Q. You’ve had questions on how to get rid of cockroaches. A simple way to get rid of them and other insects is to place a few fabric softener sheets around your home in the corners, on the floors and on the kitchen counters behind appliances.

I guarantee that soon there will be NO insects. Some chemical in these dryer sheets really irritates and kills bugs. The cockroaches are big enough to saddle up here in Texas, but they will soon disappear. While they are slowly dying, they walk out to the center of the room so that even a very slow moving person can kill them.

This is easy and cheap. I use off-brand fabric softener sheets.

A. Several years ago, an email circulated on the Internet claiming that fabric softener sheets could repel ants, yellow jackets and other insects. Skeptics scoffed.

Now, scientists at Kansas State University have determined that Bounce fabric softener dryer sheets actually do repel adult fungus gnats (HortScience, online Dec. 1, 2010).

The scientists also analyzed the dryer sheets and found that they contain linalool, a pleasant-smelling compound naturally found in basil, lavender and marjoram. This compound is known to be toxic to certain mites and other insects.

We were not able to find any data on cockroaches, but we appreciate your suggestion. We welcome comments and research reports from other readers.

Get The Graedons' Favorite Home Remedies Health Guide for FREE

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

  1. Breeza

    I had a fabric softener on the floor of my room…unintentionally. When I walked in, I found a cockaroach laying upside down right in the middle of it. It was dead. Pretty awesome…

  2. Ellen Chapman
    Ville Platte Louisiana

    I started using bounce sheets about 1 month ago l have not seen a cockroach nor a mouse since then plus outdoors l placed bounce sheets next to ant piles and they moved right away.

  3. Tim

    I can personally attest that the fabric softener sheet is a load of crap. My dresser drawer, the one that actually had the most roaches in it, was the most infested place in the entire drawer. Oddly the drawer that had the books and random paper didn’t have any at all in it.

  4. T
    Las vegas

    Well did it work, need to know

  5. Kathy

    Using vinegar helps. Washing kitchen floors with vinegar and water can deter them.
    Using wax on floors and waxing cabinets can get rid of them. They don’t like it.
    You have to break up the trail that they make.

  6. CZ

    Yes, you can use the dryer sheets once they lose their smell, because the heat helps to activate it again. Your clothes might not smell quite as nice, but they will be soft. Try the dryer sheets to repel mosquitoes too!

  7. kenny

    Do moth balls repel roaches? They sure stink to me!!! So do I have to use Bounce dryer sheets or can I buy the cheap ones to try to repel them???

  8. Russell

    We use dryer sheets when storing our camper for the winter, they keep mice out. We used to use moth balls but the stink from them lasted into the summer. We’ve not had a problem since.

  9. DM

    Do you think Bounce would work for stink bugs? Fleas? Anyone ever try it for this?

  10. KT

    I have heard of people using pet shampoo on linens.

  11. JS

    I have the same problem with dryer sheets with scents on them. Same for me I can not sit out on patio when neighbors using dryers with these sheets with fragrance. I am so allergic to smells of most any thing am so careful of where I go and do. Hope you can find some help. I know how bad migraines are.

  12. ebm

    SC, the smell does not make the laundry soft, otherwise there would be no fragrance free dryer sheets which I use. The smell of Bounty, etc. soap and dryer sheets can be smelled all the way across the street and my patio in my neighborhood and gives me terrible headaches and nausea. I recommended fragrance free laundry soap and sheets to a friend and her severe sinus problems and the dogs backcough and watery eyes got a lot better.

  13. d h

    Question: Is it only the scented dryer sheets that get rid of gnats? Thanks

  14. nepw

    DIAMOTACEOUS EARTH is a safe, natural, effective way to be rid of bed bugs, as well as other bugs, roaches, etc.
    To Treat the Bed Bug Infestation Safely:
    Wash all bedding in hot water—add a little Clorox with the soap. Dry in dryer on the highest heat setting. If you can, use a steam cleaner on your mattress and box springs.
    Make sure bed is not touching any walls. Also make sure there is no skirting or any thing other than the 4 legs touching the floor.
    With your hands or an applicator, dust some food grade Diatomaceous Earth into the mattress and ridges on the outside of the mattress. Dust some DE between the mattress and box springs also.
    Spread some DE all over the room, working into the carpets and corners of the room. You may have to remove the bottoms of furniture and dust some in them also. Put a large pile around each of the 4 legs—since bed bugs cannot fly, the 4 legs are the only way the bedbugs can get to you. Repeat this once a week for 4 weeks.
    You can also take off the outlet covers and using a plastic dispenser and puff some DE into the walls. Bed Bugs love to live there and are the main way they spread from room to room. Be very careful—use nothing that would conduct electricity and shock you.

  15. j.c.bluitt

    Do you have any suggestions on getting rid of bed bugs or will the dryer sheets work on this problem also?

  16. Pat

    I have heard of people hiking the Appalachian trail using them to keep the mozzies at bay. I have to say that though dryer sheets may get rid of insects if you are sensitive to the smell, no matter how pleasant you may think they are, maybe the bugs are better. The folks downstairs use them and I have to open the outside doors in the winter to keep the odor from permeating my apartment.

  17. SC

    I do put Bounce dryer sheets in cabinets when we leave for awhile. Also on a shelf that I store things on that do not get a lot of use. My question is – I have noticed that after awhile the smell goes away. Can the dryer sheet be used in the dryer after the smell is gone? Then I could just rotate them from the shelf to the dryer…. Thanks!

  18. T Allyn

    I live in a rural area and use dryer sheets to keep field mice from building nests in my car engine and boat. I change them once a month. No problem with the mice since I began this. (Note: I had tried using peppermint oil on cotton balls, but found that the mice used the cotton balls in their nests!)

  19. Cindy B.

    Amazing! What a neat tip! Almost makes me wish I was back in my old cockroach-infested apartment on the “wrong side of the tracks,” just to see if this works. I only have a few spiders now, which I always leave be.

  20. DT

    Do the dryer sheets also work with spiders? Does anything keep spiders out?

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted.

Your cart

Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.