Does Alcohol Kill Roaches?

Several pesticides can be used to remove roaches from properties. But, if you want a real quick, cheap, and readily available home remedy for cockroaches, rubbing alcohol is your best bet.

Spraying rubbing alcohol on roaches will kill them instantly. However, it should be used with care because the solution can be dangerous to you and your pets. Rubbing alcohol can also be mixed with hot water in equal proportions to kill roaches.

Roaches are the most problematic pests in our homes. They contaminate foods and spread diseases. Roaches are persistent, and if they invade your home, you know you will spend more effort and time getting rid of them.

Does Alcohol Kill Roaches?
Does Alcohol Kill Roaches?

Do roaches hate alcohol?

Roaches don’t hate alcohol scent, and neither do they love it. So it’s impossible to use rubbing alcohol to prevent cockroaches from infesting your property, but it can kill them after the invasion.

However, several scents repel roaches, and you can use them to prevent cockroaches from invading your property.

Roaches hate scents from peppermint oil, corn mint oil, citronella candles, pine oil, cypress oil, and cedarwood oil. Get any of these oils and spray them over the sites roaches love. Such places include under the sink, the fridge, cabinets, cracks, and vents where these invaders hide.

The best way to keep roaches away from your property is by ensuring your house is sparkling clean. Don’t let dirty dishes stay overnight in the sink. Sweep food crumbs off the floor and surfaces to prevent roaches from feasting on them. Dust and expose dark dumpy hiding sites to make the intruders homeless.

Does rubbing alcohol kill roaches?

Rubbing alcohol kills roaches by suffocating them. Roaches have small holes known as spiracles in their outer shells through which they take in oxygen and remove Carbon (IV)  Oxide. When rubbing alcohol is sprayed on their body, the spiracles get blocked, preventing them from breathing. They, therefore, suffocate and die.

Rubbing alcohol is suitable for killing a few roaches but not large infestations. First, spraying rubbing alcohol targets the pest’s body and soaks it with excess alcohol to block the spiracles.

Roaches are usually on the lookout and will flee when attacked or if they sense any sort of danger. Following the pest up close to spray the alcohol might be tricky and less effective unless you trap the roaches beforehand.

Also, rubbing alcohol evaporates fast, and when you don’t hit the shell fast, it might be as good as nothing. When getting rid of many roaches from your property, try looking for alternatives that will work perfectly for your case.

Rubbing alcohol is highly flammable and is not advisable to be used indoors or near electrical appliances or sockets where fire can quickly spark. Besides, a roach covered with rubbing alcohol can quickly run away and hide under an electric appliance and spark a fire in the house.

Overall,  using rubbing alcohol indoors is not recommended because of the many risks that might arise during the activity.

How to use alcohol to kill cockroaches

Alcohol makes a suitable solution for removing fewer roaches earlier in the infestation before multiplying into a vast herd. Killing cockroaches with rubbing alcohol is pretty straightforward. You only need 70 percent concentrated isopropyl alcohol and a sprayer.

Here’s how to kill roaches using isopropyl alcohol:

1. Select a sprayer and pour the alcohol into it

The best sprayer to use is one that hasn’t contained another liquid before. It would help if you bought a new sprayer online or in nearby garden stores. The spray bottle must have a tight nozzle for applying the product at one point without spreading to untargeted areas.

After ensuring you have selected the right spray bottle, measure enough rubbing alcohol and transfer it into the sprayer. Fasten the nozzle tightly.

2.  Spray the rubbing alcohol on the roaches’ shells

Spot the roaches with your sprayer ready at hand. It’s crucial to ensure the roach isn’t moving, so you don’t spend hours chasing them all over. A good idea would be to trap the roaches to prevent them from moving.

Firmly holding the sprayer, mist the rubbing alcohol directly on the roaches’ shells, and soak each thoroughly with the rubbing alcohol. The product would steadily block the roaches’ spiracles and suffocate them within minutes. After two to three hours, you should see dead cockroaches on the surfaces.

3. Get rid of the roaches’ carcasses

Remove the dead roaches from the surfaces after killing them. Roaches love dirt and even feed on dead bodies of their kind.

Also, clear dirt from surfaces to prevent remaining roaches from feeding on them.

4. Target the roaches body and not surfaces

You might think it’s okay to spray alcohol on the surfaces the roaches live or contact so they’ll die when they come to those places. But that is not practical and advisable. Rubbing alcohol kills roaches by blocking their spiracles.

You must direct the alcohol at their bodies and not on surfaces. The cockroaches cannot die when they step on those surfaces because their spiracles will be open for breathing.

Furthermore, spraying rubbing alcohol on countertops, furniture, and finishes damages them.


Alcohol is a valuable substance in our homes, yet any little mismanagement can be dangerous and cause havoc. Using this product in your home requires a unique handle and care. You want to observe the precautions below when killing roaches with alcohol to ensure your property’s safety.

Put off all flames

Rubbing alcohol is highly flammable and can quickly spark a fire if used near flames. When killing roaches from your property, put off all flames. Turn off electrical appliances and cover sockets to prevent roaches from running and hiding in them after treatment, resulting in fire.

Don’t mix rubbing alcohol with other products

You might get tempted to mix rubbing alcohol with other home products like borax to make it more powerful when killing roaches. But these combinations will only do more harm than good. When borax and rubbing alcohol combine, they form chloroform which is more toxic and corrosive.

Accidental contact with chloroform irritates the skin and causes dizziness and nausea. Don’t mix rubbing alcohol with other substances. But, you can add clean water to concentrated rubbing alcohol to make it less concentrated. The mixture will still drown roaches to death.

Always ventilate the area

Rubbing alcohol is highly volatile; it evaporates quickly in a couple of minutes to form fumes of gases in the atmosphere. When you use rubbing alcohol in a room with no ventilation, the toxic fumes collect and cause breathing difficulties and throat dryness.

If no fresh air is provided, the fumes might suffocate you. Always open windows and doors for free air circulation when removing roaches using alcohol.

Wear protective clothing

Rubbing alcohol irritates and corrodes the skin when it contacts it. Wear a long-sleeved shirt, google, and heavy-duty hand gloves to prevent rubbing alcohol from contacting your skin.

Alternatively, you can avoid corrosion by mixing it with water. Hot water kills roaches and mixing it with rubbing alcohol is a great advantage when getting rid of roaches at home. This will also help in reducing the dangers of inhaling pure rubbing alcohol.

Restrict movement into treated spaces

After killing the roaches, keep kids and pets away from the treated areas. This is because the kids or pets can easily touch treated areas resulting in skin irritation or corrosion. Let the rooms sit for hours before allowing the kids and pets to access them.


·        Michigan State University: How to prevent cockroaches

·        University of Florida: Least Toxic Methods of Cockroach Control.