Does Windex Kill Roaches? – Deterring Cockroaches With Windex

does windex kill roaches

Many DIY at-home solutions exist for repelling killing cockroaches, including rosemary oil, hair sprays, and vinegar. However, the plain truth is that these “natural” pesticides don’t kill cockroaches. In this guide we’ll be taking a look at the myth, does windex kill roaches?

Cockroaches are incredibly hardy and can adapt. Pests can learn to overcome homemade roach deterrents and stick around to see what type of cleaning product or essential oil you might use next.

Among these many remedies is the suggestion that you can use the glass cleaner Windex to kill cockroaches. This probably has you asking, “Does Listerine kill cockroaches?”

Does Windex Kill Roaches?

The answer is yes. Windex 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.

Of course, this is true of many home remedies meant to kill roaches. For instance, if you shoot a cockroach with hairspray for a couple of minutes, it will eventually die, even if it scuttle away from you.

Windex is best for killing individual cockroaches and much less effective as a fumigator. Twisting the Windex spray bottle nozzle to wide to treat an area where they have been seen is likely ineffective.

That being said, this isn’t the answer to your problems if you have a cockroach infestation. Checkout our guide on how to get rid of a cockroach infestation.

What is Windex?

Windex is a Bristol Meyers product that has been around since 1933. Every ingredient in this classic glass cleaner is toxic enough to kill a roach on its own. However, this only succeeds if you use the Windex full strength on a single bug.

Windex gets its bug-killing properties from a variety of different toxic chemicals.

Ammonium Hydroxide

Also known as Ammonia, Ammonium Hydroxide emits toxic, sulphuric fumes that repel roaches and evaporate rapidly.

When sprayed directly on the cockroaches, ammonia breaks down the bug’s fat and tissues and suffuses its breathing holes with toxic fumes. It also has a drying effect on the cockroaches as they die.


2-Hexoxyethanol is a surfactant, which is a soapy, slippery ingredient that loosens grime from surfaces.

This toxic chemical is found in most cleaning products, and its strong fumes can irritate the lungs, skin, and eyes.

This ingredient suffocates the cockroaches by saturating their bodies with toxic fumes.

Sodium Dodecylbenzene Sulfonate

Like 2-Hexoxyethanol, this surfactant dissolves dirt and grime, and if applied to a cockroach, it dissolves its hard shell and ruins its breathing holes.


Isopropanolamine is a poison that dissolves oils and soap residue on contact. When anything, including a cockroach, comes in contact with this chemical, it causes a burning sensation that can paralyze the bug.

Essential Oils

On its label, Windex lists a few essential oils known to disgust cockroaches, including orange peel oil and cinnamon oil.

Windex Comes in Different Fragrances

Today, Windex comes in many different fragrances, such as citrus orange, Sunshine Lemon and Ocean Mist, so your homemade cockroach repellent does not have to smell as sulphuric as the classic “blue” Windex. You can think of it as adding a bit of aromatherapy to your pesticide treatment.

How to Use Windex To Kill Roaches

Here is how to use the Windex spray bottle to kill and repel roaches.

  1. Wear a mask, gloves, and goggles to protect yourself from toxic fume emissions.
  1. Twist the spray bottle nozzle to the narrow position to shoot a hard straight stream.
  1. Squirt the Windex at any single cockroach repeatedly until they are drenched with Windex.
  1. Clean up any dead cockroach bodies immediately to avoid having hordes of other cockroaches rushing to see what happened to their coworker.

How Does Windex Kill Insects?

Note that not all cockroaches breathe in the Windex, even if you are saturating them with liquid. If they die, you might be drowning them in the chemical spray.

It can take days to get rid of roaches using the spray bottle method, and if the bug scuttles off, you may never know if a cockroach has died from Windex intoxication.

Final Thoughts On Windex and Cockroaches

Even though Windex is considered a DIY pest repellent and killer, it is not at all a “green choice” because it contains many chemicals, including ammonia. These chemicals make it one of the best household cleaners. However, they are not meant to stop roach activity.

Although Windex contains natural essential oils, it is far from a natural product, especially if you plan to use a lot of it at once. The cinnamon oil and orange peel oils in the product are strong enough to cause itchiness or a mild burn.

As toxic as Windex is, it is still not as effective as a pesticide at killing roaches. It might work on small insects such as bed bugs and stinging insects. The other thing to note is that any effectiveness when using Windex generally takes repeated sprayings, which is not great for human health.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide on does windex kill roaches, and hopefully it’s answered some questions for you!


About The Author:

David Floyd has 20 years of experience working as a pest control technician as well as running his own pest control company. His main goal is to provide accurate and helpful DIY tips to keep your home pest-free and how to identify different types of household pests!