Can You Use Mothballs for Roach Control? (The Answer is Surprising!)

Published by Vijay Singh on

Mothballs are small balls that are made of pungent substance, generally naphthalene, having strong deodorant fragrance. Generally, it is used to put in among the stored garments to keep away insects (clothes moths).

But, can you repel cockroaches with mothballs?

Let’s find out.

Do Mothballs Repel Roaches?

Yes, mothballs repel cockroaches. Its smell is the main criterion that keeps the roaches away.

However, there are little to none scientific researches done on cockroach behavior towards the mothballs.

Mothballs contain chemical pesticides, and that’s why roaches stay away from it.

A document published by Smithsonian Institution tells that sometimes mothballs are used to repel common pests, but should be by proper care & experienced persons.

But, be very careful, these are poisonous. Even, a single mothball swallowed by any living being (human or animal) can be fatal.

Should You Use Mothballs as Roach Repellent?

Mothballs and Roaches

Mothballs repel cockroaches, but you should not use it as cockroach repellent.

According to Oregon State University, people often misuse mothballs to repel pests. They put them in the wall voids, trash containers, cars, crawl spaces, and attic spaces.

These balls must be used in the sealed & airtight containers.

The Naphthalene can persist in the indoor air for a few months, which can result in stress, headaches, and breathing difficulty.

Further, we can’t ignore risk towards children and pets, because it is highly dangerous if swallowed or even inhaling its fragrance.

National Pesticide Information Center clearly mention that you should only use them as per the label describes the type of use.

Can I Get Rid of Cockroaches with Mothballs Alone?

No, you cannot completely eliminate roaches with mothballs.

Yes, they repel them, but they cannot be used everywhere, and they’ll only keep them away for some time.

As PennState mentioned, mothballs are good to repel, but they are too risky for children and pets. There are also some other methods to use instead of mothballs.

So, don’t obsess with this dangerous home remedy.

Other Methods to Repel Cockroaches

How To Repel Roaches

As it is recommended that you should not use mothballs to repel cockroaches. So, there is a need for using some other methods to repel them.


Borax is one of the most effective home remedies that is used by thousands of homeowners to deal with roaches.

You can read this article to learn more about roach control with borax.

Bay Leaves

The bay leaves are a great alternative option of mothballs. However, they’re not as effective as mothballs when it comes to repelling roaches. But, they’ve no absolute effect in a bad manner.

If you want to learn more about it, then learn it from this article about bay leaves.


It is a proven method to repel various pests. Just live bay leaves, they’re effective, but you cannot totally rely on it.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint Oil is one of the most effective essential oil when it comes to repelling these pests. You can easily repel roaches with peppermint oil, for that you just have to prepare a solution of it and fill in the spray bottle.

Along with them, you can also some other methods, baits, and traps to get rid of them. The Delaware Health and Social Services have shared some good information about getting rid of cockroaches if you want to know more.


In the end, after doing a lot of research, we can conclude that mothballs and roaches can’t exist together.

Mothballs will repel them, but using this home remedy is quite dangerous.

Therefore, it is not recommended to use it for this purpose. You can use some other home remedies that are not that dangerous to use inside your home.

If you have any questions, then feel free to ask in the comment section. I’ll try my best to answer as quickly as possible.

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Categories: Roach Control

Vijay Singh

Vijay Singh has a few years of experience in Pest control. Apart from his interest in sports, he has helped many people to get rid of cockroaches and other pests.

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