Last Updated March 2nd, 2023: There are all kinds of do-it-yourself advice online for practicing pest control at home with everyday solutions such as rosemary oil, bay leaves, Windex, bleach, vinegar, and hairspray. Among these suggestions is one of the worst smelling but possibly most effective of the lot: ammonia.
Does Ammonia Kill Roaches?
Yes, ammonia can kill roaches if it’s sprayed on them directly. But it isn’t very effective if you are simply applying around your home.
Don’t think you can just wipe down a counter with ammonia or use a sprayer bottle to disperse them or destroy their cockroach eggs.
Ammonia kills roaches as long as they have direct contact with it. You must pour or spray pure ammonia right on the bug’s body to destroy it. And even at this it will take a rather large amount of ammonia to kill the cockroaches.
So the answer technically is yes, but it’s not the most practical cockroach solution. We have a whole guide on effective ways of getting rid of roaches!
Pure Ammonia and Household Ammonia – What’s The Difference?
Two kinds of household ammonia can be used to kill roaches, Pure or Household. The Pure version is more likely to eliminate bugs because it is so strong; 10 times stronger than the household type.
Pure Ammonia For Roaches
Pure ammonia is water mixed with 10% ammonia. It is used for cleaning aquariums and also heavy machinery. It is also used as a nitrogen-rich fertilizer for gardens.
Even though using pure ammonia is a death sentence for cockroaches, it can also give your home an incredibly rank smell that can last for days. However, pure ammonia is probably the best fatal poison for roaches.
One of the drawbacks of using pure ammonia is that it has very corrosive properties. Although these properties successfully destroy the hull and other tissues of a cockroach’s body, they can also discolor or destroy tiles and wood floors.
Household Ammonia For Roaches
Household ammonia normally used for removing clothing stains is diluted in water and contains 0.1 percent pure ammonium hydroxide (NH3), which is ten times less than pure ammonia.
This low percentage makes it safer to use as a household item for cleaning surfaces and doing laundry.
However, as low as it is, the NH3 percentage is just enough to kill and repel bugs around the house if you can treat them for two or three days. Mix it with 1 part of very hot water to make it more effective.
As this is a weaker solution, it is less efficient than heavy-duty Pure Ammonia, but it may be much easier for humans and pets to tolerate the sulphuric smell.
How Does Ammonia Kill Cockroaches?
Pure ammonia kills roaches but only if you manage to douse them while in direct contact with their shell. This can be a challenge as cockroaches rarely stay still.
Spraying widely may act as a temporary repellent or even a deterrent based on the smell, but probably not as a roach killer, especially for apartments.
Ammonia can kill cockroaches, but only if you twist the nozzle to stream mode and spray it directly, full-strength on a single insect for at least a minute.
How Do Cockroaches Die From Ammonia?
To die from ammonia, the bug must be soaked in it or doused in it from the nozzle of a spray bottle.
Once saturated in ammonia, the cockroach’s tissues and husk dry out. Their spiracles, the breathing holes in their body (called the husks), become saturated with ammonia and suffocate or drown.
Don’t expect cockroaches to die right away. Many can live for three days or longer before finally expiring.
How Does Ammonia Kill Cockroach Eggs?
To kill cockroach eggs, mix one part water with two parts ammonia and pour it directly on the nest.
The nitrogen and hydrogen in the ammonia irritate the soft developing bodies of the baby cockroaches and kill them.
When applying ammonia solution to cockroach eggs, the odor is strong, but it can discourage further infestation.
How to Use Household Ammonia To Kill Roaches
Here is how to use the Ammonia spray bottle to kill and repel roaches.
- Wear a mask, gloves, and goggles to protect from toxic fumes. Do this whether you are using household strength or pure ammonia.
- Twist the spray bottle nozzle to the narrow setting to shoot a hard straight stream.
- Aim the ammonia sprayer bottle at any single cockroach repeatedly until they are drenched with Windex.
- Clean up any dead cockroach bodies immediately, and dispose of them as far away from your home as possible.
How Does Ammonia Kill Insects?
Not all cockroaches absorb the ammonia after it is applied. If they die, it might be because you are drowning them rather than poisoning them with ammonia.
It can take days to get rid of roaches using the spray method, and cockroaches can hurry away quite fast, even if badly injured.
If it hurries back to its hiding place or nest, you may never know whether or not your ammonia solution got rid of it.
Deter Roaches With Ammonia
Although ammonia may not be the most effective insect killer, it is one of the best inexpensive all-purpose household cleaners.
Applying ammonia to the tiles, floors, and counters where roaches hide deters them from hanging around and laying roach eggs.
Cockroaches can’t handle high concentrations of ammonia, so use it as a cleaning solution liberally on any area where there might be a nest.
As cockroaches like damp places like the pipes in your drainage system, pouring the ammonia cleaning solution into your kitchen or bathroom drains is a good idea.
Find out how to get rid of cockroaches in your bathroom!
What Household Cleaning Products Contain Ammonia?
There are many types of household cleaning products that you might have on hand that contain ammonia.
The following aerosol products might deter or kill roaches if you spray them directly on their exoskeleton.
- Easy-Off Professional Glass Cleaner Spray
- LA’s Totally Awesome Clear Ammonia
- Lysol Aerosol Bathroom Cleaner Bathroom
- Lysol Professional Disinfectant Spray
- Lysol Disinfectant Spray for Baby’s Room
- Parsons Ammonia All-Purpose Cleaner
- Resolve High Traffic Foam
- Safeway Bright Green Glass and Window Cleaner
- Up & Up Ammonia Lemon
- Walmart Great Value Original Glass Cleaner
- Windex Advanced Glass & Multi-Surface Cleaner
All of the products above have an ammonia content of .01 % or higher, in the form of household ammonia, which makes all of t them a reasonable cockroach deterrent.
Other Household Products To Use For Cockroaches:
- How To Kill Roaches With Borax
- Can Lysol Kill Roaches?
- Does Vinegar Deter Roaches?
- Can Lemon Juice Kill Roaches?
- Can Listerine Kill Roaches?
- Can Bay Leaves Kill Roaches?
- Can Salt Kill Roaches?
- Can Windex Kill Roaches?
Final Thoughts On Using Ammonia For Cockroaches
Like many household cleaning solutions, ammonia works best as a deterrent rather than a killer, simply because you must spray the roach directly for it to be effective.
Although cockroaches don’t like the smell of ammonia, they may return to the treated area as soon as their pungent smell has worn off.
Ammonia is best for killing individual cockroaches and much less effective as a fumigator. Just using a wide nozzle to fumigate an area with bleach droplets will probably not do much to convince cockroaches to stay away.
Ammonia is a toxic choice for humans. It’s strong enough to trigger allergic reactions in pets and humans. It’s a toxic chemical that you might as well give in and hire a fumigator to treat your area. The results will be immediate.
As toxic as ammonia is, it is still not as effective as a pesticide at killing roaches. It might work on baby cockroaches and cockroach eggs.
Using bleach to kill cockroaches generally takes repeated sprayings, which is not great for your pets or children with asthma, as the fumes hang around for days. The smell can also be very off-putting to visitors and users of your bathrooms and kitchens.
The bottom line is that ammonia is not as effective as a pesticide, yet it is still a less toxic alternative to fumigation, even though it reeks. I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide on does ammonia kill roaches!