Does Hairspray Really Work To Kill Roaches?

You're getting ready to go out and putting the finishing touches on your hair in the mirror when you see a roach scurrying across the floor out of the corner of your eye. You happen to have a can of hairspray in your hand, so you give it a shot – and lo and behold, it stops it in its tracks. This makes you wonder, does hairspray really work to get rid of unwanted roaches? The answer is yes, it does, but it's not an ideal solution. It also depends on what kind of hairspray it is, what kind of roach we're talking about, and how well you spray it. But generally, in a pinch, it can work.

Cockroaches can be challenging to kill; some species can even live for over a week without a head. This is because of how they "breathe," which is through holes called spiracles in their exoskeleton. Hairspray hardens on contact, which covers the spiracles and keeps the roach from breathing and moving, giving you time to dispose of it. The hairspray will suffocate the roach, but it doesn't happen instantly. Still, it can be a viable solution for killing the errant roach that interrupts your primping.

How to use hairspray to kill cockroaches

To kill cockroaches with hairspray, simply hold the bottle about 6 to 8 inches away, and let the little bugger have it! That said, it's important to coat the roach entirely, paying special attention to its chest, stomach, and head. The more of its spiracles you cover, the quicker it will be paralyzed. This will take a few seconds to happen, but it can take 6 to 12 hours, depending on the size of the roach, for it to suffocate and die. For this reason, it's a good idea to keep a tissue handy for disposing of the enemy while it's immobilized. Since some hairspray contains VOCs (volatile organic compounds), use this method with care, avoid inhaling too many fumes, and ensure adequate ventilation. Hairsprays with impressive holding power work the best. 

Of course, this method isn't without its drawbacks and is likely to leave a gummy mess on the floor. Luckily, you can remove sticky hairspray residue with a borax and water paste. Another downside to using hairspray as a roach killer is its limited utility. Sure, you can kill a roach or two using this method, but calling an exterminator is a better idea than a trip to the hair care aisle if you're facing a full-blown infestation.