How to Use Paint to Repel Cockroaches?


Paint is a substance that doesn’t repel cockroaches in your home on its own.

Likewise, the paint will not attract the roaches unless they contain some sort of food source or ingredients that the roaches can eat or are seeking.

Some paints include active cockroach-repelling chemicals, such as insecticide, that the roaches may find attractive.

These are mixed in paints to attract the roaches making eradication easy.

The good thing is most of these anti-cockroach paints have no fumigation effect, making them safe to paint in human surroundings.

If you have a  cockroach problem, you can use these types of paint to help eliminate them in areas where they usually inhabit. 

These areas include the kitchen, bathrooms, cabinets, laundry room, basement, etc.

Using Paint to Repel Cockroaches

If anti-cockroach paint (paint infused with insecticide) isn’t your choice or if you can’t find them near you, there are several other ways to use paint to repel cockroaches.

You can use any type of paint as long as it has a strong smell. The smell of the paint will help to repel the cockroaches away.

There are also essential oils that can be mixed with the paint to help with the smell. 

These oils generally include eucalyptus, tea tree, oregano, yarrow, rosemary, neem, peppermint, cedar, lemongrass, catnip, and citronella oil.

To use this method,

  • Mix 10-15 drops of essential oil with a quart of paint and stir nicely.
  • Apply the mixed paint to the areas where cockroaches are usually seen.
  • The smell of the essential oils will help to repel the cockroaches and keep them away.

When using essential oils in paint to keep the roaches away, remember that each essential oil has varied effectiveness at different concentration levels.

In other words, their repellency power depends on how much of the oil is used and what type of oil you are using.

Thus, it is crucial to find the right concentration level that works for you and your home. This is especially important if you have a significantly large area to treat. 

Besides essential oils, many herbs and spices are known to be natural cockroach repellents. 

Adding these substances to your paint will cockroach-proof your home.

Some of the most effective ones you can use are bay leaves, garlic, ginger mint, basil mint, cinnamon, pandan leaves, and pennyroyal.

Paint Colors that Repel Cockroaches

We know cockroaches are nocturnal, and they are mostly active at night.

Cockroaches are sensitive to light, and flicking the switch is usually all it takes to send them scurrying in every direction. 

It’s not just fake light that they despise. They don’t like natural light, either. As a result, you’re unlikely to see cockroaches during the day.

Among the six colors (red, green, white, yellow, blue, and no-light group) investigated in the experiment, red light proved to be the most effective in repelling cockroaches.

Followed by green, white, yellow, and blue.

Unlike wasps and many other insects that hate the blue color, cockroaches seem to avoid red lights most; you can use this as an advantage to keep them away.

This means using red lightbulbs in lamps around your home or even painting your walls red or green to help keep these critters at bay.

There are also some UV light traps that use a specific wavelength of light to attract and trap cockroaches. 

These can be placed around your home to help keep the cockroach population under control.

Why Do Cockroaches Like Some Paint?

Most people believe that roaches only eat garbage, but the truth is they will consume anything – including paint.

According to, the main reason for this is that many paints contain either animal-based ingredients or food-based chemicals (binders).

Cockroaches prefer eating the paints on paintings and murals (like oil, watercolor, acrylic, and tempera); rather than the chemical-based paint over cars or motorbikes because the former often contains these tasty binders.

And that’s the reason why you may see cockroaches gathering around your old paintings or wall art that has flaking paint.

Cockroaches are attracted to emulsion paint as well, which is utilized in homes. 

The one type of paint they appear to dislike the most is air-dry enamel paint that’s used as a concrete-finishing paint or on refrigerators, engines, and nails.

What’s in the Paint Binder That Roaches Like?

The binder in the paint is a kind of glue that binds the pigment together. There are also many animal-based ingredients that contribute to certain hues and tones as well.

The frequent binder and pigment components that roaches like the most in the paints include animal fats, milk, honey, vegetable oil, potato starch, eggs, etc.  

When real food is scarce, cockroaches are known to turn to paint as a source of nutrition. 

This is because they can detect even the slightest concentration of nutrients in the paint fumes.

All paints are not created equal in the eyes (or nose) of a cockroach, though –– they seem to prefer those made with animal products like oil-based paints best.

Cockroaches’ ability to store body fat is significant, and that’s the reason they like energy-rich foods that can be readily stored.

Cockroaches may consume paint and extract the nutritious substance within it. 

Their bodies keep fat better than other substances, so when a cockroach eats paint with animal fats, the fat storage lasts longer. 

This is an important aspect of their survival if they don’t eat for a long time.

Is Consuming Paint Harmful to Cockroaches?

A genome is an organism’s complete set of genetic information; it contains everything needed to function.

Because they have a genome that allows them to consume toxic material, eating paint does not harm cockroaches.

In fact, of all insects, roaches have the second-largest genome because of which cockroaches would often consume plants and can digest them even if they contain toxic substances.

Interesting to note that the cockroach genome is so strong that even insecticides don’t kill them outright.

Their ancestors consumed just as many, if not more, toxic materials as they do now.

They scavenge human food, which is often chemically altered and would be harmful to other animals, but their metabolism knows how to process all the toxins, so it’s not harmful to them.

The bottom line

Paint is a great way to help repel cockroaches from your home, but you will need to choose a paint that has an active cockroach-repelling agent in it.

Or, you can make your own natural cockroach-repellent paint by adding herbs or a few drops of essential oils to your regular paint. 

Lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, and lemongrass oils are all known to be effective at repelling cockroaches. 

So you can make your own natural cockroach-repellent paint at home very easily. 

Make sure to follow all the safety precautions while handling these anti-cockroach paints as you do with other solvent-based paints.

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