Do Mothballs Repel Roaches?

Roaches are one of the most common pests in households across America, and even possibly around the world. Dealing with a roach infestation is never fun, and most of us are left with the question, “Do mothballs repel roaches?”

Generally speaking, the answer is yes. Mothballs can temporarily repel (and probably kill some) roaches, but they will not get rid of an infestation for good.

Mothballs are small balls of chemicals that release fumes that are supposed to kill moths, their eggs, and larvae. The main ingredient in mothballs is naphthalene, which has been found to be effective in killing roaches.

The fumes from mothballs will repel and kill roaches on contact, but the problem is that they don’t last very long.

The chemicals in mothballs quickly dissipate into the air, making them only a temporary solution to your roach problem.

How to Properly Use Mothballs to Repel Cockroaches

Mothballs are an effective and inexpensive way to repel cockroaches. Over the years, people from different parts of the globe have resorted to mothballs to keep pests, including cockroaches at bay.

If you decide to use mothballs to keep roaches away, here are some of the best practices:

Use the Right Spots to Place Mothballs

The chemicals in mothballs are poisonous and can be harmful to humans and animals if ingested.

If you need to place them in kitchen cupboards and cabinets, make sure that you place them in small containers and set them out in areas where you’ve seen cockroaches.


Additionally, you can also place them in cabinets, under sinks, and in other dark, moist places where cockroaches like to hide. Just remember to keep these containers out of reach of children and pets.

Use an Airtight Container

To get the most out of mothballs, you need to use them in an airtight container. This will help to prevent the fumes from dissipating too quickly.

Place a few mothballs in a small box and seal it tightly with tape. Then, place the box in the areas where you think cockroaches are hiding.

The gas released from mothballs accumulates in enclosed spaces, making it an ideal way to keep the cockroaches out of your storage spaces and other small areas.

Use a Cloth Bag

Alternatively, you can place mothballs in a cloth bag and then put the bag in the areas where there is a roach infestation. Remember, the chemicals in mothballs are poisonous, so make sure that the bag is out of reach of children and pets.

Cloth Bag

Replace Mothballs Regularly

For the mothballs to remain effective, they need to be changed every few weeks. If you don’t change them, roaches will be accustomed to the smell and simply avoid the area where the mothballs are located. Additionally, it is also important that you choose a mothball brand that creates a strong scent.

A few balls here and there won’t do the trick – especially if you’re suspecting a cockroach infestation. You need to saturate the area to ensure that the fumes are strong enough to repel roaches.

Also, make sure that the mothballs are placed in an enclosed space. If they’re left out in the open, the chemicals will quickly dissipate and will be ineffective.

Be Careful Not To Overuse Mothballs

It can be tempting to place a large amount of mothballs per cabinet or drawer, but this is not necessary. A few mothballs will do the trick in an airtight container.

Overusing mothballs can be harmful to your health, so make sure that you use them sparingly. These tiny balls can cover small areas, and using multiple balls in the same area won’t make them work any better.

Other Ways to Repel Cockroaches Away

As any pest control expert will tell you, cockroaches are one of the most difficult pests to get rid of. They’re fast, they’re adaptable, and they can survive in nearly any environment.

If you’re dealing with a cockroach infestation, you’ll need to be diligent in your efforts to get rid of them. In addition to traditional methods like using mothballs, there are a few other things you can do to help repel cockroaches away.

Use Essential Oils

Luckily for us, cockroaches don’t like scents that we love. Peppermint, citronella, eucalyptus, and lavender are all essential oils that can help to repel cockroaches.

You can either diffuse these oils around your home or place them in strategic locations like under the sink or behind the fridge.

Essential Oils

You can place a drop of peppermint essential oil in a cotton ball and place it in the back of cabinets or under the sink. You can also add a few drops to a spray bottle filled with water and use it as a natural roach repellent.

Make Your Own Roach Repellent

If you don’t have any essential oils on hand, you can still make your own roach repellent. All you need is a few tablespoons of liquid dish soap and water.

Mix the two ingredients together and place them in a spray bottle. Then, use it to spray any areas where you think cockroaches might be hiding.

The soap will kill the roaches on contact, and the scent will help to repel other roaches away. It’s a cost-effective and natural way to get rid of cockroaches.

Boric Acid

Boric acid is a common ingredient in many store-bought roach repellents. It’s a white powder derived from boron, and it’s poisonous to cockroaches. You can make your own boric acid traps by combining equal parts of the powder with sugar or flour.

The concept of using boric acid combined with a bit of flour is simple. This mixture will help attract cockroaches, and once they eat it, they will die.

You can place these traps anywhere in your home where you think roaches might be hiding. Just make sure that you keep them out of reach of children and pets.

Final Thoughts

Traditionally, mothballs have been considered one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to repel pests like cockroaches. They have been proven to be effective in keeping these pests away.

Placing mothballs in cabinets and moist areas of the home can help shoo these roaches away. Undoubtedly, mothballs can keep cockroaches at bay, but they shouldn’t be considered a long-term solution.

Placing mothballs throughout your home can be harmful to your health if they’re not used correctly, and when used for long-term pest control, they can be ineffective.

Keep your home clean, use essential oils or utilize insect repellants to help kill and stop the cockroaches from coming back.

If you have a cockroach problem, don’t hesitate to contact a professional pest control company for help. They will be able to get rid of the roaches and help you find a long-term solution to keep them away for good.