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How Does Baking Soda Kill Roaches? Through Physics!

Baking soda is a food ingredient that you can find in every home. However, in addition to its direct purpose, it is famous for the fact that it effectively kills cockroaches. But how can it be true if these insects manage to adapt and survive even high-class insecticides? Does baking soda kill roaches better than sophisticated chemicals?

How Does Baking Soda Kill Roaches?
Baking soda is truly able to eliminate all of your cockroach problems. But in order for this to happen, insects must eat it first, allowing for chemical processes to begin in their guts. Soda reacts with water and begins to expand in the intestines of a cockroach. This process usually kills the insect due to overpressure since the exoskeleton of insects cannot expand.

soda and cockroach

How to Kill Roaches With Baking Soda

If you have chosen baking soda as your method of choice, here is what you have to do:

  1. Mix soda and sugar in a 1:1 ratio;
  2. Thoroughly blend it together;
  3. Sprinkle the mixture on countertops and room corners.

Do cockroaches eat baking soda?

When choosing baking soda as the means of killing cockroaches, the main goal is to get them to eat it because it is quite obvious that baking soda for roaches is not something that they will eat willingly. However, in order for it to work, it must enter the body of an insect.
Cockroaches will not eat this substance because they are not attracted to either its smell or taste. On the other hand, cockroaches do not have an aversion to it either, which means that if you mix it with a food product that they like, they will happily eat it.

In order to understand why cockroaches do not eat baking soda, you should learn more about this chemical. Baking soda, well-known as sodium bicarbonate, is a white powder composed of two different chemicals: bicarbonate anions and sodium cations. This mix is an excellent pH neutralizer that expands under any chemical interaction to create a gas.

The taste of baking soda is quite characteristic and not similar to the flavors of food, so the cockroach will never eat it without additional tricks on your part. Therefore, be sure to mix it with something that will attract the insect.

Why does baking soda kill roaches?

Will baking soda kill roaches after you mix it in with sugar and leave it in an accessible place? Of course, it will. But in order to make sure of this, you need to understand how such a completely harmless substance turns into an effective weapon against cockroaches. After the insect eats enough baking soda, it literally explodes inside, which leads to a fairly quick death. Let’s find out how this happens and why.

The property of baking soda that causes it to expand on contact with other substances, such as water, is the key to this. Sodium bicarbonate will react with the carbonic acid resulting in an exothermic reaction. To put it simply, it will begin to turn into a gas so quickly that it will release heat.

The structural features of cockroaches do not allow their internal organs to stretch even a little, which, on the one hand, reliably protects them against external mechanical damage but, on the other hand, makes them extremely vulnerable to the expanding soda. The gas will crush the internal organs, leading to rapid death. So, you might as well make a homemade cockroach killer baking soda to fix your insect problem once and for all.

How fast does baking soda kill cockroaches?

According to a number of large studies, a cockroach dies from baking soda after about 15 hours. There are several factors that affect this number:

  • the amount of water drunk;
  • the amount of baking soda eaten;
  • the amount of time that passed between eating soda and drinking water.

Water is essential for this chemical reaction to take place. So, if the cockroach couldn’t find water for a long time, or didn’t drink enough, then the reaction can last much longer than the specified time.

Also, the cockroach is able to live for several hours and even days after its exoskeleton cracks, after which death occurs due to the fact that it is immobilized and unable to get water and food. However, the fate of such an insect is sealed.

Baking soda is a great remedy since it is completely harmless to people while being deadly to cockroaches. Of course, professional products with bait can sometimes give faster and more reliable results since you have to tinker with the taste and smell of soda. However, this is a method that definitely deserves your attention.

Just keep in mind that you will have to do some work to find the right combination of food and baking soda to ensure your success. After that, the question of can baking soda kill roaches will finally be resolved.

baking soda and lemon

What you can pair baking soda with?

The essential point in the effective use of baking soda against cockroaches is the right choice of flavor combinations. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular and simple examples.

Baking soda and sugar to kill roaches

This mix is ​​by far one of the most effective and works great since sugar smells extremely pleasant to cockroaches and has a texture similar to baking soda, making it easy to mix. In order to achieve the best result, it is best to use sugar powder since this will prevent the insect from eating one substance and not the other. The ideal proportion is a 1-to-1 ratio.

Baking soda and vinegar to kill roaches

This combination is theoretically capable of killing cockroaches but is less effective than the previous one since vinegar has a strong smell, which, unlike sugar, does not seem to be tempting to an insect. Also, the chemical reaction of soda will happen much earlier than it gets into the stomach of a cockroach, and after that, the effect will be much smaller than expected.

Baking soda and onion to kill roaches

Onions are quite suitable as a food that will mask the taste of soda. To do this, cut it into tiny pieces, sprinkle it generously with soda, and place it in secluded places where the cockroach is most likely to eat the bait. However, you should first soak up the excess juice from the onion so that the baking soda does not react earlier than necessary.

FAQ on Baking Soda vs. Roaches

To recap, here are the most popular questions that people ask when trying to kill cockroaches using soda.

How long does it take baking soda to kill roaches?

It usually takes 15 hours for a cockroach to die after eating baking soda and drinking water afterward.

How do you get rid of roaches with baking soda overnight?

Unfortunately, baking soda isn’t very likely to resolve all your cockroach problems in a single night. This method is completely safe for
children and pets, but it is not as effective as special commercial insecticides.

What kills roaches overnight?

The best roach killers are products that contain indoxacarb as its main ingredient, along with bait that makes the cockroaches attracted to it. This chemical isn’t particularly dangerous to humans, though it can lead to methemoglobinemia.

Does baking soda and vinegar kill roaches?

Unfortunately, vinegar reduces the effectiveness of soda since it activates it too quickly. Also, vinegar has a strong smell that roaches do not like.

cockroach on detergent bottles

Advantages and Disadvantages of Baking Soda Use

The choice of baking soda as a means of killing cockroaches is completely justified since the product is effective while being harmless to people and animals, so you don’t have to worry that a child or pet will be poisoned after accidentally eating the bait. The only downside is that the method is less reliable than professional insecticides, and you have to make your own bait and mix baking soda with it.

Have you ever tried killing cockroaches using baking powder? What did you use as bait and were you successful? Tell us in the comments below.

Also read:


  • High-class insecticides (General Entomology NC State University):
  • Sodium bicarbonate (Matt Shipman, NC State News)
  • Structural features of cockroaches (THE ORKIN):


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Nicholas Martin

Nicholas Martin

I am Nicholas Martin, and I am an entomologist. I combine the insect survey work with the consultation for private pest control agencies. My narrow specializations are both urban pests and agricultural pests. I studied their control over the previous 25 years. More about Nick

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