kill Roaches
Why Are Roaches Coming Out Of My Drain

Wrapping Up

So, hopefully, it is more than clear that Bleach indeed is a good and easy way to get rid of cockroaches, given that you are using the right kind of bleach in the correct manner.

But do keep in mind that strong Bleach can be corrosive in nature and continued exposure of a bleach solution to your skin may have negative results such as rashes and the skin peeling off in patches. Therefore, always wear waterproof chemical-grade gloves while handling bleach.

Also, it is advisable to not use bleach to clean floors and such other exposed surfaces if you have a toddler or pets in your house. They may lick the surface and while it will not harm them fatally, they may still get a bad case of diarrhea.

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