Can I Use Bleach To Get Rid Of Cockroaches?

If you are seeing cockroaches around your home, it's an unsettling feeling. These insects carry bacteria that can ruin your food and may make you sick. Consequently, you probably want to get rid of cockroaches forever and fast. You probably have heard of multiple ways to get rid of unwanted roaches, including using bleach on them. Bleach certainly could kill these insects, but it's not effective as bait because it does not attract them. If they smell the distinctive odor that bleach produces, the bugs are far more likely to scurry away than to expose themselves to the chemical that could kill them.

When creating bait designed to kill these insects, manufacturers focus on drawing them into the area, rather than repelling them. The manufacturers want to encourage the cockroaches to eat the bait, so they add food and an odor that causes them to ingest it. It also contains a slow-acting poison that the bugs carry with them as they return to the nest. Once there, the cockroaches will begin to vomit and generate feces that have traces of the poison in them. Young bugs eat the vomit and feces, causing them to receive exposure to the poison, which helps to further decimate the population.

If you attempt to spike bait with bleach, it's not going to attract the bugs or encourage them to eat it. Although it is able to kill cockroaches, bleach only works with direct exposure on them, leaving the nest unscathed.

How you could use bleach to kill cockroaches in your home

You could leave a bowl with some bleach in it to attempt to kill the cockroaches, but they would have to willingly climb into the bowl and drown or suffer injuries from a toxic exposure to the liquid. This is very unlikely to happen. These insects significantly prefer filthy conditions to clean conditions. They are drawn to areas like sewers and garbage cans, looking for things they can eat. Because they spend a lot of time in these filthy areas, they collect waste and trash on their bodies, spreading bacteria wherever they walk. In fact, because they are trying to avoid clean areas, taking the time to clean your home and keeping a scent of cleaning chemicals present is likely going to make them avoid the area. 

Because of the natural aversion cockroaches have to cleaning products like bleach, to kill these insects with bleach means you have to directly expose them. You could capture these bugs and then dunk them in your bowl of bleach to kill them. Of course, this is not an effective means of getting rid of these bugs, as it means you have to catch them individually. You probably don't want to touch them because of the bacteria and other waste they carry on their bodies. Additionally, roaches move fast and they try to hide in areas with low light where they won't encounter humans, making them extremely difficult to catch by hand.

Dangers of having bleach traps for roaches in your home

Beyond the significant challenges of convincing a cockroach to expose itself to the bleach you want to use, it's not really safe to leave a bowl of this chemical out where a child could suffer an exposure to it. Kids should not breathe in full-strength bleach vapors because it can cause damage to their lungs that are still developing. Even a bit of bleach on the skin can result in a noticeable chemical burn or in simple skin irritation. Exposure to the eyes is also very dangerous, as it can result in blindness.

Should a child or an adult actually ingest liquid bleach, it can make them extremely ill, too. Drinking a tiny amount of a diluted level of this cleanser could result in only nausea or vomiting. However, ingesting a large amount of the liquid at full strength can cause significant illness, including permanent injuries to the digestive system. It can even lead to death. Bleach is also extremely poisonous for pets, should they ingest it. Whether the pet could receive a fatal exposure depends on the amount of liquid ingested and the level of concentration of the cleaning liquid being ingested.

Simply put: Leaving a bowl of bleach out in hopes of having a cockroach stumble into it and die from exposure or from drowning simply isn't worth the risk, especially if you have pets or children in the home who could suffer a dangerous exposure.