We are Sydney-dwellers, and with that comes a fair degree of summer pestilence. But how to address the cockroach numbers rising without using pesticides or chemicals that are not safe for children and dogs?
I went searching for a solution that wasn’t going to involve buying $30 bags of diatomaceous earth and bottles of NEEM oil. I wanted a solution that I could make myself, and that wouldn’t involve a lot of unnecessary postage and packaging. I was happy to spend a little more time cleaning and taking out the garbage, as long as it made a difference to the numbers of little brown buggers crawling around the kitchen every time I turned the lights on.
1. Keep things dry
The research told me that cockroaches need a fair amount of water to keep alive and breeding so removing pools or water, and wiping out the sink before bed seems to make a big difference.
The other hot spot that was perfectly moist and warm was the dishwasher, so now we unload it before bed and leave the door open which dries it out and removes their habitat.
2. Wipe down surfaces
I know most people do this anyway, but you’d be amazed how many times the teenager or the husband got up for a late snack and left crumbs around. This is a big no-no, for obvious reasons. It’s like leaving food out for the pet cockroaches!
3. Create a solution of essential oils that they do not like
From the research, I discovered that tea tree, clove, lemon and peppermint are all not very nice for out little brown houseguests. So I mixed a solution using 20 drops each of three out of those four oils and then added 1 part water and 2 parts isopropyl alcohol (but you could just use vodka) in a 350ml spray bottle.
Dark plastic or dark glass containers are best to retain the integrity of the oils, but honestly, you’re going to use it pretty quickly so it’s not a biggie if you use whatever you have lying around or leftover from other products.
Pro Tip: Write the recipe on the bottle for next time.
Spraying the solution under toasters, coffee makers, and behind anything you have that sits on your counter top every night will keep them away. I also sprayed it liberally around the microwave (their favourite warm cubby house) and in the dishwasher as well (their playground). Anywhere I had seen black spots building up (their eggs) like in the corners of cupboards, or along skirtings, I sprayed their after wiping away the eggs as well.
After one day there was already a huge reduction in numbers. You could also impregnate drawer liners with those oils to keep them away (just spray them before putting them in).
These oils are STRONG and pure so don’t spray them near pets or young babies, or in very small enclosed spaces. That said, I do have kids and a dog and in our open plan kitchen, it was totally fine to use as long as they weren’t too close. And of course, keep it out of reach of kids.
You may wish to adjust quantities for a different sized bottle.
Though it may seem a little bit of an investment at first it will save you so much in chemical/toxic load and the bottles of pure essential oils will make multiple solutions in the months to come saving you a lot of time, money and packaging overall.
If you would like to get your hands on food-grade oils (best for kitchen use) and would like wholesale pricing get in touch via our contact page, or comment below.
All the best evicting the little buggers.
Alena Turley is a founder, mentor, ethical content creator and mother of three based on Sydney's Northern Beaches. She is equal parts loved and fired up to support mums in making deep and lasting changes inside and out. We at the Soul Mama Hub acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands upon which we live, learn and create and invite you to feel deeply and tread lightly.