Do Mothballs Keep Roaches Away?

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Having a home, garden, or storage area infested with roaches is one of a person’s most unpleasant experiences. The sight of these bugs crawling around your home and property can not only be off-putting, but they can also carry dangerous diseases which could put you and those in your home at risk.

Luckily, there are steps that you can take to keep roaches away from your home and property. One of the most popular methods is using mothballs to deter them. But do mothballs keep roaches away?

In this article, we will discuss the effectiveness of mothballs for repelling roaches and provide tips on how you can use them effectively to prevent a future infestation. Keep reading to learn the truth about using mothballs to keep roaches away.

Key Takeaways

Mothballs repel roaches due to their strong odor but do not kill them, making them a temporary solution for roach control.
Mothballs should be placed near entry points and areas where roaches congregate, but caution must be taken as they can be toxic to humans and pets if not used properly.
Factors to consider when using mothballs include the concentration of chemicals, the type of mothball used, regularly changing them out, and using other roach control methods in conjunction with mothballs for maximum effectiveness
Alternatives to mothballs for roach control include boric acid, diatomaceous earth, sticky traps, natural repellents, professional pest control, and maintaining good sanitation practices.

How Do Mothballs Work?

Mothballs are solid chemicals that contain active ingredients such as naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene, which, when vaporized in the air, create an environment that is inhospitable to insects such as roaches. The smell of mothballs can repel roaches and other pests from contacting the area where mothballs have been placed.

It is important to note that mothballs can be effective in repelling roaches. However, they are only effective as a temporary solution and will not provide long-term protection from an infestation.

While mothballs may repel roaches, they don’t actually kill them. As such, if you have an existing infestation, it’s important to seek out other solutions to get rid of the roaches.

Moth Balls on Burlap Sack

Tips to Use Mothballs Effectively?

The key to using moth balls effectively is to use them in areas where they can create a strong smell. This means placing them near your home’s doorways, windows, and other entry points. You should also place them in areas where they won’t be disturbed by pets or children.

Here is a comprehensive analysis of the tips for using mothballs effectively

  • Place them near your home’s entry points, such as doorways and windows.
  • Put them in areas that won’t be disturbed by pets or children.
  • Ensure the area around the mothballs is well-ventilated so the fumes can circulate more easily.
  • Position the moth balls close to where roaches congregate or have been seen.
  • Change out the mothballs regularly to keep the smell fresh and effective.
  • Don’t leave them in an enclosed area, as this can increase their toxicity levels.
  • Consider using other roach repellents such as boric acid, diatomaceous earth, or sticky traps in conjunction with mothballs.

Be keen on where, when, and how you use the mothballs to increase effectiveness.

Benefits of Using Mothballs for Roach Control

Mothballs can help you keep roaches away from your home and property. They are inexpensive, easy to use, and have a strong odor that is repulsive to roaches.

The benefits of using mothballs include:

  • Mothballs are inexpensive compared to other pest control methods.
  • They provide a strong odor that repels roaches.
  • Mothballs are easy to find and use.
  • Their fumes can circulate throughout the area, creating an environment that is inhospitable to roaches.
  • They don’t require any special equipment or knowledge to use.
  • Mothballs are a great alternative to chemical pesticides, which can be dangerous for pets and children.

Despite their benefits, it is essential to check on the safety of mothballs.

Downsides to Using Mothballs for Roach Control

While mothballs can be effective when it comes to repelling roaches, they do have some drawbacks. For one, the chemicals in mothballs can be dangerous to humans and pets if not used correctly. Additionally, because they don’t actually kill roaches, you may find that once the smell wears off and the roaches come back.

Here are some of the potential downsides to using mothballs for roach control:

Toxic to Humans and Pets

Mothballs contain toxic chemicals that can harm humans and pets if not used correctly. For instance, in high concentrations, these chemicals can cause respiratory irritation. They can also cause skin irritation if handled directly.

Temporary Solution Only

Mothballs are only a temporary solution and will not provide long-term protection against roaches. Once the smell wears off, the roaches may come back. As such, it’s important to use other methods in conjunction with mothballs for effective roach control.

Foul Odor

The smell of mothballs can be quite unpleasant and may linger for some time. This odor, while effective in repelling roaches, can also be off-putting to humans. It is important to note that the smell of mothballs may be reduced if they are placed in well-ventilated areas.

Factors Consider When Using Mothballs to Control Roaches

When it comes to using mothballs to control roaches, there are a few factors you should consider. For instance, it is important to place them in areas where they won’t be disturbed by pets or children.

Let’s take a look at some of the other factors to consider:

Concentration of Chemicals

Chemical concentration affects the effectiveness of mothballs. If they are placed in an enclosed area, the concentration levels can become too high, which may cause health risks for humans and pets.

When using mothballs to control roaches, make sure to position them in well-ventilated areas where the fumes can circulate more easily.

Type of Mothball Used

The type of mothball used can also affect the effectiveness of mothballs. For example, naphthalene is more effective at repelling roaches than paradichlorobenzene. However, they both have their own pros and cons, so it’s important to do your research before deciding which one to use.

Regularly Changing Out Mothballs

Changing out the mothballs regularly is also important for maintaining their effectiveness. As they break down, the smell will become weaker and less effective at repelling roaches. It is recommended to replace mothballs every 2-4 weeks.

Using Other Roach Control Methods in Conjunction with Mothballs

While mothballs can be somewhat effective at repelling roaches, they should not be used as your sole control method. Consider using other roach control methods, such as sticky traps, diatomaceous earth, rubbing alcohol, or boric acid, in conjunction with mothballs for maximum effectiveness.

Red Cockroach on a Wall

Alternatives to Mothballs for Controlling Roaches

If you’re looking for alternatives to mothballs, a variety of products are available on the market. For example, boric acid and diatomaceous earth work well to eliminate roach populations. Additionally, sticky traps can be used to monitor and help reduce the number of roaches in an infested area.

Here are the alternatives to mothballs that you should consider:

  • Boric acid: This substance contains high concentrations of the element boron, which is toxic to roaches. You can sprinkle this powder in areas where roaches are active, and it will effectively kill them.
  • Diatomaceous earth: This product is made from the fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shell algae. It works by cutting through the waxy outer coating of roaches, causing them to dehydrate and die.
  • Sticky traps: These traps are designed to capture and monitor roach activity. You can place them in areas where you have seen roaches or suspect they may be active. Over time, this will help reduce the number of roaches in an infested area.
  • Natural roach repellents: There are natural products that you can use to repel roaches. These include essential oils, such as peppermint or tea tree oil, and garlic or onions. However, these should be used cautiously as they may irritate your skin if handled directly.
  • Professional pest control: If your roach infestation is out of control, it may be time to call in a professional exterminator. A good exterminator will be able to identify the source of the infestation and eliminate it quickly and effectively.
  • Sanitation: The most important step in roach control is sanitation. Make sure to keep your home clean and free of clutter, as this will make it less attractive to roaches. Additionally, seal cracks and crevices where roaches may enter from the outside.

Regardless of the type of roach control method you use, it is important to remember that eliminating the source of an infestation is key to preventing future problems. Keep your home clean and free of clutter, and regularly inspect it for signs of roaches or other pests.


Mothballs can be effective when repelling roaches from your home and property. However, they should not be used as your only form of control as they are only a temporary solution and can be dangerous if not used correctly. 

Additionally, it’s important to use other methods in conjunction with mothballs for effective roach control. By following these tips, you can help ensure your home is free from roaches.

It is also important to seek out professional help if you’re dealing with an infestation. A professional pest control expert can help identify the problem and provide solutions to effectively remove the roaches from your home, ensuring that you won’t have to deal with them again in the future.

Photo of author
Sean is the founder of Conquer Critters. With more than 17 years of experience in dealing with various pests, he is passionate about spreading his knowledge to help everyone manage their pest problem in the fastest, most effective manor possible.

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