jar of baking soda on its side with some pouring out onto a counter, a cork lid to the right and a spoon full of baking soda
Sarah Biren
Sarah Biren
June 11, 2024 ·  4 min read

How To Use Baking Soda To Kill Pests

Sodium bicarbonate, more commonly called baking soda, is an ingredient most people have in their pantries. Many baked goods recipes require it and it’s also an effective cleaner. However, sodium bicarbonate can also kill household pests. This hack is perfect for those who’d like to try a DIY approach before calling an exterminator. Or perhaps they’re out of bug spray and need some kind of alternative as soon as possible. Plus, some people are wary of typical pest killers because of the potentially toxic ingredients, especially if they need to apply it in areas with children or pets. Fortunately, baking soda is edible in small amounts, and relatively non-toxic.

5 DIY Baking Soda Pest Killer Recipes

Image source: Shutterstock

Sodium bicarbonate can help combat yeast and bacteria, and when it’s eaten by bugs, it releases carbon dioxide bubbles that exterminate the pests. That’s what makes it an effective ingredient in a bug spray. It’s also often paired with vinegar, which creates a bubbling effect often seen in school volcano science projects. This chemical reaction is due to the formation of carbon dioxide gas fatal for bugs. Fortunately, it’s generally safe for people to interact with, although they should never try to consume it. Therefore, it’s advisable to wear disposable gloves while mixing and applying these recipes. Additionally, ensure the ingredient is fresh for optimal progress. [1]

Cockroach and Ant Killer Recipe

cockroach dead on a slice of white bread. Baking soda and sugar can be seen in the background

You will need:

  • Baking soda
  • Granulated sugar
  • One or several shallow dishes


Simply place equal parts baking soda and sugar on the dishes. The sugar should attract the roaches and ants to the baking soda that will exterminate them. Place the dishes where the roaches and ants can reach it or where they are often spotted; however, make sure pets and children can’t reach them. Keep an eye on the dishes, refilling them as needed. [2]

Ant Mounds Killer Recipe

various ants on a tile surface. Once ant has a red target around it

For ant mounds outside, you will need:

  • Water
  • 2 cups making soda
  • 1 cup vinegar


First, dampen the mound with the water. Then sprinkle the baking soda onto it. After about a half an hour, pour the vinegar over the mound. Remember, for ants creeping inside the house, see the previous recipe for the sugar and baking soda traps.

Read: Strange Hack: How To Remove Urine Smell From Your Bathroom Floor Using Shaving Cream

All-Purpose Bug Spray for Plants Recipe

person spraying a house plant with unlabeled spray bottle

If you want a homemade version of bug spray for your garden or indoor plants, this is for you. You will need:

  • 2 tbsp oil soap
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 3 tbsp baking soda
  • 2 gallon water
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • Empty spray bottle


Mix the oil soap, canola oil, and baking soda together and stir. Add the concoction to the water. Add the vinegar and stir for a few more moments. Ensure the bucket is large enough to avoid any bubbling over the edge. Then pour the mixture into the spray bottle. Apply once a week by spraying mist on all sides of the plants.

Read: 13 Surprising Uses for Hydrogen Peroxide

Rats Killer Recipe

a rant rummaging around a dirty cluttered countertop

You will need:

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup sugar or powdered chocolate mix
  • and 1 cup baking soda


Mix the cornmeal, sugar/chocolate mix, and the baking soda. Similar to the recipe for cockroaches and ants, the sugar will attract the rats while the sodium bicarbonate will kill them. Place the mixture in dishes where the rats are most active, such as in garages, basements, or near garbage cans. Then monitor these areas to see if the infestation is decreasing. You can try moving the traps to different areas for increased effectiveness. [3]

Bed Bugs Killer Recipe

depiction of a magnifying glass showing a bed bug magnified over a mattress

There are several methods of using baking soda to combat bed bugs. 

  1. Pile a thick layer of baking soda around the legs of the beds, couches, etc. to prevent the bugs from climbing on.
  2. Create a thick paste with baking soda and water. Brush the mixture wherever the bed bugs might be hiding. 
  3. Sprinkle baking soda in a thick layer where the bed bugs might be hiding. The idea is that the bed bugs won’t be able to emerge without confronting a wall of sodium bicarbonate. Keep this layer overnight and vacuum it up the next day. Repeat this process until the infestation improves. [4]

As is the case with any kind of bug repellant, closely monitor the situation for any progress. If there is no improvement over time, it’s advisable to try another bug killer or consult professional exterminators. 

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  1. “Baking soda’s other use: controls ants, roaches.SF Gate. Richard Fagerlund. December 2, 2009
  2. “How to Kill Bugs With Sodium Bicarbonate.” SF Gate. Marylee Gowans.
  3. “Baking Soda: A Rat Killer.” Lake Norman Pest Control. May 10, 2019
  4. 3 Major Uses Of Baking Soda In Pest Control.VerminKill